I Act Like We’re Exclusive Before We Really Are & It’s Destroying My Love Life

Dating is so hard, especially when you’re as sensitive as I am. All I want is a monogamous relationship, but I tend to rush this during the early stages of seeing someone I feel a connection with, causing me no small amount of trouble. Here’s how acting like we’re exclusive before we are is impacting my dating life.

  1. I stop dating other people immediately. When I meet someone I’m interested in, I drop everyone else that I’m seeing right away. I stop going on other dates because I just want to see how things play out without multiple people in the mix. I know I don’t have to do this but it feels very natural for me, no matter how early on it is in the dating. If I try to date others, I just feel distracted and like I’m not even interested in the person who isn’t my main boo.
  2. The other person doesn’t stop dating people. This is one of the problems: I stop dating other people, but the person I’m dating doesn’t stop. They continue to see others. This is totally normal and healthy as well as none of my business but I can’t help wishing things were different. I want them to do the same thing as me. This isn’t happening for me in my dating situation right now.
  3. My feelings get hurt. I get hurt very easily, especially when they’re dating other people. I just can’t help it, I have a visceral reaction to it and it makes me miserable. I’m left feeling very much like my feelings are controlling me. Hard. It’s incredibly difficult for me to pretend I’m fine, so I usually end up telling the other person how I’m feeling.
  4. I probably should stop counting my chickens before they hatch. I think it’d likely be healthy to date other people. Maybe I’d go slower and worry less, who knows. My friends consistently tell me that I should be doing this so I’m giving it a shot. It feels weird. I have to convince myself that what I’m doing is OK, otherwise, I feel like I’m using people to get out of my head.
  5. I may end up trying to move too fastPerhaps I could slow it down a bit and not get wrapped up in people so quickly. I tend to sleep with them very quickly and expect a relationship soon. I could definitely learn to take it one step at a time, feeling things out at a reasonable pace.
  6. I may scare people away. I go back and forth on this one. It’s a bummer if I scare someone off because maybe I could have done something differently. On the other hand, I’m being my complete authentic self, just existing as I am at this moment. If that scares someone away then so be it. I think rather than one or the other there’s a little mix of both at play here.
  7. I don’t think there’s an exact length of time for exclusivity. Some people say they wait a certain amount of months before even talking about being exclusive. I think this is arbitrary and it’s much more important to assess how you feel about the situation, then make a judgment. This could be really brief for some people, super long for others, or somewhere in between.
  8. I wish more people wanted to be exclusive as quickly as me. A nice solution in my ideal world would be that everyone else that I date is down to be exclusive as soon as I am. I’ll keep dreaming. In reality, what I have to do is adapt to this. I have to decide if I can relax with practice or if I really just need someone who is on the same page as me. We’ll see.
  9. I think I’m a little bit of both nuts and normal. I vacillate back and forth between feeling like a mad person and feeling like I’m totally normal. Sometimes I feel like my feelings are irrational and I should chill the heck out. Other times I feel like my feelings make perfect sense and are acceptable. Again, I think a little bit of both is at play here. I’m not a complete nuts person but also not quite “normal” either.
  10. I know my feelings are valid no matter what. Regardless of me calling myself a bit nuts, at the end of the day, every single feeling that I have is valid. It’s super important to validate my emotions, thoughts, etc. because otherwise I feel rejected and unseen by myself. No matter what, it’s okay to feel what I’m feeling. Even if the feelings are also accompanied by thoughts of being nuts.
Ginelle has been writing professionally for more than six years and has a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & design. Her writing has appeared on Birdie, Thought Catalog, Tiny Buddha and more. You can follow her on Instagram @ginelletesta, via her Facebook page, or through her website at ginelletesta.com.