How Long Should You Date Before Talking About Exclusivity? Experts Say It Depends
Once you've been casually dating someone for a few months, it's normal to start feeling like you'd like to establish some sort of exclusivity. After all, if you really don't want to see anyone else, and the thought of your partner seeing someone else makes your skin crawl, it's definitely worth mentioning. But how long should you date before talking about exclusivity? Well, every couple — and situation — is different, but experts agree that you shouldn't rush into that discussion.
If exclusively dating this one person is something that's important to you know that there isn't an exact timeline for when you should have that talk. "I think if you want to be exclusive with someone, you should bring it up, but know that everyone has a different timeline," Anita A. Chlipala, dating and relationships expert, tells Elite Daily. "Talking about exclusivity can also let you know early on whether someone does want the same thing as you or not."
Chlipala recommends waiting at least a couple months. "It doesn't have to be exact, but I recommend dating someone for two to three months before you think about exclusivity," she says. "It gives you enough time for some of the infatuation to wear off and for patterns to emerge. You need time to put your date's behaviors into a broader context. You can also avoid the 'crash and burn' which often happens between the four-to six-week mark."
Chlipala isn't the only one who suggests waiting a few months to define the relationship. "I always caution my dating coaching clients and matchmaking clients alike to wait about three months, which some struggle with, and most people dating also find it hard to believe," Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Elite Daily. "Most people go exclusive way too soon in my book, which can leave them off the market with the wrong person, never meeting the right person for them for years to come."
And while there's nothing wrong with waiting a bit to actually DTR, Irene Fehr, sex and intimacy coach, recommends being upfront from the very beginning about where you would like to be eventually. There is nothing wrong with being 100% that b*tch and telling someone at the very start of dating that you only want to be in an exclusive relationship. If you don't want to waste any time and you want to be on the same page as your date, be honest.
"It's important to let them know upfront, ideally on the first date, so that they can let you know if they want the same thing and if they can agree to this," Fehr tells Elite Daily. "Knowing this information upfront can save both of you energy and time (and hurt feelings) — or, equally, it can help you find a partner who wants and is ready for the same thing you want and who can actually deliver on it," Fehr adds. Now, that's not to say that you need to DTR on the first date. Quite the contrary, take your time! But being on the same page about where you want to be can be helpful, so everyone can manage their expectations accordingly.
That said, telling the person you've been seeing that you want to be exclusive should also include a talk about what "exclusive" means for both of you. "You also want to define exclusivity for each other," Fehr explains. "Does it solely refer to going on dates? Does it include sex? Does exclusivity include getting off dating apps and stopping online conversations? It's important to be clear to set expectations so that your (potential) partner can know what they're agreeing to and can also deliver on their promise."
If you want to be exclusive with someone, that's great! It's awesome that you've found someone special and only want to be with them. If the two of you have been dating for several months, it's probably an ideal time to bring it up. Remember: You deserve to get what you want out of a relationship — exclusivity and all — but your partner's not going to know what you want until you tell them.