Let’s dive right in without any word-foreplay, shall we? That’s because, when it comes to dating, there is a huge difference between being “sex-clusive” and being “exclusive.”
Being exclusive is when you’ve decided to only date one another – whether or not you’re having sex yet. You can still look at others, but don’t touch. (On second thought, you probably shouldn’t even really want to look at this point!) You’ve decided to define the relationship, become boyfriend and girlfriend, and maybe even (gasp!) change your Facebook status!
On the other hand, let’s say you and someone you’re dating have decided to have sex with one another; but that, while one or both of you may be dating other people, you’re not having sex with any of those other people. (At this point, you can most certainly still look – but playing Twister naked is definitely out.)
Typically, women prefer the assurance of being formally asked to be exclusive or in a relationship. In fact, if they like a man, they may even plot how to make it happen. (What are phermones again?) That’s not always the case with men, who may just assume that talking every day and hanging out every weekend means you’re, you know, “going steady.” (Warning: While it’s great to dance to, the 1987 hit song “Rock Steady,” about “rocking [steady] until the break of dawn” may not be about a serious relationship.)
When’s the right time is to ask someone you’re dating to become more serious? We believe that time is four weeks after your first meeting – once you’ve gone on several dates; and both of you really, really like kissing each other (yes, on the lips!). You’ve had a few profound conversations about your past, families, and future personal and professional goals – as well as the infamous trifecta of dangerous dating topics (race, religion, and politics) – and you’ve survived (mostly) intact.
Let us interject: Many dating experts suggest that you do not sleep with someone until you’re in a committed relationship – that “men won’t buy the cow if they’re getting the milk for free.” But it’s the 21st century and not everyone agrees. Nevertheless, to avoid hurting one another unnecessarily, it should be a mutual decision made in advance. Meaning, it’s important to talk about being “exclusive” or “sex-clusive” and what each of you thinks those designations specifically include.
Because not all courtships and dating situations progress to an exclusive relationship, be honest about what’s important to you. Are you okay with sleeping with someone and then having them ignore your calls, texts, and singing (or ranting) telegrams? If so, you may want to try being “sex-clusive” first and see if it leads to both of you wanting to go exclusive. If not, then you’ll want to go exclusive before sleeping with someone. Beware that someone may say he or she’s okay with sleeping together before being exclusive but then end up feeling differently afterward – and that’s when hard feelings can (and often do) arise. (Heads up, men – it’s usually the women.)
Paraphrased from an Ancient Chinese saying, “the bigger the flame, the faster it burns out.” Translation: The key to successfully transitioning from dating to becoming serious is spending time getting to know each other well enough first. True love – a long, lasting love – is about a lot more than just chemistry and the sparks flying between you. And, if you’re not comfortable even having these conversations in the first place, well, that’s a big fat clue about whether to keep dating this person in the first place. Better to have a little heartache now than a lot later.
Whatever you decide, we hope you’ll remember that One on One Matchmaking, Eight at Eight Dinner Club, and the Date Coaching Academy – and our marvelous matchmakers – are here to help you!