Exclusive Dating? I Call Bullshit!


Okay. So here’s the situation: Boy meets Girl. They date, enjoy themselves, date some more. Feelings grow, bonds develop, they realize they don’t want to date anyone else. They have a conversation in which they agree that they want to keep dating, they’re only dating each other and no one is going to date anyone else. Therefore they’re boyfriend and girlfriend right?

Wrong. Apparently.

Colour me slow kids because I got schooled on twitter the other day. There I was, minding my own business, thinking that the standard path to relationship status went like this:

talking -> dating -> relationship (which =boyfriend and girlfriend).

Little did I know there’s an extra little step in there called “exclusively dating” that goes between just dating and actually being bf/gf.

Wait, what?

So let me get this straight: I’m dating a man who is not my boyfriend; during which time I’m free to date whomever else I choose. We have a conversation in which we agree that we will no longer be free to date other people, and he’s still not my boyfriend?

That doesn’t even look right. So I took it to the twitterpoll. I asked “If a man & woman are dating & agree that neither of them can date anyone else, does that mean they’re boyfriend and girlfriend?”

Many of the women who responded said yes it’s the same thing. Or it amounts to the same thing. But the vast majority of the men said no it’s not. It’s an “arrangement”, it’s “the precursor to relationship status”, it’s a “probationary commitment”. My timeline was filled with all manner of explanations of the difference between exclusive dating and boyfriend and girlfriend. And although the explanations seemed reasonable enough, something was niggling at me. Until my girl @JC_GoodLife broke it all the way down:

“they want you to put your pussy on ice for them”

As my girl Nick would say, #boomPOW.

As more and more responses from men came in with phrases like “dating without commitment” and “minimal obligations” and “don’t have to feel guilty for not attending family functions” I began to realize what I already knew: Exclusive dating is a bunch of bullshit.

What it basically amounts to a man stripping a woman of her freedom to pursue, date, or fuck other men, with no commitment or title to compensate for it. He’s safeguarded against another man supplanting him while securing the right not to do anything he doesn’t want to do. She’s not free to see other people but he’s not obligated to claim her or consider her in his decision-making process because she’s not his girlfriend.

I’m calling bullshit so loudly on this principle that I’m fucking hoarse.

Check this out: I’m free, Black, and over 21 with neither chick nor child to tend to. I have a lot of freedom and I cherish it to the very depths of my soul. So if I’m giving up my freedom, please believe you are making some kind of commitment to me in return. I wish a motherfucker would try to lock me down while preserving his out clause. I wish he would.

Look you guys know me and you know I wholeheartedly support the notion of non-exclusivity. I absolutely believe it’s possible to happily fuck, date, or be in a relationship with someone sans sexual exclusivity. So there’s really no need to manufacture obligation where none exists. If you’re not ready to be in a relationship, that’s fine. But you have to accept the natural consequence of that – which is you are leaving yourself open to the possibility of getting stole on. That’s just the way the game goes. In order to safeguard against that possibility, you have to make a commitment to the person and accept those pesky obligations that come along with it. It’s one or the other. But this funky exclusive dating horseshit with its attendant grey area is not the move. It basically amounts to putting the pussy on retainer so you don’t have to search for an available hole to push your hard dick in.

Near the end of the twitter discussion the other day I asked “why the fuck would I agree to exclusively date someone who is not my boyfriend?” The answer is I wouldn’t. And neither should you. Because it’s bullshit!

Who feels me on this?


bag lady. digital nerd. beauty junkie. shoe whore. i'm a sucker for big words and box-fresh kicks. know a little bit about a lot of things and have something to say about everything.

Comments 61

  1. MizzCam says:

    What kinda fuckshit? Yeah, I agree that that extra step is entirely pointless. If we’re enjoying all the benefits of a relationship, dammit, we’re in one. This just seems like more games being played. How long does it actually take to decide that you like someone enough to claim them as your bf/gf/so/whatever? If we spend every waking moment together, yet for some reason you’re still hesitant to commit, then we must not be right for each other. We’re getting too old for this.

    I don’t need another hurdle to jump on the way to being in a relationship. That effing race is already long enough as it is. Is this really what we’re on now? Say it ain’t so, Max…

  2. fixedwater says:

    I’m with you that’s some BS. If we are exclusively dating then we are claiming BF/GF status. I don’t know what age group came up with this crap line but it makes no sense to me. iCant with all these new descriptors.

  3. legitimate_soul says:

    I feel you to the fullest. That’s the biggest crock of bullshit. *pronouncing every syllable and drawing it out* Heyall naw!

  4. sardonically_barbed says:

    Well bullshit begets bullshit.
    There was a time long ago where there was no “talking” in that timeline. Instead there was a very short period where introductions were made and one party stepped up and asked for a date. It was polite practice (way back when) to date people in turn (read: one at a time) but now we have this practice of men and women having an orgy of options at any given moment and no real way of knowing if your budding relationship is going through a natural progression.
    So the next manifestation is the clusterfuck described above.
    In the next few years people will be getting married and specifying that they aren’t committed for “x” number of months; until which time they are free to sample wares to verify that the mate they’ve chosen is the right one…or some variant of such.

    1. GirlSixx says:

      “In the next few years people will be getting married and specifying that they aren’t committed for “x” number of months; until which time they are free to sample wares to verify that the mate they’ve chosen is the right one…or some variant of such.”

      *Sweet 6lb 2oz Baby Jesus* Ican’t!!!!

  5. Sageyk3 says:

    Oh, I definitely feel some kind of way about this topic.
    Matter of fact, I refuse to follow anybody who feels differently than you’ve expressed.
    I won’t be reading a mind that thinks it okay to “exclusively date” but not accept that this means you are a couple.
    Being a couple/boyfriend & grrrfriend/married or anything else doesn’t constitute definite future interaction. People die EVERY day. People change their minds EVERY day. They quit, stop caring and just want to change sometimes. So a little thing like a title ain’t really going to stop somebody if they want away from you bad enough.

    All this exclusively dating stuff is extremely immature high school posturing for power to which I offer the people who get involved in such to “GROW UP”.

    Thank you for writing this one up MAX

  6. I usually don’t comment on blogs like this but I had to come out of the rafters for this one. Having exclusively dated my current s/o for two monthhs before making it official, I have a different take on things. It’s only bullshit if you’re dating a bullshitter. For us, it was a time we used to focus solely on getting to know each other without the distraction of dating other people. There were no games, no holding pattern, just us testing the waters before taking the next step. Even if it didn’t lead to a relationship, I wouldn’t have labeled it a fail because a) I enjoyed myself and b) Not every dating experience is meant to lead to a relationship. My advice: don’t be bothered with anyone who would use this as a tactic to keep you in a holding pattern. The arrangement isn’t bullshit. It just gets a bad name when misused.

    1. Most says:

      “I usually don’t comment on blogs like this but I had to come out of the rafters for this one. ”

      Out of sheer curiosity, was the pretentiously high-saddittyness of that comment intentional or just, kind of a Freudianly poor choice of words???

      1. Sageyk3 says:

        Goin’ IN!

        1. Most says:

          Easy there… not going in, just curious.

          1. Teflon Mom says:

            *snickers in the background*

      2. Larry says:

        I interpreted it as she doesn’t comment on blog topics such as this (relationship/bf/gf dynamic/titles, etc..)…not this kind of blog site as a whole. So it didn’t really come off as high-saddity to me, but I can see how one can view it as such. Hell, maybe I’m wrong, but that’s just how I initially ready it *shrugs*

        1. Most says:

          Gotcha… could totally just be me.

      1. Pardon me for being unclear, but I don’t usually comment on relationship blogs. Not usually my thing.

        1. max says:

          Well then I guess I should thank you for making an appearance today.

  7. Novelty718 says:

    I just ended my exclusivity dating contract with someone…While I had no problem dating only him I wasn’t seeing him. He was busy with work and busy with his kids and wasn’t making anytime for me. So for me to sit on the back burner made no sense. I do believe it can work and has its merits but only if both parties take it seriously. Otherwise it is a waste of someone’s time.

  8. Sam Sharpe says:

    “they want you to put your pussy on ice for them”

    That sounds about right.

    It really shouldn’t matter what you call or label your relationship or your situation as long as both people have the SAME understanding of what’s going on. Dudes working the “exclusively dating” but not yet “boyfriend and girlfriend” are seriously working the fine print. They’re also probably working some girls on the side and want to be able to ease their conscience and ease other women out of the panties while plausibly claiming not to have a “girlfriend”.

    It’s a straight up swindle. Always check the fine print ladies. Always check the fine print.

    1. GirlSixx says:

      Thanks for keepin it real with the ladies.

    2. BP says:

      PLUS 105,546,987,4078054760547067456!!!!!!!

      Thanks for keeping it real Sam!

    3. Larry says:

      Not saying Sam is wrong here, but I find it interesting (and funny, kind of) that when a man poses an opinion that lines up with what women hypothesize to be true, per se, they’re “keeping it real”, but when it’s not a popular opinion or one that doesn’t line up to the woman’s then the man is “frontin” or “being fake/lying”. (Yes, I’m fully aware men do this, too).

    4. keisha brown says:

      *makes it rain in the collection plate

  9. Iri says:

    and the choir said “AMEN!”

  10. Sageyk3 says:

    Can I just say how much I hate that people defend this position as if it were a valid position to defend? Okay, said.

    You cannot establish an intermediary position “just because”. WTF. Either you are a couple that dates or you aren’t. This ain’t complicated. It ain’t rocket science either.

    Like Royce Da 5’9″ said “If you tell me that you like my music again…we go together! Hi Rihanna.”

    Bye Rihanna!

  11. Reecie says:

    We discussed on twitter Max. I DO agree you’re not automatically bf/gf until the conversation is had and the agreement is made to be exclusive. But regards to “exclusive dating” I’ve done it, quite a few times and I don’t have an issue with it if I made the choice to only see him and even if he’s done the same with me–my issue is if we are having a conversation discussing “lets date exclusively” it seems to me we’d just be having a conversation saying “lets BE in a exclusive relationship” instead. In my world.

    The decision I make to date one man is not a mutual one, its an individual one. If I like him best, I like him best but until we have the conversation to be exclusive (TO ME, exclusive means relationship) I’m open to meeting someone else and dating them also…

  12. Most says:

    There was a time when my wife and I were in the ‘dating’ stage -before any conversations had been had about the future of our relationship- where I was actively dating and being intimate with other women. Then we had the conversation and became an actual item. About a year into being together, somehow the conversation about when we stopped seeing other people came up. I said – when we decided to be an item. She was a bit surprised by that because she had stopped long before.

    I say that to say, there is stage prior to being an item but in between just dating and I can understand wanting to have a conversation around it so that everyone’s on the same page. It avoids the kind of situation we ran into (which was really nothing in the long run but still). I think the important part is the expectation. Now, if I were a guy dating a girl so great that she made me stop dating other girls despite the fact that I’m not yet ready for a full blown relationship with her, I would probably tell her that I’m not seeing anyone else, but I wouldn’t ask or expect her to do the same until I was ready to actually offer her commitment.

  13. Grace says:

    Girl, you constantly hit the nail on the head. Max, youre hot. Be my girlfriend.

  14. Meteorman says:

    You’re reaction to this is justified. its basically an imposed and titled gray area.

    I know commitment is scary sometimes but people have this notion by the time its called a “relationship” you need to ready to go 100mph. that’s The reason why people have that ‘less responsibilities’ excuse. Personally, we might not be at a point to alternate holidays visiting each other’s families on day 1 and that’s ok. We’re committed yo. WE will get there chill. Leave some room for improvement.

    1. Reecie says:

      exactly! being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to do all those things all at once. it means you work towards those things, with healthy communication you decide the path together.

  15. Flyy says:

    *waving my MLK church fan all over this here post*

    This is just another one of those grey area relationships that I refuse to participate in. I’ve done my fair share, had enough… I’m over it. I can see (as Skinny Black Girl said) how it could be beneficial to spend more time and get to know someone you are with if you were both actively seeing other parties before becoming an item. It could be an added bonus if warranted BUT you have got to know your audience. And a lot of the men we are dating out here *smh* will use this just as you outlined… for bullsh*t.


  16. DjESQuared says:

    IDK about the “knowing the pussy is on ice for them” business because at any given stage of a relationship or even a marriage that can change because shit happens. People have affairs and people cheat. Thats the world we live in.

    Theres a reaon the “exclusive dating” stage exist. Folks get out of relationships and after dating a few people, meet you and you are the only person they want to spend time with. They then begin to see you exclusively. For the sake of argument lets say the individuals involved arent having sex,and speding a majortity of their time together, does that make them a couple?

    No, and thats the issue at hand. If you havent been asked, you arent it.The conversation that takes place before youre asked to be the girlfriend or boyfriend is when you define your relationship in that sense. How can there be a “natural progresson” if what defines relationships are decisions on how individuals conduct themselves in relation to others and one another?

    I honestly think until someone actually asks you to be their signifigant other you arent.

  17. GirlSixx says:


    I can no longer keep up with all of these different Synonyms/Acronyms for open relationships anymore, because if you really think about it (FwB, Jumpoff, Bed Boo,Fcuk Buddy,Special Friend, Rehearsal Chick, and now…. this new new meaning for Exclusively Dating??? WTH) it’s basically just that; an open relationship because basically no strings are being attached, connected or intertwined here.

    I always thought exclusively dating meant JUST ME AND YOU.. but apparently somehow someway the menfolk have found a loophole in that as well therefore robbing women of A Title once again.. *smh*

    1. Sageyk3 says:

      Way to sound bitter… Although, I agree with you, this mess is inane at best.
      I ain’t saying anybody should be about me but do we really live to be a slave to our desires?
      Whatever, this is why I see myself as better than other people. Mess like this. It’s annoyingly ignorant.

  18. RP14 says:

    I agree with you!! I have never even heard of this extra step!!! F@ck sh!t all the way!!

  19. Teflon Mom says:

    Hilarious – please add this to the list of “Bullshit some woman will believe in”. I compare it to work: let’s say you want to work for a restaurant. You see the org chart, and you plan to work your way up the ladder: prep cook, sous chef, master chef. You do an excellent job, the owner compliments you often and speaks of a promotion. But instead of the titles you’re familiar with, he promotes you to “Favorite Onion Cutter” or “Best Sous Chef Ever”. You try to feel warm and cozy, til you find out there is no raise or benefits increase attached to this “promotion”. The owner values your work, just not enough to upgrade your title.

    I’m old enough to remember Talking>Dating>Bf/GF>Engaged>Married. Seems like some out here never get past Dating, but they don’t want to feel like the slow kid left behind in school so they try to make Dating as complicated as possible to make you feel like you’re getting somewhere when you’re really running in place. You can kiss my entire black ass with that. Take “Exclusive Dating”, put in on the pile with “Wifey”, “Baby Girl”,etc. and light a freaking match.

    1. max says:

      You nailed it as usual. This is some bullshit!

  20. ncvirgogal says:

    …..And this is why I am 26 yrs old and never had a boyfriend or been in a real relationship. WTF…I always get stuck in that grey area where you’re more than friends but not exclusive.. I’m told not be upfront with what I want (a relationship) then I’m told to b upfront. Whatever happened to the days of being attracted to someone….going on a few dates to see how you mesh…if you do..try out the sex thing (if you’re comfortable) and then becoming exclusive not long after you realize you mesh well together??? Men…do you want to have your cake and eat it too? Seriously…idgi…it frustrates me bc I get in the gray area..and I stay there..and then I get friend zoned…while it seems they move on and immediately enter in an exclusive relationship almost immediately. WHAT THE FUCK!!! Do white men do this? Do I have to date outside my race to find a man who wants exclusivity with me? Sorry so long but this topic struck a nerve…

  21. josie says:

    “If you’re not ready to be in a relationship, that’s fine. But you have to accept the natural consequence of that – which is you are leaving yourself open to the possibility of getting stole on. That’s just the way the game goes. ”

    And that pretty much sums up all of my thoughts. Exclusive dating is oxymoronic.

  22. La says:

    I purposely stayed outta that twitter convo because like you, I call bullshit on it. It’s just one extra step for commitment phobic men to feel like they are not actually in a relationship, with all the benefits and few of the responsibilities. We are either in a relationship or we aren’t. None of these varying shades of gray. You can miss me on that.

  23. From what I’m reading, there isn’t as much of an issue with the idea of “exclusive dating” as there is an issue with men (or women) using it as a way to get over on the person they’re dating.

    It’s unfortunate that we so often see everything with the frame of “How can someone use this to hurt me,” but let’s be clear: A nigga who’s trying to be slick and get over on you can do so just fine calling you his wife, girlfriend, or whatever other relationship terms everyone is comfortable with. Shades of grey aren’t the problem. Ain’t shit people who take advantage of shades of grey are. But if two people in an exclusive dating situation have outlined the terms of the arrangement and are mutually comfortable with said terms, I don’t see how that’s bullshit. It’s only bullshit when one person wants more and the other is stalling.

    1. ncvirgogal says:

      In my situation(s)…those excuses have been used to stall..I guess using me to pass the time. It’s very frustrating to always be told “hmm…you’re good but just not good enough”..WHAT DOES IT TAKE???

      1. ncvirgogal says:

        double post

    2. max says:

      But really what is this is not hedging your bets? Why is it necessary to add exclusivity to an uncommitted relationship if it’s not to remove the possibility of being distracted by others? What is accomplished by exclusively dating that you can’t accomplish while dating in the traditional sense of the word? I don’t get why this step is necessary.

      My issue with it isn’t so much that I’m thinking of it in terms of how it can be used to play me as I see it as a way of reaping one of the benefits of being in a relationship without making the reciprocal emotional investment. To me that is grossly unfair.

      1. For us, it wasn’t a necessity as much as it just ended up that way. “Oh, you’re not seeing anyone else? Cool, me neither.” And it just went from there. Also, if the two parties involved are giving at the same level, I don’t see how it’s not reciprocal or unfair. I only feel it’s unfair if someone is receiving less than what they actually want. That was never the case.

  24. ncvirgogal says:

    Whatever happened to the days when a dude asked a girl to go steady? And it was a big deal and very romantic? Too Saved by the Bell or Family Matters? Damn…I’m living in the wrong decade.

  25. divinepearlz says:

    FLAG ON THE PLAY @ this type of thinking. As a matter of fact EFF U sir for even thinking that this asinine way of thinking is okay. It is straight BULLSHIT on so many levels. My head hurts thinking about al of the levels. For starters, this double standard shiid has got to stop. You want my snatch to ready, warm and waiting for you at all times yet you can’t even commit to me but I am supposed to commit to you. Yea aiight.

  26. Reine_laGlace says:


  27. Max
    You are a beast ! LOL As usual you broke it down to the bare bones & your rebuttal responses throughout the comments are on point. Like someone said earlier, there is no guarantee in any stage of romantic entanglements. People who are talking, lose interest….every day. People who are dating stop dating….every day. People who are in exclusive relationships break up….every day. People who are married get divorced…..everyday.

    Exclusive = Title & Commitment = Responsibilities & Expectations

    I can’t believe women are going for this. SMH

  28. Cerebral says:

    Let’s be clear here, Max’s position is not the absolute truth unless all guys use this “grey area” for evil. In fact, it’s only “grey” because you ladies don’t like it.

    I AM NOT A MULTI-TASKER. I prefer to get to know one woman at a time…and I’d love to know that you’re doing the same. You women act like the guys dick wouldn’t be on ice either…or I’m sorry, guys are the only ones who play games. Yeah right.

    Women are more likely to be using that grey area if you ask me. Why? It’s simple. Women can cheat without intent. Y’all are quite attractive to men, and whether you have a man or not, you WILL be hit on and asked out. If your Denzel gets to hit, you’d have a way out – “We’re not serious, just exclusive.”

    At the end of the day, each to his own. But don’t act like this is absolutely bad – or the men will absolutely use it badly. That’s unnecessary man-bashing and I seriously doubt you’re the type MAX. Of course, you might be pulling a BEYONCE and writing what your female readers want to hear.

    1. Malik says:

      Why does she (or he since you believe women are more apt to use it) have to live by your rules though? That doesn’t make any sense. If you’re preference is to court one at a time, that’s fine, but no one’s obligated to court with only one person at the time. There isn’t any commitment in that arrangement, so there’s no reason to operate under rules that say you should unless that’s your preference.

      Time is finite. You don’t job hunt by only focusing on trying to interview at one job at a time.

  29. Young Heaux says:

    I think the exclusive dating is real like shit. I wouldn’t just look at it from a dude’s perspective either–it’s good for us women too. Maybe I’m in a place with a guy that I’m dating where *I* don’t want to attend family functions, where I’m not ready to claim that nigga or do that girlfriend shit. However, I’m also gettin those posessive feelings and I just don’t want his shit near anyone else’s coota.

    Especially if you’re starting, or have started to have sex, I think this is a safe alternative if you’re both not ready to get into the bf/gf phase. The relationship can then gradually grow from there. And to be honest, I’m not into fuckin multiple niggas ANYWAYS so it’s not much of a sacrifice.

    Plus, it keeps shit exciting. Prolongs the chase, if you will. Before you start becoming a boring couple.

    1. max says:

      No darling it’s selfish either way. You don’t want obligation but you want to stave off your feelings of jealousy so you require him to be exclusive? I call bullshit all over that.

      And shit should be exciting all on its own. You don’t need to overly complicate your relationship to keep it exciting.

      AND if you’re exclusive, how is the chase prolonged?

      1. Young Heaux says:

        Don’t get where the “darling” came from, but aight. As I was writing a reply, I kind of changed my mind a bit cause I don’t think this stage belongs in a typical dating trajectory or whatever. I see it as something that may work for some, like me (in some cases), but not always for others. Now I’m realizing that people are trying to say that its something we should ALL go through first, and I’m not about that. I think that leaves too much room for triflin niggas to hoodwink chicks into staying exclusive, but not really really.

        However, if both parties are agreeing to that arrangement, and truly want that, I don’t see how there’s anything wrong with it. No “relationship” is the same. And It’s extremely convenient–and not selfish or jealousy-induced. I mean, I’m in my early 20s so I don’t think its that crazy of an expectation to ask the person you’re having sex with to not have sex with other people, even before you officially become a couple. Sure, they’re probably doing it anyway but I don’t think it’s SO unreasonable to expect that if you start really dating regularly.

  30. Valerie says:

    TESTI-FUCKING-FY! I BEEN SAYIN’ IT FOR YEARS!!!! Finally somebody let ’em know….

  31. Amicus says:

    I’m surprised you’ve not heard of this before, given how prevalent half-assed relationships are in the African-American dating scene. IMO, it’s one of the leading causes of chronic singleness in the AA female community. The chick can’t get into the secure loving relationship she desires b/c there’s no room in her life for ANOTHER man. Also, sometimes she deludes herself into thinking that the man isn’t capable of giving her a full commitment. He’s capable…he just isn’t giving it to her. Ladies! Stop settling for less than his all!

    I wrote a whole blog on the chronically single black female here: http://afriendofthecourt.blogspot.com/2012/02/chronically-overconfident-single-woman.html

    check it out!

  32. Jon says:

    So it looks like this is a pretty old post, but i thought it was interesting that it seemed to be based on the “exclusive dating” situation being a male construct. I actually found your post because I was curious about how others felt about exclusive dating because the female I’m seeing now is the one who wanted it before entering into a boyfriend/girlfriend situation. Since you’re so adamant about it being bullshit, does that mean you think she’s putting my dick on ice? Lol… I would love to hear what you think!


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