I Brought Up Exclusivity & He Freaked Out

One of the reasons dating is so challenging for me is that I’m often on a completely different page than the other person. When I brought up how I wanted to be exclusive with the guy that I was seeing, he didn’t react well. I’m still very happy that I did it.

We’d been dating for a month.  Some people may have judgments on whether or not this is “long enough” to have such a serious talk but I don’t care. I did it when it felt appropriate. I don’t think there’s any particular amount of time necessary to be exclusive.

I was agonizing over what to do. I was really driving myself crazy. It bothered me so much that he was seeing other people and I couldn’t shake the feeling. It made me feel sick and it took up too much space in my head. I went back and forth about whether or not I should tell him how I was feeling. I didn’t want to drive him away but I also couldn’t sit with those agonizing feelings any longer.

I ultimately had to state my needs. What it came down to was that I had to bite the bullet and risk bringing things to an end. I needed to tell him how I felt no matter the outcome. Telling him what I needed was of the utmost importance so I did just that. I knew that if I didn’t, I’d continue to feel nauseous and wrong.

He didn’t want the same things as me. I mustered up the courage and I told him that I was feeling very upset about not being exclusive. Immediately he said that he wanted to take things super slow and that he was still interested in dating around. I was bummed but accepted it for the time being. I thought I might be able to just suck it up for a little while. I was wrong.

It didn’t mean I wanted him to be my boyfriend. I wasn’t pressuring him into a relationship, I just wanted to make things exclusive so we could focus on only each other and see how that unfolded. I think there’s a difference between being partners and just being exclusive. I don’t know if he knew this or if it’d make a difference, but it’s important for me to make that distinction for myself.

His reaction was obviously was a red flag for me. We didn’t immediately end things when discussing, but I let our interaction swirl around in my mind. It didn’t sit right and I flagged it red. After a few days of thinking about it, I decided that he wasn’t for me. I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t really want to be with me.

He beat me to ending things. I was going to do it in person (partially because part of me thought I might be able to change his mind) but when we talked on the phone, he did it. He ended things with me by saying it just wasn’t working out. I felt kind of silly that I didn’t just do it over the phone, but at least it was over.

He said that I liked him more than he liked me. This made me very upset. He said he couldn’t see me anymore because he’d feel too bad since it seems I like him more than he likes me. I don’t know that I agree with this statement. It wasn’t so much about liking him as much as it was about what we both wanted. Plus, I was still figuring out if I even liked him. He needs to get over himself!

Some of my friends told me not to talk about it. Quite a few friends said that I shouldn’t bring it up, that I should just let the jealousy (I don’t even think that’s what it was) pass. They said I should give him space and not pressure him. I couldn’t listen to them, though; I had to listen to what my own gut said.

Ultimately, I had to listen to my intuition. I can get advice from dozens of people and they’ll all be different things. I can only listen to others so much. At the end of the day, I had to lean into what my intuition was telling me, which was to speak up no matter the outcome. I needed to be true to myself and knew that whatever happened I’d feel better at the end of the day knowing I honored my needs.

I don’t think my ask is unreasonable. I don’t think that wanting exclusivity is unreasonable, even when it’s after just a few weeks. I think that the right person exists out there who will be on the same page as me. They’ll be cool with being exclusive to give us a chance to see if we like each other. They won’t think I’m crazy, clingy, or “too much.”

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