What Does “Dating Someone Exclusively” Mean?

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What Does "Dating Someone Exclusively" Mean

Dating nowadays looks like many different things: hooking up, casually dating, dating exclusively, in a relationship, in an open relationship, and many more variations of these dating interactions. But what does it all mean?

With so many different types of relationships and dating styles, it can be confusing to keep all of their meanings straight. 

You’ve found yourself in a situation, but you’re not exactly sure what it means or entails. You’re not alone. The lines often get blurred between one situation and another, but don’t fret. You’re in the right place. 

So what does dating someone exclusively mean? What are the dos and don’ts? What kind of relationship or situation have you found yourself in? 

We’re here to clear up what it means to be dating someone exclusively. 

What does “dating someone exclusively” mean?

Dating someone exclusively means that you aren’t seeing other people. You’re no longer casually dating. You’ve become “exclusive.” That’s to say, you’re only dating each other. 

Be careful, though, because dating someone exclusively does not mean that you are in a committed relationship with that person. It means that you are still getting to know each other, testing the relationship waters. You’re deciding if you want to commit to a relationship with that person. 

It’s usually the last step before a relationship. Or, if things don’t go well, it’s the last step before deciding you two just aren’t fit to take things to the next level. 

A couple having fun at the theme park
A couple having fun at the theme park

Dating exclusively vs exclusive relationship

So, what exactly is the difference between dating exclusively and being in an exclusive relationship? It may seem like they’re the same thing, but they are not. 

When you’re dating exclusively, you aren’t seeing each other. However, you’re not technically in a relationship. That’s to say, the level of commitment and emotional attachment is less than that of an exclusive relationship. 

If you’re in an exclusive relationship, you’ve committed to someone and are intimately sharing your lives. They’re your partners. They’ll probably meet your friends and family. Maybe you’ll move in together. It’s getting serious. 

A good way to understand it is that dating someone exclusively is often the period of deciding if you want to commit to someone. 

You’re taking things slow, and you’re both focused on getting to know one another since you aren’t seeing other people any longer. But you’re not quite at the point of committing to an exclusive relationship. 

Benefits of dating someone exclusively

Benefits of dating someone exclusively
Benefits of dating someone exclusively

You may be asking, why not go from casually dating straight to an exclusive relationship? There are many benefits to dating someone exclusively before committing to a relationship. 

More intimacy

When dating someone casually, both people usually keep their guards up. You know, you’re both probably seeing other people. The vibe is casual. You’re either just not catching feelings, or trying not to. 

I know that when I’m dating someone casually, I’m probably not sharing my deepest, darkest secrets. Nor am I letting them stay overnight. I’m trying to abide by the unspoken rules of casual dating: it’s light. 

Dating someone exclusively, however, allows for more intimacy. There has been an agreement made that you’re both interested enough in each other to stop dating other people. 

And let’s face it, that feels really nice. You naturally want to open up more to someone who you know has at least committed to exclusivity, even if you both aren’t ready to call it an exclusive relationship yet. 

Trial run

This time of exclusive dating bliss is what I like to call a dress rehearsal for the exclusive relationship. You get to know someone better and more intimately than through casual dating. This is the time for both of you to see if you’re interested in taking things to the next level. 

Why do you need a trial run or a dress rehearsal? Well, some people want to take things slow when it comes to getting into committed relationships. That’s a great thing. Oftentimes, jumping into a relationship before you’re ready can end quite badly for you or your partner. 

What’s the rush? You could think of this as the fun, intimate, exclusive honeymoon before the full-on relationship begins. It’s a great time to get to know your potential partner and see if it’s the real deal. 

Sense of security and commitment

Dating someone exclusively doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a sure thing. However, there is a sense of security in the fact that the person you’re dating isn’t seeing other people. It takes away the anxiety and possible low self-esteem that can come with casual dating. You know that this person is interested enough to focus on only dating you. That’s great. 

Dating someone exclusively also shows a certain level of maturity. You aren’t letting the initial passion of meeting someone new, with whom you have an attraction, take over all logic. You’re seeing if there’s something deeper than just that beginning spark. 

Is it made to last? Or is it just a fling? 

A couple enjoys painting their new house with their dog
A couple enjoys painting their new house with their dog

I find it super refreshing when someone wants to take things slow as they get to know me on a deeper level. 

I’m often untrustworthy of someone who wants to immediately commit to me. I know the connection is superficial at that point, so the fact that they want to go all-in makes me feel wary and less secure. 

There’s something sexy about dating exclusively. You can both get to know each other, focus on yourselves, and just take things slowly. 

How do you know if you are dating someone exclusively?

So, you’re not a mind reader? You cannot immediately know how the person you’re dating is viewing the relationship. Well, then you’re just like everyone else. 

There’s only one sure way to know if you are dating someone exclusively. 


Ahhhh, my favorite word when it comes to anything having to do with dating or relationships is communication. 

It can be really difficult for some people to have these types of conversations. However, they’re necessary. Otherwise, you and the person you’re dating could be on completely different pages about what the relationship is. 

Why drive yourself crazy by micro-analyzing your interactions to see if you’re dating casually or exclusively?

If you’ve been dating the same person for a little while and you’re starting to feel like it could be something more than just casual, bring it up. Ask the person you’re dating what they’re feeling. Are you both on the same page? Is it time to make it exclusive?

Know what you want. Figure out what your dating partner wants and then make some decisions from there. 

Once you start feeling something for someone, it’s a good time to have this conversation. It’s better to know early on if they only want something casual or if they are open to something more. 

So, how to know if you’re dating someone exclusively? There’s no real trick. You’ve just got to have a conversation with them about it. 

Exclusive dating can be fun

I love dating exclusively. I find casual dating stressful. And I tend to be scared easily when diving into commitment. Exclusive dating is my dating sweet spot. 

Enjoy the exclusivity of your time together. It’s a great way to find out if you want to commit to something more with someone. 

Try not to stress about it not being labeled as a “relationship” yet. Enjoy the intimacy and the fun that comes with getting to know someone new. 

And take it as a sign that both you and your dating partner are interested enough in each other to not see other people. 

So, now that you know what dating someone exclusively means, embrace it!

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Over the years, Stephanie has had her fair share of dating experiences. While some turned out great, others weren't so great. She believes that relationships are meant to be fun, exciting, and full of laughter. She wants to help men and women become confident, attractive, and successful in their romantic relationships.