What To Talk To Your SO About Before Becoming Exclusive, So You're On The Same Page

If we're being honest, I think we can all agree that there really are no shortcuts when it comes to building and nurturing a healthy relationship. While it's probably best to avoid talking about the nitty-gritty of a relationship too early on (i.e. within the first few dates) to avoid applying unnecessary pressure to your partnership, before becoming exclusive with your partner, it's super important to talk through a few key points to ensure you're both on the same page.

Having serious conversations when dating someone newish can certainly feel daunting at best and massively anxiety-inducing at worst, but the truth of the matter is that, if exclusivity is on the table, having an open and honest dialogue (or three) shouldn't feel strained or forced in any way. If it does, then that may be a sign that you're not quite ready to take things to the next level. If, however, the lines of communication have been solid, then chances are, that's a green light to bring up deeper topics of conversation. This way if/when you become exclusive, you can move forward knowing you've set a solid foundation for the road ahead. So, before you start calling this person bae, be sure to talk about these four things.

1. Your Plans For The Immediate Future

If you're thinking about incorporating the person you've been dating into your life in a more permanent way, you should definitely talk about your plans for the next year at some point. While it's totally OK to become exclusive with someone you might not see yourself ending up with down the line, at the very least, they deserve to know if you are leaving town or planning a six-month trek through Asia anytime soon. Likewise, if there are any commitments that will require large amounts of your time and energy — like starting grad school or a high-pressure job — you should both know what you're signing up for.

2. Any Ex Business That Could Come Back To Haunt You

I know that some people might disagree with this, but I personally think that honesty is the best policy when it comes to ex business (finished or unfinished) or pretty much anything that could come out later and bite you. If the person you've been seeing has been assuming that your friend or roommate is just a friend or roommate, when really, you either dated or banged them in the past, then that's something you should consider mentioning.

While the conversation might be an awkward one, biting the bullet will at least give you full control over how to frame it. If the person you're dating just ends up finding out about your relationship with the other person on their own, then chances are, you may have to do some damage control, especially if your bae feels like their trust has been breached.

3. Your Expectations In A Relationship

This topic is frequently overlooked for the sake of "playing it cool." However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a talk about what elements of a relationship are most important to you. Because even though it's easy to assume you and your bae value and are hoping for the same things from one another, this may, in fact, not be the case.

Differences in expectations are much easier to work through when you both actually know what the other person wants. Now, of course, it's important to keep in mind that making demands is likely to come across as intimidating and may make many people shy away. But if you both bring your needs in a relationship up in a positive, chill, and open way, they can be a great roadmap for you and your new bae.

4. Family Baggage

In a perfect world, our family dynamics would have zero bearing on who we choose to date. And for some people who are able to maintain their full autonomy, they don't. But either way, before you become exclusive with someone, the person you're dating should have an honest overview of your family and how they fit into things. For example, if things between you and your fam are particularly tense or strained, this is could end up affecting your bae. And even if it doesn't, knowing where someone comes from is an important part of getting to know them on a deeper level.

It's always a good idea to keep in mind that, while this might seem like a lot to spring on someone in casual conversation, these aren't things that need to be talked about in one sit-down. You can space these conversations out over time. Depending on the type of person you are, being open isn't always easy, but anyone whom you want to call bae should have an accurate picture of who you are and vice versa.

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