Exclusivity?

Questions and discussions about relationships: girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, partners, friends, family or other intimate relationships in your lives.
MusicNerd
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Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:46 am

Hi all! Hope y’all are doing okay given the state of the world ❤️

So, I met a guy on a dating app, we’ve been seeing each other for almost two months, and we text each other every day. Things seem to be going well and I really like him. :)

We live in neighboring states, so given that + covid, most of our dates have been virtual. When we met in-person for the first time, we got each other gifts (without knowing the other would), and overall had a great time together.

Here’s my issue: I don’t know if I should ask him to be exclusive yet. I want to be exclusive with him, but I’m assuming he’s seeing other people (which is his right to do) since he updates his profile and is logged on to the app pretty often. I usually would see other people myself during this time, but I’ve realized that I would only be doing that out of fear of getting hurt (whereas in the past, I’ve genuinely enjoyed dating multiple people at once, but now that’s changed for me for some reason).

Whenever he gets vaccinated (I already am) we decided to meet up again, but in my state. Should I wait til then to ask him to be exclusive? Could it be too soon to ask him now? I just don’t know how he feels about me— like maybe he found someone else he likes more and is just biding time with me out of boredom/wanting validation, you know? I’ve been strung along by people in the past, so I’m not sure what to think.

Any advice or insight is much appreciated!
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:49 am

Hi MusicNerd,

Doing about as well as I can over in the desert! And I'm glad to hear you're in a relationship that's making you happy.

In terms of talking about exclusivity, would you feel more comfortable telling him in person? And what if you came at it from a very direct, open angle? So, saying you're really enjoying getting to know him and date him, and you're realizing you're interested in being exclusive, and then asking how he feels about that. That might help the conversation develop naturally.

MusicNerd
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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:56 am

Sam W wrote:Hi MusicNerd,

Doing about as well as I can over in the desert! And I'm glad to hear you're in a relationship that's making you happy.

In terms of talking about exclusivity, would you feel more comfortable telling him in person? And what if you came at it from a very direct, open angle? So, saying you're really enjoying getting to know him and date him, and you're realizing you're interested in being exclusive, and then asking how he feels about that. That might help the conversation develop naturally.

Thanks! Idk if we’d be considered “in a relationship” yet, though that would be nice haha :lol:

I feel like I might die of embarrassment on the spot if I tell him in-person, since he very well could say “no” which would make things super awkward, so maybe it could be towards the end of of our date... BUT I also think it might not be best to bring this up over text, even though I would feel way less terrified.

All in all, I guess I’m not sure how I’d wanna approach this, even though you’re asking good questions! And again, I’m not sure if he’s even that into me, or just bored and killing time, since I’ve had that happen in the past. :(
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:08 am

I think it might help to treat his interest in you as genuine, just to avoid psyching yourself out. Is it possible he's just killing time with you? Technically, yes. But if he's acting excited to talk with you and is excited at the prospect of seeing you, I'm inclined to treat that as genuine unless you're picking up on things that suggest otherwise.

If you feel more comfortable bringing this up over text, that's certainly something you can do! There are pros and cons to both in-person conversations and text ones, but right now it might help to pick the one that would make it easiest for you to say what you need or want to say.

MusicNerd
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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:13 am

Sam W wrote:I think it might help to treat his interest in you as genuine, just to avoid psyching yourself out. Is it possible he's just killing time with you? Technically, yes. But if he's acting excited to talk with you and is excited at the prospect of seeing you, I'm inclined to treat that as genuine unless you're picking up on things that suggest otherwise.

If you feel more comfortable bringing this up over text, that's certainly something you can do! There are pros and cons to both in-person conversations and text ones, but right now it might help to pick the one that would make it easiest for you to say what you need or want to say.


Okay yeah, that’s totally fair. Gotta get my fear and anxiety about being played under control. Jeez, insecurities about the past freaking suck! :(

Yeah, text would definitely be my preferred method whenever I ask him to be exclusive! lol I’m glad it doesn’t seem like a bad thing to do.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 am

Hey there, glad to hear about this!

Just wanted to add on a little something, which is that you also have the option of talking about exclusivity as something you ultimately want, but that -- so long as this is true -- you don't need right now if it's something he also wants, but isn't there yet. In other words, if part of what's freaking you about having this conversation is that you don't feel ready to ask for this right this second, you can talk about it without asking for it right now, but instead talk about it as a thing you want soon or in the future, and want to find out how he feels about it.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

MusicNerd
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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:53 am

Heather wrote:Hey there, glad to hear about this!

Just wanted to add on a little something, which is that you also have the option of talking about exclusivity as something you ultimately want, but that -- so long as this is true -- you don't need right now if it's something he also wants, but isn't there yet. In other words, if part of what's freaking you about having this conversation is that you don't feel ready to ask for this right this second, you can talk about it without asking for it right now, but instead talk about it as a thing you want soon or in the future, and want to find out how he feels about it.

Hey Heather!! That's a good point! Kinda like a, "Hey, I'm looking for eventual exclusivity in a relationship at some point in the near future. Is that something you're looking for as well?" Or something like that?

I would want to be exclusive sooner rather than later though, but I could live with a "near future" timeline. So I'd have to think about when and how to broach this tbh.

(EDITED to add clarifying text)
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:16 pm

Totally, and you you can also be specific about that sooner rather than later part, too. :)

I certainly generally feel like -- for me, anyway -- that by about a couple months of dating, I will want to get a sense of where something is going per how it's going to fit in my life if I'm going to keep it around. So, knowing what I know about what I want with all of the kinds of relationships I do, and then having conversations to find out more about where that thing may fit with those at that point? That's usually something I'm doing about than. Everyone's different, obviously, and so are the timelines with all kinds of relationships and interactions. Some also make this stuff more apparent than others, either because those conversations are happening more organically, or because you both just know these things about each other and the relationship you're having so far already.

So, I also think some of this is about figuring out what you feel like you need to know about this at this point in time per where you might want to head with it and where it can head (in terms of what this other person wants and what your sense of the relationship is so far as what kind(s) it is, and where it seems like it can go or fits best in your lives).
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

MusicNerd
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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:23 pm

Heather wrote:Totally, and you you can also be specific about that sooner rather than later part, too. :)

I certainly generally feel like -- for me, anyway -- that by about a couple months of dating, I will want to get a sense of where something is going per how it's going to fit in my life if I'm going to keep it around. So, knowing what I know about what I want with all of the kinds of relationships I do, and then having conversations to find out more about where that thing may fit with those at that point? That's usually something I'm doing about than. Everyone's different, obviously, and so are the timelines with all kinds of relationships and interactions. Some also make this stuff more apparent than others, either because those conversations are happening more organically, or because you both just know these things about each other and the relationship you're having so far already.

So, I also think some of this is about figuring out what you feel like you need to know about this at this point in time per where you might want to head with it and where it can head (in terms of what this other person wants and what your sense of the relationship is so far as what kind(s) it is, and where it seems like it can go or fits best in your lives).

That all makes a lot of sense! And I'm glad it doesn't seem too soon to talk about all this stuff-- because, to be entirely honest, if we're not on the same page, I'd rather find out now and have us go our separate ways to find something that works for each of us without investing too much additional emotional energy, you know?

Luckily, he's been pretty communicative and vulnerable about his thoughts and feelings thus far while we've been seeing each other, so maybe I don't need to panic as much if I'm talking with him more abstractly about what we're looking for out of dating and relationships. Because if he is looking for exclusivity, it doesn't necessarily guarantee he'll want to be exclusive with me, but I'll ultimately know that we're at least looking for the same thing out of our interactions.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:04 pm

Exactly. Again, I think this is individual, but it's about figuring out where you are with your own pacing in terms of your emotional investment, and what you need to know when. At some point, we just gotta know things because there often comes a point where we need to know if we should (or want to) keep opening up in certain ways, or if we should take a different turn, or shut it all down, etc.

Sounds like you've got a good foundation for these conversations!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

MusicNerd
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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:09 pm

Heather wrote:Exactly. Again, I think this is individual, but it's about figuring out where you are with your own pacing in terms of your emotional investment, and what you need to know when. At some point, we just gotta know things because there often comes a point where we need to know if we should (or want to) keep opening up in certain ways, or if we should take a different turn, or shut it all down, etc.

Sounds like you've got a good foundation for these conversations!


I totally agree. Thanks Heather and Sam for all your help and support in this! I really appreciate it. ❤️ I’ll keep y’all posted on what happens!
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Heather » Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:16 am

Always happy to support and help you.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:38 pm

Okay, so he responded faster than I expected! lol

Basically, he prefers exclusivity/monogamy!! Now, whether or not he’ll want it with *me* is another story, but like— it’s a start, I guess!

Guess we’ll just have to keep seeing each other, and maybe at some point I’ll get the guts to ask to be exclusive with him specifically... Which is nerve-wracking, but somebody’s gotta do it, I suppose.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Emily N » Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:58 pm

Hi MusicNerd! I just want to acknowledge how awesome it is that you recognized what you want and need out of a romantic relationship right now, and then were able to communicate to ask if his goals align with yours. Especially when it requires being vulnerable :) I’m glad to hear that he is also a good communicator and responded well!

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:10 pm

Emily N wrote:Hi MusicNerd! I just want to acknowledge how awesome it is that you recognized what you want and need out of a romantic relationship right now, and then were able to communicate to ask if his goals align with yours. Especially when it requires being vulnerable :) I’m glad to hear that he is also a good communicator and responded well!

Thanks, Emily!! I appreciate you saying that-- being vulnerable like this is super hard for me, and I usually am the cut-and-run/avoidant type whenever I get scared. There are still so many unknowns in this dating situation, but I'm happy to know that I'm at least able to have these kinds of conversations.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Mo » Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:54 pm

I'm definitely glad to hear you were able to start that conversation! I also struggle with this sort of thing, sometimes, so I know it can feel super intimidating.

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:57 pm

Mo wrote:I'm definitely glad to hear you were able to start that conversation! I also struggle with this sort of thing, sometimes, so I know it can feel super intimidating.

Thanks, Mo!! Yeah, I'm glad I don't sound ridiculous being nervous about all this. haha :lol:
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Mo » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:05 pm

Not ridiculous at all! It's an important skill to learn, pushing through that nervousness and discomfort and starting those tough conversations anyway, but the nervousness itself is understandable. :)

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:07 am

<3
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Sat May 01, 2021 2:56 am

Hi folks, hope everyone is doing well! This topic is about the same person, so I didn’t wanna make more than 2 threads about him. (If you’d rather I do that though, please let me know! I would name the thread “Communication Issue” if so) Apologies in advance for the long post!

So, things seem to be going pretty well between me and him, but I’m running into a bit of an issue communication-wise.

Since we both live a couple hours from each other, I talked with him about what he thinks of distance being a potential issue, given certain logistical things in my life that might make things hard for me to stay overnight or for a weekend in his city.

He immediately said he wouldn’t mind staying overnight in my city if needed once we see each other in-person again (he’s currently half-vaccinated and we decided to wait to meet up again once we’re both fully-vaccinated, which I already am). He said it wasn’t a dealbreaker for him at all, which of course I was happy to hear! I told him I could plan some things on my end to make a weekend trip happen too if needed.

Here’s where the issue comes up: he doesn’t seem to initiate our video dates unless I ask him to. Twice now, I’ve told him that I get nervous about being the one to initiate things all the time, and both times he decided to plan the dates after I brought it up.

After we had our distance-talk a few days ago, which turned into a general hang, I casually let him know at the end of our call that if he wants to have another call he can hit me up to do that (we usually meet during weekends).

We text every day, and have continued to do that since our last call, but there’s still been no mention from him to have us virtually meet up again. I can see he’s still active on the dating app we met on, and I’ve decided to see other people myself from other apps since he and I aren’t exclusive yet.

My issue isn’t with him seeing other people (since I am too), but potentially him just not being that into me anymore and not being upfront with me about it. I don’t wanna be some back-burner option, and continue to emotionally invest in this, if he would prefer to see other people instead; I unfortunately have had that happen to me before in the past.

I’m not sure what to do at this point, since this is something I’ve already brought up with him twice now. Any advice?

(Edited to add: This is pretty surprising to me given the fact that he’s typically communicative about his feelings with me, AND he’s had two opportunities to potentially leave if he wanted! He could’ve said he wasn’t interested in finding an exclusive relationship, or that distance would be a dealbreaker— those would’ve been two very easy outs if he wasn’t interested in seeing me anymore.)
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Sam W » Sat May 01, 2021 8:27 am

Hi MusicNerd,

Since it sounds like the two of you are otherwise communicating pretty well, it might help to assume that his interest in you, and his desire to stay in a relationship with you are genuine. If he were showing a lot of signs of disinterest or detachment, that might indicate something else, but that doesn't seem to be what's going on here.

It sounds like you've hinted or suggested at not wanting to be the only person setting up virtual dates. Have you gone even more explicit and said something like, "hey, it's important to me that we both initiate hang outs. Is that something you're up for doing?"

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby MusicNerd » Sat May 01, 2021 12:37 pm

Sam W wrote:Hi MusicNerd,

Since it sounds like the two of you are otherwise communicating pretty well, it might help to assume that his interest in you, and his desire to stay in a relationship with you are genuine. If he were showing a lot of signs of disinterest or detachment, that might indicate something else, but that doesn't seem to be what's going on here.

It sounds like you've hinted or suggested at not wanting to be the only person setting up virtual dates. Have you gone even more explicit and said something like, "hey, it's important to me that we both initiate hang outs. Is that something you're up for doing?"


Hi Sam! Yeah, you're 100% right. Things have been going really well, especially on the communication-front.

A couple hours after writing that post earlier, he messaged me to set up a virtual date and mentioned how he forgot to ask me sooner... Maybe I should talk with my therapist this week about how I can stop trying to self-sabotage/being avoidant?

He literally hasn't given me any reason to not take him at this word, or to doubt his interest as being genuine, it's truly just my own stuff (based on past experiences and traumas) that's getting in the way here. :roll:
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Re: Exclusivity?

Unread postby Sam W » Sun May 02, 2021 8:00 am

I think that's an excellent thing to bring up with your therapist! Especially because you've identified it as a factor in the anxiety you feel around relationships.


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