Have you become exclusive too soon?

You’ve been dating a man for 2 months. There have been some issues to work out, but generally you really like the man. A discussion of exclusivity comes up. You each share what you need from a relationship to be exclusive and the other agrees to try to provide it, or if you know you can’t make meet a need, you say so. You both decide you’d really like to focus on each other and not date others. You agree to only see each other and remove your profiles from any dating sites.

A few weeks pass and your man is making some attempts to provide what you say you need, but the effort is inconsistent. You rack it up to he’s trying and you don’t expect perfection. But you aren’t consistently getting enough of what you want and you’re feeling disappointed.

You share this with him. He promises to try harder. Which he does for a few days, then slacks off to old habits. You wonder if you should give up some of your needs as they seem so difficult for him to provide, or if you should keep reminding him. He seems sincere in his interest to give you what you want.

Another week or two pass. You realize he isn’t really trying to provide what you need. You like being with him so don’t want to cut it off, but you are left without some critical needs being met. You realize you’d really like to date other men, especially a few you’d met right before you decided to become exclusive with this man. You think they might be a better fit for you.

You realize you’ve agreed to be exclusive too soon. You could renegotiate, telling him you’d like to date other people. But you know he feels strongly about monogamy, so you’re doubtful he’d go for it. You either have to stick it out with him a while longer to see if he will make more effort to give you what you want, or break it off entirely.

The problem, you now see, is you agreed to exclusivity without enough evidence that he would provide what you want. You had it backwards and should have agreed to exclusivity only after you had certainty he was willing and able to meet your needs. You bet your heart based on faith. You said yes based on his promise, not on his demonstrating action first.

Before agreeing to exclusivity, communicate clearly what you want and need. Discuss if anything the other wants isn’t possible or probable. Then wait for the consistent and prolonged demonstration of the promises, not just words. Only then should you enter into an exclusive relationship. Not before.

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4 responses to “Have you become exclusive too soon?”

  1. NYSharon Avatar

    It shouldn’t be so hard to feel happy DG. Why do we over analyze these things? I think its hard to go backwards after, however I think in this matter it is necessary to let the other person know that you aren’t a doormat. PUlling away is a true way to see if it is meant to be. The couple isn’t a good match if one party keeps feeling disappointed. The disappointed party must decide if their needs are important or negociable. HOwever, there is danger of being too accomodating of the others lack of interest in meeting your needs. There is then inbalance–which is bad.

  2. Loving Annie Avatar

    Good conclusion. Actions speak even louder than words. Consistent actions over time. Good point.
    Why become ‘exclusive’ if either party isn’t really meeting your needs ? It just won’t work in the long run, and is actually a reason to stop dating them and move on.

  3. Mike Avatar

    For me the exclusivity is totally secondary. If your not giving me what I need and not attempting to change that then “goodbye”.

  4. Catherine Avatar

    This sounds like a case of putting the cart before the horse. Why would anyone decide to become exclusive with someone before being assured that all their important needs can and would be met? I know, its that first blush of romance and passion that seems to disconnect our hearts and our brains. This is where friends are very handy. Hopefully you share details of your new love and before you decide to become exclusive can run it by that good friend for an unbiased second opinion from someone who isn’t addled by oxytocin.

    I have had this very discussion with one of my long term friends, and help remind her that there are things that are ok to compromise on and things that are not. She has been able to release some “nice” but not the right fit men back into the dating pool for other women to find. It is nice to see the “system” work for some people.