Do you want to be exclusive? What does exclusive mean? Are you ready for an exclusive relationship? Answer these questions and more.
Relationships are complicated. Even before you’re in an exclusive relationship you will go through a lot of different stages. So, it can be confusing to know when or if you are exclusive.
That’s because many of us don’t know what exclusive describes when a couple decides to only ever date each other, but there are a lot of ins and outs to that.
You may be partners, but what does that mean to you?
What does exclusive mean?
Technically being exclusive means you are only seeing each other. You are in a committed relationship. But, as well as you know what that means to you, it could so different from what it means to your partner.
Maybe you only sleep with each other but can casually see others. Perhaps flirting is okay or dancing with other people when you’re out.
An exclusive relationship means something different depending on the couple. It is very common for some people to be in an exclusive relationship, but it can be rare and difficult for others to gain that level of trust.
Becoming exclusive is declaring your commitment to someone. You’re in it for the long haul. Your intentions are pure. You trust each other.
This can be a huge deal and that’s why it’s such a touchy subject for some. Those who have commitment issues find this word to be super scary. To them, becoming exclusive might be a much bigger deal than it is for you.
For someone who has had success with relationships in the past, exclusivity just means you are in a more serious relationship. But, for someone that has been cheated on, being in an exclusive relationship means being vulnerable and risking that pain again.
In that case, what does being exclusive mean? For one person, it is the next logical step in the relationship, for the other, it is terrifying.
So, before figuring out if you’re ready for an exclusive relationship, figure out what that means to you.
Are you ready for an exclusive relationship?
If you only want to date that person and nobody else, then you’re ready, to an extent. It can be a lot more complicated than simply wanting to be exclusive.
Being ready involves feeling comfortable having that discussion with the other person. You should be able to share your excitement as well as your fears. And they should feel comfortable confiding in you as well.
Now, just showing one or two of these signs that you’re ready to be exclusive isn’t a full answer. But, if you relate to most of these signs, the odds are you and your relationship are ready for that next step.
Here’s how to tell if you’re ready to be in an exclusive relationship.
1. You act like you are already
Basically, you two are already in an exclusive relationship. You don’t see other people and you don’t have the desire to, either. You’ve both communicated that you aren’t seeing anyone else and want it to stay that way. This is a major sign you’re both ready for the commitment of exclusivity.
2. You know you don’t want anyone else
If you’re certain you want to commit to that person, then you’re ready. The thing you have to consider that they aren’t just good enough for right now. You shouldn’t feel like you’re with them until someone better comes along.
Being with them should make you happy enough that you aren’t thinking about the possibility of someone else.
3. Your relationship is healthy
Are you both happy? If you’re treating each other well and things are going great and it’s been a couple of months, you could very well be ready for an exclusive relationship.
Just make sure you’re not blinded by your new feelings for this person. Sometimes things seem amazing at first because everyone is on their best behavior. Be sure to take off those rose-colored glasses and really pay attention to whether this is sustainable long-term.
4. You’re excited by the idea of this relationship
Do you get pumped thinking about your future with this person? If so, you could be ready to be exclusive. But, think long and hard about the future.
Do you see yourself with that person in six months, two years? Do you picture things you want to do in the future with them? If those things excite you, it could be a sign you’re ready to commit.
5. You get upset when you think about losing them
Think about the fact that you could lose that person and not be in a relationship with them. I don’t want to bum you out but consider it. Does a future without them seem bleek?
If that stresses you out then that person is definitely important to you. If you don’t want to lose them from your life in any way, it could be time to become exclusive. This puts the relationship into a state that makes those feelings clear.
6. You both complement one another
No, I don’t mean you both tell each other nice things. That is a compliment. Complement means you complete each other to a certain extent.
Although you should both be your own individual people, together you make sense. You bring out the best in one another and balance each other out. This is about your personalities meshing well together. Do your lifestyles fit one another’s? If so, it’s a great sign that you could be very happy together.
7. Your friends like them
This is assuming they’ve met already. But if your friends really like them and that person fits in with your group, it is a good sign.
Sure, at first they may be nervous, but if your friends can tell that this person makes you happy it is an extra vote of confidence. The fact that they are making the effort to fit in your life is a huge deal. It shows their commitment already and proves that you both might be ready to be exclusive.
8. You like their friends
If you’ve been integrated into their life and have met their friends, they have feelings for you. Someone who wants to keep things casual probably won’t want you to meet all their friends. They will want to keep you separate from them.
Meeting their friends and actually becoming a part of their group shows their trust in you. And if their friends have expressed how much they like you, then you’re in. Exclusivity is right around the corner.
9. You don’t even consider advances by other people
Anyone who tries to hit on you just doesn’t matter. Sure, you might see a hot celebrity in a magazine, but you don’t even entertain the idea of dating anyone else.
It shouldn’t be hard to turn others down or feel like you’re giving up freedom if you are ready to be in an exclusive relationship.
10. You can solve problems together
This speaks a lot to your compatibility and how you’ll work together to get through tough times in the future.
No relationship is perfect. Everyone has tough times. If you’ve already had a fight and got through it pretty easily by communicating, you’re on the right track. Being able to solve problems as a couple is huge and if you’ve already done it, you’re likely ready to be exclusive.
11. You’re satisfied in every area with them
That means in and out of the bedroom. Basically, if your sexual life and romantic life are satisfying to you, then you’re definitely ready to take the next step and be in a committed relationship.
Now, don’t be fooled by the word “every”. No relationship will fulfill you completely. This is why you have family and friends and other people in your life. Your partner cannot be everything for you. But, if they make you happy in the ways they logically can and give you space to keep being fulfilled by the other important people in you’re life, it is a good sign.
12. You talk about the future already
If everything’s been going well, then you probably already talk about a future together. I’m not saying you need to be picking out floral arrangements, but planning to see a movie that comes out in 6 months or going on a vacation together shows you’re both looking ahead together.
And if you’re both happy to discuss the future, then being exclusive shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
13. You both have the same morals and values
This is a major thing to consider when dating anyone. If you’re going to be in a committed relationship with someone, you have to be on the same page with your values and morals. If you’re not, the relationship is only bound to be trouble.
You should align on the most basic things, or at least, the things that are important to you. If being from opposing religions or political parties isn’t going to work for you, becoming exclusive will make things a lot more difficult down the road.
14. You maintain your own lives separate from each other
This is something so many couples overlook or ignore, but it might be one of the most important signs that you’re ready for an exclusive relationship.
You can’t be with each other 24/7 and expect the relationship to work. And, you can’t rely on each other for everything. Initially, you might want to spend a ton of time with them because you’re getting to know each other. However, being too dependent on them will only become unhealthy.
In order to tell if you’re ready to be exclusive, you have to have separate lives. You should still have your friends and you still go out and do your own thing. You should be able to be apart happily and come together happily. This shows that you have trust and a healthy base for an exclusive relationship.
15. Enough time has passed
I personally hate timetables when it comes to relationships. There is no magic number where becoming exclusive will work out. But, becoming exclusive after 2 or 3 dates could be pushing it.
Don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t mean that you should be dating multiple people until the word exclusive pops up between you. I mean, closing the door on anyone else and being 100% focused on and committed to someone you barely know is a big risk.
You should at least know more about someone before that word comes up. If you see each other 3 times a week for 3 weeks you may be ready before a couple that sees each other once a month for 6 months.
16. You’re comfortable with them
I’m not saying that in order to be exclusive you need to be able to use the bathroom with the door open in front of them. But, you should feel comfortable around them. Those initial nerves should be waning away.
If you are ready to be exclusive with someone you should be able to open up with them, relax around them, and not feel on edge. They should make you feel more comfortable, not less.
17. You trust them
Before becoming exclusive you shouldn’t be worried they are cheating or lying to you. Sure, maybe they are still swiping on a dating app or keeping things casual so they don’t rush into it, but you shouldn’t be suspicious. If you feel like being official is the only way you’ll be able to trust them, nothing will change.
Just because you agree to be exclusive it doesn’t mean they will be any less sketchy or that you’ll feel any less jealous. The trust should be there so that when you say you’re exclusive you know it is true.
18. You share your space
Being exclusive doesn’t mean you are moving in together, but you should feel like you’re somewhat at home in each other’s homes. Maybe you have a drawer. Perhaps you leave a toothbrush and pair of sweatpants there.
You should be comfortable cohabitating, even if it is just for the night. If staying over at their house, or they at yours, seems more stressful than fun or comfortable, you may not be there yet.
19. You talk
You should be on the same page when you talk. Are you both happy to text each other good morning every day? Do they go quiet for days on end? Are you texting them more than they’d like?
You should keep in touch a reasonable amount by this point. You also shouldn’t feel weird about texting them mid-day to ask a question. By the time you are ready to be in an exclusive relationship, you shouldn’t be worried about seeming desperate or playing games.
20. You discuss being exclusive
Just ask them about it. Talk about how you’re definitely feeling them as a boyfriend or girlfriend. If they don’t shy away from the idea, then they obviously want to commit. Be open and discuss it. If you’re both happy, you’ll probably end up in an exclusive relationship without even knowing it.
What does exclusive mean? If you’ve been wondering this and aren’t sure if you’re ready to take this next step, these signs should aim you towards an exclusive relationship, or maybe, away from one.