When Is It An Appropriate Time to Date Someone Exclusively?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/31/2013 | 01:00 PM EST

Should there be a time limit on when to throw away your single's card?

For many, moving too fast in a relationship is the most common mistake you can make. As beings with a natural desire to be loved, it’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy of dating, particularly when it’s going well, and therefore, decide that it’s time to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.

But the decision to make a relationship official is one that should not be made lightly. By giving someone the title of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend,” you’re not only committing yourself to this one person, but you’re declaring that they’re the ideal candidate for you. But knowing if someone is for you should not be made on a whim. It takes time to develop a deep connection with another person, especially in cultivating a foundation of trust.

But should there be a time limit on when it’s time to turn in your single’s card?

It can go either way. Moving too fast or moving too slow can be disastrous for any dating scenario. Jumping too quickly into a relationship will often find you disappointed should you realize the person you thought you were falling for turned out to be someone else in disguise. But things can go just as sour if one person is dragging the ball on making the relationship official, while the other is eager to start dating exclusively. However, it’s important not to force someone into anything they’re not comfortable with. A relationship established based off pressure can lead to unwelcoming outcomes.

It’s important to keep in mind that the dating phase never truly ends, it simply evolves once you decide to commit to that one person. Therefore, you don’t necessarily have to wait until you’re in love to declare someone your significant other. You can have a lot of love for someone, but not be in love with them, and still date them exclusively. However, choosing to make it official is still a huge commitment that should only be made if both partners are willing to be faithful to each other. No need wasting anyone’s time.

But there is no true rubric on how much time is enough time to put all your chips into one relationship. There are just as many relationships that lasts after only a few short weeks of knowing one another than those who waited several months, or even years before making it official. What’s most important is that both people understand the level of commitment, and that expectations are established early on.

Love is a beautiful thing, and if you think you’ve found it, go for it. The worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out, but even if it doesn’t, at least you can say you gave it a try, right?

(Photo: Skip ODonnell/GettyImages)

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