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How Long Should You Wait to Exclusively Date?


One of the questions I often receive from women is like this:

“I don’t know how quickly I should move from just meeting someone to dating exclusively. I end up giving my heart away too soon and then I get hurt when the relationship ends. How do I know when to take it further with a guy?"

This can be a difficult topic. How do you know when to take it further with a man? How long should you know someone before exclusively dating?



Some people will say that you should date for several months before becoming exclusive, or for six months. There are all types of time frames that you may have heard about how long you should know a man before becoming exclusive.

Other people say that they are exclusive from the beginning because they are loyal and how can you get to know someone if you aren’t exclusive from the beginning?

Others say that it doesn’t matter how long you know one another before you exclusively date if you just feel that it’s right, if the chemistry is good.

The correct answer isn’t any of these things. But before I give you the right answer, I’d like to take a minute and share why all the above answers are wrong.

First, saying that you should date for a year isn’t a bad idea. However, there are many other factors that aren’t taken into account with this approach.

Such as, is the relationship healthy? There are people who can date for a year, but the relationship isn’t healthy, so they aren’t a good match for one another.

Maybe two people are together out of desperation, lust, or something else? Maybe insecurities are keeping them together. Maybe they don’t really like one another but they feel they should be together because time is running out.

While saying “date together through the seasons” sounds good because the idea or sentiment behind it is that you should see the person in a variety of situations, simply basing your decision on time isn’t a good one because there are so many factors, motivations, and emotions that aren’t considered.

Next, saying that it’s a good idea to be exclusive from the beginning isn’t the best dating approach either.

Whenever I hear a woman tell me that from the very first date, she is always exclusive with a man because she is loyal, I have a few questions for her:

How do you know that this man is the kind of man you should marry? Is he also exclusive with you, or are you just exclusive with him? What do you believe the goal of exclusive dating is? If you believe it’s to move one step closer toward marriage, is being loyal from the first date premature considering where you are in the dating stages? And, what if you exclusively date a man from Day 1 but then realize months later that he isn’t a good match for you and you aren’t a good match for him, what other man could you have met that could have been a good match for you during that time? What other woman could he have met?

Finally dating a man from the beginning because it just feels right and because sexual chemistry is good isn’t a good idea either.

Sexual chemistry is like a piece of a pie in a relationship. But it’s only one piece. There are other pieces that make up the whole of the relationship and it takes time to find out what those pieces are.  

Additionally, you may have heard me mention before on this podcast that sexual chemistry and its intensity changes with a variety of conditions. Age can cause it to change. And time can cause it to change. At the beginning of a relationship, what is termed as limerence or that “in love” feeling will only last for a limited period of time.

In a good relationship that has the other pieces of the relationship pie, such as respect, friendship, kindness, compassion, and shared values, intense feelings of being in love and a very high sexual chemistry are replaced with a deepening care and love for the other person.

And when I say “In love” I mean that kind of heightened sense of euphoria that can exist at the beginning of a relationship. So that’s replaced with a deeper commitment that includes a sense of stability and belonging. A sense of permanence and a sense of emotional safety that often doesn’t exist when the relationship is in its infancy and in the throes of chemistry.

In an unhealthy relationship in which respect, kindness, friendship, kindness, compassion and shared values are not the foundation of the relationship, the relationship will end up being unfulfilling. It takes time to find out if a relationship has the other pieces of the pie that make up for a good relationship.

One of the key things that you want to do, especially if you want to tie the knot and say “I do” is to be intentional in your dating life. That means that you are intentional about who you give your time to. Not only for yourself, but for them too. You don’t want to jump into being exclusive too soon so that you don’t end up months or even years later realizing that this person wasn’t a good match for you.

So, what is the answer to how soon should you move from getting to know one another and being friends to exclusively dating?

Rather than base your decision on loyalty, time, or chemistry, how about asking some questions about the quality of the relationship instead such as:

  • Do you genuinely respect, like, and trust one another?
  • Can you see yourself in a future with this man? Has he talked about seeing you in his future?
  • Before deciding to exclusively date, have you discussed the purpose of exclusively dating? He may have one idea for the purpose of only seeing one another, and you may have another idea. You want to make sure that you know what each of you are thinking before becoming exclusive.
  • Next, are you only allowing your conviction about the quality of the relationship and your desire to become serious with a particular man cause you to exclusively date? Meaning, you aren’t allowing your fear of being alone, a fear of rejection, a fear of missing out and not having anyone at all in your life, or of making a bad decision or anything else make your choices for you. The only motivations you have for wanting to be serious is that you really like the man you are seeing, he likes you, and that you can see yourself with one another.

Here are some additional questions to ask yourself before becoming exclusive.

  • Do I feel that I can be myself with this man? Or do I feel that must be someone else to be accepted by him (which, of course, is a red flag.)
  • Do I genuinely like and accept him and that he likes me? Are we friends?
  • When we have difficulties communicating, are we able to work through our problem without yelling, shaming, screaming, manipulation, or other unhealthy interactions?
  • Do the people around us in both of our communities and friend circles approve of our relationship?
  • Do others comment that the man I am interested in is a good catch because of his character qualities?
  • If marriage was a job description, does he have the core character traits that are required to fill the job description such as patience, the willingness to sacrifice, compassion, responsibility, and kindness? And do you?
  • Do we treat one another like adults? (Meaning, you don’t treat one another like children, trying to control and manipulate one another.)
  • Do I find comfort in him? He is someone I can talk to about life without feeling judged or shamed.
  • Do we genuinely just like being together? Can we do the mundane things in life and just enjoy one another? (My husband and I just enjoyed grocery shopping before we married.)
  • If he never changed his temperament or character qualities, would I be okay with those?
  • Do I feel secure in the relationship? I don’t feel jealous or possessive. And he isn’t controlling or possessive of me.
  • Are we both free from addictions?
  • Have we taken the time to get to know one another without being sexually involved? (Which can cloud your perception of one another.)
  • Do I agree with his core values?
  • Do we have some shared interests?
  • Are you good with not having relationships with other men? Is he the only one you’d like to be with?
  • Have we seen one another in varied situations . . . from some difficult to some fun so that we have seen one another respond to pressure?
  • Have we both genuinely moved on from past relationships?
  • And, if we agree that exclusive dating is the next stage toward long term commitment, such as marriage, have we sought counsel about the direction of our relationship either from a coach or a counselor?

Alright, I hope this has been hugely helpful and encouraging.

If you’d like to learn more about how to identify if you are jumping into committed dating relationships too quickly without realizing it, head on over to singleover30.net/fast to get my free download, “How Fast is Too Fast"?

It includes more questions to help you identify your pattern of commitment to discover if you are sabotaging your dating relationships without realizing it, or if you are setting yourself up for relationship success.

And remember the dream you have to love and be loved is possible. 

Your coach, 


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