The exclusive chat, or lack thereof, that comes between dating and becoming an official couple is a delicate stage in any budding relationship. It’s what determines whether you’re both on the same page and establishes expectations going forward. Therefore, not having this conversation, or half-heartedly attempting it due to commitment issues or any other insecurities, can lead to feelings being hurt or regretful actions being made. Here’s what I’ve learnt…
1. HAVE THE CONVERSATION
The first step is to actually initiate the exclusive chat. Even if you feel like you don’t want to be exclusive, it’s vital that the other person knows this in case they assume otherwise. If you’ve been seeing the same person for a good few weeks, it’s time to have the chat – no matter how face threatening it may be.
2. Be honest
There’s no point in lying to avoid offending the other person, it will only hurt them further down the line. Lay your cards on the table and tell them exactly how you feel in an exclusive chat – even if this means explaining that you still don’t know how you feel! Discovering their feelings towards you might just help to establish your own feelings.
3. Define “exclusivity”
To you, the definition of an “exclusive” relationship might just be not sleeping with anyone else, but to others, it may mean not even “liking” other people’s photos on social media…These rules need to be established and made clear to the both of you so that you can come to a reasonable agreement that the two of you are happy with.
4. Don’t make promises you’re not sure you can keep
You may not be lying, but you may not be being completely honest with yourself either. If you genuinely like the person but you also know deep down that you’re not ready to commit to them- don’t do it. You’ll end up feeling a huge pressure on yourself; feeling as if you’re holding yourself back in certain situations and missing opportunities that you would have otherwise seized; feeling guilty when those promises are inevitably broken. It’s not fair on either of you to set unrealistic expectations during an exclusive chat.
5. Don’t go exclusive if you’re about to go on holiday with friends
We all know the nature of girls or lads holidays…and it’s always better to be single for them. Everyone gets carried away when drunk and in the moment, so not having to worry about your inbetweeny relationship status is always a bonus.
6. Don’t go exclusive if circumstances are about to change
If all has been going swimmingly, but one of you is about to move away, begin studying or a new job for instance, then don’t commit just yet. There’s no rush and absolutely no harm in keeping your options open whilst you see how things pan out. These changes may not affect your relationship at all, but they could change everything, so hold fire.
7. Respect the other person’s views/feelings
Just because they may not see things the same way you do, it doesn’t mean that you should disregard their opinion. The reason you are having this exclusive chat is to find out if you’re on the same page, so if you’re not – mission accomplished! You can either work towards being on the same page or cut off the relationship at this stage if it’s clear your differences aren’t going to be compatible.
8. Ask questions
If something isn’t totally clear to you – ask! Questions are the best way to find the answers you’re looking for and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask them. Just be prepared to answer them too!
9. Don’t let your decision be swayed by sexual attraction
If you’re at the exclusive chat stage, it’s because your relationship has the potential to go beyond sex. So, no matter how good things in the bedroom may be, it’s not worth leading someone on purely to continue satisfying your sexual needs.
10. Don’t feel pressured to commit
Maybe your friends think you’re the perfect couple, or you’ve introduced them to your family who seem to adore them. Whilst these are all good signs, only you know if there’s a spark worth dedicating yourself to, so listen to your heart (and your head) rather than outside sources.