Dating Exclusively Vs. A Relationship: The Subtle Difference You Need To Know About

In the very beginning of every relationship there are lots of awkward moments which make straightforward communication very confusing and complicated. Two people who clearly like each other might behave very reserved and shy because they don’t want to rush things and express too many emotions and feelings they have: they are afraid to be rejected or laughed at behind their backs because their partner might have no real feelings for them and will all be just a misunderstanding. A basic level of trust and confidence should be reached before two people can say they are legally and exclusively dating someone.

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Of course, that’s not all: even though it’s a very important step for people to admit they’re dating and they avoid flirting or even chatting with other potential partners it’s still not considered being in a relationship. There is a thin line which separates relationships from dating and even though the couple can have exclusive dating for a period of time, they might still feel uncomfortable to ask direct questions whether they are dating exclusively or not. Being in serious relationships is a very difficult and important step for many people, so they also try not to rush things because they don’t want to be pushy. Some people think having an exclusive boyfriend or girlfriend is enough and they don’t have to discuss if they are in relationships now or not. People are too afraid to ask and the ambiguity may last for weeks.

Dating games have never been easy: usually every person is nervous in the transition period from exclusive dating to a relationship. No one wants to say the most important words first and some people simply don’t understand the difference between exclusive dating and relationships. If you want to make an important step forward and change your relationship status, then you need to understand the nuances well.

What is the difference between exclusive dating and being in a relationship

A couple is hugging while sleeping

While being exclusive is a must for all monogamous relationships, people can have different views on how to define dating and whether it should be exclusive or not. Most people are pretty clear about their intentions: they can say directly that they want serious relationships with someone special and are not into casual hookups. At the same time, a couple drinking coffee together a few times a week might be considered both dating or not if they haven’t discussed the topic yet. Some people think that dating a few people is completely okay until they have a serious relationship with someone special while the others don’t want to send memes and like Instagram posts of people they don’t date. Even though dating exclusively means different things for different people, it’s important to understand its limits and borders.

The meaning of exclusive dating is pretty simple: even though you both are not on a level where things get really serious you are interested in each other enough to date only one person at a time.

The meaning of exclusive dating is pretty simple: even though you both are not on a level where things get really serious you are interested in each other enough to date only one person at a time. The step is more serious than just casual dates in cafes or cinemas when you spend a couple of hours together once or twice a week, but it’s not a relationship yet. To understand what details can show you at what stage of a relationship you currently are and how to move from exclusive dating to a relationship you need to remember some features in advance:

  • Unlike exclusive dating, relationships can be easily defined by the fact that a couple has some mutual plans and is thinking about their mutual future. These plans are not based on places they want to go tonight or their friend’s birthday they want to attend together. It’s mostly connected with accommodation, travelling plans, pets, living together, possible marriage or kids. The plans and the problems people having serious relationships discuss are more mature and big - people let everyone know they are going to spend a lot of time together and can imagine their lives spent next to each other;
  • You may live together or not, but in both cases, you’re fully integrated into each other’s lives. Even though people in serious relationships have a personal life too, they are more likely to go everywhere together as a couple. They have lots of mutual friends, they know each other’s parents and their holidays are planned in advance because they want to spend these days together;
  • Unlike people who are on the “exclusive dating” stage people having a relationship always discuss their plans and problems together. They want to know each other’s opinions and can give and ask for advice on what to do in every important situation. Exclusive dating is different from a relationship because people stop doing only what they want - they start seeing themselves together with their partners as a union where both people’s thoughts should be heard;
  • In many cases exclusive dating doesn’t even mean that your partner is legally your boyfriend or girlfriend if you haven’t discussed the question yet. Being in a relationship means you know exactly what you feel for another person and know your place in a person’s life. You don’t have to use your imagination or overthink to know your partner’s reaction: in most cases, you know each other well enough to know exactly what they like and what they want;
  • In most cases being in a serious relationship means you don’t have to pretend anymore. You both know each other’s flaws and imperfections but they are not important anymore: you’ve probably seen each other drunk, sloppy, sad, tired, angry and devastated but you don’t think that being a human is something you should be ashamed for. You don’t have to use your makeup in his presence anymore and he is fine with his bristle and wrinkle shirt. Reasons to love each other are deeper than your appearance;
  • You are probably not attracted to other people anymore. If you are lucky enough to find a person who can fully cover all your needs, then you see no interest in looking around. The others might be seen as friends, partners or colleagues and you can even admit they’re conventionally beautiful or attractive but it doesn’t bother you anymore. Appearance is basically nothing without the inner world when it comes to the serious relationship: you can date an attractive but shallow person and have intimacy with them but you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with them trying hard to find some themes to speak about. Dating exclusive means limits while a relationship means that you’ve ended the searching and are satisfied with a person you’ve found.

Even though the border between exclusive dating and relationships is very subtle, it’s definitely important to know and understand. It’s extremely important for both partners to feel they’re on the same level of a relationship when they want the same things and are equally attracted to each other. Discussion is key, so don’t be afraid to communicate to find out the current situation you have in your personal life.

What to do to confirm the status of an exclusive relationship

a young couple is kissing on a date

Every person who is in a serious relationship knows an exact way to know what to do if you’re not sure about the seriousness of your relationship: to ask. Stable couples having serious relationships are used to discuss everything with each other and they know exactly that a dialogue is a mighty tool to solve any problem and to clarify any detail. Couples who have issues with their communication risk breaking up and ruining their relationships which have a great potential to become something bigger.

Girls love guys who are not afraid to speak about their feelings and guys respect women who can be straightforward and calm about their intentions and emotions.

Start a conversation and ask a casual question about anything that requires your mutual plans for the future. If a person seems not so enthusiastic or answers that these plans are too long-term, then it’s a sign that a person might be not so sure about having serious relationships right now. Of course, it might also mean that they have some financial problems and can’t afford travelling together or even thinking about buying something big as a couple. Also lots of people like planning their nearest future in detail and prefer to avoid thinking about possible events in the remote future. But the tone of their voice might show you their real attitude and feelings about you and your future relationship.

Remember that being able to ask questions and discuss problems is essential for every couple wanting to have healthy and long-lasting relationships. Girls love guys who are not afraid to speak about their feelings and guys respect women who can be straightforward and calm about their intentions and emotions. You need to know your person really well to be sure you want to spend lots of time together, so communicate and then you’ll understand that you’re on the level when your dating has already become an exclusive relationship.

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