What makes someone want to be exclusive?

Hey, it’s Demetrius. How’s it going? I wanted to write this post to address a prevailing thought, and a common search term, that leads people to the site:

What makes someone want to be exclusive?

I’ve found that the reason people ask this question is because they’re curious, but also because in some way the person feels that something about them makes people NOT want to be exclusive with them. The question is less “What makes someone want to be exclusive?” and more “What makes someone want to be exclusive,  and why doesn’t anyone want to be exclusive with me?”. Rather than just answering that question, I wanted to dig a little deeper.

Quick aside, when I say “exclusive” what I’m saying is “monogamous commitment to a person”. It’s just my definition though, not some rule of law. The language we use around dating tends to be informed by our own experiences, so your version of exclusive could differ drastically from mine. With that said…

What makes someone want to be exclusive?

What this will come down to on an individual level will vary greatly from person to person, but the reasons can be rolled up into three broad topics:

  • They are ready to commit
  • They want to be exclusive
  • They’re seeing someone they want to be exclusive with

When people want to be exclusive, those three factors are usually there, to varying degrees of enthusiasm. Some people are more motivated by WHO they’re dating than they are by a general feeling of wanting to commit, while others are more concerned with wanting a monogamous commitment than they are with who they might commit with. On one extreme, you have serial monogamists who are only ever looking for exclusivity. On the other end, you have people who hardly ever commit, but would be willing to become exclusive with the right person. We could spend days on end listing out the motivations behind a drive for exclusivity, but let’s move along to…

What makes someone NOT want to be exclusive?

You might be able to guess what I’ll say is the reason why some people don’t want to be exclusive, but let’s go through them anyway:

  • They aren’t ready to commit
  • They don’t want to be exclusive
  • They don’t want to be exclusive with you

Chances are good that if you’re dating someone, and they don’t want to be exclusive, it’s for one of those reasons. Hell, it could be all three reasons at the same time. If they say they’ve got commitment issues, that means that they aren’t ready to commit. If they have doubts about things working between you, they don’t want to be exclusive with you. If they want to commit to you, but date other people, they don’t want to be exclusive. There are countless other variables of course, but what it comes down to is simple: They aren’t ready. They may never be ready. They don’t want exclusivity, or maybe they just don’t want it with you.

Remember: It’s out of your control

Here’s the most important thing to remember: so much of what makes someone want to be exclusive with you is out of your control. If someone isn’t ready to become exclusive, there is no way to prove your value to them, no matter how hard you try. If you’re dating someone who just doesn’t want commitments, nothing you say to them will make them change their mind. How attractive you are, how great a partner you would be, or how great you are in bed, if someone doesn’t want to be exclusively partnered with you, nothing you do is going to change that.

But more important than remembering it’s out of your control is to keep in mind that exclusivity isn’t something that you should have to argue for. If you’re wondering why someone doesn’t want to be exclusive with you, and what you can do to change their mind, here’s a piece of advice: Stop. Who you are today, right at this very moment, is deserving of exclusivity if you want it. Waiting for someone who might be ready one day is going to be a waste of your time. Even if you do manage to convince them of your worth and viability as a partner, how often will you have to re-convince them? Every couple of months? Every year? If someone is “perfect” for you except for the fact that they don’t want to be exclusive with you, they aren’t perfect for you.

What makes someone want to be exclusive, and why they might not want to be exclusive is out of your control. You should focus on trying to find a great match who shares your dating goals. Stop wasting time on people who aren’t ready to be exclusive.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

One thought on “What makes someone want to be exclusive?

  • March 22, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    I love when you tackle topics like this that don’t come from 1 specific person but that we alllllll have likely asked at some point. Way to use that search term data to maximum effect. “Remember: It’s out of your control” is my #1 take away from this post- not as easy to remember as it should be!


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