Should I Bring Up “Being Exclusive” Or Just Let It Happen?

two lovely couple having a great time

I recently met a great man. We met two weeks ago. He’s attentive (he texts and chats with me online every day), affectionate, asks me out regularly (we have seen each other multiple times every week since we met), and makes time for me (he has a lot of interests and activities). I am very happy (and he said that he is happy when he is with me) and like him the more I get to know him. Our chemistry was immediate (physical, intellectual, and emotional) and things have been very easy so far.

That said, things have been moving quickly. I am totally comfortable with the speed (how often we are communicating, seeing each other, and sharing information about ourselves). But, we recently slept together (it felt right and was great). But, we are technically not exclusive (meaning, we talked prior to sleeping together and said that we were both able to date others, if we wanted). However, we talked more recently and we both said that we aren’t dating anyone else, but we didn’t explicitly say that we are exclusive. He still has his online dating profile up and checks it regularly (we met on the site). I trust him and know that he is being honest, but now that we have slept with each other, it makes me feel vulnerable and nervous. I would like to know that he isn’t sleeping with anyone else and won’t be sleeping with anyone else while we are sleeping together.

Should I have the “defining the relationship” conversation with him or should I wait and allow things to evolve more? I am scared of getting hurt and us not being on the same page. But, I am equally scared of pushing for something that is happening naturally and perhaps making him feel pressured and stressed about something that is easy and great, naturally.

What is the best thing to do in this situation? If I talk with him, how do I bring up being exclusive so that he doesn’t feel pressured? And, if I don’t talk with him immediately, when is the right time to talk about being exclusive (if he doesn’t bring it up)?


Okay, everybody, take out a pen and paper. I’m going to give you a cheat sheet to tell you the most effective way to get into a relationship with a new guy. Before I do, I’d like to pre-empt all of the people who are inclined to tell me I’m wrong because they did it another way: yes, there are 100 ways to do things.

You can theoretically have unprotected sex with a stranger in the bathroom of a bar and end up spending the rest of your life with him. That does not inherently make this an effective strategy. So, without further ado:

1. Don’t stop seeing other guys until he’s acting like your boyfriend

In my 11 years as a dating coach, I’ve repeatedly seen the power of chemistry. After emailing with a bunch of losers online, she meets a guy whose profile knocks her socks off. She gets all excited about him, and the first date does not disappoint. Now, this guy is such a front-runner that she drops every other prospect like a hot potato. What’s the point of talking to other guys when I like this one guy so much?

Just because you were at his place until 3am does NOT mean he wants you as his girlfriend and does NOT mean you are long-term compatible.

Well… the other guy isn’t necessarily as smitten with you. Just because you had a great date, just because you had electric chemistry, just because you were at his place until 3am does NOT mean he wants you as his girlfriend and does NOT mean you are long-term compatible.

It just means you have a serious crush with potential. Nothing more. That guy still needs to follow up regularly in order to prove himself worthy. A text a couple times a week? A date every 7-10 days? That guy is not your boyfriend. That’s a guy who is seeing you, seeing others, and keeping his options open. You do not commit to someone who has given no indication he’s committing to you.

Now if he’s been calling you every night, and seeing you 3 times a week for the past few weeks, then yes, you can take down your profile and focus your energies on exploring this burgeoning relationship. Just wait to see if he’s acting like a boyfriend FIRST; don’t treat him like one until he’s earned it. (Tweet this quote!)

2. Practice sexclusivity (particularly if you can’t handle no-strings-attached sex)

I’ve written about this extensively, so I won’t rehash the entire argument. But, in short, if you are the type of woman who does not like the feeling of sleeping with a man when you have no idea whether he’s your boyfriend, STOP sleeping with men who are not your boyfriend. It’s not particularly complicated, but, after years of giving this advice, I’ve discovered that it’s a) surprisingly controversial and b) surprisingly hard for women to execute.

So here’s the deal: if you like having sex based on mutual attraction, can easily separate sex from emotion, and have no real attachment to whether he calls you again, then, by all means, ignore this advice. This was specifically created to protect the hearts of women who have sex with guys they’ve been seeing for a few weeks, and proceed to get upset when they see him online, when he doesn’t text frequently enough, and when it’s become increasingly clear that he just wanted sex, not a relationship.

If that describes you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with four weeks of foreplay without intercourse, and if the guy bails, it’s because he really didn’t want a relationship with you to begin with. Bullet dodged.
Any questions about sexclusivity can be addressed here.

3. Don’t leave any daylight between exclusive and boyfriend. They’re one and the same.

Sometimes, when women who are new at “sexclusivity” bring it up to their men, they say something like, “So I just want to make sure you’re not sleeping with anybody else right now.” The guy says, “Nope. Can we have sex now?” She says, “Sure!” And what’s just happened?

She’s now had sex with a guy who is NOT her boyfriend, and she still has no idea whether he’s seeing anyone else, whether he has any feelings towards her, or whether he’s going to call her the next day. He gets what he wants. She doesn’t. And she thinks she’s following my script and holding out properly. Uh uh. Here’s what you actually say:

“Hey, I’m really attracted to you and would love to sleep with you, however I don’t like having sex with guys who are actively looking for other women on You can understand, right?” And he’ll say, “Yeah, I get it.” And then you’ll say, “So, when we both figure out if this is a relationship worth exploring, you’re in for the night of your life. In the meantime, I can think of some other fun things to do…”

And then you can proceed to explore each others’ bodies to the limits of whatever boundaries you decide to set. That’s it. You sleep with boyfriends only. Once you both agree to give a relationship a shot, there’s some great sex in store. It should be pretty hard for him to argue with that. If he does — if he thinks he deserves to get laid when he hasn’t committed to you — well, I guess he’s not going to get laid. His loss.

4. Take 4-6 weeks to assess whether he’s boyfriend-worthy

A man isn’t boyfriend-worthy because he’s cute and smart and funny. A man isn’t boyfriend-worthy because you feel a real connection with him. A man is boyfriend-worthy if he’s demonstrating that he’s serious about being in a relationship with you. Thus, you’re judging him not merely for your feelings towards him, but rather his consistent efforts to call you and see you over the course of a month.

Any guy can be sexy and charming on a given date. How many of those same men prove to do it over and over and over again for 4-6 weeks? Not too many.

An easier way to look at this is that you have MUCH more information about a person after, say, 7-8 dates than you do after 2-3 dates. If he’s still a good guy who calls consistently, sees you consistently, and seems to want to be monogamous, then you should feel secure in giving him a shot, as opposed to doing what most of us do: hopping into bed first, “committing”, and realizing that we’ve made a terrible choice due to chemistry.

If you are the type of woman who does not like the feeling of sleeping with a man when you have no idea whether he’s your boyfriend, STOP sleeping with men who are not your boyfriend.

This is not to say that it’s “wrong” to commit to someone before 4 weeks; merely that you’ll have a better sense of who you’re committing if you vet him first, instead of giving him a free pass to boyfriend-hood because you like him and want to sleep with him.

To the original poster’s point, you really shouldn’t have to “bring up” whether he’s your boyfriend. It’s the kind of thing that will be defined naturally by him calling you every day, spending every weekend with you, introducing you to his friends and family, and so on. In other words, you should both “know” what you are without a heavy discussion. Finally, if you DID bring it up, he would probably laugh because he already thought of you as his girlfriend already.

Share this with your friends who want to know a healthy relationship timeline. It’s not the only way to do it, but I’m confident that it’s the most effective one.

Join our conversation (87 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    I agree with Evan’s advice about waiting for sex if NSA sex does not suit you.
    I agree with Evan’s advice to have the boyfriend/sexclusivity conversation before sex.
    The only place I would differ is on the specific advice to the OP.   This man’s behaviour does not necessarily indicate that he wants to be exclusive to you, since although he communicates with you frequently he still has his profile up and checks it regularly.   So why not have the conversation with him and see where he is at?   If, as Evan says, he is already in a boyfriend state of mind, he won’t mind your asking and might appreciate the clarity.   If he is not in a boyfriend state of mind, you would be better off knowing and could plan your own behaviour accordingly.
    I see the initiation of that conversation as a no-lose scenario.     But then, I might be somewhat old-fashioned to think that actually having sex is much more of a big deal than asking someone if they want to be your boyfriend 🙂

    1. 1.1

      I think Sarah’s intended conversation with her beau was about asking him to please not sleep with anyone else while he is sleeping with her. Why else would she be afraid of coming across as “pressuring” him. If it was just a simple conversation about how he felt about what it is they have between them, or his attitude to relationships in general, why would she think she is “pressuring” him ? Sarah is obviously one of those women who wants to sleep with men only when she is in a serious relationship with them. The horse has already bolted with this one so she now has to either 1) keep doing something she feels uncomfortable with and let things “evolve” 2) tells him she made a mistake and won’t sleep with him until he is committed to her, and risk losing him.

  2. 2

    Great article as always Evan Couldnt be clearer.

    Agree with Jeremy   1       Hes sleeping with the OP but still looking elsewhere.   Time to get an update ASAP from the guy , be clear and walk away if you arent on the same page.  


    1. 2.1

      Yes, it does not look good. I am of the school of belief which says a guy must totally want to be your boyfriend right at the beginning, for the relationship to hold any promise. By the same token, you must totally want to be his girlfriend as well. Anything less and it means one or both parties are underwhelmed and will only be settling for lack of any other options. Relationships that start like this are not off to a good start because 1) some level of resentment about having to settle and not trying as hard to be the best partner one can be 2) not fully committed to the relationship because consciously or subconsicouly, one or both parties will bail if something better comes along 3) life together is only going to get harder and the level of committment you show to each other is going to get tested more as life progresses.

      1. 2.1.1

        Unless a guy is just looking for sex, “right at the beginning” every guy wants to be your boyfriend.   Otherwise he wouldn’t be wasting his time going on a date with you.   He just doesn’t know yet whether or not he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend.

        1. Greg

          Great point, I’m always looking for a girlfriend and this is a two way street, if the lady turns out not to be worthy, game over.

      2. 2.1.2

        I think it’s important to realize a common difference in approach attitudes between men and women when it comes to evaluating a potential mate. Typically, a man looks for ‘qualifiers’ (“What do I like about this woman?”) whereas women are typically looking for ‘dis-qualifiers’ (“What do I find ‘wrong’ [deal-breaker] about this man?”). Nothing wrong with this as it actually quite normal and derives from basal biological drivers.

        Your “must totally want to be your boyfriend right at the beginning” requirement for men seems reasonably achievable, but the woman will generally not be able to reciprocate because of her thought process (e.g. – she’s still searching for deal-breakers). This can easily lead to an imbalance in the beginning  potentially  resulting in mis-communications and ‘expectation failures’ early on.  

        1. Androgynous

          It has been my personal experience that it is generally men who get very ardent at the beginning when they think they have found “the one”, then gradually pull back should they find their beliefs about the woman are misplaced. I guess that fits into what you say about men and their “qualifiers”. So if a man is not excited about you at the beginning, it is likely you do not meet his basic requirments and quite unlikely that a woman can change his mind about her.
          For women, I personally think that she must feel some level of physical   attraction for the guy even before she starts looking for deal-breakers. So yes, she wouldn’t necessarily jump at the chance of being a girlfriend at the beginning, but she must still feel that attraction. Of course women do end up with guys they don’t feel physical attraction for, but stay because of his other qualities. Something which men almost never do. However, I truly wonder at the strength of such relationships, where the women claim to love the man for his good qualities, yet find him physically unattractive.

      3. 2.1.3

        I don’t think so. If you don’t know someone how can you totally know if you want them to be your boyfriend?

        I have learned my lesson about instant crushes and weary of people who want to jump into things.

        I don’t think it should take forever but I think it’s a good idea to get to know someone. A little.

  3. 3

    Thanks for the great advice, Evan. I’m happy I found your blog. Have gone out with a guy a few times and though he says he really likes me, I’m waiting for him to bring up exclusivity before even THINKING about having sex with him. Your right that it’s so much easier this way! Great advice <3

    1. 3.1

      I’m in a similar situation. I met this really nice guy about 2 months ago. We’ve been out a few times, and he says he enjoys our time together when we go out and I really enjoy my time with him. I know he’s been going on other dates. He’s told me he’s had bad relationships in the past so I think he just wants to be sure of what he wants. I do too, so I understand where he’s coming from.


      I really do like this guy so I do care a bit that he’s seeing other girls, but since we’re not exclusive what right do I have to say anything? As the article says though maybe I shouldn’t drop everything for him until he starts acting like my boyfriend. That’s some pretty good advice and I never thought of it like that. I don’t want to pressure him into anything. I think the 7-8 date thing is the way to go. It seems like the right amount of time to bring up exclusivity.

      1. 3.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        Don’t bring it up until you discuss sex. If you’ve already has sex, ummm, you’ve lost your leverage.

        If you’ve only been rounding the bases, and he pressures for sex give him the “I don’t have sex unless I’m in an exclusive relationship” speech.

        But don’t bring up “where this is going” unless he pressures for sex or he brings it up. Assume it’s NOT going anywhere until he brings it up.

        So make sure you keep dating other guys as long as he doesn’t bring it up.

        Either he will or one of the other guys you’re dating will.

        1. Jane

          That is true about losing leverage……

  4. 4

    I totally agree with Evan’s advice.   If only I had read something like this three years ago, it would have saved me a lot of grief.   I know now if the guy freaks over the exclusive talk, then he’s not the ONE for you and move on ASAP.   The longer you stay and play the waiting and hoping game, the more it will hurt!   Love yourself enough…Men actually respect you more if you do!  

    1. 4.1
      Peter Griffin

      This is the genius type of thinking you can expect in America. Might as well ask it on the first date or put it in your profile.   Add in your income requirements, how many babies you expect right away and such because if he won’t bother with you, it wasn’t the right guy.

      1. 4.1.1

        Ladies on here for advice, please ignore Peter Griffin @ 4.1 He is clearly being ridiculous because nowhere is anyone saying you need to bring these thing up on the first date. That’s usually what people do when they have no legitimate opposing argument.

        However, absolutely make sure you clarify what a guy wants out of the encounter BEFORE you sleep with him. You will never regret this I promise.

      2. 4.1.2

        your basically asking for marrige before sex…
        Men want to get to know you… be close, feel connected…
        If you hold back… they will move on…
        Because you will allways use it as leverage from that point on..
        Sex is not leverage or a transaction…
        You either want and enjoy it… or want leverage
        Its not something you “have over a man”…
        If you want him to jump through hoops… then you are seeking payment… and we know what that makes you..
        Sex is beautiful…
        Leverage…. I feel sorry for you that use it as such.

  5. 5

    My ex fiance, who I broke up with twice across 2 years would immediately start up on match and seriously date in the two month make up with me, work his way back into my life and house.   By the third and last breakup at the three year mark which he facebook his devastation there were half a dozen “friends” vying to comfort him…while he was still trying to get the ring back on my finger.   Ladies, ladies, ladies….giving up sex way to soon in dating charming, nice, fun men isn’t going take him your boyfriend.

    1. 5.1

      Did I date your ex fiancé lol? But seriously there are so many men like this online.   One foot in a relationship and one foot out.

      1. 5.1.1
        Effin Biatch

        And ladies, what are you doing to attract them?

        Your energy reeks of unworthiness.

        You deserve better. Here are the steps

        1. You simply look fucking amazing

        2. You date but dont sleep around until you confirm exclusivity

        Yes I know your clit pulses around him, mine does around almost all the boys who have muscles, doesn’t mean I give them sex. If you were at work, would you agree to a receiving goods without getting a confirmation of price, no? So dont do the same with your body.

        It’s a simple conversation, why are you so frightened of confrontation?

        You are bloody worthy! Watch how men will instantly feel your worth by you feeling it first. You have a rule/s (whatever it is -mine is no sex until I get a few things like dinners, gifts & a back rub) and then the talk. By then he is ultra invested in me.

        And the most important part, make sure the sex is to die for.   It’s important to them like romance is to us.

    2. 5.2

      Suzy, the behaviour you described sounds like your ex fiance is a narcissist-triangulation and hoovering you back in. Google it, you will find it fascinating

  6. 6
    Bella Rainha

    Great advice Evan however I have been dating a man since June and I’ve met his parents and two of his friends. We used to see each other quite often and on the weekends too until quite recently. I thought we were exclusive but we never had the talk until 1-2 weeks ago and he confirmed we are exclusive. However lately he’s mentioned that he’s on a self discovery journey and wants to travel and possibly relocate so tonight I asked him where that left us?   Well this man who was consistently seeing me broke it off and we are now according to him just friends. He doesn’t want anything serious with me even though he was consistent in his actions and in wanting to see me so sometimes we sleep with a guy thinking one thing and it’s not and it can be confusing and deceiving.  

    Oh and just because a guy says you are exclusive does not make him your boyfriend as you can see in my case.  

    1. 6.1

      oh my gosh, Bella, I’m in exactly the same situation, although we’ve been together almost 2 years. Still alking about what we’re doing, and Evan’s given me a lot if good things to think about. Good luck to you!

    2. 6.2

      I believe you are confusing the term “boyfriend”.. No title- boyfriend, husband, etc  gives an assurance of forever.   People do breakup and that is ok.   I am sorry for your pain but he decided that he no longer wanted to be together.   That is a risk we all take when we open ourselves up to another.   Good luck…

  7. 7

    It’s really easy to fall head over heels with someone seemingly so compatible, especially with the nature of on line where you are approached by everyone and his dog. Boyfriends step up to the plate, are consistent in their attentiveness. You have no idea whether this dude is a wannabe bf or not. You’ve been with him what?, maybe 24 hours or less in total? At this point, the horse has indeed left the barn and you can either have “the talk” or wait and see. Either way emotionally prepare yourself because it may not work.

    1. 7.1

      I never had this happen to me the OMG guy that was my soulmate totally perfect until recently online at 28 years old and it turns out the guy was a narcissist.   I’m not saying that to bad mouth him.   I mean he had the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder which I discovered based on my own education a few months in and after a few of his other women reached out to me.    Everything was a lie.   He was not my soulmate he just made it all up.   So like Evan says be careful with that instant chemistry it’s usually a red flag and there are a lot of these sociopaths floating around on online dating it’s like a candy store for them,

  8. 8
    Karl R

    Sarah asked: (original letter)
    “We met two weeks ago.”
    “Should I have the ‘defining the relationship’ conversation with him or should I wait and allow things to evolve more?”  

    You met two weeks ago. What relationship? You’re barely acquainted with each other, and you’ve had sex. And you’re becoming infatuated with him. That pretty much defines your relationship.

    If a woman whom I met two weeks ago tried to “define the relationship,” I would start wondering whether she was my future stalker.  

    If you’re not sure by the three month mark, then you should bring up the conversation in order to clarify where you stand. Until then, let his actions do the talking.

    Sarah asked:  (original letter)
    “He still has his online dating profile up and checks it regularly”  

    He’s keeping his options open for now. That seems clearly defined to me.  

    Wendy said: (#4)
    “I know now if the guy freaks over the exclusive talk, then he’s not the ONE for you and move on ASAP.”  

    Most men will freak if you try to have that talk two weeks after you first meet. (So will most women.)

    Androgynous said: (#2.1)
    “I am of the school of belief which says a guy must totally want to be your boyfriend right at the beginning, for the relationship to hold any promise.”  

    He met her two weeks ago. I think your beliefs are a bit unrealistic.

    I dated one woman where it started out as a fling. We both explicitly stated that we didn’t see each other as having long-term potential. I changed my mind around the one-month mark. She changed her mind around the two-month mark. (We had been acquainted 10 months before we began dating.)

    That woman is now my wife.

    For people who start off as strangers, it’s normal to not be sure whether you want the relationship to go anywhere. (My situation was definitely in the “low probability of success” category.)

    1. 8.1

      Lol, I didn’t say I’d have the exclusivity talk after two weeks.   Hell, I wouldn’t have that talk after two weeks, maybe three months and there’s no way I’d sleep with a guy within two weeks of meeting him.   I’m looking for quality not quantity.   The OP obviously has low self esteem…

      1. 8.1.1

        Do you consider sexual chemistry/physical intimacy an important part of attraction? Is it something you want to know if not necessarily right away, then sooner?

    2. 8.2

      Karl is right “2 weeks” in most adults busy lives these days = 2-4 dates tops? Who would promise exclusivity after knowing someone for that amount of time? Unless of course we’re in high school and we’re “going steady”….LOL How old are these 2? Ahhhh kids today! 🙂

    3. 8.3

      @wendy 8.1:
      I agree with most of what u said, my comment #3 said some similar things, but don’t think there’s a need to snidely say she has low self-esteem. I’m sure she feels troubled enough by the situation and hopefully she doesn’t make this mistake again.

      I don’t necessarily say it’s low self esteem though very possible; it’s also possible it’s the influence from her peers or others making women think this is normal…even for other women who don’t jump in bed so fast, some have arbitrary timelines like ‘sex on the 7th date’ or basically 6 weeks or so…I think following evan’s advice is better–wait till he’s ur boyfriend. Kinda sad that that’s regarded as being ‘different’ these days huh. 🙂

      1. 8.3.1


        I agree with you that it’s not necessarily that she has low self-esteem. In fact for any woman who sleeps with a man who is not her boyfriend it is not necessarily that she has low self-esteem. There are many different kinds of relationships nowadays, and many different shades of commitment. As others have said, very few people are comfortable with someone being their committed boyfriend/girlfriend after two weeks. That said, in those early days it’s not always easy to know where you stand, and things can be confusing. The best thing to do is wait it out for a little while longer.

        Some women make the decision to sleep with men who are not their boyfriends, and there is nothing wrong with their self-esteem, because they can handle the more casual nature of it. I have done this, and it was actually an enjoyable, fun way to spend time whilst I was not looking for anything more serious. Likewise, there are women who wait for a certain number of dates before sleeping with a guy, or who wait until a guy is her boyfriend, who still end up getting left or heartbroken. It’s such an individual thing, and making the best choice for you as an individual is what determines your self-esteem, not an arbitrary standard set by someone else.  

        1. Lisa

          I am a woman that does not do this but it is certainly expected by 99% of men these days dating has changed a lot in the recent years and not for the better.   Reading this as a frequent dater I did not at all assume she had low self esteem.   I presume she caved to the normal sexual innuendo and pressure that guys usually start in on on the first date.    Typical goes like this great date with gentleman who pays is courteous and asks you back to his place you decline.   Seems fine calls during the week sets up date the random text during the day asking what you are wearing or if you like oral sex trust me this is the norm.

      2. 8.3.2

        I wasn’t being snide in saying she has low self esteem.   I was being honest.   If I have to question whether to have the “talk” after I’ve slept with a man, I would gather my self esteem is lower than I thought it was.

    4. 8.4

      I realise that not every relationship works the same way so I specifically said it was my own personal belief.   In my personal experience,  I have not encountered people having flings and then falling in love with their flings later. Certainly this does not mean it can’t happen as your own experience proves – just my observation that is doesn’t happen often, if at all. It could be the case that you really felt “hot” for your fling, but made the deliberate decision not to pursue something serious for a variety of reasons. The point I’m trying to make is that if you have never felt “hot” for a person at the beginning, then it is not likely you ever will.

      1. 8.4.1

        Hot sounds like another word for chemistry, which isn’t a good measure of anything in terms of long term relationships. I’ve had hot chemistry with several women over the course of my adult life. Not a single one ended up being a good long term match. With every woman I have had a long term relationship with, there was what I’d call a “medium” level of heat present from the beginning. Something that, over time, became more “hot.” So, I’d argue that if there’s little or no “heat” present in the beginning, it’s probably a dead end. However, the opposite – really hot right away – tends to also be a dead end in my opinion.

    5. 8.5

      The most logical reply ever! so what to do now? how long we should wait till he decide to be exclusive? I think it is selfish of us women to want exclusivity from the man even if we don’t feel like it from us!

  9. 9

    For the life of me, I do not understand why it seems more difficult to bring up the exclusive talks but easier to have sex with the guy. I would think it should be the other way around but I digress…

    I have been there once where after two weeks, the guy and I spent so much time together and things moved so  fast that you felt like you knew him longer. The infatuation can be intoxicating.

    However, it is ALL an illusion.  You cannot possibly know much about  who he REALLY is at that time. You have  only seen his good natured side, the  ‘perfect’ side.   I would advise you not pursuing a relationship at this point because you don’t know him enough. All you feel are the chemical reactions.   I would simply say, ‘hey,    I am not into playing games and I dont want you to think as such but I feel like I moved too quickly to sleep with you and would like tocontinue to  get to know you   better and after being exclusive –  if that is what you want in the future – we can go onto being intimate again.’        But if you are sleeping with the  guy, you have a right  to know what he is thinking.   Then again, I am straightforward that way.

    1. 9.1

      I think the biggest reason what you say is true is we believe (true or not) that he will definitely bolt if we have the talk, but if we have sex, there is a chance it will turn into a relationship.   That is my best guess anyway.

      1. 9.1.1


        And I would venture to respond by saying that if he bolts after the talk AND after he has had sex with you, then there is your answer. “The talk’ should not make a  man who is truly potentially interested in you bolt, assuming you do not turn into an insane pile of mess.  

    2. 9.2

      Stacy, I never, ever sleep around and cannot separate sex from commitment, but I,like the OP, find it VERY hard  to have the exclusivity talk (a lot of people do, which is why Evan gives us scripts).

      For various reasons:  it can freak guys out if not handled well, it can be hurt their pride if not handled well, it can make you seem clingy if not handled well, it can make you seem like a stalker/ bunny boiler / crazy woman  who wants to get married & have babies tomorrow/etc etc. and on it goes. In the past I’ve had the ‘talk’ and the guy comes up with some response that I never would’ve expected, or one I find hard to answer, then you look like you don’t have it together, or you’re faltering, or don’t know what you want etc.

      If you’re lucky enough to be able to have this talk easily and without any qualms or concerns, more power to you, but please don’t downplay the importance of handling this well, or shame people who find it difficult.

  10. 10

    I also think two weeks is too early to have a discussion of the type “where we stand”, at this stage I think it is better to let things develop organically and see whether his   level of interetest in you will contunue/grow/diminish, but also think carefully about your own level of interest in him.
    Is your profile up as well? If you see his is up, he probably sees yours is up too. Right this moment he might be wondering whether you are meeting other men besides him.   But it is too early to lay all your cards on the table, for either of you, and as Evan advises, you are in a safer place if you  let him, as the man,  initiate, and you just say “yes”.   It is his job to make sure he is your boyfriend, not yours.

  11. 11

    One thing I have learned that makes romantic and other relationships easier, and I think Evan teaches in a roundabout way, is that when you’re free from you, you’ll be free from everyone else too. 😊

    1. 11.1

      Starthrower, What do you mean by “when you’re free from you, you’ll be free from everyone else too”?

  12. 12
    Karmic Equation

    @Wendy et al

    “Sense of personal worth and ability that is fundamental to an individual’s identity. Family relationships during childhood are believed to play a crucial role in its development. Parents may foster self-esteem by expressing affection and support for the child as well as by helping the child set realistic goals for achievement instead of imposing unreachably high standards.Karen Horney  asserted that low self-esteem leads to the development of a personality that excessively craves approval and affection and exhibits an extreme desire for personal achievement. According to  Alfred Adler’s theory of personality,  low self-esteem leads people to strive to overcome their perceived inferiorities and to develop strengths or talents in compensation.

    You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to.

    I would interpret that women who believe they have “high self-esteem” by NOT sleeping with a man when she really wants to is “compensating” for her inability to handle a man not wanting a relationship with her after sex. So, I would interpret that a woman who “must be” in a relationship to have sex as having lower self-esteem than women who are capable of having casual sex. A woman who can have casual sex does not define her self-worth by having a man “stay” after sex. She has no fear of him walking away. She’s not going to be “heartbroken” if he doesn’t call. She doesn’t have to “develop the strengths” to control her sexuality to compensate for her fear of abandonment.

    If you believe you have high self-esteem because you DON’T have casual sex, I’d challenge you and say you have lower self-esteem than someone who can.

    It’s all in the interpretation folks. Please decouple self-esteem from casual sex. One has nothing to do with the other.

    1. 12.1

      I don’t necessarily agree with Wendy, but I only agree with you to a point.   We should keep self-esteem separate from when a womandecides to have sex. However, I just get out there right off the bat that I will not engage in FWB or sex outside marriage.   My self-esteem isn’t suffering either. I have no problem being rejected for that.

    2. 12.2


      I tend to love your posts but I have to completely disagree with you.   While I don’t think casual sex (or non casual sex) is  not necessarily an indicator of low or  high self esteem…many women are not into casual sex as readily as men are (read, the female brain and google scientific studies and it will come up…too many to reference),  because women are wired  differently.  Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Some women are into it but the MAJORITY of women aren’t. That is why you rarely hear men lamenting about this kind of thing.    

      The OP is clearly not comfortable with the arrangement, hence I would propose that she is not into casual sex without committment. Since this is so,  it would lead me to believe that if  her self esteem (defintion: confidence in one own’s worth or abilities, self respect) was healthy, she would not have a problem bringing up the issue.      

      The fact that you can have unemotional casual sex has absolutely nothing to do with  you having a higher self esteem.   It just  means you can have unemotional casual sex.   If a woman is enduring this and knows it is not for her but she does it anyway because she is afraid of bringing up exclusivity and hence, losing the man, then yes, her self esteem  is lacking.        

      1. 12.2.1
        Karmic Equation

        Hi Stacy,
        I KNOW that being able to have casual sex has NOTHING to do with having higher or lower self-esteem. That being the case then the OPPOSITE is ALSO true, i.e., REFRAINING from having casual sex doesn’t mean that a woman DOES have higher self-esteem. THAT is my point. Self esteem and the ability–or not–to have (or refrain) from casual sex or committed sex or any other kind of sex, has NOTHING to do with self-esteem, high, low, or medium. That was my point.
        As to having “unemotional” casual sex…you are quite wrong. I’m quite into the guy when I’m having casual sex with him. I just may, or may not, be that into him AFTER sex. The reality is that MOST women can feel/behave like this, but most women are indoctrinated to feel that they’re being “unemotional” or “bad girls” if they simply enjoy sex for sex sake. They “must have” some emotional bond to “justify” lusty sex. That is just silly.
        Just as most men have the capacity overcome their biological need to “spread their seed” when they’re ready to commit, we women also have the same capability to overcome our biological need “to bond” if we want to remain uncommitted. The problem is that most women either don’t want to, or don’t choose to, to remain uncommitted after sex.
        It’s extraordinarily liberating to be able to separate love from sex. It’s ideal when you can have them together with one person. But when you can love many and have sex with others, there’s no pressure to find “the one” and you’re free to take all the time you need make a decision. And you’re free to dump whoever whenever. Doesn’t mean it’s easy when you grow to love them. But not every person is worthy of the “death til you part” kind of love. No woman should be giving THAT love to ANY man until he’s truly worthy…and that takes a few years to determine. Long after sex has become part of the relationship.

        1. Stacy


          Okay, I get what you are saying but  I guess we have to agree to disagree with certain points. I do not believe  MOST women can be like this. And I don’t believe MOST women would be happy with enjoying sex just for sex sake and I  think there is nothing wrong with not wanting it to be that way.   In fact, I see no advantage to detached sex.   Okay, so a woman can have sex without feeling emotionally tied…      Even you called it a biological need (as a woman).   In my opinion, there is a reason why we have this biological ‘need’ and it is quite okay for it to be so.    And while I don’t think a woman who can just have random sex does not necessarily have low self esteem, I  do believe that it tends to be that way more often than not because  of a woman’s natural  ‘biological’ makeup (but that is a bit of my own bias talking).

          I know for a fact that I can have  ‘detached’ sex if I so choose.    But for me, there is no fulfillment in it so  while I may not develop an emotional bond, it just won’t do it for   me.

          I do agree with you that every person is not worthy of the ‘death till you part’ kind of love.  But for  ME, if you  don’t have the potential to  be worthy of that,  then you don’t have the potential for me to screw your brains out (and yeah, I give it  my all sister).lol   But again, that’s just me.        And, the fact that you are ‘free to dump whoever whenever’  is not at all empowering.    You can still have an emotional bond with someone you sleep with  with the understanding  that if you are not treated well, you will still dump whoever and whenever.    


        2. Karmic Equation


          I also believe it’s not wrong for women wanting an emotional bond to have sex. I do bond, but I also know I can break that bond and I am not bound to a man by that bond UNLESS I CHOOSE TO BE. Meaning, yes, I will bond to a man through sex. But I can, and will, break that bond if the relationship isn’t working. All women can do this, but they “don’t want to”. They’d rather put it on the guy that he’s stringing them along, yada yada.
          So, if we agree that women have a biological need that they can overcome, e.g., emotional attachment from sex, but she “doesn’t want to”, women have to stop making men “wrong” for “not wanting to” give up their biological need to spread their seed, i.e., sexual freedom. Those are the gender equivalents, the two sides to the same coin. She needs to see that when a man does commit to her, that it IS a gift of great magnitude, not to feel “entitled” to it, because overcoming a biological need is difficult, that’s why women don’t want to do it to try to overcome their bonding. It’s easier to give in to that than to fight it. But I digress.
          You’re still trying to justify your sexual restraint as showing you have higher self esteem. Self-esteem doesn’t come from refraining from (nor indulging in) casual sex or anything else. Being able to refrain from eating ice cream doesn’t mean you have self-esteem. See where I’m going with this?
          In the context of dating, self-esteem comes from whether a woman stays or leaves a relationship that isn’t working for her. If she stays in an non-abusive unhappy relationship, she lacks self-esteem. If she leaves she does. (Domestic abuse relationships are a different animal.)
          If a woman has sex “hoping” it will become a relationship, it simply makes her naive. If she’s unwilling to have the conversation and try to put the horse back in the barn, then she’s either wise or fearful, depending on your perspective. But that’s an indication of (lack of) courage or confidence. Not self-worth, which is what self-esteem is.
          Believing you have high self-esteem simply because you can refrain from casual sex is self-delusional. Self-esteem is demonstrated by how you behave when someone mistreats you. A man not wanting a relationship with (generic) you is not mistreatment. A man having sex with you and then not calling you afterwards is not mistreatment. All it means is the the woman wasn’t clear on what SHE wanted before they had sex. She made her own bed. She needs to own her part in the miscommunication and the outcome. Because HER lack of communication of HER expectations is why what happened happened. A woman has go into sex assuming the man DOESN’T want a relationship, not the opposite. So she has to be clear SHE expects a relationship before she has sex. And if the man dances around the answer, she shows her self-esteem by saying no to sex until he’s clear…because his “dancing around the answer” is a mild form of mistreatment (lying by prevarication).
          We demonstrate our self-esteem by our behavior AFTER being mistreated, not before. That is the simplest way I can explain it. And if a woman allows herself to be continually mistreated–as in a woman who wants marriage, and she’s made her wishes known to her boyfriend of 4 years, and he doesn’t put a ring on it or discuss it? — That woman lacks self-esteem. Not the woman who has casual sex with a guy she thinks is hot. A woman who has “relationship” sex with a rich, ugly dude she doesn’t have the hots for is gold-digger and the guy who lets her do that lacks self-esteem.


        3. Evelyn

          I was in a long term, on again, off again FWB relationship.   I recently ended it, not because I wanted to, but because he flaked out on our plans-something he had done before.   Some might say I had no right to expect otherwise, because he wasn’t my boyfriend.   But I have enough self respect not to be treated that way.   I think that’s an example of self esteem that Karmic is referring to.

    3. 12.3

      This part of the conversation intrigues me because of the clear-cut classifications others seem to see.   I have been in a Friends With Benefits relationship and I’ve had a totally uncommitted fling, so I guess I’m the kind of woman who can separate sex from love, at least when I’m not in love.   Blame it on social conditioning or the number of oxytocin receptors, but I also learned from that FWB relationship that sex does change things for me and I couldn’t continue without growing attached so we went back to being just friends.   I’m dating someone now with whom I wouldn’t dare have casual sex because I wouldn’t be able to keep it casual.   Funny that I’ll be more cautious about having sex with him precisely because I like him more, but that’s how it is. I don’t have low enough self esteem to be ashamed of my “slutty” behavior – society can approve or not and I still feel fine about my decisions – and I don’t have low enough self-esteem to “put out” in hopes of winning a man.  
      So I can see how self-esteem can put women in one camp or the other, but I think both confident and self-doubting women can be act both ways; I can imagine that some women are totally enthusiastic about casual sex while others won’t consider it and still others will play both ways.   The only clear cut distinction for me is between knowing that you and your partner are on the same page and acting on the hopes that it means the same thing to your partner as it means to you.

      1. 12.3.1

        Excellent points Rebecca! Knowing and acting…it happens before, during and after. I guess after is what I’m thinking about now (during is important too 🙂

        Casual sex was a blast when I just loved a lot of sexual experiences with a lot of different people. Most led to does he or doesn’t me relationships, which in some ways I must have liked, given how many sweet guys I passed by. Now, older and divorced, I have refrained from quickies for a few years actually. Sex and ??? relations  in my late forties aren’t  nearly as appealing. That, and I guess I am more relationship than experience oriented.

        I’ve met someone reading the same book as me   and we are taking things slowly to see if we’re truly on the same page, in more ways than bed. It’s nice — it’s given us a chance to explore and learn about one another in so many ways.

        Funny thing is, after so much mental, emotional and physical exploration, I expect to feel free to let go more than I ever have, due to both the anticipation and  knowing that being together sexually is just part of a much longer book.


    4. 12.4

      That used to be me, I never thought twice about sleeping with a man too soon if I wanted to. I just I never doubted myself and I went for what I wanted, which was to have fun, not to make someone more interested in me. However sometimes it was with a man who I actually liked and wanted to get to know better, and it hurt to be ignored after having sex, especially if it was the having sex too soon that made him lose his respect for me – even though I had respect for me. Those experiences opened my eyes that regardless of your self esteem as a woman, a man might miss your value, incorrectly judge you, or lose interest if you sleep with him too soon – even if you are interesting, selective, and attractive (like I am, not to be arrogant). I recently changed my behavior to make a man wait for sex, and even though it goes against the grain of my personality and desires, it’s lead to better long-term situations/hooking up. I’m not necessarily looking for a relationship, I like casual sex and getting to know someone over time without being exclusive, but I hate one-night stands if there’s even  a little part of me that is curious to learn if we’re compatible. I’ve learned it’s really about how you portray yourself that matters; it’s the awareness of how your actions will be percieved, regardless of the intent behind them. Which is why what you’re saying about confident women doesn’t add up. We just end up being misunderstood.

      1. 12.4.1

        I couldn’t have said it better Katherine 12.4!!

        After relaxing and getting to know myself since my divorce, I’ve survived five years (!!)   of very little contact of any kind (save for a few quickies here and there with men I had no interest in knowing further). I’ve had some silly dates, some men interested more than I. I’m three weeks into seeing a man I met online and we’re taking it slow and learning about one another and our potential for a real relationship. It’s awesome. We’re enjoying each other tremendously and the anticipation too. I’ve always had sex first with future boyfriends. I’m twice as old as I was when I met my ex husband, and finally feel like I’m going about this the right way. Wait for sex and the relationship will define itself. Have sex early and it defines the relationship with very little foundation for long term stability. It’s nice to understand that, finally…

  13. 13

    Should I Bring Up “Being Exclusive” Or Just let it Happen?

    Yes and No.  
    Yes, if you need exclusivity before sex keeping in mind your emotional make up.
    No, if you can handle sex without commitment and just let things organically develop.

    The latter happened with my now boyfriend. Albeit, I do not like uncertainty and prefer to be exclusive before sex, lust got the best of me. I slept with my boyfriend 2nd week into getting to know each other phase. I couldn’t take it back. What’s done was done. I went back into the drawing board. He is hot, funny and we have great chemistry. I chose to implement Project Passionate Detachment coupled with Mirroring (thanks Mr. Katz!). I went about my life. I am very outdoorsy and spontaneous. The Boyfriend texts and calls if he could keep me company with my road trips, kayaking plan, running, hiking, cycling, etc. I didn’t spend time analyzing where things are going. I live in the present without expectations. One day, he addressed me as his Girlfriend. I smiled. He asked if I am okay with it. I jokingly replied, I am a Ninja. Ninjas are chill :))

    My 2 cents. Live in moment. And let the chips fall where they may. N.


  14. 14
    Ms. SeaSalt

    This is just my perspective and personal opinion, but why do people — esp women, make talking to a man about whether or not you are exclusive before having sex SO difficult?    Maybe it’s a generational thing?   I’m currently in my mid-30s and I’ve never had an issue or problems having the exclusivity/are we boyfriend-girlfriend talk.   But I’ve been having these kinds of talks with boys/men since I was in high school, so to me it’s not that different when you’re an adult.   In high school, my girl friends and I knew that you don’t make-out with a boy unless you know for sure he likes you and he wants to be your boyfriend.   Otherwise, he might have shown interest just to fool around with you but never meant anything and immediately   moves onto the next girl once he gets bored, loses interest, etc.

      I’ve carried the same philosophy throughout my 20s and even when I met my Fiancé.   I’ve met plenty of losers and a$$holes who were interested in one thing, but putting them through a similar screening process like I employed when I was 16 with boys asking me to the dance, movies, etc has helped me never to put myself in a position where I’m sleeping with the guy but have no clue where I stand with him.    Just as I was warned a hundred times from my parents (esp dad) when I was 16 that I need to be careful about boys whenever I went out, why doesn’t the same caution and advice apply when we are adults?  

    To me OP’s situation is very similar to what we knew/were told when we were young.   You do not give up your goodies to a boy until he shows you through his consistent behavior that he is serious about you and he officially declares (in public) that he is your boyfriend.  

  15. 15

    Actually, this would freak me out if a man started pressing for exclusiveness so early in the “relationship”.   At the risk of sounding rude, most men (and women) will have sex if they want to, and neither of you (if I am reading this correctly) said you were exclusive, so why should he change now, just because you had sex with him?
    Don’t sleep with a man too quickly if you can’t just walk away when he doesn’t text you/flirt with you at the same rhythm.   He doesn’t have to any more, does he?

  16. 16

    I guess I never realized how insecure and naive young women are in dating and sex with alpha-males. First red flag, she’s only known the man for 2 weeks, and is sleeping with him. 2nd red flag, he still has his profile on a dating site. 3rd red flag, HE does not want exclusivity. Sarah, stop being so insecure and naive, he is a player, and will sleep with you and sleep/date other women.   Now, this is a very “Hippie/Free Love” society we live in, and I think young girls want to be seen as Liberal, Open-minded, and Sexually Appealing.   There is nothing wrong with promiscuity and she shouldn’t fear society judging her for having pre-marital sex. At the same time, if she expects commitment from a guy, then she shouldn’t sleep with him after 2 weeks without HIM SAYING he wants a commitment – that just seems Obvious.   Girls just LOVE PLAYERS and want to believe they can TAME THE PLAYER and marry the bad-boy eternal bachelor george clooney types. She is naive and needs a wake-up call, guys on dating sites want FREE SEX without making the long-term commitment. What she is really asking is “How can I keep this alpha bad-boy from leaving me?”   There are a lot of Players out there who want Free Sex, it is up to the woman to demand exclusivity, and be emotionally prepared for him to leave her. Of course, if the girl is rich and beautiful, then a guy would want to marry her after 2 weeks.   Otherwise, wait 4 weeks until deciding you want to be exclusive and have that talk.  

  17. 17

    I gotta go find Evan’s list of 8 things a guy must do to be your boyfriend.   The man I’m seeing isn’t seeing anyone else, spends every weekend with me, and started introducing me to his friends a couple months ago, but he certainly doesn’t call me every day.   Haven’t gotten all the way to sex yet, but I really want to – not because I think it will solidify the relationship, but his touch is so comfortable and he smells so good!   Yeah, yeah, chemistry…

    1. 17.2

      This is still hard to parse out, ’cause some of these criteria can only be seen in hindsight.   That is, a guy has to be my boyfriend before he’s sleeping with me regularly if I’m gonna wait to have sex with him until he’s my boyfriend.   He does make plans to see me immediately after (or by the end of) each time we see each other; he’s invited me out every weekend since before I started thinking of us as a couple; he doesn’t contact me daily, which feels like a huge disconnect by the middle of every week; I doubt he’s calling himself my boyfriend; he hasn’t said he wants to be exclusive, but as Evan described in the blog above, we both know each other’s schedule well enough to know we are, de facto, exclusive even if that wasn’t a deliberate decision; I haven’t slept with him yet, but I’m pretty clear that he’s offering; he talks about a future; he hasn’t said, “I love you.”   So only 3 out of 8.   Maybe this is a case of my seeing what I want to see, but I’m reading this as he’s not my boyfriend yet.

    2. 17.3

      Hi, Rebecca. If your guy’s not calling you everyday, are you two keeping in touch with one another via text or email?

      1. 17.3.1

        Nope. We go days at a time without any contact at all. Last night we solidified plans for this coming long weekend (when I will get to enjoy his undivided attention for three days straight). Now that that’s settled, I’d actually be surprised if I heard from him again before we meet up Saturday morning. Whatever, he’s up to 6 of the 8 criteria when we’ve been dating just over two months; I’m not stressing about it.

        1. J

          Hey, Rebecca. I hope that he calls you more eventually. It sucks when you hear nothing but crickets between dates. I’ve been there so I can empathize.

          I’ve been seeing this guy for the last two months, and he’s been treating me very well. This is the best relationship that I’ve ever been in, and sometimes I need to pinch myself. We keep in touch everyday. He calls me on most days when we don’t see each other (I initiate emails and calls now too, but he still does most of the calling). He picks me up for our dates, offers to treat me, opens the door for me, etc. – a classic gentleman. We seem to be highly compatible. But most importantly, he’s consistent, kind, sensitive, communicative, and a good listener. I hope to write a testimonial for you down the road, Evan. 🙂

          Rebecca, I wrote what I wrote above because I’ve learned that it is possible to find someone who communicates in the ways that you prefer – if this is important to you. That being said, I hope that he communicates with you more, soon!

          P.S. If you want to, you can send him an email/text to say hi, I’m thinking about you, update him on some news, or include a link to some interesting video you saw. Maybe this will get the email/text communication habit going. It really shouldn’t take that much prompting to get an interested guy to respond (my two cents based on my own experience). If he doesn’t respond to your email or responds but doesn’t initiate emails later … well, you now have more information about him. I think Evan says not to initiate communication in the beginning of the courtship so that you can see how much effort a guy put in to date you (please correct me if I am wrong, Evan). But you’ve been seeing each other for 2 months, right? One email/text probably won’t mess things up. But honestly, if he doesn’t communicate between dates, well, he probably doesn’t want to. I wonder whether it’s worth even having the “I’d like you to call/text me more” conversation (I had this conversation with another guy – didn’t work). Good luck, and keep us updated!

      2. 17.3.2

        Thanks for your warm wishes, J. It does feel good to have people cheering for me to be happy.

        I have the distinct impression that crickets between dates is just part of the deal with this guy for whatever reason and I’ll just have to decide if I can live with that. I have initiated contact a few times, and I did suggest that I’d be happy to hear mundane news of his life midweek, and those moves on my part didn’t change his behavior.

        I won’t claim this is the best relationship I’ve ever been in – my ex-husband still holds that record. I think the three hour commute and child custody commitment just means that things with my current crush will develop however well they develop at just a much slower pace, and I guess I’m okay with playing wait and see.

        I’m glad you’ve found someone who is so good to you! It’s reassuring to be reminded just how many great men are out there.

        Be well.

  18. 18

    It’s tough to have that exclusivity talk, everyone feels vulnerable doing so, men or women alike. But it has to be done. More importantly is that you know what you want and stick to it.  

    I think most women still do link sex with love while men can still differentiate it better. So it makes sense for a woman to consider taking this step more carefully than a guy.  

    The right guy will get on board or move on. Stop thinking what he wants and focus on what YOU want. I have come to realise men will take the easy way out when there is. As in if he can have his cake and eat it too, he is thinking why not?  

    The earlier you address this, the earlier you can eliminate the wrong man so it is less emotional investment for you. Get your girlfriends or family members on board to provide emotional support if you need it. Ask them to be available to talk or listen to you about it right after you talk to him about it.  

    Good luck!   

  19. 19

    I think guys are reading this ill-thought advice, as they’re doing the same to us, and it’s not such a good idea anymore. Used to be 75% of us got the best 10% of guys, now only 1% of good men will stand for this and pursue the majority of us.- This had left me single for 3 years now.

  20. 20

    I Dont Know Why U said That But exclusive and , BF&GF are not the same things.

    Most Couple are exclusive But its it not backwards compatible . Being Exclusive is just about Being with each other. THat does not mean Romance your dating or anything else it just mean u 2 are together. N no1 else can hop in.. .. People get the terms confused because of that.. Because Most Couple are in the end exclusive.. The word was Created to separate the 2.. Its a lesser commitment . Like Maybe u meet some one and u dont want them Hooking up with every one.. BF& Gf offically dating, being together, committing, and being exclusive . BF&GF is Normally a Deep long connected relationship that Normally well can lead to Marriage its the next step..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *