I put myself back in the world of online dating at the start of this year. I’ve been dating a lot of different guys, but there’s one that’s a standout. We’ve had 6 dates now, but I’m still dating others. This guy seems to really like me. He’s mentioned me to important people in his life, and he wants to take me to the family cabin in Tahoe.
Here’s my question: I really like him and don’t particularly want to date other guys. I want him to lead the direction of this relationship but he hasn’t asked me about being exclusive. What do I do? Do I discontinue dating other men but not tell him, or do I let him know that I won’t be sexually active with him anymore until we agree to be exclusive? Or how does this thing work?
Dianna N. - San Francisco, CA
So far this sounds promising, congratulations! This exclusivity thing is not an uncommon problem; it plagues women from around the globe. I’d say this: If you want him to lead the direction of this relationship, then let him lead. I’m always a fan of that, because if he’s leading, then you can see where he’s leading you to—down a path to a happy life together, or straight into a ditch. Letting him lead also allows for the space to show if he’s going to put those words into actions; it’s a way to gather data that will help you determine if this potential relationship has legs to stand on.
You can point him in the direction you hope to go, but asking for exclusivity is you directing the terms of a relationship.
You two are still new, and I imagine you don’t have enough information about each other or time logged to commit. But then there’s the sex. I understand your desire for exclusivity—it’s a bit of a pickle.
Your wish to only see him is your choice. There’s no wrong answer here; it’s a personal preference. Some singles like to date one person at a time (which isn’t really dating at all, it’s serial monogamy), and others like to date more than one person until enough information has been gathered to make an informed choice. So I’ll leave that up to you.
Love, I’m sorry if I don’t sound like much help here, but this is what dating often looks like. Wading through the uncertainty until you’ve reached a point of predictability and reliability, and there’s no life-hack that will shortcut this experience. Be authentic, say what you mean when you communicate with him as if he were your friend, and that’s the best you can do.