Defining the relationship is something every couple does on their own timeline.
How Long You Should Date Before Becoming Official Might Surprise You

Here's how you know when to DTR.

by Jamie Kravitz and Corinne Sullivan
Originally Published: 

There isn't a perfect formula that can tell you how long to date before becoming exclusive with someone. For some couples, it feels right to define the relationship immediately, while others prefer to date casually for a few weeks or even months before committing to exclusivity. Other factors — such as timing and distance — can also affect how soon two people decide to see each other exclusively. So if you’re wondering how many dates before relationships become official, a right answer unfortunately do not exist.

It may be tempting to get to this point in a relationship as quickly as possible, but Alessandra Conti, celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers in the City, previously told Elite Daily you shouldn’t rush to become official with someone. “The goal is to be exclusive with the right person,” she said. “The best way to truly learn about another person is to take the time needed to truly get to know them before making a commitment to them.” And while there’s no exact right amount of time, she says you should wait anywhere from one to three months before making the relationship exclusive. It’s also possible that — after three months of dating — you’re still not ready to DTR, and that’s OK, too.

If you’re prioritizing yourself at the moment or still excited by the prospect of dating other people, then don’t feel obligated to settle down after a certain number of dates. As Samantha Burns, relationship coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, previously told Elite Daily, becoming official shouldn’t feel like an obligation. “If you’re enjoying yourself and having a blast doing ‘me time’, then by all means stay single and keep investing in yourself," she said. “Ask yourself what’s missing [from that one person], and what you’re hoping to find in someone else."

I spoke to six people in exclusive relationships about how long you should date before becoming official, and here’s what they had to say.

6 Weeks
It was about six weeks of casually dating before we agreed to be exclusive. We talked about the fact that neither of us were dating anyone else. It was another couple of months before he started to call me his girlfriend. I thought that exclusively dating and being boyfriend and girlfriend were the same thing, because nothing actually changed — he just started using the word 'girlfriend.'

— Lindsey*, 26

1 Month
My boyfriend and I dated for about a month before becoming exclusive. I think this was the right amount of time, because at that point I knew I wanted to be exclusive with him.

— Mary*, 23

4 Or 5 Dates
We went on four or five dates before becoming exclusive. I think it was too short. It doesn’t affect our relationship now, but it would have been nice to have a little bit longer to get to know him. But he asked me after [one of our first few] dates if I wanted to be exclusive and I said yes, mostly because I knew I liked him, and if I said no, I knew he probably wouldn't talk to me anymore. And, since it was still a new relationship, it would be easy to get out of if things went south — but they didn't.

— Chloe*, 25

3 Months
When we first started talking it wasn't exclusive. I know he was talking to other people, because that was back when Snapchat still showed your top three best friends. It was summer and we were long distance for three months. But once we got back to school and hung out in person, I remember one night where we were kind of drunk and he said I had pretty eyes and I was like, 'Yeah so how many girls are you telling that to?’ And he was like, ‘OMG just you, just you,' and looked so taken aback and shocked. I believe he called the other two girls to tell them he and I were exclusive.

— Melissa*, 23

1 Year
We dated for a year long-distance (we were at different colleges) before we explicitly said we were boyfriend and girlfriend. After a long time, he finally asked me to be his girlfriend and gave me flowers. Apparently I said, 'So does this even change anything?' because we had already been together for so long.

— Christine*, 23

2 Or 3 Weeks
My partner and I were pretty much immediately exclusive. We had the conversation about two or three weeks into our relationship. It worked really well for me because I'm pretty monogamous when it comes to dating — I would go out on dates with multiple people at one time, but once I've decided to actively date someone, I only want to date that person.

— Alaina, 25

Exclusivity isn't as complicated a concept as it's often made out to be. As long as you and your partner are on the same page about what you want out of the relationship, you might even choose to skip the labels all together — and that's totally cool, too.

*Name has been changed.


Alessandra Conti, celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers in the City

Samantha Burns, relationship coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.

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