by Jake McMillan

In the world of dating, the word ‘exclusivity’ is considered a dirty word and not something either you or the person you’re dating wants to particularly talk about, but yet in the beginning you will both be wondering about whether the other is being exclusive?

This is because there is a zone from the first time you meet until an undefined point where it is acceptable to be non-exclusive with each other. How many dates is it okay to have with someone before you should become exclusive?

A friend of mine believes very strongly in dating non-exclusively for perhaps a few months before becoming, if ever, exclusive. She says some guys can’t handle it, although they say they can, but she is always upfront with them early on about being non-exclusive.

This could be the key here, if you are clear and open, telling the person you are going to date them non-exclusively then they can decide for themselves if they are okay with that. Unfortunately, most of us don’t want to have that conversation as we think it will scare the person off.

A close friend of mine recently had had ten dates with one girl and about three with another and had completely avoided and evaded all conversations to do with exclusivity, even though he knew the first girl was being exclusive with him. He hadn’t told her he was being exclusive, so he could not be doing anything wrong, right?

No.What he was doing, and I’m sure lots of us do it, was wrong. Ten dates (including ones where they were together for most of the weekend) is too many dates to be having with someone and not telling them you are still dating other people. You have to be honest as otherwise you could really hurt someone.

So, I repeat the question, what is an acceptable amount of dates before you need to be open about exclusivity, or lack of it? There is not a precise answer, but I think the window is 3-6 dates. Anything more than that, whilst still seeing other people, and you are definitely messing them around.

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