So you’ve been seeing each other for a while, but you have no idea how to approach the subject of being exclusive? Here’s what you should do! By Minot Pettinato-Little
Relationships can be tricky, and getting into a relationship can be even trickier, if you’re unsure how to broach the subject of getting serious.
Don’t be bashful when approaching the subject. If this is really want you want from this person, don’t wait until you’re in knee-deep with someone to find out they’ve been knee-deep with at least three other people while seeing you.
Males and females alike get nervous about approaching this subject with a new lover, as it can feel awkward or “lame” to impose a relationship on someone, simply because you’ve gone out a few times.
For those who can hardly wait to know if their new crush is returning those mutually exclusive feelings, here’s a couple of things to keep in mind about bringing up this tantalizing topic.
#1 Wait for the appropriate amount of time. Don’t feel the need to rush it. Many people go through relationships never having to have that elusive first “where’s this going?” talk. Most relationships happen with a natural progression of things, where eventually one of you asks the other one out and everything is then out in the open. Your gut counts a lot in situations such as this. If you feel like he’s into you, he probably is. If she’s been spending all her free time with you, then you’re who she wants to be with.
Still, if you feel the need to bring it up, make sure you’ve spent an appropriate amount of time together before you start bombarding your partner with questions about exclusivity, your future, and where this is all going.
That being said, if you are already sleeping together, then you deserve to know right off the bat if they’re sleeping with anybody else. You’re not 16 anymore – if you’re sleeping with someone, you should have the kahunas to ask if he or she has any hmm-hmm’s that you should know about *i.e. STDS* before you start bumping uglies. [Read: 25 rules of being friends with benefits]
#2 Note the signs. It’s important to read between the lines before you bring up this unspoken subject. For example, were the two of you friends before you started dating, or was this a random encounter that turned into an “ask-out?” One of the ways to check for signs that you may be heading down the exclusivity route is the way your partner treats you around his or her friends. If there’s a lot of flirting, touching and even kissing going on, then there’s a huge chance that you’ll be officially exclusive soon.
It’s always a good sign when your partner’s friends know about the two of you. However, this doesn’t eliminate the chance that your partner is also dating other people, which is exactly why the talk is still important.
#3 Don’t assume it’s already happened. Do both parties a favor and don’t assume your transition from dating to dating exclusively has already happened. The only time this is appropriate is if you’ve heard your partner refer to you specifically as his or her significant other to your face or to someone else. Assuming will only make you complacent about your status, but your world might suddenly shatter when your partner decides to suddenly choose someone else over you.
#4 Leave little hints. Before you approach the subject full-on, try luring your partner out of their emotionally repressed hole, and see if you can just con them into talking about it first. Don’t go for the direct approach, and use the power of subtle questions and hints instead.
Text things like “Wanna go to this concert next month?” or “Are you free for this [MOVIE] coming out in [LENGTH OF TIME]?” Questions like this will let you know if your partner is down to still be with you in a week, a month or even a year.
A less cute way to go about this would be to blow hot and cold by being all over your partner one minute, and then acting all aloof in the next. While this seems juvenile and a tad mean, it may actually make your partner realize how irresistible you are and that he or she actually misses you when you’re being unavailable. If you get no response, then sadly, exclusivity may be a way away.
#5 Talk it out like adults. This may make you feel nervous, but trust your instincts and enjoy the butterflies you get from this moment. If you want, start by being cute and flirtatious, saying or texting something like: “I just realized that you look a lot like my next boyfriend/girlfriend. What do you think?”
Never underestimate the power of a cheesy pickup line. While corny, it lightens the mood and shows your partner that the topic is on your mind. It’s important to keep the subject matter light, when discussing a topic like this. You don’t want to freak them out or make the conversation seem daunting.
#6 Don’t stick around if you don’t get the answer you’re looking for. If it doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped, don’t despair. But don’t stick around either. Nothing would turn your partner off more than moping around and being the sad pity party.
If they’re not into being exclusive with you, don’t cheapen your worth by staying with someone who won’t put you first. And don’t punish them either, if they don’t reciprocate your ideas about getting exclusive with one another. Just be glad that you found out the truth when you did, instead of allowing yourself to be strung until you’re in so deep you need a rope to get out!
Remember to be casual, lighthearted, and flirty fabulous when you bring up the subject of getting serious. It’s great, if you finally become exclusive after your talk. But don’t sweat it if you didn’t get what you want. Just shake it off and jump right back into the dating world!