Why These Dating Experts Say Being Exclusive Has Two Meanings

Dating has always been tricky, but in 2021, it's more stressful than ever before. Back in the '90s, people had to make an effort to meet potential partners. They dressed up well, hit the town, and tried to strike up genuine conversations with people they were interested in. Nowadays, with the invention of dating apps, the myth of unlimited choices has made dating even more confusing and unrewarding. It's easy to feel less satisfied with your partner when it feels like there are thousands of other options out there that might better fit your picture perfect expectations of love. Throw a pandemic on top of everything else and it feels like we are destined to the spend the last of our waking days single and alone.

If you feel like you're the only one out there who thinks dating is hard, think again. According to Hinge, 51% of Hinge users tell us they're experiencing FODA, or Fear of Dating Again (via Elite Daily). And who can blame them? Even after you've entered the dating game, you then have to deal with all those messy labels. What does it mean to be "exclusive" vs. "dating" vs. "in a relationship?" If you're just as confused as the rest of the us, keep reading to hear what dating experts have to say on this controversial debate.

According to experts, being 'exclusive' and being in a 'relationship' are not exactly interchangeable terms

Let's face it. Dating doesn't get any easier when it's time to "DTR" or define the relationship. These days, when a new couple sits down to talk about "what they are," the words "exclusive" and "relationship" are often thrown into the mix. While the terms may feel similar, they are not exactly interchangeable, according to experts.

On the podcast "Finding Mr. Height," dating coach Ali and her friend Roark discuss their go-to advice on common dating issues. In episode 34 of their podcast "The Defining One," the two friends break down what it means to be exclusive. "I think that for a lot of people, being 'exclusive' as a relation step means that you aren't dating anyone else," states Ali, in a TikTok recap of the episode. "Well, then I guess there's physical exclusivity and then there's dating exclusivity," Roark concludes. Because there are different definitions of the label "exclusive," it's especially important to nail down what you and your partner both mean by the term, before agreeing upon this relationship label.

The bottom line for the dating podcasters? There is a certain responsibility and commitment to your partner that comes with being in a relationship that isn't necessarily required or expected from someone you are "exclusive" with. Unsurprisingly, neither of the "Finding Mr. Height" hosts are super interested in being "exclusive" with someone under those terms. Amen, gals!