A friend of mine shared that she used to be afraid of being “the crazy girl who wants commitment” when she was dating.
The fear came from her college days when her guy friends who would talk about the women they were dating as if they were too much, too needy, or clingy because they wanted a committed relationship.
My friend said that her fear made her not ask for what she needed in relationships for years. She tried to go with the flow the entire time even though it wasn’t what she wanted.
This topic comes up on a weekly basis with my clients as they get closer to having the exclusivity conversation.
Some sort of invisible block will come up and they start second guessing their desire to be exclusive with somebody.
They start over-thinking how the other person will react.
Maybe in the past you expressed that you wanted to be more committed with someone and they had a negative reaction, and you internalized that as something you did wrong.
In order to feel confident having the exclusivity conversation you need to have these things in place:
1.) Know that it’s completely natural for you to want to be exclusive.
You may notice this desire pretty early on while dating this person.
It’s normal to desire more consistency and stability in a connection you like.
2.) Before you have the exclusivity conversation, pay attention to whether they have all five elements of relationship material: friendship connection, physical chemistry, growth mindedness, respect, similar vision and values.
All of those need to be present and passing.
3.) Desire exclusivity for the right reasons.
Ask yourself: do I want to be exclusive with this person to get more from them, or am I enjoying how they are showing up so much that I feel good letting go of other connections to pursue this wholeheartedly?
Trying to get more from somebody by being exclusive will never work because it isn’t in alignment with how they’re showing up.
4.) Know that exclusivity is just a baby step.
It’s okay that you don’t know yet if he is “the one.”
Just think of exclusivity as a baby step in between dating and being in a committed relationship.
It’s still a phase when you are exploring the connection further.
Being exclusive helps us answer the questions that we still have about the relationship.
We get to start integrating the other person into our life more fully, which is how we see if they are a fit for the long term.
Once you are exclusive, the exploring of the relationship is a long process.
Exclusivity is about getting more clarity around the connection and also maintaining and honoring our boundaries as we continue to invest in the connection, so don’t let anybody make you feel like you’re crazy for wanting to be exclusive.
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This content was originally published on the Women's Dating and Confidence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.