A couple laughing while having the exclusive relationship talk.

Being exclusive is trickier nowadays, since daters are bombarded with an almost endless amount of options thanks to dating apps and can be reluctant to settle down. So when you’re ready to be exclusive how do you go about having the ever-allusive exclusive relationship talk?

Despite the shift in dating culture in a general sense, one consistent part of any long term committed relationship is…

Having ‘the talk’.

People often shudder in fear and dread whenever someone he or she is seeing says, “We really need to talk.”

“About what?” they asks almost pleadingly.

“I’ll tell you later. It’s about us. It’s serious.”

The ominous vibe of having “the talk” makes most people recoil in fear and do anything to avoid it. Whoever is pressuring the other to have the talk is generally going to be the one disappointed. Now, I’m not saying you can’t ever have the talk and that it’s a horrible idea. All I’m saying is to be careful about how you bring it up. Don’t bring it up as if there’s a serious situation or problem (as if aliens are invading and you must have a talk about what strategy to deploy).

Instead, you’ll find yourself in a much better position if you bring it up in a positive way and in a positive context.

Quick Tips for Having the Exclusive Relationship Talk:

  • Bring it up when the other person is in a good mood and you’ve had fun together.
  • Bring it up when it fits in naturally with your conversation.
  • Don’t exaggerate the seriousness of the conversation.
  • Don’t make the talk seem ominous or scary or like something to deal with or worry about.
  • Warning the other person that you want to have a talk and then not telling him or her what it’s about isn’t as good of a strategy as simply saying you want to talk and then proceeding to start the conversation right then.

How to Tell Whether You Should Bring It Up

Ask yourself… what’s the nature of your relationship with this person? Have you ever mentioned the future and casually (perhaps even playfully) asked him or her what you two are to each other? Has this person ever said he or she doesn’t want a relationship?

If someone specifically says he or she doesn’t want a committed relationship, listen. My suggestion is to not have the talk if someone has explicitly stated that he or she isn’t exactly looking for commitment. Why would you set yourself up for disappointment?

Trust me, I know how confusing relationships can be. But the truth is that if you really think about it, collect your thoughts, and take a deep breathe you’ll probably know whether it’s time to have the talk or not.

More often than not, we end up trying to force someone who isn’t looking for commitment to say, “Yes, let’s be official.” Whatever the label you give your relationship may be, recognize that just because a man calls himself your boyfriend or partner does not mean he’s going to act like it. Or that just because you and your new girlfriend have changed your Facebook status to “n a relationship” that you’re magically going to get what you want from him.

The quality of your relationship matters more than how and when and if you have the talk.



Erin Bilgin

Freelance Writer

Erin is a freelance writer with years of experience covering dating and relationships.