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Exclusive Relationships: Advice on How to Broach the Subject

Updated on February 3, 2012

You may find this concept to be... well, Medieval, but apparently some folks prefer to date only one person at a time.

I suppose this makes sense, should one find oneself becoming attached in a person, and should one be interesting in taking a romantic relationship to the next level (LOTS of "shoulds" there, huh?).

Of course, many feel uncomfortable when it comes to bringing this subject up. Two issues in particular are to blame for many a furrowed brow:

  1. How can you tell someone that you're interested in dating exclusively in a classy way?
  2. How can you believe a partner if he or she says that he or she is dating you exclusively?

We shall explore these issues below.

Grow a spine! Power through it!

If the conversation becomes too excruciating, just bust out the ol' Awkward Turtle.
If the conversation becomes too excruciating, just bust out the ol' Awkward Turtle. | Source

The Exclusive Relationship Talk

The good news is that making this step in a relationship is pretty clear cut. All you have to do is:

  1. Find a moment of uninterrupted time in which you can speak with the person you are dating.
  2. Tell him or her that you have decided to date him or her exclusively, and that you just wanted that choice to be known.
  3. Wait patiently to see his or her reaction.

This might actually be a telling moment. Should he or she bust out with a very enthusiastic reception of this proclamation, and say that he/she is doing the same thing, you can rest easier knowing that you are both in roughly the same place in your relationship. If he/she say something to the extent of "Oh... that's nice..." you know you may need to cool your jets lest you scare your date off with your wild steps toward greater commitment. And should he/she say, "Well, I am going to continue to see other people." or "You know, I actually think we should both slow down a bit with this..." you can trot home and cry in the shower knowing that your affection is, for the most part, unreciprocated.

What? You? Spy? No, you're just having some fun!
What? You? Spy? No, you're just having some fun! | Source

What about you?

Would you ever secretly test your partner's fidelity?

See results

But... Are Things Really Exclusive?

Should you choose to embark on an exclusive relationship, you may wish to keep in mind that your exclusive buddy might not be so true to the concept as you are.

Hey, that's what relationships are all about, right? Getting to know the inns and outs of a complete stranger is half the fun! Are you dating the person you think you're dating? Or are you dating your future Crazy Ex?? Oh, what an exciting mystery!!

If you are the paranoid type, is turning point is the perfect time to check and see if your partner is really serious about this whole "exclusive relationship" thing. Really, this is the perfect time to see if your partner is serious about you entirely!

If you met this person on an online dating site, you might check to see if he or she still keeps an active profile. If he/she does, maybe you two have slightly different opinions on the definition of exclusivity (though don't bring out the torches and pitchforks yet- even many happily and very exclusively married people have online dating profiles used just for the sake of meeting new friends. Really!).

You can test the commitment of your partner a bit further by asking a super sexy friend of yours to hit on this person (assuming your victim does not know that you two are friends). This can take place on an online dating site, or even someplace so innocuous as Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

If your partner flirts back, or (SCANDAL!!), actually agrees to meet, it's time to have a little talk.

I would love to be in an exclusive and mutually paranoid relationship someday. Wouldn't you? SO ROMANTIC!
I would love to be in an exclusive and mutually paranoid relationship someday. Wouldn't you? SO ROMANTIC! | Source

Reader Beware

At this point, I should remind you, gentle reader, that I am just a collector of fun dating tips and not an actual dating expert. I'm just sharing with you one of the delicious morsels of advice I've collected over a series of most entertaining and insightful conversations with others.

These suggestions regarding relationship exclusivity comes from a couple of experienced, anonymous sources. I trust them, but I would never encourage you to regard this article or video as the ultimate authority on... anything.

That said, I see this as solid counsel. When in relationships, communicate openly and honestly. If you don't think your partner also wishes to be open, have a little fun! Why not??

But what of you? How have you discussed the exclusivity issue in your present and past relationships? Do let me know! I would be most curious to read about your unique approaches.

Good luck!


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    • profile image

      kamal singh 

      5 years ago

      H.j.road surat

    • swati17 profile image

      Swati Chandiramani 

      6 years ago from India

      Nice hub and video..!!!I guess there would be 2 views to it:

      Checking on your dating partner with a friend would mean I trust my friend more than the partner......perhaps the mere thought of checking would shake the trust already , so the question of exclusivity is left far behind from one end....

      And just incase the same plotting is done on me by my partner ...I don't think I would like that if I find out about it.

      Second view says that this could be the need of hour provided your pretty sure of the consequences and you just want to catch the partner red-handed or to satisfy oneself that his/her doubt was right.

      In conclusion , I guess plotting should be given a serious thought before implementation because it could help one out but it could also drown one in the doubt.

      But definitely a very well done hub...I'm still learning here :) Happy Hubbing!

    • greencha profile image


      6 years ago from UK

      Ahh!- Eureka, I just need to find the right door for it----he! he! ....

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Ah yes- that's key, greencha!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      --IF-BOTH people see the relationship as just a 'game',Simone... that's

      fair enough I suppose....

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      It's all about applying the right gaming mechanics, greencha. THAT's the key.

    • greencha profile image


      6 years ago from UK

      Oh don't I know it? Errrm-- I find your last sentence a bit hard to agree with, it can be very distressing to both sides.....But I agree that dating is fun and can be fun, ( but don't you think that goes with out saying 'dear'x) re- finding out about each other and also more about oneself really ..maybe..

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa, thanks greencha! You'd be surprised though- one of my good friends had to deal with this issue just recently- it's not as clear cut as you might think!

      Though... that's what makes dating so much fun. :D

    • greencha profile image


      6 years ago from UK

      Interesting Simone,sorry Batman!!!!! Well erm ... Ithink if two people get a relationship going , and they both feel happy and 'tingly' with each other, then if the partner starts being non exclusive It would soon become obvious because the other partner would sense the 'magic has gone,then questions would or should be raised. A couple with mature outlooks wouldn't need to use subversive plots to check the other out....x(usually)-I don't think.x

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      I say those are wise words, THEHuG5. And as they say, strong relationships are forged on trust :D

      .... though distrust is SO MUCH FUN!

      Dating people who share your ethics and values is a great way to go, CJ Andrews. You know what you're doing!

    • CJ Andrews profile image

      Chris Andrews 

      7 years ago from Norwalk, Ohio

      I have always dated people with the same ethics as myself. So the conversation about being exclusive was always pretty easy to talk about. About mid-twenties I was to the point that I would make sure to discuss this before becoming sexual active with the person I was dating. And I was always of the mind that if I thought it was uncomfortable to talk about - something was wrong.

    • THEHuG5 profile image


      7 years ago

      I say don't decide to be exclusive with someone if you don't trust them. If they're messin around you'll find out about it without having to trick them or poke around their things. I trust people (to a certain point) until they give me a reason not to. Voting up yet another fun read from you :)


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