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Is there a difference between exclusive dating and a relationship?


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Old 28th August 2015, 12:39 PM   #1
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Is there a difference between exclusive dating and a relationship?

I'm sure there is some buried post discussing this, but I thought I'd ask given some dynamics in my current relationship.

I've been dating a great girl for 6-7 months - I met her online. We both mentioned that we weren't dating anyone else after a couple months into it, but she still her dating profile up (although based on what one of my friends said who was on the site, she rarely checked it - logged in maybe every few weeks).

Anyhow, at about the 6 month mark, we had our first meaningful disagreement - so we stepped back and talked through things, answered some of those dorky question lists that you find online, and one of the questions is how do you view this relationship. Up until that point, while we had mentioned dating exclusively, we had not officially mentioned relationship. Given the questions, she asked me, "are we in a relationship". I said, yes. I don't know if things have changed much (if at all), but she seems to have immediately taken down her online profile, and jokingly mentioned if we should make it "Facebook official". I say jokingly, as she knows I don't use the site - I doubt either of us has changed relationship status there.

That said, I have generally viewed exclusive dating and relationships as effectively synonymous, but to her, there were at least subtle differences - so how do you view these two terms (exclusively dating versus in a relationship)?

I'm not trying to work through anything, and there aren't any problems - just curious to see how people think about it, as there are clearly different perspectives...
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Old 28th August 2015, 12:53 PM   #2
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Yes, I think there are differences.

To me exclusively dating means you are not dating others and that's it. It doesn't mean you necessarily see a long term future with the other person, it just means you are wanting to get to know them without the distraction of other people. There are no assumptions during this stage, technically each date could be your last because you have not made any greater commitment. I don't call a guy my boyfriend during this stage, he is the guy I'm seeing / dating.

Relationship is the next step, where you start to build each other more into your lives, where it's assumed you're doing something on the week-end rather than waiting to be asked etc. It opens up the more serious possibility of a long term commitment to each other. It's also where there is more ownership through calling each other boyfriend / girlfriend.
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Old 28th August 2015, 12:54 PM   #3
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Well, I don't know how many steps there is between being exclusive and being in a relationship but in my world there is none. If I meet a man and we decide to date exclusively at that very moment the profiles have to come down. I don't date just for the sake of dating. If I am willing to be exclusive with someone it's because I see long term potential and I want to explore it. I am extremely clear to men I date so no risk of confusion 5-6 months down the road. Also, being exclusive/relationship doesn't mean we're gonna start having dinner at my parents on Sunday night. The relationship will develop on its own time and we'll get to meeting friends and family later down the road but even though we keep our relationship to ourselves for a few months it's still a relationship.
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Old 28th August 2015, 12:56 PM   #4
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Relationships come in varying degrees. You have a relationship with your mail carrier, your dentist & your coffee barista. You have to make a commitment to be exclusive.

It doesn't matter because all that really counts is how the two people involved define their interactions and how they act.
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Old 28th August 2015, 1:04 PM   #5
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Yes. To me exclusive dating and committed dating (relationships) are different.
You can date exclusively but not be committed to that person. You're just saying you can date others, but you're not going to entertain the sexual advances/interests of anyone else while you're with the person with whom you've agreed to exclusivity.

Committed means you're all in 100%.
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Old 28th August 2015, 1:18 PM   #6
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Exclusive dating is just that you are only dating with no actual prospect of having a future together. A relationship is goal oriented to eventually get married/ or live common law.
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Old 28th August 2015, 1:20 PM   #7
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If you are wanting a future with someone, he won't be it. He is only in it to have a steady supply of sex and companionship. Don't waste your time of someone who is wishy washy about relationships.
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Old 28th August 2015, 1:51 PM   #8
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I've never really thought about it, good question OP!

Yes, I see dating and a relationship as a pretty big difference.
For me the difference happens somewhere between 6 months and a year of exclusive dating. In my 14 year RS it changed in my perspective at the 7-8 month mark.
It doesn't bother me whether a guy takes an online profile down in that period and I don't take mine down. It shows me he is on the same page as me and seeing how it goes. Although having said that I have only so far used dating sites which have forums so I might just add something to my profile saying that I am seeing someone and only there for the forums.

It's the getting to know what a person is really like period for me.
It's easier sometimes to call it a 'relationship' on here admittedly (which I have done as I think saying 'dating relationship' would probably confuse people. I know what I mean by it but it it's easier to just say 'RS' sometimes.

I also don't introduce someone I am dating as my bf in that time. Instead it'd be 'This is Mark, we're seeing each other/dating.

So to cut a long post short I totally understand where your gf is coming from by taking her profile down at this point in time.
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Old 28th August 2015, 1:52 PM   #9
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I don't know if they are different, but they FEEL different. To me, claiming something as a relationship puts a boatload of expectations, preconceived notions, societal pressures etc etc into the equation. Someone else has defined what a "relationship" should look like and you are expected to follow those rules. Which is why I'm usually so weary about it. Just claiming exclusivity, for me, takes the most important part of why people would want to become committed in the first place - that is, you like someone so much that you really don't want them to be sleeping with anyone else at this point - and lets you work out everything else as you go along

But yes, I agree that starting to call something a relationship, calling the guy my boyfriend, putting "in a relationship" on Facebook, and all that jazz all happened simultaneously for me and definitely took it from exclusively dating to in a relationship. If I hadn't been ready for it at that point, it would have freaked me out. So yes, subtle but very tangible differences.

Last edited by Empyrea; 28th August 2015 at 1:55 PM..
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Old 28th August 2015, 1:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Empyrea View Post
I don't know if they are different, but they FEEL different. To me, claiming something as a relationship puts a boatload of expectations, preconceived notions, societal pressures etc etc into the equation. Someone else has defined what a "relationship" should look like and you are expected to follow those rules. Which is why I'm usually so weary about it. Just claiming exclusivity, for me, takes the most important part of why people would want to become committed in the first place - that is, you like someone so much that you really don't want them to be sleeping with anyone else at this point - and lets you work out everything else as you go along
You make your own relationship rules.

I don't care what my circle thinks a relationship should be like, I don't care about social media or social pressure. If the man I am seeing and I decide we are in a relationship than we are and we make it what we want. If I want to introduce my daughter after 2 dates I will, if I want to introduce her after 6 months I will. You make your own rules.
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Old 28th August 2015, 2:08 PM   #11
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Define things all you want but people are going to do what they want regardless of their "facebook status". If they meet a blonde with big boo boo's on tinder, "exclusive dating" isn't going to me a darn thing! You know Marriage? Till death do you part? Yeah you can quit whenever you want

Sorry to be the debbie downer but let's put things into perspective
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Old 28th August 2015, 2:21 PM   #12
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I think Gaeta has got the right idea. Why do people like to complicate things so much? Have a few days, decide you like each other, into a relationship. Easy as that, surely?
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Old 28th August 2015, 2:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cessna View Post
I think Gaeta has got the right idea. Why do people like to complicate things so much? Have a few days, decide you like each other, into a relationship. Easy as that, surely?
Because she doesnt want a relationship
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Old 28th August 2015, 3:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by madjac74 View Post
Because she doesnt want a relationship
Where did you get that non sense?

Last time someone asked me to be exclusive it was on our 3rd date. I said YES and deleted my profile that night. There was NO doubt in my mind and in his mind we were in a relationship from that moment. We both had the same definition of exclusivity = relationship. Took 1 month to introduce our friends, 3 months to introduce our kids and 6 to introduce parents and siblings.

Show me a man with all of his teeth and I'll be in a relationship before you can spell scissors!
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