Relationship Advice

How to talk about becoming ‘exclusive’


In every relationship that looks like it might be going somewhere there comes a time when you have to define it. Putting a label on something isn’t very romantic, but how else can you be sure that you’re headed in the same direction?

In theory it should be quite simple: ‘Do you want a future with me?’, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. In reality, it’s a tough subject to bring up. Your mind is full of questions: ‘What if she wants to see other people?’, ‘What if he thinks I’m moving too fast?’ or even ‘Why can’t I just ignore the subject altogether?’

The fact is that there is a point at which you have to have this conversation if you are developing strong feelings for your partner. If they feel the same you’ll know you’re on the same page, and if they don’t it will be painful but it’s best to know sooner rather than later. So, we’ve put together some tips to help you navigate this tough subject.

Be clear and honest
This is no time for pussyfooting around. Don’t try to ease the subject into the conversation by asking roundabout questions like ‘What were you thinking of doing for your holiday next year?’. The simple fact is that if you’re ready to commit to the relationship, you need to ask the question and get a straight answer. No amount of ignoring will make the situation better so you have to be the bigger person and make your move.

Pick your time
This is not a conversation to start as you’re about to walk into a cinema. It’s also not a good conversation to have at the start of a long car journey. You need to pick a private place, but one that you can both leave separately afterwards to think through what’s been said.

Don’t debate the answer
It’s quite possible you won’t get a simple yes or no answer, but if their response is up in the air this is not the time to try and persuade them either way. If your partner wants to think it over, let them. You telling them how amazing you think you’d be together isn’t going to help matters. Frankly, it’ll make you come across as a bit desperate.

Don’t demand an answer
Just as we alluded to above, any pressure from you won’t come across very well. Putting pressure on your partner may force them into a rash decision – and the answer may not be what you were hoping for. Leave them to think it over and they’re more likely to come back to you with a positive response.

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3 thoughts on “How to talk about becoming ‘exclusive’

  1. Steve, Manchester

    October 23, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    I’ve always assume when I’m dating someone that it is exclusive – I didn’t realise people were multi dating!

  2. yeah, i agree. dating is definitely exclusive by my standards.

  3. Can someone help with this please? I have been in contact with a girl since December and started seeing her in January and to this point have been out 6 times with another date lined up. We are getting on and when we are out together she talks as if we are heading someone just by little things that she says. She has also clearly stated that she wants to keep seeing me after I asked on Valentines how she thinks we are getting on. I am just bugging myself as to whether we are ‘exclusive’ which I want it to be in order that I can relax and get on with it without looking over my shoulder. My problem is how do I ask her this without seeming clingy, possessive etc?

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