Originally published, by request, for the membership dating website razzou.com. Dr. Anne Malec is a contributing writer for Razzou, her articles focus on romantic relationships, dating guidance and resolving conflict between couples. This submission was requested to focus on the dynamic of a female/male dating relationship, however the context holds true for various types of romantic relationships.

How do you know that you want to be exclusive with the guy you have been dating? Is it just a feeling you get that lets you know, intuitively, that you want to be with him? For many people, going with your gut just isn’t enough, but there are so many factors to consider that the decision can feel difficult and confusing to make. Dating someone exclusively is a big step to take, and to help you make the decision about whether or not to take that leap, here are some signs that can point you in the right direction. If these apply to you and the man you have been dating, then perhaps it is worth it to become an exclusive pair.

  • 1. He listens to you and asks follow up questions. You know that what you say matters to him, because it is important to him to pay attention and remember what you tell him. The conversation between the two of you is balanced, not just one talking and the other listening.
  • 2. He remembers small details that mean a lot to you. He knows how you take your coffee, which candy to buy you at the movies, and remembers your dog’s birthday. These little things matter a lot, and indicate that he really cares about who you are and wants you to be happy.
  • 3. He is reliable and trustworthy. He has proven himself to be honest and available. He calls when he says he will, shows up when he says he will. If you call him, he calls you back. You feel like a priority to him. The only way to create trust in a relationship is through consistent, reliable behavior.
  • 4. He is emotionally available. He does not hide his feelings from you, and he values being able to share them with you. He listens to and encourages you express your feelings, even though at times he may not know what to say in return.
  • 5. He treats you well. He keeps you in mind and considers your needs. He respects your opinion, doesn’t get jealous or annoyed when you spend time with old friends, encourages your career success, and is nice to you.
  • 6. You share the similar values. What is meaningful and important to you is meaningful and important to him. You approach life in similar ways and respect each other’s goals, families, friends, and careers. You can envision a shared future: not wedding planning, but the non-glamorous aspects of everyday life: like walking the dog, running errands, and grocery shopping.
  • 7. He can disagree with you respectfully and, more importantly, you feel you can disagree respectfully with him. Research has shown that it is how, not how much, you disagree that really matters and impacts the quality of your relationship. If you and your boyfriend can fight well and without defensiveness, then it is a good sign that you can make it for the long haul.
  • 8. You think about him more than any other romantic interests. He is on your mind as much as you are on his. He is the one you look forward to hearing from and spending time with.
  • 9. You are comfortable, can be yourself with him, and you like yourself around him. He doesn’t make you feel disrespected or judged negatively. He knows your sensitive spots, tries to avoid them, and doesn’t intentionally push your buttons. You act with him as you would with your close friends or family members. You get the sense he likes you; flaws, imperfections, and all. You are not trying to hide parts of your personality or behavior differently than you normally would. He enjoys the real you.
  • 10. You find yourself excited to tell family and friends about him, and feel that they will like him as well. Family and friends can provide good perspective of people who are good fit for us.