How to know when it’s time to be exclusive


One of the biggest issues women have when it comes to dating is figuring out a timeframe for commitment, and what that should look like. Some women are in a hurry to “seal the deal” with a particular man, while others feel pressured by a man to commit. Either way, the timing of this decision will vary depending on the couple, and their comfort with moving the relationship forward. 

Really, there is no right or wrong answer, and it boils down to the individual couple and what they want and need in romance. Some people may feel comfortable labeling themselves as an exclusive couple within a few weeks after the first date. Others may take months to come to that decision – if they ever come it. 

In my years of clinical experience, what I’ve noticed is that the decision isn’t based on a concrete interval of time or a measurable unit. It’s based on whether or not the partners are personally ready to take their relationship to the next level. A relationship’s timeline is as unique and varied as the people in it. 

Please try to avoid looking at pop culture and the media as having the answer to this question. When movies and TV shows portray couples hopping into bed quickly, it may seem like taking a timeout to contemplate getting involved is no longer necessary or ideal for some people in the dating world. But that’s not true. 

Movies and TV have couples hopping into bed quickly for story pacing and revenue generation, not because it’s an accurate portrayal of the real world and real human emotions. When you don’t take time to look before you leap, you can fall off a high cliff. 

What can you do to bring clarity to the “exclusivity” question? Ask yourself the following when you’re considering a decision for your relationship.

1. Are you rushing?

Great relationships take time to evolve. Moving too quickly can cause your romance to explode in your face. What’s your hurry? It’s better to the health and longevity of your relationship if you wait to be exclusive once you’re sure that you and your partner are on the same page. Knowing what their goals are and if they mesh with what you want for your future takes time. 

Don’t you both want a serious relationship? Or do one or both of you want something casual? If he wants a commitment, does he have a good track record of keeping them? And for you, are you sure he is the kind of man you can rely on when it counts? If you’re not sure, maybe you’re moving too fast, and it’s best to slow down a little. 

2. Do you feel pressured?

If you’re afraid of losing a man who’s pushing you for sex when you aren’t ready, that can complicate your decision to be exclusive. Is sex his priority, or does he want to take you off the market because he is afraid of losing you to another man? 

A man who is afraid to lose you is a man who is serious about your relationship and more likely to give you the time you need to consider if you want to be exclusive. A man who’s going to disappear if you won’t have sex is thinking only of himself. Although you might be afraid to lose him if you aren’t in a hurry for sex or exclusivity, he may not be worth gambling your heart away for. 

3. Are you a good fit?

Once you eliminate the rush to decide and the pressure that comes with making such an emotional decision, you can give yourself room to focus on the important issues. Is he the right man for you? Do you feel happy and comfortable around him? Do you genuinely enjoy his company? Does he treat you well and want to make you happy? Or is it all about him?

When you ask yourself these questions and are completely honest with yourself about the answers, you’re much less likely to regret getting involved in the wrong relationship. Relationships that are rushed often crash and burn, and they can cause heartache that makes it more difficult for you to pursue your Mr. Right in the dating world. 

Have you ever regretted getting involved with someone in your past? Or were you careful to look before leaping? Please leave us a comment and let us know if you could have prevented heartache and a crash and burn relationship. 

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