What Does Exclusive Mean to a Guy?

We recently talked about how to transition from dating to a relationship, and since then we’ve gotten some more questions with a lot of our readers wondering, what does exclusive mean to a guy?

This is an interesting topic that we hope The Gentleman’s Playbook can clearly answer for you!

To start, we need to go over what being exclusive means and how you can further understand what being exclusive means to a guy.

This small guide is meant to be helpful to both our resident Gentlemen as well as any visiting women.

Gentlemen, use this guide to direct your behavior and approach to an exclusive relationship so that you may be the best man you can be in the modern era.

Ladies, use this guide to understand what a mature man should mean when he talks about dating exclusively.

With out further ado, we answer your big question: what does being exclusive mean to a guy?

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Being Exclusive Means Being Exclusive

Being exclusive with somebody is pretty straight forward – you’re exclusively dating them.

In case there’s any confusion, let’s break down the literal dictionary definition of the word “exclusive.”

“excluding or not admitting other things”

Oxford Dictionary

Let’s break it down…

This definition states that you are excluding or not admitting to other things, which ultimately means that you are excluding other people from the relationship and also not admitting other people into it.

Sorry Gents, but being in an exclusive relationship means monogamy and no polygamy.

When you first start dating, things aren’t exclusive – this means that you are in your right to see other men or women and discover any romantic compatibility.

a couple on a date in the woods

However, when you go exclusive, you decide to exclude and not admit all other persons into your newly founded relationship. That means cutting ties with other people you’ve been dating.

If you’re unsure whether or not you want to go exclusive, we recommend asking yourself the questions outlined here.

We all should be on the same page now – we understand what exclusive means.

There’s more to it than that, so if you want to get down to the nitty gritty on what exclusive means to a guy, read on!

The Types of Exclusivity

Being in an exclusive relationship brings with it different types of exclusivity.

These range from the obvious – physical exclusivity – to the not so obvious – emotional exclusivity.

Let’s take some time to explore these different types of exclusivity so you can further understand that burning question you’ve all been asking us: what does exclusive mean to a guy?

Physical Exclusivity

Physical exclusivity is what most of our minds jump to whenever we think about what the terms of an exclusive relationship are.

There’s the obvious “don’t sleep with other people” facet to it, but we want to take a deeper look into the other ways you can further ensure and not violate the physical aspect of an exclusive relationship.

Watching Porn

Some may argue that watching porn is a normal part of being a man, however we at The Gentleman’s Playbook want to propose the opposite.

Pornography has its risks – there is a very real risk of pornography addiction. As a result, this can damage the physical exclusivity in your relationship.

First of all, becoming addicted can make it more difficult to perform under normal circumstances, according to this research.

man on laptop

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With a porn addiction also comes increasingly brave and exploratory sexual interests that deviate from the core sexual desires a man such as yourself may have.

Once these sexual desires become more “wild” or extravagant, it can lead to you feeling like your partner isn’t up to the task of fulfilling your sexual desires or fantasies.

While having fantasies and kinks is part of a healthy sexual relationship, they have to be mutual. If you allow yourself to have increasingly more violent or deviant sexual desires due to high pornography intake, you could end up resenting your partner for not living up to those desires.

There are two outcomes to this – either one is driven to cheat on their partner with somebody who is willing to partake in certain sexual acts, or one can become forceful in their approach/displeased with what is considered “normal” sex.

The moment you allow porn to take over your mind and sexual tastes, you begin to change the dynamic of the relationship. Maybe your partner is okay with these changes, but if not, can you handle that with grace and sophistication?

Sexually Engaging through Digital Means with Other People

Whether or not this fell under the next category (emotional infidelity) was up for debate here at The Gentleman’s Playbook, so we decided to narrow down the context into the act of sexually engaging with other people through digital means – think sexting.

The idea of “look but don’t touch” is a classic excuse men have used throughout the ages to justify acts of physical infidelity.

I’m sure you’ve had that friend who says, “what’s the harm in looking?”

man using dating apps while in a relationship

Let’s view it from a flipped perspective – what would your reaction be if your partner was sexually engaging with somebody on their cell phone? You would feel first of all like your partner is violating your agreement to be loyal to one another and second, you would feel emasculated by this.

The same goes for your partner – if you are engaging with other people sexually through digital means, your partner will feel their trust has been broken and they will also feel like they are not good enough and their self-esteem will be damaged.

There really isn’t much to be said about this except that if you’re in an exclusive relationship, don’t do it!

Sexual engagement through digital means is a gateway to actual physical infidelity.

Emotional exclusivity is whenever you pledge to be emotionally exclusive with the person you’re in a relationship with.

In this article, we answer the question: what does being exclusive mean to a guy? To get your questions answered on our site, please send them to us by clicking here!

Emotional Exclusivity

Before we continue, let’s clarify the proper grounds and parameters that emotional exclusivity includes.

Emotional exclusivity does not mean you can’t talk to your friends or family about problems you’re having, especially if they have to do with your mental and emotional wellbeing.

When we talk about emotional exclusivity in the following paragraphs, we are talking primarily of discussing private matters shared between you and your partner with others, or engaging in romantic conversations of a non-sexual nature with other people outside of your relationship.

Violating emotional trust is one of the biggest reasons we see couples either argue or get falsely accused of being unfaithful.

Using Dating Websites

A common way to violate emotional exclusivity is to regularly utilize dating websites or dating apps after committing to a relationship with somebody.

This occurs most often whenever a couple meets through a dating app and begins to date, ultimately transitioning into a relationship.

Whenever this happens, it’s best to disable or uninstall the application from your phone or computer. You don’t necessarily have to delete your profile, but keeping it exudes lack of confidence in your relationship. Nobody wants a partner who has a “back up” just in case things don’t work out.

If dating profiles are still used after the relationship ends, but not for a sexual gain, then this is a form of emotional infidelity. By continuing to engage with potential romantic prospects and by flirting with them online, you are violating your new partner’s trust.

As a man, you should take the steps to show that you are serious about the person you’ve decided to be exclusive with and cut the cord on the dating apps. Not doing so is a sign of weakness of both the mind and consciousness.

Talking to Others About Private Relationship Matters

Next, there’s another common one we see in a lot of relationships. That is, talking to other people about things best kept inside your relationship.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be somebody you are romantically interested in. It could be a close friend or a family member.

Confiding in others has a delicate balance, so let’s try to simplify this concept some.

Typically, it is fine to discuss personal problems with others. For example, if you have any issues such as depression that your best friend or parents understand, by all means confide!

However, if you go to your friends or family and discuss problems your partner is having or problems you have with your partner, you’re opening the door for both unwanted criticism and emotional infidelity.

a woman shushing

You probably know somebody who got too mouthy about their relationship problems. How is that relationship now? Probably not for the better.

The only time you should talk to someone about highly private matters regarding your partner or relationship with that person is with a trained therapist or counselor.

Confiding in Former Love Interests

Lastly, going off of a side point from our last one on talking to others about personal relationship matters, exclusivity also means (in most cases) not confiding in former love interests.

This one is a tad arbitrary and can vary relationship to relationship. More times than not, it is emotionally improper to confide in a former partner while in a relationship with somebody else.

If you have a unique relationship with a past love interest and your current partner is aware of this and okay with you having that friendship, then this point may not apply to you.

All in all, confiding in a former love interest can spark negative emotions between you and your partner. Your partner may feel invalidated or not good enough for you.

This isn’t to say your partner can or even should control who you talk to – it is up to you to understand how the average person would feel about a scenario like this and it is also up to you to be a proper man and avoid a scenario like this if you know it would cause tension between you and your partner.

a man emotionally cheating on his partner with another woman

Your decision to mutually move forward with a relationship with the person you’re currently with was your decision and you should do everything that is reasonably within your power to build and thrive within that relationship.

Confiding in former girlfriends (or boyfriends) is probably not the best course of action.


We hope that this information has helped both men and women reading this article.

So, what does exclusive mean to a guy?

Men, you should have learned some of the ways to behave when in an exclusive relationship, and what it means when you say you’re exclusive.

Women, hopefully we answered your questions asking us: what does exclusive mean to a guy?!

If you found this helpful in any way, please give us a share on your social media, or send this post over to a friend or family member who could benefit from this.

The Gentleman’s Playbook is written by men, for men. Everything we discuss has been a result of our own experiences as men and how to live as the most wholesome man you can!

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