Ask Y: Going From Dating to Exclusive

Dear Y,

I’ve been dating this girl for a few weeks now and really like her.  We’re going out at least 2 or 3 nights a week and have started to get physical. But I’m not sure how to start the conversation about whether we’re “exclusive” or “official” or “going steady” etc.  Do you have any advice on how to broach the subject?

- Is She “My Girl?”

Dear ISMG,

There comes a time in every relationship when the dreaded question must come up…

“Are we exclusive?”

How though, do you GET there? How do you push through all the butterflies and what-ifs and disaster scenarios in your head and get the words out of your mouth?

This is a story about how Mr. Right Now became my Mr. Right.

When Mr. Right and I first started dating, things were definitely on the casual side. We had dinner, we fooled around. Definitely a Mr. Right Now relationship, rather than two adults seeking a genuine love relationship with each other. One hookup turned into two and before I knew it, we were talking about taking a vacation at the beach!

Even after a planned romantic getaway, the subject of our “relationship” had yet to come up.

Were we exclusive or were we just on a very expensive hookup?

Was I open to date other eligible bachelors (and bachelorettes!) or was that an assumed no?

Was he going to bed thinking about me or the many other entries in his little black book?

Though I do have a tendency to be like Samantha of Sex in the City, I eventually began to break down and wonder. Was I the only sex he was getting in the city? I suddenly realized I had accidentally gotten to know Mr. Right Now so well that he became my number one contender for Mr. Right!

No matter what my insecurities were, I now had to define our relationship before either of us took another step. I seized the opportunity during our next… date and decided to pop the question.

“Mr. Right Now,” I began, snuggling close to him.  “I was wondering, where do you see this headed?”

He looked a bit puzzled.  “Do you really need clarification? I mean, we’ve done it so many times now…”

“No, no, I meant us! I think this is a good time to mention it, don’t you?”

“Can we talk about this after we’re done?”

“Actually, no. Now’s good for me, thanks.”

“If you want to know, I think I’m falling in love with you.”

“Are you just saying that?”

“No, I mean it.”

And there you have it. As quick as a flash, Mr. Right Now became my Mr. Right.

On the flip side of things, I have had many conversations with Mr. Wrong(s) that landed me completely on the opposite end of the galaxy.  A relationship I thought was going somewhere was just a fling for them.

Is this annoying? Yes.  Does it hurt? Yes.

But looking back, getting that conversation out of the way was the best thing that could have happened for me, because I never wasted time on a relationship that wasn’t going where I wanted it to go.  In the long run, brought me to Mr. Right.

The moral of the story? Jump in and have the conversation. If you’re at the point where you want to be exclusive to her, then suck it up and say it. No matter what happens, your life will eventually be better for getting the answer.

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