This Is How Long Men Want To Date Before They Define The Relationship As Boyfriend/Girlfriend

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When To Define The Relationship By Becoming Exclusive Boyfriend & Girlfriend

One of the most common questions I get from both men and women is about when to define the relationship as exclusive, i.e., officially becoming known as "boyfriend and girlfriend."

Personally, I cannot begin to tell you how often I have wondered how long it's "normal" to date before it's safe to call yourself boyfriend/girlfriend.

In every single romantic relationship I have ever been in, I've found myself wondering what our status was at some point toward the beginning. Are we boyfriend-girlfriend? Are we casually dating? Frankly, it can get super confusing super fast.

Of course, we all approach the meaning of exclusivity and commitment differently, and in order to know the status of your own relationship, you have to look to the person you're in a relationship with, not to Google.

But how long. though?????

Even if we all know something like this, that doesn't stop the feelings of impatience and frustration from cropping up when it seems as though nothing is clearly set in stone.

Men and women both get nervous when it comes to entering new romantic relationships, and there's nothing more frightening than putting yourself out there by asking a question when you know there's a chance that you might not like what you hear.

(Well, I guess there are scarier things, but mainly just ghosts and monsters, so I don't think they really count in relation to what we're discussing here today.)

You know that having the big "DTR" conversation, i.e., the one you have when you define the relationship, is something women think about all of the time.

And you know this because you are a woman, and as such, this subject — the "What are we even doing here?" subject — often comes up between girlfriends when they get together and start bemoaning their general life status.

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It might make you feel ever so slightly better to know that women aren't the only ones who feel baffled about when it's the right time to make things official. Men get weirded out by the whole ordeal too!

While lots of men may not seem to be champing at the bit to talk about what scares them in relationships, there is a place on the Internet they retreat to when the time comes to get personal and open up about their feelings: aka, the AskMen subreddit. This forum is a place where men of the Internet can feel comfortable letting down their man buns and sharing their deepest insecurities, concerns and questions about love, and pretty much anything else.

Recently, one man turned to other men on Reddit and asked the following:

"Something I never understood, how long do couples normally wait before being exclusive/labeling the relationship? I have a third date this week with a girl I really like and usually the third date is the date where I get a 'I don't feel a connection' from the girl so I'm a bit nervous. Though I really like her so I'm not too stressed out here. But now I'm just wondering how long to wait before locking it down. I know it's kinda early and I'm not going to do it on the third date, but I just really like her so I'm wondering when to even begin considering and bringing it up."

Here's what 15 men think about how long to date and when to define the relationship as exclusive by officially becoming boyfriend and girlfriend.

Some of what they had to say might prove pretty gosh darn illuminating.

1. When it stops feeling corny.

"My wife still gives me [a tough time] about how back when we were dating, we'd been dating for like two months and finally she was like, 'So are we boyfriend and girlfriend or what?' I wasn't super experienced at dating, but even then asking her, 'Do you want to be my girlfriend?' I felt really dumb and corny. I just assumed once a person was outside of high school that people just assumed these titles one they'd been together a certain amount of time."

2. It depends who you ask.

"If you ask me and my wife when our relationship started, you’ll get July from me and December from her!! I just thought it was on when we saw each other every day and stuff, haha."

3. Once you become a 24/7 item.

"[When] we were at a point where we were hanging out literally every day when we weren't working."

4. Never. Exclusivity is just a myth.

"This whole idea of 'when to be exclusive' is made up by the people going to college thinking that [dating] multiple people at once is somehow equated to being an adult."

5. When you've discussed it and decided together.

"Date as many people as you want, and if that number is one, that's absolutely fine, but it's also not fair to expect the same from the other person until you've had a conversation about it."

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6. Right from the start.

"I would never start a relationship with someone who was still dating other people. Tells me right away that you're not really interested, I'm just entertainment until something better comes along."

7. When you're no longer interested in anyone else.

"I think it really depends on the person! Every time I’ve ever dated anyone that I’ve liked, I’ve pretty much lost interest in talking to anyone else even if we hadn’t officially labeled ourselves 'exclusive'."

8. When it suits your personal style.

"Everyone has their own style of dating. Personally, although I dated quite a few people when I was single, I always made sure to end things with one person before dating the next, or would make sure my partners were aware of our non-exclusivity/exclusivity status before I went on dates with other people or had one night stands. Dating is strange, and I don't understand why you would not talk about your dating preferences right from the start. I always did, although my friends said it was weird to state it so quickly."

9. When you're both on the same page.

"I really think the best answer is that you have to feel out the situation and that there is no right answer that will hold for all situations. Third date generally may be too early but if your relationship seems to be progressing to that point, the only thing to do is have a conversation. Three dates, five dates, five months — you just have to have the conversation with your partner and be on the same page."

10. Once you've gotten to know them (in the Biblical sense).

"I'd say anything after a month of dating is realistic to me. I'd say whenever you're sleeping together it's reasonable to lock down as an exclusive thing."

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11. When you have a shared routine.

"If you're seeing them regularly, you might want to make it exclusive."

12. When you're seriously digging on each other.

"Met my girl last Monday for the first time, and by our fourth date on Thursday we agreed to be exclusive. Honestly this is weird for me as it took a month and like six or seven dates with my first gf to be official. Honestly just enjoying it so much, as the early dating period was so stressful and we pretty much just skipped that."

13. When you can't bear the thought of losing her.

"When I was just starting to see my girlfriend I was also sorta seeing two other women. Nothing really physical, just testing the waters and wanting to find the right person. It got to a point where I knew I wanted to be with her and not the others. Also I didn't want any other guys swooping in to try to take over. So I just one day made my intentions clear. I forget what I said, something corny or stupid like, 'So do you want to be my girlfriend because I'd like to be your boyfriend.' Yeah I cringed, but it worked out."

14. By three weeks in (as long as you're sure they feel the same).

"I normally know three weeks in at the latest if I could see myself in a relationship with someone. If I can't picture it by then I break it off. That said, most people take longer than that to decide, so I wait to bring it up once I'm sure."

15. After 3-4 dates. Period.

"I feel like after 3-4 dates, I either know whether I like you or not. I'm not into dragging stuff out and I won't 'date' someone who needs several months to make up their mind."

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.