Co-authored by Christopher M. Osborne, PhD
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If they’re focused on dating you, they’ll (mostly) ignore others.
It’s a sliding scale here, depending on how flirty they are in the first place. But, if the person you’re dating sees themself as dating you exclusively, they’ll definitely be checking out potential alternatives less often.
If, for example, you’re dating a guy who’s super flirty by nature, don’t expect him to just stop cold. But he’ll probably turn it down a notch or two!
Watch for positive body language and active listening.
If they’re really into you, they’ll naturally do things like turn their whole body toward you, make frequent eye contact, and mirror your hand gestures. They’ll also make a more concerted effort to listen carefully and closely to what you have to say.
If you’re getting these signals, there’s a good chance the other person wants to date you exclusively. If you’re not getting these signals, there’s not much of a chance.
They’ll get in touch when they don’t really need to—because they want to.
It’s a particularly strong sign if they often contact you "just because"—for instance, texting you about random observations instead of just to set up your next date.
Take note if they rearrange their schedule so they can see you.
"Exclusive" and "priority" usually go hand-in-hand. If the person you’re seeing builds their social calendar around your availability, that’s a strong sign that you’re both a priority and exclusive.
That might not be the case if they’re squeezing in dates with you around pickup basketball games and chill sessions with their friends
You might have to do some sleuthing to uncover this sign.
That said, you don’t have to invade their privacy by snooping on their phone. Instead, try techniques like the following:
This usually means they’re starting to think longer-term.
The person you’re dating really values the opinions of these people.
So, they’re either A) really confident that friends or family will agree you’re great, or B) not quite sure yet and seeking advice from trusted sources. In either case, this almost certainly means that their dating life is now centered completely on you.
This means you’re both focused on developing your relationship.
Sometimes it happens so subtly you don’t even notice: your conversations turn from "Do you want to do something this Friday night?" to "What do you want to do this Friday night?" But this is a strong indication that you’re now dating exclusively!
People typically don’t take this step until they’re exclusive.
It’s true that some people might use this tactic to help them get to know someone better before deciding to date exclusively.
But it’s usually safe to view this as a big relationship step that doesn’t happen while one or both of you is still "playing the field
At this point you view yourselves as a couple, not just dates.
And being a couple usually means being an exclusive couple—or at least it should, unless you’ve openly discussed your expectations for each other.
Otherwise, most people won’t call you their boyfriend or girlfriend while they’re still "on the market.
The more personal the stuff, the stronger the signal.
Keeping personal items like toothbrushes at each other’s places is a solid sign, but a toothbrush is also easy to leave behind.
The strongest signal comes from leaving personal items that are meaningful and not easy to replace—a favorite sweater, an important book, and so on.
Making this effort shows you’re both focused on growing your relationship.
Conflict is an inevitable part of every relationship, but an argument might be an excuse to "jump ship" if one or both of you are weighing other options.
The fact that you’ve had the argument and gotten through it means you both see promise in the relationship and want it to keep developing
This is the only way to be sure you’re on the same page.
Yes, it can be awkward, but so is finding out the hard way that only one of you believes you’re dating exclusively.
There’s no set right time to have this conversation—after five dates or something like that—so trust your instincts about when it feels appropriate
Co-authored by Alex Dimitriu, MD