I am asked all the time: When’s the right time to be exclusive with him? How many dates before you say “yes” you want to focus on getting to know one another? When is it too soon? What are the red flags?
If you’ve been dating online even a little bit, odds are you’ve been dating several people (maybe even at the same time) trying to figure out if there’s someone you want to really get to know better. And sooner or later you’ll want to just dive in further with one guy.
But you and your suitor may not have the same ideas about when this should happen.
So today I’m sharing. Here are a couple of real-life questions from clients that will help answer this very thing and help you gauge your own exclusivity timing (and get a read on his):
When’s the right time to be exclusive with him? Remember: Discover, Don’t Decide. Look for signs that he’s trying to make you happy. And if you’re feeling those good things, stick around to spend more time with him.
Q: I went on a second date with a man and he told me that he only dates one woman at a time. Is the second date the right time to be exclusive? Isn’t it too soon? What would you say to this?
A: GREAT question!!
Here’s my take: I don’t know why he said that. Maybe it does come from insecurity, desire for control or being an inept dater. Or, maybe when he meets someone he likes he prefers to focus on learning more about her. Or, he lives a pretty full life and doesn’t want to the complications and time requirements of dating multiple women. (I know many women who feel this way.)
What to do when this happens? You have choices.
1. You can guess his intentions and make assumptions.
2. You can wait until the next date and learn more about him, which will help you better understand his situation.
3. You can tell him that you’re curious why he chooses to do that because it will help you get to know him better. (Which is why you’re meeting him, right?)
You know that I encourage these two things in dating like a grownup:
1. Look for what you like about a man and give him a chance to show you who he is (or isn’t).
2. Have grownup conversation when you are unclear or uncomfortable with someone you otherwise like.
And let me point out that he didn’t ask you to be exclusive yet. If he did, *that* would be a really different story. Something is not right with that.
But he didn’t.
So you can either not respond and keep learning more about him or tell him you’d be interested in understanding why he chooses to do that and have a conversation about it.
One last thing: The day after our first date, Larry told me that he took his profile down because he wanted to focus on me. I just nodded my head. I thought ‘wow I think he likes me’ and left it there. He wasn’t placing any expectations on me.
Soon after, I did the same. (Yes, we went unusually fast.)
Q: I met a man yesterday for coffee and the conversation was easy. He touched my hand as we spoke a few times. Later that evening he texted me his bowling score. When he was finished with team bowling he called to say goodnight. We made plans for Sunday. This morning he called on his way to work. Is this a red flag? Too much too soon? Or is this nice and breathe deep? When’s the right time to be exclusive with him? I have serious trust issues so any insight would be helpful. Thanks!
I’ll answer, but first, some great advice from grownup sisters as we were discussing this online:
- I return to the best perspective that Bobbi’s advice has given me – discover, don’t decide. It’s too soon to make a decision. Enjoy the discovery phase without getting overly invested.
- Continue to breathe and see what happens. Let it play out. Anything that we’d say is a supposition and a series of our own assumptions. How’s this sound: Was he divorced or widowed? Maybe he’s come from a wonderful relationship with good communication and he’s trying to duplicate it. Maybe he’s desperate and lonely and eager to connect. Maybe he’s dishonest and deceptive and is luring you. Maybe he really liked you, imagines you in his life, and is already including you. See how easy it is to imagine a slew of scenarios? Do you like any of them? Pick the one that works for you. Better yet, go back to my opening statement – BREATHE – and let it play out. Empty YOUR OWN mind of any baggage that could hold you back from a new and wonderful relationship. Allow ‘it’ to happen. If it doesn’t go well, you’ve tried and learned. If it’s enjoyable, march forward. Good luck!
- If you are asking the question “Too much too soon?” then it is probably making you a little uncomfortable. I would see how the date goes on Sunday. I find I always question myself in these situations. Trust yourself and how you feel and then you can see if you want to continue to see him.
- Trust issues are not about love, they are about fear… try to stay in smart love mode and let it guide you ~ it won’t steer you wrong, but fear does just about every time. Your body will tell you everything you need to know, if you can listen. Yay ~ he sounds nice!!
Yes – this is wise. Trust issues always are about fear. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what one is feeling in one’s body but practice makes perfect!
A: Strange that we have to get used to nice guys, but it’s true. Seems weird, uncomfortable…makes us feel unsteady.
Here’s what you can do: Get clear on what you need to FEEL in order to be happy. This is my Step 3 of my 6-Step Find Hope and Find Him system. Do you need to feel safe, valued, sexy…what???
Then, just focus on that. How do you FEEL when you’re with him? Discover, Don’t Decide. Look for signs that he’s trying to make you happy. And if you’re feeling those good things, stick around to spend more time with him.
One more note: STOP looking for what’s wrong and START focusing on what’s right…and what’s possible. I bet you find a lot of wonderful men out there!
So, I can tell you exactly the right time to be exclusive. And I can’t tell you exactly how much is too much attention from a man. In my book, anyone who attempts to quantify this for you is jut making things up.
What I CAN tell you is that it’s important to learn some new skills. Learn how to have grownup conversations with the men you meet. Learn to trust yourself and make decisions that are good for you. Learn to lead with love, not fear. And if you haven’t been able to do that yet, stick around with me. I’ll help you get there. It’s my mission and pleasure!
I want to know what you look for before you feel good going exclusive…leave me a comment below!