When and how should you bring up exclusivity?

The exclusivity talk can be way easier than you think. I’ll show you:

By the end of your third date with a woman, you usually have a good sense of how much you like her and what you’d like going forward.

Right around that time (or whenever you feel it’s appropriate), you should have a conversation: nothing crazy, just an air-clearing check-in. 

Reason being when you bring up exclusivity, it gets everyone on the same page and avoids distracting anxiety, carelessly hurt feelings, and other unpleasantness.

Whether or not you want to be in an exclusive relationship with her, you’ll be able to communicate well with her and be yourself once you know what to say and how to say it. The important thing is being firm and not waffling on what you want.

That’s what we’re going to cover today.

When you’re prepared to bring up exclusivity in a relaxed and clear way, your mind is at ease and you can enjoy dating way more than you could otherwise.

This goes for online dating and in-person; knowing how to have a relationship talk is so helpful.

Today we’re going to explore “3rd Date Conversations” (named for simplicity, but have them whenever you feel it’s appropriate. It’s not contingent on the number of dates you’ve had with her).

These conversations will effectively transition you from the nebulous, “What do I want here, and does she even know that?” into clarity.

Clarity is the ultimate respect towards her and yourself. 

If you’re still gaining clarity on what you want from your dating life, check out our guide Introvert Dating Mindset: Getting Your Headspace Right.

On Date 3 or so, you should be having one of these four conversations:

Conversation #1:
You Are Not Willing To Be Exclusive.

If you know you don’t want to be exclusive well before Date 3, then definitely bring it up then. The earlier, the better.

When I was dating, I would work in something like, “I’m dating and playing right now, and it’s a lot of fun,” into the first conversation ever, either on the first date or before then if we met in person, just to give them an idea of where I was at.

If you’re in dating-mode and you would genuinely like to keep seeing her, but you’re also clear that you don’t want to be exclusive with her, you can bring up exclusivity like this:

“Hey, I know we’re getting to know each other more. So I wanted to check in with you about the bigger picture of our dating lives. Since I’m dating other people, I wanted to be respectful and clear and let you know that. If you’re dating other people too, great! Just wanted to clear the air.”

Then let her respond.

If she’s not at all okay with it and wants to be exclusive with you, then you can decide:

Option 1: Are you willing to be exclusive with her for a few more dates while you feel things out and then decide whether you want to cut ties or keep it going?

Option 2: Or do you already know that you’re not down for a longer-term exclusivity with her and you think it’s cleaner to go ahead and go your separate ways?

If it’s the former, see Conversation #2 below. If it’s the latter, you can say something like this:

“I totally get that you’d like to be exclusive, and I’m flattered. At the same time, I just know that’s not something I can provide right now. I would never want to hurt you and I am CERTAINLY never going to tell you I’m being exclusive when I’m not. I want each of us to be true to ourselves without compromising what we genuinely want. So I think it’s best for both of us if we go ahead and part ways.” 

Conversation #2:
You Are Willing To Do An Exclusivity Trial-Run.

If you think or know that she wants to be exclusive and you’re willing to do that for a few more dates with the possibility of being exclusive longer-term, you can bring up exclusivity like this:

“Okay, I totally understand and respect that you’d like to be exclusive. How about we date exclusively for the next month or so and then revisit how we feel?” 

If you want, you can add…

“What’s most important to me is that we’re each true to ourselves, doing what feels right for us as individuals. I am absolutely willing to honor your desire for exclusivity as I get to know you better. Then we can take it from there and see what we want to do, whether it makes sense to continue or not. How does that sound?” 

Conversation #3:
You Want To See Her Exclusively.

If you’re on Date Three and you really like her, and you’re clear within yourself that you’re so taken with her that you’re not interested in dating other women right now, you can bring up exclusivity like this:

“Hey, I really like you. I love spending time with you, and I think you’re an awesome person. In the few dates we’ve had, I’ve found myself naturally losing interest in seeing other people. I’d like to date exclusively while we continue to get to know each other. Is that something you’d like to do too?” 

Conversation #4:
You Want To Transition Out.

If it’s still early on and you know you don’t want to see her again, don’t worry!

Intimacy is an intense thing. The fact that you’re not sold on continuing to become more intimate with her is not a personal insult.

Just try to get clear on that as soon as possible, so you can drop things off at Date 1 or Date 2, if possible. The sooner, the cleaner.

Whenever you’re clear that you’re not interested in seeing her further (as long as things are not serious yet), you have a few options. At that point, it depends on how close you’ve gotten already.

Option 1: If you’re not yet very close at all, then it’s the least awkward for both of you if you let things taper off naturally.

Option 2: If you’ve been more intimate and it would feel bad to just go silent, then you can tell her gently and clearly through a phone call (for high intimacy already) or text (if the intimacy feels like it’s between silence and a phone call).

You can communicate that you’ve enjoyed getting to know her, but that you don’t think you guys will see each other again. Tell her something nice you noticed about her, and wish her all the best in her future.

To recap, these are the four ways to bring up exclusivity:

  1. You’re not willing to be exclusive.
  2. You’re willing to date exclusively as a trial-run.
  3. You want to date her exclusively, so you see if she’s down for that.
  4. You let her down gently in a way that corresponds to how intimate you’ve become.

Remember that each of you is free to decide what you want at all times

While a lot of people feel uncomfortable in the journey towards a serious relationship, you don’t have to be. Even if other men don’t tell it straight, you can do things differently. You can be the guy who’s up front and honest with her about how you feel on the third or fourth date, or sooner if you know sooner.

If you understand these conversation models and have them handy, you can relax more into the dating process, knowing you can bring up exclusivity when the time is right and handle things at each step of the way.

How amazing would it be to get to the point where women are regularly giving you all these signs? It’s so much easier to feel out how to make a move once you know she will be receptive.

If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘I’m still trying to reach the point where I’m having these conversations,’ then here are a few articles that can help you with other aspects of dating and attraction:

That’s where genuine confidence comes in: knowing what is most attractive about you and why.

You can go even deeper in that process in our ebook on finding your own uniquely attractive vibe.

Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones is founder and CEO of Introverted Alpha; the premier dating coaching company for introverted men; featured by Forbes, Business Insider, Cosmo, and more. Pick up your free copy of Sarah's 22-page ebook inside the blue box just below.

Find Your Own Unique Vibe

Discover what makes you naturally attractive in this 22-page ebook PDF, for free.

"I went through the ebook this week, and it was truly enlightening... not just in how I'm attractive to women, but also in a what's important to me as a man and human being." - J.O.

"I especially like how you’re a strong alternative to short-term, shallow PUA tactics." - K.K.

Yes, please send the ebook!

You can send it to...

Become A Benevolent Badass. Attract Women Naturally.

Hi there! Before you go, would you like my ebook? It has some of my best material on finding your edge and building your confidence. :)

Scroll to Top