Here’s How To Bring Up Exclusivity With The Person You’re Dating

The big E word: exclusivity. It scares many, but it doesn’t have to. Asking someone to be with you and only you is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and the right person will jump at the opportunity. Here’s the lowdown on bringing up the topic.

  1. Remember that you’re not asking for too much. It may feel like you’re asking for the world, but you definitely aren’t. This is a very simple ask. You totally deserve someone who will say yes. Quiet those voices that tell you that you shouldn’t be asking because it’s too much. It’s not.
  2. Make sure a subjectively reasonable amount of time has passed. This is a very loose suggestion because a “long time” is relative to each individual. To some, it may feel like three weeks is a long time and to others, it’s three months. Whatever it is, make sure some time has gone by. If you’re asking for exclusivity on the first or second date, you’re going to freak someone out, and rightfully so. You’ll know when the time is right.
  3. Take a risk and be vulnerable. I know the idea of bringing up exclusivity can be terrifying. It’s totally putting yourself out there to potentially be shot right down. There’s also a chance that this won’t happen too! Either way, you’ll get an answer that will move you towards the best option for you, so get out there. Open your heart, let yourself be vulnerable, and be willing to hear the answer.
  4. Just be straight up. It’s challenging, sure, but straightforward is the best way to be. Clarity only benefits everybody. You can say something like, “I’ve been thinking and I realized that I don’t want to be seeing other people. I’d like to only see you. How are you feeling?” Get right to the point so there’s no room for misinterpretation or vagueness.
  5. Never assume exclusivity. You should always bring up exclusivity if you’re sincerely wondering. Never assume that because you’ve been seeing each other for a while or because you really like each other that you’re exclusive. In fact, you should assume you’re seeing other people until clearly expressed otherwise. The exclusivity talk is necessary.
  6. Decide ahead of time what you’re going to do with their answer. What are you going to do if they say yes? You’ll probably celebrate and move into being exclusive with the person. Yay! What about if they say no? What are you going to do then? Are you going to keep seeing them or are you going to call it off right there and then? The better prepared you are for both directions the better this is going to go.
  7. If they freak out, then they aren’t the right person. Worst case scenario is that this person berates you for even asking or just flat-out gives no for an answer. This is OK; it’s just more information. You need to know these things in order to make a decision. If they say no to exclusivity but still want to date you, then you know that you can walk away. You don’t have to bend your needs to meet another person.
  8. Don’t listen to people when they tell you to just go with the flow. If you’re feeling like it’s about that time to have the exclusivity talk, then go for it. I’ve heard many people say that you should just “let love happen naturally.” I think this is nonsense because a relationship is not going to just magically happen. Someone’s got to pose the question and why not have that be you? If it’s bothering you then you should do something about it.
  9. Know that everyone’s different. I’ve dated some people who felt like exclusivity was a three month thing, but I was the three weeker. Everyone’s pace is going to be different. Hopefully, you line up with the person you like and they’re feeling the same way as you, but if this isn’t the case, then know it likely isn’t anything personal.
  10. You deserve someone who’s just as excited about you as you are them. The fact of the matter is that you should wait until you meet that person who says “yes!” The exclamation mark is important. They should be as excited as you are, it shouldn’t feel like a duty. You absolutely deserve that person who’s as psyched to be with you. Wait for them, they’re out there.
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