During my Fox 5 interview on dating and relationships, when Liz Dahlem asked me directly on camera, “Do you HAVE to have the talk?” many of my clients’ experiences flashed before me to help me with my answer. During coaching sessions, this hot topic has been discussed repeatedly. “If we’ve been dating for a while, can’t I just assume that we are exclusive? We talk or text often, we go out almost every Saturday night, so that means it’s just the two of us, right?” Well, let’s explore that further…
If you are both at a point in your relationship that you are ready to be exclusive, what’s holding you back from having “the talk” to clearly define the commitment? How sure are you that you are ready to close off other possibilities? How confident are you that if you bring up exclusivity that he/she will be on the same page? If you are not feeling reasonably sure that he/she is up for the commitment, what would provide you with the perception that he/she is voluntarily exclusive without a conversation? Many clients have been disappointed to learn that while they were assuming exclusivity minus “the talk,” their partner had been engaging in other opportunities and may not have been viewing that exploration as cheating in any way.
Instead of dreading “the talk,” let’s celebrate it as a great tool to gage our true feelings as well as an opportunity to potentially start out a long term relationship with healthy communication. If we are hesitant about initiating “the talk” let’s gain clarity around the reason. If we feel ready for the talk, let’s have the courage to put it out there and find out undoubtedly what our agreed upon commitment level is.
In a nutshell, if “the talk” is not taking place, one or both of us has a reason that we are not articulating our level of commitment out loud to each other. If we are not ready to do so, we are not likely ready to be monogamous. So, let’s continue to evaluate the connection for a while longer, without any assumptions, until we feel better prepared for the all-important conversation. Yes ladies and gentlemen, in order to be absolutely sure that you are in an exclusive relationship, you really do HAVE to have “the talk.”