How Long Into Dating Should You Bring Up Exclusivity?

Being in a new relationship can be confusing, overwhelming, and even scary sometimes. While you’re having fun and starting to fall for someone, there’s probably one big question on your mind: what are we? Here are some signs that it’s time to define the relationship with your new guy or gal.

  1. You want to be exclusive. This one sounds obvious but it’s worth mentioning. Make sure you’re bringing up the conversation because you truly want to be exclusive with this person. Examine your reasons for wanting to bring it up. Is it because you just feel like it’s time? Is it because you feel jealous? Is it because you truly want a monogamous relationship with this person? The latter should be the only reason you decide to have the talk.
  2. You’ve gone on several dates. I didn’t put a number here on purpose. Some people will say lower and some higher. It depends on a lot of factors: how long the dates were, how deep the conversations were, how intense your chemistry is, etc. However, I did put “several” because you should have at least gone on several dates with someone before you decide you want to be exclusive with them.
  3. You know where you stand on sex with them. Either you’ve already had sex and there’s chemistry there or you’ve decided that you don’t want to sleep with them until you’re exclusive. Either is fine, honestly, but it’s good to have a plan in mind.
  4. You’re spending more and more time together. Instead of just regular date nights, you guys have started spending time together doing other things. Maybe you did some mundane tasks together like laundry, recycling, or running errands. Maybe you attended a work event with them. Either way, there should be some sign that you guys enjoy spending time with each other outside of date nights and more into your everyday life.
  5. You’ve met someone in their circle. You’ve met at least a couple friends, co-workers, or family members of theirs. Maybe you haven’t had the formal meet and greet with their parents, and you probably haven’t been invited to their family Thanksgiving dinner yet, but you at least know someone who knows them and have seen them around the people in their life that they care about. It’s important not only to assess how your new partner acts around you but also around other people. This can give you a better, more well-rounded picture of who they really are.
  6. They’ve met someone in your circle. They’ve met a friend, co-worker, or family member of yours (someone whose opinion you trust) and everyone approves of your new partner. You shouldn’t always rely on other people’s opinions, but it’s also good to step outside your new love bubble for a bit and see things from someone else’s point of view. If they think your S.O. is great, you’re in luck.
  7. You’re prepared to cut off anyone else you’re talking to or seeing. You should be in a place where you don’t have any desire to keep your dating apps on your phone or go on dates with other people. You may want to block that dude who’s always DMing you too. Make sure you’re really ready to commit to this person.
  8. You think they feel the same way. You’re pretty sure, not only because of the things they say but also their actions, that they feel the same way. They’re consistent in calling and making plans with you, they keep their promises, and they follow through. They seem to make you a priority in their life and you feel like they want to be exclusive with you. You don’t think they’re still dating anyone else.
  9. You’re prepared for the consequences of the conversation if it doesn’t go the way you want. If you want to be exclusive with them, that’s great! You know what you want, so you’ve got the first step down. Make sure that you have a plan just in case they aren’t on the same page. Are you prepared to either downgrade their status to friends with benefits or possibly cut them off altogether? Are you willing to give it more time if you guys just keep casually dating? Knowing what you want is only half the battle. Have a backup plan too!
I love to write on my laptop with my cat on my lap and a cup of tea nearby :)