(Video) How Long Should You Wait Until You Know You’re Exclusive With a Man?


This is a question I received on my latest survey about a dozen times, which lets me know that it’s important to you. And if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.

You’ve said it to me loud and clear; you’ve been hurt before, you don’t want it to happen again, and you definitely don’t want to waste your time.

It’s important to remember, however, that nobody escapes matters of the heart completely unscathed. In 99% of relationships, either he’s breaking up with you or you’re breaking up with him. Somebody always gets hurt.

Which means that there’s a bit of risk involved in any relationship, and there’s not a single thing that your trusty dating coach can do to entirely eliminate that risk.

What I’d like to do is help you mitigate that risk a bit so that you don’t end up wasting too much time on the “wrong” men.

Which brings us to a notion that I articulated in “Why He Disappeared,” which has a funny way of always resurfacing on this blog: “Men look for sex and find love.”

This doesn’t mean he’s a player or a liar or a loser. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to be a good husband and father one day. All it means is that when he shows up on the first date with you and sees how attracted you are, he’s not thinking about the long-term future, he’s thinking about the short-term future:

“How am I going to charm her? How am I going to make her like me? How am I going to give her an extra drink so I can get her back to my place?”

Once again, I’m not proud of this fact, but it’s true. Men become focused on the here and now, trying to make the most of the present moment.

Women, for the most part, are rarely focused on the date itself. Half the time you’re on the first date with him, you’re trying to see through him and predict the future:

“What’s wrong with this guy? Where is this headed? Is he financially stable? Does he believe in marriage? Is he a player? Does he respect women? Does he want children? He better not hurt me. I don’t want to waste my time.”


This disconnect explains almost all of the friction in dating and once you understand it, you can make a permanent adjustment.

All he knows on the first date is that he’s attracted to you.

The way he figures out if he really wants to be in a relationship with you is based on the quality time you spend talking over that first month or two. This is completely separate from his desire to sleep with you.

In this time, when you feel like you’re in limbo, he’s giving you a lot of information about his intentions, based on the effort he makes for you. If he enjoys seeing you platonically and wants to talk to you on the phone, and not every date is planned around him trying to get you in bed, you might just have a man who actually LIKES you.

The way he figures out if he really wants to be in a relationship with you is based on the quality time you spend talking over that first month or two. This is completely separate from his desire to sleep with you.

If you want to be exclusive with a guy, you have to give him time to want to be exclusive with you. That can reveal itself over days, weeks, or a couple of months. But not much longer than that.

The guy who’s been casually seeing you for over two months, where he occasionally texts you, occasionally sees you is simply not putting in the requisite effort to win you over. In the long run, he’s a waste of time because he’s already showing you the kind of relationship he wants: low-stakes, low rewards, no commitment.

I personally became exclusive with my wife after a month. Guys who don’t escalate their efforts after about two months are probably a waste of your time.

This is not a hard and fast rule, of course, but merely a guideline. But don’t lose sight of the bigger picture about mistaking excitement for a future.

If you go on a first date, have electric chemistry and end up in bed, it’s impossible to know if he actually likes you, much less loves you, much less is looking to be married, much less is ready to be married, much less is compatible with you for the next 40 years.

All you know after the first email, first date, or first, is that things are promising. Don’t get ahead of yourself and make things mean more.

And don’t waste your time with a guy who’s not your boyfriend after two months or so.

Wamest wishes,


P.S. Even though this video is free…don’t discount the value of it. I have talked to thousands of men and women to draw these conclusions. I hope you can break your “bad man” cycle right away!

If you’ve struggled to understand and connect with the “right” men, do yourself a favor, if you haven’t already, and put in your email address. That will put you on my priority mailing list so that you’ll get first notification when my new offering comes out in a few weeks.

*UPDATE: FOCUS Coaching is now available! Click here to learn more about this coaching program for smart, strong, successful women.

Join our conversation (50 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Hey Evan – So, so excited that you have started to give us video posts since your survey.   It is fantastic to hear you and see you when you talk to us – helps us “get it” just that little bit more!!   Such obvious advice but delivered in a way that gets through!!   Thank you, thank you – you are definitely the best out there, on so many levels,  bar none.

    1. 1.1

      Hi, I’m a guy, but I’ve been on the “got used” side too, but by a few women I’ve known. I’d feel sick at the thought of what could be going on, or getting that alarm going off in my heart.

      I finally decided to just let go. I started treating people how I wanted to be treated. That keeps me feeling strong and good, and not too attached (as I tend to get.) Also, I’m free to act on my righteous feelings without fear, and feeling solid about facing the consequences.

      This repels scheming, predatory behavior, and sows goodness. Also, I remain immune as any creeps are forced to reveal themselves, and slither away unsuccessful. Try it 🙂 It really feels right, it works, and there’s no down side.

  2. 2

    Another homerun. “If he hasn’t asked you to be his girlfriend by 2 months, get out.”YES, YES and YES!

    Any other scenario ladies, and the guy is just hanging around using you. This is what happened to me with my recent loser.

  3. 3

    Thanks Evan! i didnt like the video post idea when i filled your survey, but in real life…i do! You get right to the point (as usual) and explain things so well, it’s terrific! Keep up the good work, you really are the best 🙂

  4. 4

    I’m loving the video posts too! Great addition.
    One thing I would add too, is that as women it’s important that we also give ourselves the necessary time to get to know a guy outside of sex and expectations. Its so tempting to rush things when you meet someone who seems special!
    If I only had read Evan’s advice years ago- it would have changed my dating life.

  5. 5

    A slight ew at the “How am I going to give her an extra drink so I can get her back to my place?”

    Giving women substances to impair their judgment in order to have sex with them or try to have sex wtih them or to up your chances of having sex with them is definitely not OK. This is a prime example of what I mean when I tell guys to be careful of how  they speak. This is NOT dating behavior that you want to condone by suggesting that it is “normal” because “all guys do it” or because it “works.”   

    1. 5.1

      Pretending men, or even women, don’t think that way at times is burying your head in the sand…

  6. 6
    saint stephen

    Margo said: (#2)
    Any other scenario ladies, and the guy is just hanging around using you. This is what happened to me with my recent loser.
    Now Margo i do not like the sound of this… Ladies often want to  color  guys Dark. why would ladies wind up feeling used in the first place (and not the guys)? just because he left and you ended up feeling used doesn’t make the guy a loser. both of you were consenting adults. you had fun while it lasted, admit it please.  

  7. 7

    I love the videos too! Straight to the point.

    It’s true….all my relationships became ‘relationships’ within 6 weeks time max, and all were drivin forward by the man. It was obvious that they were excited (as I was) about the connection, and wanted to secure a relationship and not play around.

    I’ve never been in a relationship that wallowed in the ‘dating casually’ arena for months or more, then finally became something. Frankly, I  wouldn’t wait around long enough to find out.

  8. 8

    After watching your video, Evan, I decided to initiate a discussion with the man I’ve been dating for 8 months and sleeping with for 7 months. He has been on the online dating site where we met almost every day this week, and this makes me feel fearful. (I don’t think he knows I can see when he has been online on the site.) When we began sleeping together, we agreed that we would be exclusively sexually, and I have enjoyed the relationship, but I do not want to continue on with him if he is going to go visit an online dating site after 8 months of dating me. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he logged in today after having great sex with me this morning! His profile is hidden (as is mine), but he posted a new photo of himself earlier this week. It just makes me uncomfortable and unhappy and after listening to Evan’s videos this week, I know it’s not right for me to be with this guy right now, even though I am afraid to be lonely.

    1. 8.1

      I’m going through the same thing! It’s been three months (on and off). Usually off because I have confronted him about his online adventures and broke it off. Then ine of us will text and we get back together only for it to happen again.   His response is that we are not exclusive yet. Although he has said that he loves me. Crazy.

  9. 9

    @”Saint” Stephen no. 6. Stephen, he plyed me with alcohol, asked me into his bed because I was “too drunk to drive”, then persuaded me to take my pants off because he “didn’t like the feel of clothes against his bare skin…”. Then after proceeding to tell me “we should wait”, in the morning, he was on top of me “prying my legs apart”. Ok, I was participating. I know that.
    Thing is, he knew I wanted a relationship because  I told him. He was a friend first, so he knew me. Anyway, after the fact, he hung around and enjoyed the sex for awhile, Not long before he excited, he gave me this  song and anc dance  about I shouldn’t have given it to him so easy.

    Do I feel angry and used in the short-term? Yes.

    Am I glad to see him go in regards to the long-term? NO. Why? Because he’s a hypocritical user. Remember what Karl was telling you about these guys, Stephen? In the long-term, who would want them??

  10. 10

    I understand your fears and dread of facing the pain of a break-up but ask yourself what will hurt worse:
    1.) Standing up for yourself and doing what is right by yourself and ending things on your own and first…or
    2.) Waiting, hoping and eventually the pain when he does it, and you knew it was coming….
    #1 is acting from a place of strength, #2 is acting from a place of fear. Strength is always better. It will hurt to loose what you ‘thought’ you had, but you know you deserve to be loved and cherished. There is nothing cherishing about having sex and within hours uploading pics to advertise to new women.
    Take care of yourself.

  11. 11

    @Lily #8, Lily…If he’s having sex with you and within hours is uploading new pics on a dating site, can’t you tell you’re being used?

  12. 12

    #9  Margo

    Couple of questions: Why did you go to sleep in his bed?
    He can’t say “clothes bother his skin”.. when he gets no skin contact.
    Rule 1. Couches are what you have to sleep when you stay over at a friends place. I wouldn’t sleep with a female friend in the same bed, let alone a male friend unless there was sexual chemistry.

    I say that as “I know what I am talking about”

    I did that same mistake you did once, and I was mad as I felt used.. but hey, it was partly my fault.   He went over the line, but he was drunk as was I.. too bad, and mistakes happen.

    These days after being mad at him for a few months (6 years ago) he is now again my best friend and I trust him wholeheartedly. (So does his girlfriend who is cool with our friendship)..
    He won’t make that mistake again, and I learned the previous rule “never put yourself to the position where nature might lead both of you further”

  13. 13

    Women, for the most part, are rarely focused on the date itself. Half the time you’re on the first date with him, you’re trying to see through him and predict the future:
    “What’s wrong with this guy? Where is this headed? Is he financially stable? Does he believe in marriage? Is he a player? Does he respect women? Does he want children? He better not hurt me. I don’t want to waste my time.”

    It makes some sense at first EMK, but thinking about it more, I’m not sure how it jibes with my experience. In fact, a recurring theme here on your site is how many women are too focused on “chemistry” and will turn down second dates with otherwise promising guys because of a lack thereof. I mean Evan, I’m sure you’ve heard your female clients say a bunch of times things such as “he seems really nice and seems to have a solid job and seems to be ready for a serious relationship, but I’m just not feeling it with him, so I won’t be going on a second date with him”…

    It does explain why many women often seem to have their guard up going into the first date though.   Maybe a lot of women go into a first date with their guard up asking these questions, but then if they feel “chemistry”, their guard tends to come down and they stop asking themselves these questions at least for the time being?     

  14. 14

    Hi everyone,

    After reading all these comments and thinking about it,last night I went  to talk  to the man I was dating (almost 8 months).   I wanted to know where I stood.    Deep inside me I knew he didn’t want a commitment with me.   We parted ways.   Does it hurt?   Yes, alot, but I also have a sense of peace.   I didn’t want to stay with someone that didn’t love me or wanted a LTR with me.   We had a lot of fun, and I don’t regret going out with him.   The first 5 months were really incredible.   It hurt when he said that he doesn’t see himself in a LTR with anyone (he’s never had one), but there’s nothing I can do about it.   I heard this once: “If you love something let it go, if it comes back, it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.”

  15. 15

    NN, I shouldn’t have went to sleep in his bed, but by that time we had had 2 bottles of wine. I never, ever drink that much. Still, I should have just slept on the couch.

    We were friends, not close at this point, but we had known each other for 2 years.  But, we had just started dating. This was the first date at his apartment and it was movies, dinner, and wine. I should have  known better since there was kissing and heavy petting on the couch before we retired for the evening.

    Still, if he wasn’t a hypocrit, he wouldn’t have held something against me that he was responsible for initiating.

  16. 16

    There is no scenario where your guy sounds like a good guy and I’m sorry for your pain. But I wouldn’t call him a user.
    To use someone there usually has to be a level of decieit involved- pretending to care about someone, openly lying to them, etc. From what you’ve described, that’s not what he did.

    He was smarmy and shady from the outset! ‘doesnt like the feeling of clothes agains. His skin’ ? I wouldve invited him to put on some pants or found myself on his couch. ‘prying’ your legs open? Even if I had maybe wanted to sleep with the guy, having my legs ‘pried’ open would make it an automatic no.

    These are things that happened on your first date… To me It was obvious he was ‘running game’ and it doesn’t look like he was even trying to pretend to be a good guy. So I would maybe call him a jerk but not a user. I’m sure in hindsight you can see the signs- they were there before you had sex.

  17. 17

    RE my post #13, I do agree, as a guy it is all about attraction at the moment.I do feel a drive to get her attracted to me enough to get physical, whether we are on the same page with regards to marriage, kids, whatever. Now I said I “feel a drive”. I am mature enough to recognize it for what it is and *make a decision* not act on that drive if I suspect that the woman and I aren’t on the same page with regards to other issues.

  18. 18

    Lily, you need to break up with him. He’s not that into you now, and ironically the only thing that could inspire him to be into you is for you to move on. (The moment you do decide to move on might make him realize what a good thing he threw away, and actually inspire him to chase you, so watch out!)

    When I am truly into a girl, I have no desire to meet anyone else. This sometimes starts as soon as I get your number really, but it better have happened by the time we sleep together. Or it probably won’t happen ever, short of you being the one to walk away or pulling back yourself. I might keep putting myself out there until it’s clear that you probably feel likewise. But in the end, I’d rather be exclusive with one great girl than just “dating”.  


  19. 19


    You’re right but for me it comes from a different angle.

    I have dated a couple of guys who acted “into me” for a few months and then revealed that they’d never felt anything for me but wanted to “give it a chance and see if something developed.”   That had hurt me so much.   I genuinely thought they were really into me.   I felt led on and lied to.

    So now, if I do not feel anything or am just uncomfortable with him, I gently let him know that while he’s a nice and decent guy, I do not want to lead him on.   I don’t want someone else to feel the way I felt, lied to.   The guy I don’t feel anything for, deserves a girl who DOES feel something for him.  

    I know this might sound like I’m tooting my own horn but I’m not.   Maybe I’m wrong for doing it but I do it to keep someone else from getting hurt.   Why should I lead a man on?   All that will happen in the end is the guy feeling like I did, used.

  20. 20

    I broke up with him!
    And, miracle of miracles, the man I started dating a few weeks ago (yes, concurrently with the guy that I suspected was using me… what can I say? I like to have a man in my life and I suspected a breakup was imminent, I just didn’t feel safe)
    So, the new man already (after the fourth date) has asked if we can take down our online profiles, has introduced me to his daughter, has taken me on an outing with his friends, and wants to spend as much time as possible with me.
    So, I guess I learned a lesson (but, at least, guy #1 gave me a bunch of rehabilitative sex after very bad sex in a very long marriage) and I learned to listen to Evan…  

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