Why Exclusive Dating is Not a Relationship

exclusive vs relationship

When a man asks us to date him exclusively, we women put the label of relationship behind the word exclusive and often, the situation is far from a relationship.

When two people agree to exclusivity, they are agreeing to only date, engage with and have sex with each other.  While this can be the stage right before he commits, often times that is not actually the case.

It can be a trap.

You see while women usually date seeking commitment and relationships, men often date for fun, companionship, female attention and seeking a life partner may not be first on this list.

Men don’t like to share yet they are also competitive by nature.  When you agree to exclusivity with a man, you are removing all of his competition.

He can now rest easy.  He has you locked down and your options closed.  The chase is over and he can settle into a safe routine.

Agreeing to Exclusivity Too Soon

I have read countless posts in Katarina’s Private Group from women who agreed to be exclusive with a man very early on, sometime on the first few dates.

I wait.  For more times than not, they will be back posting again in a month or two on how it did not work out.

I talk about how important it is for a man to feel safe in order to really connect on an emotional level in this post here.

Most would think that agreeing to be exclusive would give a man that safety, but it is actually the opposite.

When you agree to be exclusive early on, before you even really know the man, you are not being very wise in guarding your own heart and emotions.

If you can’t guard your own heart and emotions, you can’t guard his.

So while things may go swimmingly well in the beginning, down the road he will often begin the pull back.

He may not even be able to put his finger on why.  On a core level however, men don’t want it to be so easy.  If you gave up everything so easily for him so fast, he knows on a subconscious level that you would jump in fast with someone else just as easily.

He doesn’t feel all that special.

Men really do value what they have to put effort into or work for.  Deprive him of this and it can alter the natural connection process.

Men in the long run feel much safer with a woman who manages her investments with care.

Men That Ask For Exclusivity Quickly

Men that ask for exclusivity after just a few dates are often what I consider serial monogamists.  There really are some men out there who just can’t be without a woman.

I dated a man like this a few years ago.  He wanted to be exclusive on our first date.  I would not agree.  We dated a few more months and he still pushed.

I quit seeing him even though I was very fond of him.  Eventually we started dating again and around the six month mark I agreed.

It lasted for three years.  I again broke up and within two weeks, he was exclusive with another.  In hindsight, that was the pattern of his life. He was rarely without a woman.

Doesn’t make a girl feel all that special does it?

The Difference in Exclusive and a Relationship

Exclusive dating is just dating one person.  It does not equal a relationship. It gives him all the boyfriend benefits without actually having to be your boyfriend.

What a cakewalk eh?

I dated a man exclusively for over a year and yet he was never really a boyfriend.  Yes we had a standing date every weekend.  Yes we were in contact about every day.

Something was missing though.  Our lives did not become more entwined.  It stayed exactly the same.  We had a routine.

He had safe sex and companionship every weekend on lock down.  He knew I wasn’t going anywhere and guess what?

After a year I got the it’s not you it’s me speech.

If a relationship is progressing, your lives will begin to naturally become entwined.

Exclusive dating gives him an easy in. It also gives him an easy out.

Scared to Say No to Exclusivity

Are you scared that if you don’t agree to be exclusive he will leave?  I think this is the case with many women.  They so want to be in a relationship that they jump right into this exclusive agreement fearing he will leave or another man may not come along again.

When you don’t agree to be exclusive you have put down a boundary.  You are telling him you want to know him better before you lock yourself down.  You are showing him you respect yourself enough to not jump in too fast.

If he leaves, he isn’t the man for you anyway.  He can’t respect your boundary and he likely won’t respect you either.

I know many women who are in a friends with benefits relationship right now that have agreed to exclusivity because he has made it clear he won’t tolerate her being with someone else.

Yet he won’t or can’t give her anything more.  He says he doesn’t want a relationship.

So while she remains loyal to him, she is betraying herself.

So while this man thinks this situation is serving them, on a deeper level he knows of her self sacrifice and betrayal

As talked about above, on a core level, a man is not going to feel safe with this regardless of the words that come out of his mouth.

Exclusive but Not Official

Is he your boyfriend?  No but we are exclusive.  We are seeing where it goes and going with the flow.

Sounds really good right?  Except it’s usually not.

He isn’t ready to be your boyfriend but he won’t date others.  This can work if you aren’t one to get easily attached.  The reality is however, most women do get attached.

The problem with agreeing to be exclusive with a man who won’t commit or at the least be your boyfriend is this.  You have cut off all your options, given him all the benefits of boyfriend for a maybe.

You feel safe because he isn’t dating others and he feels safe because you aren’t dating others.  You both get in a comfort zone.

May I remind you that growth doesn’t happen in a comfort zone.

You can just as easily date and keep your options open.

Pledging to be exclusive comes after the relationship and commitment has been established.  It comes after he has shown you how he can and will treat you and has shown you over time (consistently) his willingness to invest.

Not a moment before.

If you want more don’t settle for less.

MORE: When In Relationship Exclusive and What to Do When You’re Exclusive with A Guy Who Doesn’t Act Like A Boyfriend

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