Feb 6, 2020·5 min read
Exclusive Dating Isnt a Relationship
Katie Dutch used with permission
When two people agree to be exclusive, theyre agreeing to only date and have sex with each other. This can be the stage right before he commits, but it often isnt. It can be a trap.
While women tend to date looking for commitment and relationships, men often date for fun, companionship and attention. Finding a life partner may not be the first priority.
Guys dont like to share but theyre also competitive by nature. When you agree to exclusivity you remove all of his competition.
He can kick back and rest easy. He has you locked down and your options closed. The chase is over and he can settle into a safe routine.
Agreeing to exclusivity too soon
So many women agree to be exclusive with a guy early on, often after only a few dates. Then in a month or two theyre talking about how it didnt work out.
Youd think agreeing to be exclusive would make guys feel safe, but it does the opposite.
When you agree to be exclusive right out the gate, before you even really know the dude, youre not looking out for your own heart and emotions. If you cant guard yours, you cant guard his.
And while things may go off like gangbusters in the beginning, down the road they often start to pull back. He may not even be able to put his finger on why. But on a core, instinctual level guys dont want it to be so easy.
If you gave up everything so quickly and easily for him, subconsciously he feels youd do the same for anyone else. That doesnt make him feel all that special.
Guys value what they have to earn. And your exclusivity is something that he should have to prove hes worthy of.
The love I thought Id won, you give for free. Gin Blossoms
Hand it over to him for nothing and the connection process gets stalled. Guys feel safer with women who are cautious with who they hand their hearts to.
Men who ask for exclusivity quickly
Guys who want to be exclusive after a few dates are often serial monogamists. There are some dudes (people) who just cant be alone.
An ex-boyfriend of mine wanted to be exclusive after two weeks. Being young and dumb and inexperienced, I didnt know any better and agreed. We were together for three years.
A month after I broke up with him he was in an exclusive relationship with the woman who was to become his future wife. Didnt waste any time. Made me feel super special.
Looking back, hed never really been alone. It was one relationship right into the next, often with some overlap. I shoulda seen it coming. Red flags are hard to see when youre wearing rose colored glasses. But I see them now! I wont make that mistake again.
The difference between exclusive and relationship
Exclusive dating is just dating one person. That doesnt equal a relationship. It gives him all the benefits of being a boyfriend without actually having to be your boyfriend.
Pretty rad, right?
I dated a guy exclusively for months but he was never my boyfriend. Despite spending 45 nights a week together, going out on weekends, taking me to dinner, the movies, calling, texting, bringing me gifts you know, acting like a boyfriend.
We had a routine. He had sex and companionship on lock. He knew I wasnt going anywhere and guess what? According to him we werent even dating. We were just hanging out.
Actions speak louder than words, but if hes not asking you to be his girlfriend, youre not. Being exclusive without this gives him an easy out. And you shouldnt cut off all your options until he does.
Being afraid to say no to exclusivity
Are you afraid if you dont agree to be exclusive hell leave? A lot of women are. Theyre so desperate to be in a relationship they jump right into an exclusive arrangement fearing hell leave, or theyll never find any other man.
When you dont agree to be exclusive youre telling him you have standards and want to know him better before you lock yourself down. Youre showing him you respect yourself enough to not jump in too fast.
If he leaves, he isnt the man for you anyway. Bye! If he cant respect your standards and how your value your self-worth he probably wont respect much else about you, either.
I know a lot of women who are in a friends with benefits situation who agreed to be exclusive because he made it clear he doesnt want her to be with anyone else.
Yet he cant or wont give her anything more. He says he doesnt want a relationship. AND hes out there seeing whoever he wants. So while she stays loyal to him, shes betraying and disrespecting herself.
Guys like this may think the situation is serving them, but on a deeper level he knows shes disrespecting herself and has low self-worth. He loses any respect he might have had for you by you agreeing to put up with it. That doesnt inspire him to want to make you his girlfriend.
Exclusive but not official
Is he your boyfriend? No, but were exclusive. Were seeing where it goes and going with the flow.
Sounds good right? Its usually not.
He isnt ready to be your boyfriend but he wont date others. This can work if you arent one to get easily attached. But, lets be real, most of us get attached.
The problem with agreeing to be exclusive with a guy who wont be your boyfriend is youve cut off all your options. Youve given him all the benefits of a boyfriend for a maybe.
You both feel safe because you arent dating others. So you both get in a comfort zone.
Growth doesnt happen in a comfort zone. You can just as easily date and keep your options open.
Agreeing to be exclusive comes after the relationship and commitment have been established. It comes after hes shown you how he can, and will, treat you, and has shown you over time, consistently, his willingness to invest.
Not a moment before. If you want more, dont settle for less.
If you liked this you might also enjoy these reads!
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Niki Marinis is your Cool Quirky Aunt with great relationship advice. Scour her pop culture obsession on Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for her newsletter here.