“Are We Exclusive? When Does Dating Turn Into A Relationship?”

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when does dating turn into a relationship, how to define a relationship

A reader wonders how to define a relationship with a guy she met on Tinder.

This is part 1 of myself and Robert Dunn on his Orion Group Podcast, episode 36– which is now offline, but you can find Robert at PurposeOfInfluence.com and subscribe to his podcast on iTunes here.

Robert: This is from Molly:

“I met my guy on Tinder almost four months ago. It started very casually at first. Dates about twice a week. Now it has become more serious. We stay in touch throughout the day, seeing each other four to five times a night – a week and have been getting to know each other on a deeper level. I’ve read that it’s better to avoid having the “define the relationship” conversation and just let it happen naturally, which is how this seems to be going, except for last night.

I was at his place and my phone buzzed and he said, “Was that a Tinder match?” in obviously a joking tone. I just laughed and said, “No.” Why would he ask me that? To me, it seems like we are exclusive basically by default because we spend so much time together. I still have Tinder and Bumble on my phone but hardly ever check them because I’ve been busy with him. He has deleted his Tinder but not – but still has Bumble. What do you guys think?”

So Ms. Elizabeth, ladies first. What do you think?

Elizabeth: Well, I don’t believe that a relationship is defined unless you have a conversation.

Robert: Great.

Elizabeth: As much as I understand why she feels like she has a relationship– because they do have one. But it’s important to always make sure that you define it. What he’s saying with that question about her phone is, “Are you exclusive with me?” He’s asking her.

The best way to handle it when a man asks you if you’re exclusive or still online dating is to say, “oh, well, of course. Of course I’m still on the websites. Aren’t you?”

Then when he says no, then you have that conversation about exclusivity. But up until that point, you just assume you’re single until he wants to take you off the market.

Robert: Right. I can’t emphasize how important this is, to make sure you have that conversation because don’t ever assume you’re in a relationship if you have not had that conversation. I think that’s the worst thing you could do. I think a lot of people will definitely be in some bad shape on going down that particular route.

But when it comes to guys, what I’ve seen in my experience is my own friends, just questions that we’ve gotten on here, you really have to have that “define the relationship” conversation pretty much as soon as you guys are starting to hang out consistently. I’m not saying you have to define it then and there but you better be on the same page because a lot of guys will continue to do what they’re doing with you as long as you allow us to a lot of the times.

I’ve seen guys that I’ve experienced have gone through this. If they’re not interested in a girl, then they will just let it ride as long as possible. Then, when that conversation finally comes up they will let the girl know that they’re not really interested or they will ghost her or whatever.

The guys who are interested usually bring that conversation up to you pretty quickly as well.

So it’s one of these things to where if you’re afraid of having that conversation, you’re going to have to get over that. It’s kind of counterintuitive.

But you have to bring this up because you have to make sure you’re on the same page, especially in our culture now, especially when it comes to our millennial dating culture and the situation we find ourselves in with so much access to people.

You better figure out what it is that you’re doing. I’m not saying go to people instantly and say,“All right. Are we going to be getting married here or what” after three weeks. I’m not saying don’t use sense, but you better make sure you’re on the same page.

So, however you need to have a conversation to figure out where you guys are at, then you need to have it.

I recommend having it as soon as possible because personally, when a girl brings it up early, I know where she’s at. I know what she’s expecting. I know what she’s wanting. If that’s not for me and I go away, it’s because that’s just not what I want from her.

It will kill a lot of time-wasting if you’re able to do this and you’re able to overcome that tension and fear that you have about scaring him away.

If you can scare a guy away, scare him away because he will waste your time.

A lot of times it’s not in a mean-spirited way. It’s not malicious. But, if you keep giving me free stuff, I’m going to keep taking free stuff, if that makes sense. That’s where I am on that. Have that conversation, please.

Do you want to add anything else to that Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. I agree on having that conversation.

It’s important for women not to automatically put the ball in the man’s court. Since men are the gatekeepers of relationships and women are the gatekeepers of sex— a lot of time, women are wondering what he’s thinking and what’s he’s planning and what he wants…

Robert: They really do.

Elizabeth: A man can offer a relationship or not and it’s up to him. But it’s in a woman’s best interest to make sure that she has a defined boundary before she has sex.

If you’re interested in a relationship, then don’t go further physically than you’re ready for. If you don’t have a relationship, be free and do what you want as long as you aren’t expecting something from him on the backend without defining that.

Robert: Right. It’s so true.

Ladies, you can require what type of relationship that you want. That was a great point made by Elizabeth.

You can speak up. If a relationship is really what you’re wanting— a committed relationship— then you don’t have to take scraps hoping that it will turn into one. Because how often does that work out?

Elizabeth: It doesn’t.

Robert: Right. You know? It never works out.

Elizabeth: You have to be able to stand up for yourself. Not in a rude way– and that’s a big mistake women make.

Never be rude with a man, ever. But you have to say, “in order to feel comfortable, this is what I need. This is what I want. This is what I’m looking for.”

You don’t have to order him to give you what you want. But you have to define what you want and see if he’s interested in that.

Robert: Absolutely. I mean that’s perfect. It’s great point because tone is huge when it comes to men.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Robert: You can get a lot more done in just how you say certain things but it’s as easy as – before your first date, just letting the guy know, like:

“Hey, I’m just letting you know that I’m interested in a relationship. I’m not necessarily saying it’s going to happen with us. But I just want to let you know this is what I’m looking for and I don’t plan on having sex until I get into one. That’s where I am right now. So I just want to put that out there and make it clear.”

That’s what? A 30-second convo? That’s a 30-second thing that you can say to set that, define where it is that you are, because that’s what’s important.

You’re saying, “this is where I am. This is what I’m looking for.” You can still go on a date. You can still hang out. But at the end of the day making sure you both know where you’re at and what you want is important.

Elizabeth: Yeah. You don’t want to get yourself into a situation where you have all of these hopes and dreams and he doesn’t – he’s thinking about dinner. He’s thinking about what he’s going to do for next week. While you’re like, “oh, he could be the one.”

Defining things and saying what you want is important and then just doing that softly. You don’t have to go in there and start ordering him around.

Click here to read part 2 of this episode.

Find Robert at PurposeOfInfluence.com and subscribe to his podcast on iTunes here.

About Elizabeth Stone

Elizabeth Stone is the founder of Attract The One.

Her popular program Ex Attraction Formula, has helped hundreds of women reunite with their men. She is thrilled to have helped so many people reignite the spark in their relationships.

Tirelessly focused on helping people improve their love lives, her work has been featured on EHarmony Blog, YourTango, Thought Catalog, Mogul, Fox News Magazine, Ravishly, Femalista, Popsugar, Read Unwritten, Medium and many more.

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