Can I Expect Exclusivity in Casual Dating?

You can't assume exclusivity in a
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After the first few dates you realize that this may actually go somewhere. That said, you haven't had "the talk" about exclusivity and you aren't exactly at boyfriend-girlfriend status yet. Can you expect her to stay faithful to you, and does she expect the same in return? When you are casually dating the answer to this question depends on your specific relationship and how each of you view the differences between "just dating" and "in a relationship."

1 Coming On Too Strong

If "casual dating" means just hanging out, expecting exclusivity is off course. Exclusive relationships take time to build. Don't try to speed up the progression of your relationship by pushing the issue of exclusivity before either of you are ready for it. Coming on too strong in the beginning may come off as needy, according to the therapist Jamie Long in the article "10 Dating Do's and Don'ts From 6 Therapists" on the Psychology Today website. Bombarding a guy with questions about whether he is seeing someone else may push him away.

2 Trust Builder

An exclusive relationship implies that you trust your partner and she trusts you. Trust isn't something that happens instantly. When you are casually dating, it is not likely that you have developed the trust necessary to feel 100 percent comfortable with exclusivity. While there are some couples who can trust each other early on, during your first few dates you probably don't know your girl well enough to fully trust her. As the two of you build a sense of trust, consider making your situation exclusive.

3 Commitment Connection

Exclusivity requires a commitment. Commitment requires a promise to stay with each other. A casual dating situation, on the other hand, doesn't require such a promise. Without a pledge of commitment to each other, you shouldn't expect your guy to make you his one and only. Likewise, he shouldn't expect you to shun all other guys if he hasn't brought up the subject with you. When the two of you do verbally decide to commit to one another, exclusivity is expected.

4 Exception to the Rule

Although most casual dating scenarios don't imply exclusivity, you'll find some exceptions. While the commitment part of a relationship doesn't typically happen right away, some couples may want to make it official during the "getting to know you" phase. Excluding other people from your -- and your partner's -- dating pool cuts out distractions. Focusing on your partner provides a way to exclude other attractions while building your relationship, according to psychologist Suzanne Phillips in the article "Commitment vs. Attractive Alternative Temptations" on the PsychCentral website.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.