Before you sit down to have the actual chat about whether or not you’re going to be exclusive, it’s important for you to figure out if you’re even ready to go that route.
We talked to licensed clinical social worker Justin Lioli and Nick Savoy, author of It’s Your Move: How to Play the Game and Win the Man You Want, about knowing the right time to think about being exclusive.
1. You have no interest in dating other people. Dating is a trial and error process, but when you get to a point where your interest in every other person starts to slide, then it’s safe to assume you’re ready to take things to the next level. As Lioli says, “sometimes you’ll weed others out of your life and not even be aware of it just so you can spend as much time as possible with the person who’s fast becoming your main squeeze.”
2. You’ve discussed the future. In this case, the future doesn’t have to mean marriage, but the future in regard to goals, ambitions, and expectations for each other. If you’ve already enlisted them to be your +1 at your cousin’s date in 2016, then that’s a big sign this isn’t going to be casual much longer.
3. You’ve survived your first fight. Whether you’re committed or not quite there yet, if you’re coupled up, there’s a good chance you’ve had at least one argument. If, after your first argument, you realize that you’re in it for the long haul and don’t want to bail, then that’s a major sign you’re ready for the exclusivity chat.
4. You feel secure in yourself and the relationship. Great relationships are about trust and respect. If you have trust in your partner and your relationship, and the respect between you two brings out your best self, then that’s something you absolutely want to pursue.
5. You’re already functionally exclusive. According to Savoy, once you reach what he calls “functional exclusivity,” then you know you’re ready to talk about it. What this entails is talking everyday, spending your weekends, and always knowing what the other person is up to. You’re basically together, but just haven’t had the “the talk” yet.