Occasionally, when you’ve been dating someone for a while and haven’t had “the talk,” your fling can turn into a lot more without you even knowing. This happens to a lot of people, surprisingly, and they end up in an exclusive relationship with someone they thought they were just casually dating.
When you’re thrust into the dating world, end up going on dates with a number of different people, and slowly find yourself dating the same person over and over, while also accepting fewer and fewer other dates, you’ve basically put yourself into a relationship.
The great thing about this is that it develops naturally. That’s why it’s so surprising when you realize that you are actually in an exclusive relationship: it’s actually the way that most healthy relationships should evolve.
Signs you’re in an exclusive relationship already
This has happened to me a couple of different times. I just somehow ended up being exclusive with this one guy, and my family and friends even referred to him as my boyfriend before I realized that that’s what he was.
If you’re currently seeing someone, and have been for a little while, you may be curious if you’re in an exclusive relationship already. So if you haven’t yet had a DTR *define the relationship* discussion, then here are all the signs that you’re already in an exclusive relationship. [Read: 16 signs you shouldn’t commit because you aren’t ready for a serious relationship yet]
#1 You’re only seeing them. Exclusive literally means “limited to one.” If you’re only seeing them and no one else, that’s a sign that you’re in an exclusive relationship with them—especially if you don’t have the desire to see other people.
#2 They’re only seeing you. This definitely works both ways. If you’re only seeing them and they’re only see you, then it’s exclusive by definition. If you two are only seeing each other and frequently going on dates, I would say it’s a definite sign that you’re in an exclusive relationship.
#3 The two of you are in your respective profile pictures on social media. This may seem like it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things, but just think about it for a second. Do you ever have a picture of you and your hookup or just the person you’re only barely seeing as your profile picture?
Not really. Most of the time, your profile picture is reserved for people who mean more in your life. And if yours just so happens to be of you and the person you’re dating, it’s basically announcing that you’re in an exclusive relationship with them.
#4 Your friends and family refer to them as your girlfriend/boyfriend. If all joking is aside and they’re being serious about it, then the important people in your life referring to them as your boyfriend/girlfriend without you correcting them is definitely an indicator of an exclusivity. [Read: 11 sure signs the guy you’re dating is a real keeper]
#5 They’ve met important people in your life. If they have met your friends and even some of your family, then you’re already in an exclusive relationship, for sure. You don’t just bring someone unimportant over to meet the folks.
#6 You give each other gifts on holidays/birthdays. If you’re far enough into your relationship for gifts during the holidays, you’re most likely in an exclusive relationship. Because let’s be real, they’re not going to shell out the dough for ALL the people they’re seeing. So they’re only seeing you—and vice versa.
#7 You have unique pet names for each other. I’m not talking about “baby” or “honey.” No. I’m talking about pet names that are specific to just them. It could be something like an endearing nickname that they’ve actually earned. I affectionately referred to one guy I dated as, “Rope.” Doesn’t sound very cute, but it’s sentimental in its own way. [Read: Pet names -The right way to pick the perfect, personal one]
#8 Even if you haven’t met them yet, you know about their family. If you’re already in an exclusive relationship, then your partner has absolutely told you all about their family, even if you haven’t had the chance to meet them yet. People don’t just divulge that information to anyone, you know.
#9 You know all of their little habits. You know for sure that they can’t go a day without breakfast. You know that they absolutely cannot sleep with socks on. You know all their little ticks and weird habits that not many others would know about. That’s how you know you’re in an exclusive relationship already.
#10 You take turns paying on dates. This is a big sign that you’re actually in a relationship with someone versus just dating them. You two take turns paying the bills, so the guy doesn’t always end up with it. This is a habit of an exclusive couple, rather than a casual fling.
#11 You know what foods they like and hate. Although this doesn’t sound like the typical sign, it is. If you can order their dinner or a whole pizza and know exactly what they do or do not like, or how they like their food cooked, you’re already in an exclusive relationship.
#12 You have a toothbrush at their place. Nothing says “exclusive relationship” like leaving tooth brushes at each other’s places. This is a sure sign. [Read: 8 subtle signs your fling is turning into a real relationship]
#13 You rarely feel awkward around them about anything. You know you’re in an exclusive relationship when you’re past all of the awkward phases. Nothing makes you feel weird with them anymore.
#14 You don’t feel guilty for not shaving for a few days. This goes both ways. Fellas, you don’t feel the need to keep your face trimmed and proper, and you ladies don’t feel bad about skipping the leg shaving for a few days.
#15 You have sleepovers that don’t require sex. If you can spend the night at their place and not have sex with them, that’s a true sign that your dating relationship has matured to an exclusive relationship.
#16 You turn down other people because of them. If you’re asked out on other dates and you always turn them down because of your current partner, you’re ready to be exclusive; even though you haven’t talked about exclusivity, you feel attached enough to turn down other potentials. That’s a huge sign you’re in an exclusive relationship.
#17 You don’t consider yourself single. This is another huge one. If someone at a bar or out and about asks if you’re single and you say no because of your partner, then you’re obviously considering yourself a member of an exclusive relationship. [Read: New relationship advice – How to have a perfect start to love]
#18 You’re happy with them and only them. If you feel happy with how things are and there’s no desire to date other people, you’re exclusive. Definitely.
#19 You picture the two of you together in the future. No matter how near or far that image may be, you just expect that they will be there. This is a huge sign that you’re already in an exclusive relationship, even if you two haven’t exactly defined it yet.
[Read: 6 really easy ways to raise the topic of exclusivity without feeling awkward]
Although the line between dating and exclusivity can be a fine one, there are many ways to tell if you’re already in an exclusive relationship and they’re all listed right here for you. Using these signs as a guide, you’ll never have to wonder again!
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