9 Ways You Ended Up In An Exclusive Relationship Without Even Knowing It

Filed Under Dating Coaching, Men Attracting Women, Relationship Management, Women Attracting Men


Feeling Pressured Into An Exclusive Relationship You Aren't Ready For?

As far as you were concerned, you’d met someone attractive and interesting and were simply “seeing where it all goes”.

You wanted time to evaluate the possibility of an exclusive relationship. In your mind, going steady with someone implies testing the waters of a long-term committed partnership. You don’t take that lightly, which is wise.

Yet here you are, and there she is.

By way of pure assumption, the two of you are understood to be boyfriend and girlfriend—seeing only each other, hurtling blindly toward a future together.

A huge part of you is left asking how this all happened. You’re scratching your head wondering how you never had any say in this matter. Is this even what you want?

If the situation I just described sounds pretty jacked up to you, that’s because it is. Yet you wouldn’t believe how many e-mails I get from men AND women reporting that it has happened to them, and wondering what to do about it.

Well, the best course of action is always to have “The Talk” with everyone you’re dating, asking what they’re looking for from their dating life at the moment and telling them where you stand. Ideally this happens on the second or third date, and definitely before intimacy. But better late than never, regardless.

No matter what your long-term strategy is, however, what are the more subtle tactics that your would-be significant other might use to rope you into an exclusive relationship sooner than you’d like?

Here are nine of them to look out for:

X-Ray Vision Into A Woman's Deepest Fantasies


1) Meeting The Parents

It’s generally understood that meeting Mom and Dad is a big moment in a relationship. For the most part, we almost universally think of parents as longing for the day when their adult children “settle down” and start making grandbabies.

So what purpose does it serve to introduce them to someone we’re seeing other than to get their hopes up?

Pile on the reality of how awkward it would be to have the ‘rents meet our “booty call buddies” face-to-face, and the picture gets even clearer: If you’re meeting her parents, it’s as her boyfriend.

2) Having Dinner With People Close To Her

Eating with someone is an inherently intimate experience. It bonds us to them more deeply than before dinner started.

Now, as we mentioned above, meeting her parents is a major indicator that she’s pulling you into an exclusive relationship. The same actually holds true if she’s going out of her way to introduce you to friends and siblings.

But if you find yourself sharing a meal with her and other members of her tribe, make no mistake about it: you’re being welcomed to the family.

3) Being There For A Major Event In Her Life

I’ve always cautioned against attending weddings with women on first or second dates. It’s far too emotional and conjures up too many fairy-tale visions in her head, especially if she genuinely adores you already.

But “major events” in this context can also refer to her college graduation, award banquets, bucket-list experiences or even chemotherapy treatments.

If you’re there during those big moments, you’re forever embedded as part of the memory. This gives her a sentimental feeling, which she fully anticipates you’ll reciprocate. As you well know, we a human beings are reticent to cut loose anything or anyone we feel sentimental about.

X-Ray Vision Into A Woman's Deepest Fantasies


4) Calling Every Day At The Same Time

Quite a number of women will push early on for you to call them every day, especially at a set time.

Hey…isn’t that what husbands are expected to do when they’re away on business trips?

Let’s just say that it would be hard for her to assume exclusivity if you’re only talking to her a couple of times per week, and not exactly texting her constantly.

5) Many Dates In A Row, Rapid Fire

So you’re not calling her every day. Great…but never mind that if you had dinner last night, breakfast this morning and are doing it all over again tonight and tomorrow morning.

I mean, you can’t blame her for thinking there’s nobody you’d rather see than her. At the very least, she’s got to be convince that you have nobody else to go out with other than her…which in her mind is a good start.

6) The Marathon Date

Here it is… If you’ve just spent the last 24 hours (let alone two or three full days) nonstop with the same woman, you now have a girlfriend.

It’s always good advice to “leave her wanting more” on a first date. If it took THAT long and she still wanted more, then it’s safe to say you did too.

At that point the two of you likely felt some sort of otherworldly, supernatural connection was taking place. You’re already referring to each other as “soulmates”.

Naturally, she’d be devastated if you were still seeing other women after such a cataclysmic experience.


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7) Monopolizing Weekends/Free Time/Prime Time

When a woman wants you to be her exclusive boyfriend, she’ll voice the expectation that you should be spending Friday and Saturday nights with her, or whatever other nights you happen to have off if you’re on an unconventional schedule.

This will soon morph into wondering aloud why the two of you aren’t spending more of your free time in general together.

These seem like reasonable requests on the surface, but the next thing you know there’s simply not enough room in your schedule for another woman.

Boom…you have a girlfriend.

8) Planning The Future

Granted, it’s a crystal clear sign when she’s talking about weddings, baby names and where she’d like to build a home. You don’t need me to tell you that.

But the more subtle plan might be to pencil you in for a concert next month or a weekend festival in January. The next thing you know, you’ve split the ticket costs with her, reserved a hotel room and you’re in. I mean, to break up would be to lose out, if not break a promise.

The longer you’re in her life, the more likely you are to go exclusive with her. And getting you to think further into the future early on helps expedite the process.

9) Leveraging Sex As Contingent Upon Exclusivity

Ah yes…we now arrive at ye olde “sex for relationship” mind game.

Does she have every right to wait until you’re in a monogamous relationship with her to have sex with you?

Of course she does. That’s not the issue.

The problem is that right after she clarifies her position on that, she’s doing a little striptease act in your bedroom.

Hey, that’s “dirty pool”, especially given that she came prepared for class with that Frederick’s Of Hollywood lingerie!

Now, let’s say you’re man enough to resist her temptation. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.

Yes, she may very well walk out the door if you “reject” her. But remember, the plan is to use sex to get you into an exclusive relationship.

As such, if the front door is locked, the back door might be open (and you can take that however you’d like).

Don’t be surprised if she calls you soon thereafter offering to have “no strings attached” sex with you.

Confusing? It shouldn’t be.

If withholding sex didn’t work as planned, maybe giving it to you will. She’s thinking that once you discover how good she is in bed (or how much she lied about being on birth control), THAT’S when you’re sure to make her your girlfriend.

But obviously, if you can instead keep your wits about you in the face of sexual opportunity, you’re WELL on your way to keeping your personal power and dignity intact.


Okay, being a guy who writes mostly to other men, I lapsed into writing in a gender-specific voice. But the truth is that men AND women can run agendas like this with equal opportunity. Well, except maybe the bit involving intentional pregnancy. But you get the point.

Regardless, there are two final takeaways from this discussion.

First, if you’re ever on a date with someone and they bring up how ready they are for a steady relationship, marriage, etc. you can take heart in the security that he or she is DEFINITELY into you. That seems like a no-brainer when spelled out as such, but have you ever really thought of it that way?

Second, remember always that your stance on taking it slow will always make you more attractive than if you’re immediately agreeable to getting into a relationship fast. Needy desperation is always a turn off, even if the other person—perhaps ironically—is demonstrating desperate neediness in the form of relationship pressure. Go figure.


Be Good,

Scot McKay


P.S. What do you think? Have I left out a major indicator or two here? Have any of the nine examples I described ever happen to you? Do you take issue with any of them, thinking I’m over-reacting? Do people have ill-intent when sort of thing happens, or is it just human nature. I want to know your thoughts…



10 Responses to “9 Ways You Ended Up In An Exclusive Relationship Without Even Knowing It”

  1. Greg

    So, when you realize you’re in the gun of a “LTR”, what’s your advice for a smooth exit strategy?


    • Well, as mentioned in the post, it’s ALWAYS best to have “The Talk” about exclusivity before any of these shenanigans start. But if you find that any of this is starting to happen, you can feel free to tell her that you don’t know her well enough yet. You always have the right to assert your own pace.

      As an aside, I’ve noticed that truly desirable women are usually not prone to rush toward an LTR in desperation. Emily certainly did not. She was more than content to trust her inherent attractiveness as well as the natural process of moving toward an LTR.


  2. alfredo

    what if she brings drama into your life after she fails to lock you down making a real mess out of you as the result of her frustration?


    • It would be a mistake to turn her into an adversary. That said, if you make a stand against moving so fast and she completely turns on you it’s safe to say you dodged a bullet. She’s completely unreasonable.


    • I liatrelly jumped out of my chair and danced after reading this!


  3. John Galt

    Hi Scot. I’ve been reading your’s and Emily’s e-mails for a couple of years, and really get value out of them. My background: Mid 40s, Married/dated for 19 years, her midlife crisis and affairs, been divorced for about 3 years now. Let’s just say that dating in your 40s vs. your 20s is as different as skiing vs. rock climbing: Neither is necessarily more “difficult,” but so different as to be completely different activities.

    I had a girlfriend who I broke up with a couple of months ago who desperately wanted to be married. I realize, to my shame, I’d unintentionally led her on by letting her meet my parents, attending funerals and family events, etc. She employed a number of tactics to try to get me to commit:

    1). Threatening to break up: Whenever I told her I needed to slow down, she’d say “It sounds like you want to break up.” I quickly learned that was just a negotiating tactic, but where it worked against her is, I wanted to know 100% that any woman I commit to will be with me through thick and thin. This is especially important if a man has been reasonably successful and has some assets under his control – and she weakened her position every time she played that game. We eventually broke up after she gave me an ultimatum, and I remembered my father’s teaching that the only response a man can make to an ultimatum or blackmail is “F* you. Do your worst.”

    2). Rounding Up: She timelined the start of the relationship from the first time we contacted each other, which, due to busy schedules was a month before we even met for coffee. I calculated starting with when I quit dating other women. She’d argue for commitment and say “Well, we’ve been dating for ___ months!” implying I owed her something; and also overstating the length of time (even by her metric, first contact) by 20% or so.

    3). Devaluing the relationship: When she’d become frustrated at my lack of commitment, she’d accuse me of “just seeing her as a f* buddy.” She’d often employ this tactic in conjunction with #1 and #2 above, and tell me it’s OK if we just met for sex but she wanted to find a man who would love her while she was having sex with me.

    4). Crisis management: She’d often have crises she wanted me to help with, and frequently of her own making. Southerners and Texans are born to be White Knights. I think this was a way of monopolizing my psychic fuel and squeezing out other women. A variation of this was telling me she’s lonely (this was before she met my kids, of whom I have 50% custody)…any man knows that a lonely woman is a woman whose vagina will find some company.

    5). Camel-nosing: She would claim she didn’t need an engagement ring immediately; but did want a timeline for when she’d get one. Which is a backdoor way of asking for a commitment, and she knew I had the integrity to go ahead with it if I had agreed to her timeline.

    Ironically, each of the five behaviors made me LESS likely to commit rather than more. I doubt we’d have married because we had very different views toward money, but if that wasn’t a factor, I probably would have married her had she not been destructive…it reminded me of the fisherman who yanks the rod as soon as he feels a nibble, rather than waiting for the fish to take the bait.

    She employed a few other tactics, themselves less destructive or even very reasonable: She wanted to leave shampoo/razors/etc at my house. She wanted to talk to me on the phone rather than texting (easy to juggle 4 women when texting; impossible when talking). She’d snuggle up to me and say “my man.” She cleaned my apartment to demonstrate domesticity (happened less toward the end). She was always up for sex, and imaginative sex. She mentioned, in the abstract, she wanted a prenup for my protection.

    BTW your “Big Four” insights are valuable. It isn’t a gimmick, it’s a tool to help you become a better man that a good woman will naturally find. “Deserve what you want” is something of a mantra for me when I’m debating what I should do vs. what I might want to do.


  4. John Galt

    Scot, in contrast to the woman I couldn’t commit to, I’ll contrast a woman I would commit to and one I did commit to.

    I was married/dated a woman for 19 years and, if she hadn’t made some bad decisions, I’d be ecstatically married to her today. She used Zig Ziglar’s “Be-Do-Have” model on me. She never pushed for a commitment, she simply behaved as if she was my girlfriend and it got to the point I couldn’t imagine life without her any more than I could imagine life without oxygen. She was sweet to me. She built me up. At the time, I was a grad student and she was working, but somehow she managed to never make me feel inadequate because I had less money. She was completely chill, followed at my pace, and made every minute I was with her seem golden. She wasn’t a pushover – I knew exactly when I needed to back off from her German stubbornness (I used to call her “The Little Blonde Steamroller”); and I knew she knew she was a fantastic woman….she never let her ultimate goal (marriage, mortgage, children) be a secret, but she also didn’t push. She was sexy, but didn’t use her power irresponsibly. I didn’t have to worry about her straying until the end of our marriage. I used to joke that her engagement ring was the best gift I’d ever given to myself. It helped that she’d been part of the circle of friends for years…I saw how she treated a friend she’d been dating for most of the time we knew each other and why they broke up (incompatible goals…she and I made the jump from friends to lovers the night I held her and dried her tears while she was mourning the breakup with another guy…lest you think that “nice guys never get the girl”).

    There’s another woman I haven’t committed to yet but I would in a New York minute (logistics are rough at this age). She’s a formidable woman, very much a friend first and a lover second. She’s successful at what she does, though not a meatgrinding executive-type. She’s always doing interesting things, not as good at skiing or wingshooting as I am but she’s a better runner and rockclimber – somehow I’m not threatened by that. She’s kept her body pretty much like it was when we were in college 20+ years ago. She’s got a great circle of friends. She’s sweet to me – she told me once she’s worried about my health, and sent me a fitbit along making me promise to use it and praising/cooing at me when I give her progress reports. She spent hours talking me through my divorce and also some job turmoil I’ve had to work through. She’s not afraid to tell me when I’m not holding myself up to a high enough standard, but somehow makes it sweet rather than bitter. She also won’t let me be unduly hard on myself. She’s made it clear what she needs from me and what she expects, in a way that I know 100% that there will be no nasty surprises. She’s ethical and believes in duty and honor in a way that only woman who have been in the military or are military brats really “get.” She inspires me to be a much better man.

    Both women made me want to joyfully commit to them by demonstrating, through actions, that life with them wouldn’t be me rescuing them, it would be 1+1=3: That I’d benefit and that I’d be beneficial to them. And, that they like ME and not what I have.


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