“How Do I Know If We’re Exclusive or Not?”

couple pizza date

A year ago I met two guys. They are both friends of a girlfriend of mine. We’ll call them Guy A and Guy B. Guy A and Guy B are certainly not the best of friends, but they used to work together and do the occasional happy hour together.

I had a random one-night stand (OK, two-night stand) with Guy A. I immediately regretted it, not just because Guy A is a jerk, but because I was getting to know Guy B and thought we would be great together. Both guys are long-distance, so after meeting them I would communicate with Guy B through text almost every day. Eventually, six months after meeting the first time, he came to visit me. We went to a concert and stayed up all night talking and getting to know each other. A few weeks later, I went to visit him, we started sleeping together and things have been absolutely wonderful for six months. Again, it’s long-distance. So we see each other twice a month. But he makes me so happy. He’s the kindest, most gentle man I’ve ever met. We take turns visiting each other and he initiates contact with me daily.

The issue is, six months in, we’ve never had an “Are we exclusive?” conversation. I am pretty sure that we are, but I don’t feel comfortable assuming that either. But it bothers me that he hasn’t brought it up. Should I assume he’s happy with the way things are? Honestly, Wendy, this is the first functional, happy relationship I’ve ever had and I don’t know how to handle it! — Glad I Chose Guy B

Hmm, you know, this letter could have been about Guy B and only Guy B. You could have left Guy A out of the equation completely and it wouldn’t have changed your question, which is: “why hasn’t Guy B broached a discussion about being exclusive yet?”. But, obviously, there’s a reason you left Guy A in the letter. I suspect you’re worried that Guy A — and more specifically, your two-night stand with him — could be connected to the ambiguity you feel about your relationship status with Guy B. Maybe you’re concerned that, on one of their happy hour meetups, Guy A mentioned to Guy B how you two hooked up a couple times. Or maybe you just feel bad about all of it and your regret is more than just regret — it’s guilt over this secret you’ve been keeping from Guy B.

But, look, you don’t need to feel guilty. So you slept with someone Guy B knows. Before you started dating. Big Whoop. It’s not something he needs to know about if he doesn’t, and, if he does, then it obviously isn’t something that bothers him too much if he’s been traveling out of town to see you once or twice a month for the last six months and talks to you every single day.

I say let the two-night stand with Guy A go. Let it go. He’s a jerk and he’s insignificant and he doesn’t matter. What matters is your relationship with Guy B, and, if you really like the guy and are ready to be exclusive and want to know where you stand with him, just ask him already! I mean, why do you have to wait for him to bring it up? If every straight woman waited for the guy to ask, “What are we?” then 95% would still be in the dark.

Buck up and ask. It doesn’t have to be some grand affair. Just say, “You know, I don’t date anyone else and don’t have any interest to. What about you?”

And he’ll probably look at you sort of surprised and say, “Yeah, I’m not dating anyone else. Why? Did you think I’m dating someone else? The thought hasn’t even crossed my mind.”

And then you’ll be like, “Oh, ok. Good. Cool. I didn’t think you were, but I wasn’t sure, so I wanted to ask. I’m glad I did. So… just to be clear then, you don’t want to date anyone else?”

And he’ll say, “No.” And you’ll say, “I don’t either! I just want to date you!” And he’ll shrug and smile and be like, “Good!” And then you’ll order a pizza.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

    WWS. Communication. If you aren’t sure of something, ask. Just do it. It can be scary if you’re not used to it. I get it. But still. Do it. Do it. Dooooooo it. You’ll be much happier having an answer instead of speculating and asking everyone BUT him.

  2. Ask.

    Ok, all I read is the title. Now I’ll go back and read the letter, Wendy’s response and the comments thus far.

  3. “If every straight woman waited for the guy to ask, “What are we?” then 95% would still be in the dark.”
    OMG Wendy’s response made me laugh out loud at my desk. Especially the part about ordering the pizza. Made my day.

    1. Same here! I absolutely love the dialogue! Great response!

    2. Yeah wendy is funny 🙂 From way too many happy hours with my mostly male coworkers, I can definitely confirm wendy’s statistic. However, I think it might not be as much of a non-issue for the guy as in wendy’s pizza scenario (although he might pretend it’s a non-issue). I am always on the other side, talking to these boys who have been dating a girl for a few months, and there have been several times when the guys were worrying about the EXACT same issue. They didn’t want to seem over the top asking their not-officially-gfs about exclusivity because they were worried they might scare the girl away or they would worry that she was seeing someone else and didn’t want to know (I think that’s crazy…). I still think the result is the same as WWS, communication is the key, but maybe he will be secretly relieved you asked and took the pressure off him!

  4. AliceInDairyland says:

    The second I decided to think of my awkwardness at communicating as “earnest and endearing” instead of “hella weird” I instantly felt a lot better about just saying what I was thinking about the situation. If you think you are going to be weird, or say something in a super awkward way, just be ready to smile and laugh when you talk about it and you can call it earnest and endearing and that’s a major plus in most guys’ books. It won’t be awkward unless you go into it being 100% sure that it’s going to be awkward.

    Plus… don’t you just, want to know? My burning curiosity always outweighs my fear of saying something stupidly after a while. Because, think about it.

    Best case scenario: “Duh, LW of course I’m not dating anyone else and I don’t want to. Lets be exclusive and eat a whole pizza with extra cheese!”
    Worst case scenario: “LW, I’m dating 15 other people. I just didn’t think it was important enough to mention. What’s the big deal? I’m going to order a pizza with extra cheese and not share with you.”

    Which one seems more likely? Either way you will be totally fine, and you’d want to know about either answer right? So just ask!! Good luck, and update us.

    1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      This is the real reason women gain weight in relationships.

  5. Laura Hope says:

    Yes , definitely talk to him about it but I’m thinking you should tell him about what happened with Guy A. Only because they’re friends. Better he should hear it from you. I know I would feel kind of blindsided if my new boyfriend didn’t tell me he had slept with my friend. Am I the only one who feels that way?

    1. Eh, I don’t think past hookups need to be disclosed. It’s not like she’s still close to the guy. Even then, current exclusivity is what matters, not what happened before they started dating.

    2. AliceInDairyland says:

      Hmm… I feel like if the conversation turned into an area where it would feel somewhat related I might… mention it? But I wouldn’t bring it up on its own because I feel like that would give it more weight/importance than she actually feels it has. So like, if all 3 of you are somewhere and Guy A is acting friendly with LW, and Guy B is like “Oh, I didn’t know you guys knew each other so well…” then LW can be like, “Oh yeah, we had a brief thing a while back.” And then, that’s it. Nothing else really needs to be said in my opinion.

    3. i would like to know- and my boyfriend and i did have an issue with this when we were newly dating, actually… BUT i am not the kind of person that would hold that stuff against anyone, so to me its just about honesty. its not about “confessing” anything, or whatever negative connotations that “apologizing” about sleeping with someone has, i just like people to be honest about their life.

      I feel like maybe the reason that this is something she added into the mix here is because there was overlap- im assuming she met them at around the same time period…? and so the concept of exclusivity is out the window, because she was sleeping with one while she was texting the other- but the thing is that doesnt matter. LW, its fine that you slept with someone while starting to date someone else. thats perfectly fine. i would say to be honest about it, just because thats how i like things to be, but its not a big deal. you doing this isnt going to “make” him all of a sudden question things, or throw it back into your face that “how could we be exclusive when you slept with that guy while we were texting!!” or whatever doomsday event you have in your head… and if he does do that- wow, you need to know things like that about someone you want to date sooner rather then later!

      1. starpattern says:

        I agree with you! It’s not even because I give half a crap who my boyfriend has slept with before me and I definitely don’t want details, but I do want to know the context if he/we still talk to or hang out with that person. It doesn’t even have to be a big deal (I like Alice’s “brief thing” explanation) but I think LW should tell him (casually! with no guilt!) just so it’s clear she’s not hiding it.

    4. Why is it Guy B’s business? It happened before the LW and Guy B started dating. You’re not obligated to list out everyone you’ve ever slept with for a new guy and hope he doesn’t find one objectionable. I mean, if the guys were really good friends, maybe I’d say something – but maybe not – but they just know each other. I’d let it go.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Its not his business, and I loved katie’s bit about apologies, etc., but I too would want to know I think, or I at least think most people would want to know.
        I’m just picturing this in the future coming up and it being troubling (all this time you didn’t tell me you banged Tommy right before we got together!), so why not just mention it now?

      2. But, why would Guy B care? It’s not like it has anything to do with him. And if it bothers him that the LW has had sex before they started dating, or even worse, that some guy he knows has seem her naked, well, there’s not much to be done for that, is there? Also, gross, (hypothetical) Guy B.

        I guess I’m just the complete opposite of you and katie. I’m pretty sure some of the women Mr. MJ slept with were part of our group in college, and after we started dating, I never really cared to find out who they were because it just didn’t matter to me. It tends to happen when people run in smaller social circles. I mean, if it came up, I wouldn’t lie about it because that’s a problem, but I don’t think there’s any obligation to tell Guy B. What if, unknown to the LW, Guy B knows Guy C she slept with. Is she supposed to tell him that, too, once she realizes it?

      3. well, i dont think its an “obligation”- and i dont think everyone should always tell everything. like i said, to me its just about knowing someone’s life, its not about making a judgement based on that. i just like knowledge. it doesnt matter, like you said, i just like knowing everything. haha

        also, i would feel bad if someone felt like it was an obligation, so if it was such a big deal to them NOT to tell, i wouldnt get upset by that.

      4. See, I’m the same way. I had this happen with a guy I was seeing. He had slept with this girl I vaguely knew. It was a friend of a friend kind of thing. Anyway, I actually found out about it from somebody else (a girl I was friends with who had been his roommate). My reaction? I shrugged and moved on. It happened, it was in the past. Whatever.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        You wouldn’t care at all if your boyfriend slept with your friend right when you started texting your boyfriend? I mean, I wouldn’t be mad or anything, but I could see wanting to know that, or at least not wanting to find out later on. Maybe I wouldn’t want to know, but I think I’d tell.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh I just remembered. Peter almost slept with a very good friend of mine (who is now a mutual friend of ours) about a year before we got together. Went home together drunk and I guess passed out from drunkness right before it happened or something, I don’t totally remember the story. It doesn’t bother me at all, but I am glad I know. I think it’d be weird to have them have that “sorta-secret” between the two of them and me be clueless.

      7. maybe thats what the desire stems from- being in the know of something your partner was a part of.

        i mean, you want to know your partner through and through, right? even if its sexy stuff. i think thats what it is.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess so, yea. I know I’d feel bad if we were hanging out with someone a lot and I slept with him and Peter didn’t know.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        Also, Peter’s good friends with my closest friend also, and knows that we slept together many times. Its not weird at all.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        And honestly, if she tells and he gets mad, GOOD. Then, she’ll know he’s got issues.

      11. Okay, yeah. A good friend? Hell yes, I would want to know. But an acquaintance (which this seems to be)? Meh. I don’t really care either way.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        Hmm, I like the distinction. I think I’m the same. If this is someone I barely know, I don’t see the point in”needing” to know.

      13. Ugh — I met alllll of my new dude’s friends this weekend, and most of them were girls. Was I curious how many of them he’d slept with? You betcha. Did I ask him? No way. I don’t think I want to know.

      14. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        yeah, my boyfriend has so many girl friends. don’t really want to know which of them he has slept with/had a thing with in the past. just knowing he has is enough for me, if it were a more significant thing, like he still runs in the same circle as his ex gf who i was unexpectedly introduced to one day, i would want to know but other than that eh no thanks.

    5. I don’t think I’d just tell Guy B about Guy A out of the blue. If they’re that close, Guy B probably already knows, and if they’re not that close, it shouldn’t matter.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Nice avatar Elin!

      2. 🙂

    6. kerrycontrary says:

      If it was going to come out eventually from Guy A, I’d probably fess up. I don’t think you need to tell all of your past history, but if they’re friends I think you should tell. I would want to know if someone slept with one of my friends. I had this situation in college where I slept with one of my male friends ONE time, and then a month or two later I met another guy through him and started dating. I told him within like 2 weeks. He was fine with it, but glad he knew. And then we dated for like 1.5-2yrs and he and that friend lived together for 2 yrs.

      1. I don’t know if I’ll ever understand this desire to “want to know” who, specifically, someone you are with has slept with. I feel like all that does is mess with your psyche, put not-nice images in your head when you see that person, or worse the two together, and at the end of the day does not really even matter.

      2. I agree – I went down the full disclosure path with a prior bf and all it did was give me details I didn’t want or need to know.

        It is one thing if the guy asks, but to just come out pre-emptively seems presumptious – like what if Guy B was a don’t ask don’t tell kind of person about past sexual relations and then you just forced him to know things he didn’t want to!?! I think it is also different if it comes up more organically in a conversation versus making it a “big talk” where you ask for the number, etc. I don’t want to know the number, and I’m not telling you mine 🙂

      3. THIS!

        I honestly don’t understand the desire to know everything about someone. Also, if it’s not affecting me now, I really don’t give a shit. I guess I’m just not one of those people that’s all “knowledge is power.”

  6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Gah Wendy this could have been a short cut!

    LW, you ASK HIM. Do not assume, lay it clearly out on the table. Communication people.

  7. Before reading letter: You ask him. Duh.

    After reading letter: See above. But also WTF does guy A have to do with anything.

    I think Wendy hit the nail on the head with guy A. And I get why you feel like it’s an important detail. Before I met my boyfriend, I had hooked up with several of his teammates in college. After we got together, it felt weird that he didn’t know this, not because it was a big deal but because it felt weird that they knew, and I knew, and he didn’t. Like he was being kept in the dark about it or something? So LW, let me tell you what I realized. If he’s really the guy for you, he’s not going to hold who and what you did before him against you. You can’t change it anyway, so let it go.

    On that note: I’m not sure bf and I ever really established exclusivity? Huh. This was our DTR talk:

    Fraternity brother: Why is she always here? Are you two dating or something?
    BF: (To me) Um I guess that’s up to you
    Me: (Cringing) Um, I guess.

    I have to turn in my hopeless romantic card, don’t I?

    1. Oh, and for the record, I solved the whole “Should I tell him about guy A (and uh, B and C)” by just dropping it into the conversation while drunk. It was a really mature way to handle things. I believe his response was “Okay.”

    2. This is almost the same way my talk with Mr. Othy went down. We’d been ‘hanging out’ for weeks. Pretty exclusively. But we were really, really bad about talking. So finally a friend of mine came in, saw us together, and was like “Are you guys dating yet?” Mr. Othy looked at me and said “It’s up to her” and I was like “Um, sure.”

      We made sure to thank said friend years later at our wedding, because I don’t know if either of us would have finally made the move without her. We were quite young, and Mr. Othy was very scared, and I was still in the ‘man has to make all of the moves’ stage of my life.

      1. Tangent – weren’t you looking for a pseudonym for Mr. Othy other than Mr. Othy? Because it popped into my head the other day that you should totally call him Othello.

      2. Hahaha, I love it!

        I mentioned I was thinking about calling him Othybear, since he’s Bear at my house. But you’ve already got Bear taken, so I didn’t want to confuse the two, lest folks think we’re both with the same Bear 🙂

      3. DW SCANDAL!!

      4. Yeah I remember that conversation but noticed you’d stuck with Mr. Othy so thought I’d suggest Othello 🙂 It may have nothing to do with bears but you can’t go wrong with Shakespeare, and I like how it mirrors Fabello and Banano.

      5. Othello says he’s cool with it as long as he doesn’t have to play a man playing a woman dressed as a man.

      6. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Someone needs to figure out a different name for Mr. Grass, Mr. is such a pain in the ass to type on an ipad.

      7. AliceInDairyland says:

        lemoncello to fit with the current theme…

  8. Yeah LW, I think maybe the fact that you slept with Guy A is making you wonder if Guy B has had any dalliances? Which is normal, & fine. Just talk to him, WWS, WEES, etc. etc. blah blah*

    As a side note, it’s fine that you banged Guy A. I, er, biblically knew a couple of my boyfriend’s friendly-ish acquaintances before dating him. Sometimes that happens.

    *sorry my advice has been less than eloquent lately since I hate typing on my phone

  9. “Honestly, Wendy, this is the first functional, happy relationship I’ve ever had and I don’t know how to handle it!” — LW, its no wonder you dont know how to communicate, then. but, here you go- start off on the right foot with this! communication is pretty much the one important, top thing in a functional, happy relationship. and ill amend that to say *honest* communication. you have to be able to honestly say what you think, feel and need in a safe place like your relationship.

    so here you go, here is your chance to be happy and functional- communicate!

    1. Yeah, having this kind of conversation is an important part of a functional and healthy relationship.

  10. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

    Ask . I mean I think at a certain point you sort of know regardless but the clarification and verbalization of it are the important things, they tend to give the relationship validation.

    Also Guy A? That was confusing. If you feel guilty you hooked up with someone around the same time you started talking with another guy, don’t. I drunkenly hooked up with a guy I had dated right before meeting my now boyfriend, after my boyfriend and I had been on a few awesome dates. It was actually exactly what I needed to make me realize I had no interest in that guy anymore and was super into this new guy. We all have a past, the guy you are dating does too, don’t feel guilty about it!

  11. Honestly, LW, I totally feel you. It’s tough to bring something like that up and I get how you’d be nervous about it. But Wendy’s suggestion of what to say is actually great. It’s not like asking him “Hey what are we? Are we exclusive?” (Because yikes). Wendy’s words are better — It’s just a casual way to get the conversation started. So do that!!

    My last boyfriend asked me point blank “Be my girlfriend, officially?” and I said yes. The guy I’m seeing now (it’s been two months) is a little less ‘come out and say it’ so I think I’ll eventually have to ask him… And I’ll probably use Wendy’s line, too lol.

  12. Yes, you should have that conversation with him. No, I don’t think you should proactively mention the hookup with guy A.

    Also, do not assume exclusivity. In any relationship, but particularly a long-distance one. I agree with Wendy’s assessment, but in my personal experience a guy who wants to be exclusive / cares to have that status with you will bring it up fairly early on. I’m sure other people are going to disagree, but I don’t think it’s a great sign that he hasn’t brought it up yet. Might mean he’s fine with the status quo and being able to hypothetically or actively keep his options open. I can *at least* tell you firsthand that talking everyday, even excessively for large portions of the day, and getting together regularly in spite of distance does NOT mean a guy is devoted to you exclusively. So you have to ask, and listen to what your gut says about how he responds.

    1. “I don’t think it’s a great sign that he hasn’t brought it up yet.”

      couldn’t the same thing be said about the LW though? Like she’s concerned because he hasn’t brought up the state of the relationship yet… but neither has she! I don’t like the gender based assumptions about a guy would know and would know, etc. If one member of a couple wants to move the relationship forward they should be the one to bring it up – not judge the other person for basically doing the same thing they are (assuming and not communicating).

      1. Sure. I did say she should bring it up. I didn’t say it’s his job to do so.

        I still think it’s not great that after 6 months he hasn’t. She should just have the conversation and get it over with.

  13. Yeah, don’t ever mention anything about Guy A. If he asks directly, sure, but never voluntarily list other guys, especially acquaintances, who have been inside you. Zero benefit in sharing that.

  14. If you are having sex with someone you have a right to know if they are having sex with anyone else. This is just part of being safe and healthy. You don’t have a right to know WHO they are having sex with, but you have the right to know whether there are others.

    Maybe I’m not romantic, but I want to know if my dude is diseased before we start doing the nasty and if he’s not, that he’s not going to become diseased while we are still together. Obviously you can’t avoid possible cheating, but seriously, take charge of your sexual health and ask.

    1. So do you just ask if he’s been tested / has an STD? Or do you make sure he gets tested and you see the results before you sleep with him? Or, do you figure if he says he’s not sleeping with anyone else then he’s not “diseased?”

      1. You make sure he gets tested and see the results, and ensure exclusivity, before you even consider taking the condom off. And you do the same for him – get tested. It shouldn’t be an awkward conversation. (This is my personal preference for how to handle having sex with someone you’re not – or not sure if – you’re exclusive with.)

        (I also dislike the use of the world “diseased” though).

      2. Oh and it’s also important to know how recent his last sexual encounter was just because of incubation periods.

      3. Now drink! (Is anyone else still playing the DW drinking game?)

    2. I’d ask about other current sex partners, too. BUT I think in terms of sexual health past partners are as important as current ones.

      1. But what does a list of names tell you? It’s not like the current partner will hear the name “Joe Smith” and know “Oh, he has herpes!” in most cases. A STD test is way more informative than a list of names, IMO.

      2. I think an STD test is often not very helpful in a casual situation since you never know when your partner might catch something if he’s continuing having sex with others? If he’s not seeing anyone else, then an STD test makes more sense because you know his sexual health status shouldn’t change (leaving cheating aside). In a non-exclusive situation, I’d just try to be as safe as possible.

      3. Your comment and my response are about past partners, though, whom the person is no longer sleeping with.

  15. I love what Wendy says about how 95% of women would still be wondering if we didn’t ask. That is so true! I had a really awkward conversation with my ex, where I stumbled around my words trying to explain to him the difference between casual dating and being in a committed relationship. He just looked at me with his head cocked to the side and said, “Oh, I didn’t realize there was a difference”. It was pretty humorous and it made me realize that some guys just assume that dating is automatically a relationship, or they assume they don’t need to vocalize their desire to be exclusive. Anyway, my point is, don’t be afraid to ask him! More than likely it will not be big deal at all. If it’s bad news, well, at least you know now and can make an educated decision about the future.

  16. I was right with Wendy re: letter organization. I kept thinking when does the one-night stand come back into play? Why do I know about the first guy at all? LW, what happened before the relationship is not part of this relationship. And, really, you don’t even know if you are exclusive or not right now – maybe other “dates” wouldn’t even be a big deal.

    Communicate with this guy. And if he balks at being exclusive, decide if that’s a deal breaker for you.

  17. I’m the type of person who would tell Guy B I slept with Guy A, but I don’t really think it’s necessary. My husband really doesn’t want to know those things and while I’m sure he can figure it out sometimes, he doesn’t want to be specifically told by me. Some people want to know, some people want to be left in the dark. These 2 guys aren’t even good friends so I’m not sure why it would come up. And if it does, I don’t think it would be a big deal.

    I like Wendy’s suggestion of how to bring up exclusivity and I would do it sooner rather than later. I know I would care more about the sexual exclusivity and being safe so just bring it up casually. It’s only a big deal if you make it a big deal.

  18. I can’t figure out how to reply to someone’s comment on the new mobile app.

    I get tested yearly. So I know if I have any STIs. This isn’t as relevant now that I’m with my husband, but in the past I would ask my partners if they’ve been tested, when and if they’ve had new partners since. If they haven’t been tested I either don’t sleep with them, or use extra precautions over what I might have otherwise. At least I was going in with my eyes open. Obviously people can and will lie, but if I don’t trust the guy i am not sleeping with him anyway. if I don’t feel comfortable enough to have the conversation then I’m not sleeping with him, bottom line.

    My point is, LW shouldn’t be afraid to ask the hard questions because she’s afraid that he’ll find out about guy A or whatever. She needs to ask the hard questions because there are potentially serious outcomes from not asking.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Do you still get tested now that you’re married?

      1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        My Dr. does the main tests along with my pap every year. I don’t bother with aids or anything else and I wouldn’t get it done if he didn’t automatically do it but he says that unfortunately sometimes those tests come up positive even in married women :S

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I haven’t gotten tested in like 3 years. The last time I did, I went to Planned Parenthood for a UTI and the lady basically shammed me into doing the testing. She said I couldn’t trust anyone and that my UTI was most likely an STD even though I had no other symptoms (other than the UTI). I left crying. It was terrible. But no, I do not get tested now.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Thinking about this more, 3 years ago you were what? young 20s? Probably ALL girls with boyfriends that age think their boyfriend would never cheat. I’d probably do the same thing as the doctor – advising a young girl not to put their health on the line because they want to trust their boyfriend.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I was 25 and we’d been together for over 3 years (and I had just recently moved cross country for him). Like I said below, recommending it strongly and being a dick are two very different things.

      5. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I decided not to get tested at my exam back in the fall, and the NP shamed me about it. Their recommendations are idiotic though, and I told her as much. Their office just recommends testing yearly until the age of 25. Has nothing to do with exclusivity or a change in sex partners. Just until you’re 25, and then after that you’re immune to STDs apparently. It’s such hogwash.

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        That’s bullshit.

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Yeah, it’s stupid. Luckily my regular gynecologist doesn’t buy into that or I would change doctors, but it’s a (really bad) company policy apparently.

      8. It’s recommended by the CDC. Nationally.

      9. It’s because the cervix isn’t fully developed until you’re over 25, making you much more susceptible to chlamydia and gonorrhea. That’s why they automatically test everyone 25 and under for those. You can opt out if you want.If you get pregnant you’ll also get tested for EVERYTHING, even if you’re monogamous.

        I test for everything yearly, even when I’m in a monogamous relationship.

      10. Also, I don’t think anyone should feel “offended” if it’s offered because as a health care provider, you will see married and partnered people come up positive ALL THE TIME.

      11. ALSO it really should just be considered part of a general health screening. I hate the stigma. Sexual health is important and it does involve screening for infections that you can get from having sex.

      12. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Offering/recommending and shamming a person into doing something is totally different.

      13. It’s usually just done automatically. I think whether or not you feel “shamed” by your health care provider trying to talk you into a normal recommended health screening is subjective.

      14. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I think you’re being defensive about this because you’re a healthcare provider in this field. It actually is possible for someone to just be a dick about it. It doesn’t necessarily mean the patient is being too sensitive. A recommendation is fine. A reminder about why is fine. Telling you that you shouldn’t trust your husband isn’t fine.

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        What about all the women who do have STDs but don’t get tested because they assume their husband won’t do the same things many husbands do? If doctors didn’t suggest that, those women would die from STDs probably. That’s scary!

      16. If you, as a provider, suggest STI tests for someone even if they are monogamous, then yeah, it’s implied that someone is unfaithful. So what? If you trust your partner, then why not test anyway? It’s part of a well woman exam and won’t cost extra. The risks of not testing far outweigh the risks of a doctor potentially making someone feel shamed.

      17. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        The doctor told me point blank she was working under the assumption that my bf (now husband) was unfaithful because that’s how all men are. That’s not okay. Saying it’s highly recommended that everyone gets std tested regularly because things happen- is a totally different way of saying it. This doctor repeated OVER and over and over again that she assumed he was cheating, to the point of me crying. That IS shaming your patient into doing something.

        And why I didn’t want to test (other than trusting him), I didn’t have health insurance at the time and was scraping pennies together to pay for the exam in the first place.

      18. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I get charged extra for any tests I have done. Have to pay for labs and stuff.

      19. That sucks GG, that sounds really unprofessional, and now it sounds like you’re even less likely to want to get tested just-in-case, which is so counter-productive.

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        I think its a doctors job to cover those bases gg. Men do cheat. So do women. You know this. Better safe than sorry.

      21. lets_be_honest says:

        Basically, your doctor should be extremely protective of your health, even if you aren’t.

      22. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        LBH, I get that. She could have clearly said once or even twice, MAYBE a third time. But to repeat yourself until a patient is crying? Not okay.

        Advocating, even strongly advocating, is one thing. Being a straight up dick is another.

      23. lets_be_honest says:


      24. @GG – yeah, I remember you PP story and I agreed that it was unprofessional which is why I didn’t address that comment directly. But cheating is very common. I’m pretty sure almost everyone on DW has admitted to cheating and/or being cheated on at some point.

      25. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        @Cats I also get fired up about this subject 1- because of my terrible experience, and 2- because I believe strongly in being an informed patient and spend time making sure I am. Sorry if I was in attack mode at you!

        And yeah, people cheat. We can all agree on that point.

      26. Also, I kind of imagine that there are women who would lie to their doctor if they have sex partners outside of a committed relationship. It seems easier/safer to just blanket test everyone.

      27. im curious how there is any shame involved in this whole process. is it because of the sexual subject matter? is it because the results could or could not imply an issue within a relationship? i dont get how getting a test for something is a shameful experience.

        i dunno, i mean, these are normal tests every woman gets all the time. ive had them, also, because its just the normal thing until you turn 25. ive even gotten them while i was in years long committed relationships. its just… life?

      28. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        She basically said over and over again that I should never trust a man, and that I probably had std’s because he was cheating on me, over and over again until I practically cried in office (and did once I left). Had she made a compelling, logical, scientifically based argument- I wouldn’t have been upset. (I was also over 25, just for reference sake.)

      29. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Did I say I was offended about it?

      30. That was just a general comment I made. I get rant-y when it comes to STIs.

      31. I remember going to the doctor when I was in a monogamous relationship. We talked about testing and she said since I was in a monogamous relationship there was no reason to have me tested. Looking back on it, that almost seems negligent to me. People cheat all the time. I’m no expert, but I agree, unless you’re not having sex at all, you need to get tested every year.

      32. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t get tested. I’m arguing that it’s stupid to say that it’s not necessary after 25. There’s no mention of testing between partner changes. It’s just testing until 25 and none after that unless you specifically request it. That is interesting about the cervix though.

      33. Ohhh, it is definitely recommended after 25 if you have had multiple partners, or a new partner, or every year if that’s what you want.

      34. yea- every gyno ive had talks about your partners. how many, how long you have been together, ect, ect… my gyno didnt even start with the “eh, you dont really need these tests” talk until i had been with my boyfriend for like 3 years….

      35. Same for me cats… it’s just a part of the basic annual exam for me. Don’t even give it a second thought anymore. It’s not like they have to run more tests on you – they are already collecting samples so what’s the diff?

        Plus, I have been in a monogamous relationship and tested positive for HPV out of the blue… whether I got it from my guy or not – condoms don’t prevent everything and some things can be in your system for years without you knowing, testing positive, or showing any signs. In my case it was a blessing because I was on the path to cervical cancer and would have never known otherwise.

      36. A specific HPV test is one of those they do “automatically” once you hit 30. A pap smear will show abnormal cells, but you can have HPV without having those cervical changes.

      37. Cats, I am 27 and my doctor said I only have to get a pap every 3 years. I’ve always had normal paps. Do you think I should be asking for an HPV test? I know you’re not my doctor, but I was just thinking as part of the general discussion. Couldn’t the “3 year rule” be kind of lax. I mean, I could be developing cervical cancer for 3 years and not know it, right?

      38. I’d probably just follow the recommendations for now? If you had a positive HPV test in the absence of an abnormal pap smear, then they wouldn’t do anything about it anyway except to say, “Come back next year.” Usually HPV will just clear up on its own without causing any complications.

      39. my dr just suggested that this year. i’ve gotten a pap smear every year until now (at 32) but she said i could wait until i was 34 to do it again. i did have one abnormal test i think when i was around 27 but everything has been fine since then and the colposcopy (is that right?) was normal.

      40. the three year thing is weird for me too. like i have it in my head that i have to go every year OR ILL DIE. or something. but really i would only go each year to get my birth control prescription! lol

        maybe ill ask my gyno next year if i can skip it. she will probably say no though to see how my IUD is going.

      41. i mean i still got my pelvic exam and she still examined by cervix she just didn’t take cells and end them off to be examined. you definitely still want to go every year, they might just recommend not sending off a sample. hopefully cats can clarify 🙂

  19. LlamaPajamas says:

    Ask him! Seriously, uncertainty is the worst and this sets the groundwork for you to ask for what you want in relationships instead of waiting for it to be given to you (admittedly I’ve been reading too many feminist critiques of the engagement and wedding process lately). I asked my fiancé if he wanted to be exclusive when I started to wonder where our relationship was going and it worked out just fine even though pizza wasn’t involved (Lucky Charms were though because I did it over breakfast). I also asked him to marry me. I’m just a take charge kind of gal.

  20. AliceInDairyland says:

    Where do I announce that I think I have Benjamin on board with getting a Chinchilla once we move into the new house? It’s possible that he’s just agreeing now in the hopes that I will forget in like 4 months… But… he referred to our future chinchilla multiple times in conversation last night.

    1. AliceInDairyland says:

      LW, give your BF a chinchilla to cuddle while you bring up the exclusivity talk. I think it will make it go quite smoothly…

    2. Alice, did he talk about names for your future chinchilla? If so, that definitely means it’s happening.

    3. lets_be_honest says:

      Why can’t you just get it now? Its the tiniest thing ever. I’m getting one without telling Peter and I’m just gonna hide it in my pocket. He’ll never know!

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Fuck hamsters! I got a hamster on Christmas once and it bit the shit out of me and I spent the rest of Christmas in the ER. Any other pocket-sized animal suggestions?

      2. Huh, mine never bit anyone. Well, I’m trying to think what you could legally obtain in the US. Once my mom and I went out and bought a parakeet on a whim and it ended up being my dad’s best friend for years. She would sit on his shoulder all day while he worked (from home) and say sweet things in his ear, like “Hi sweetie!” And she would laugh and laugh. She also made up all kinds of words and phrases based on real things that people said, but with her own spin on it.

        And this guy I work with has a bearded dragon… it’s his daughter’s pet actually. I’ve held it a few times and it’s pretty cool. It just chills while you hold and pet it.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh, mine wasn’t a mini hamster, just a regular one. Do the mini ones not bite usually? Peter wants a bearded dragon! Why get a lizard though when you can get a little furball?

      4. some lizards are more cuddly than rodents…

      5. AliceInDairyland says:

        Sugar. Glider. They love pockets.

      6. I thought sugar gliders were illegal though? Didn’t Paris Hilton have one and get in trubs?

      7. omg, my company blocks that webpage.

      8. AliceInDairyland says:


        No sugar gliders for you.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        I laugh in the face of illegality.

      10. They should be illegal. There are lots of living things that people will sell you that have no business being a pet.

      11. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:


      12. lets_be_honest says:

        Ha, nice! Maybe if babies stayed mini (and quiet, and self sufficient) I would.

      13. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Plus they bite too.

      14. Fuck hamsters? I dunno, lbh, I guess I thought I was broad-minded, but…

      15. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:


      16. lets_be_honest says:

        I have 2 cats, so no fish. Plus fish are boring. I want something I can cuddle with.

      17. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        the cats? haha. They might not take to kindly to a rodent.

      18. fish are the worst pets. sorry if you like fish, but geez they are a bunch of work for what- to look at? no. i can go to an aquarium (which i get isnt “cool” anymore but whatever) and see fish that are 100x cooler then ones you get at petsmart.

      19. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I actually think they are dumb too, but the visual of LBH carrying a fish around in her pocket cracked me up.

      20. lets_be_honest says:


      21. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        get a bunny, some breeds of them are awesome and you can house-train them and they act like little dogs! they get big too. in college i had a buddy who had a bunny that came when he called and that he walked on a leash and who was the snuggliest thing in the world. it was awesome.

      22. lets_be_honest says:


      23. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yes! That’s pretty much what I was thinking.

      24. sugar gliders!! those things are so cool looking

      25. AliceInDairyland says:

        ..because it’s going to go into the now-labeled “Chinchilla Room” on the updated floor plan.

    4. I can’t help myself… FWIW on the pet conversation:

      Chins are a lovely pet but they do require some special care and are not actually as cuddly as you would like them to be. Their fur is amazingly soft but you shouldn’t really pet them all that much because it messes the fur up pretty badly… they aren’t “domesticated” like hamsters or bunnies and many are not going to curl up with you (they also need specific temperature conditions because they can overheat so easily and a nice clay/chalk bath at all times).

      Sugar Gliders – please PLEASE just don’t. They are incredibly cute but their diet is actually very challenging, they can develop bone and developmental problems so easily if people don’t know what they are doing and treat them like hamsters. They usually need to be in a group so you also shouldn’t get just one… and don’t get me started on how you should never EVER keep a live animal in your pocket.

      1. AliceInDairyland says:

        I hope you take this conversation with a grain of salt, but I’d like to think I’d be capable of caring appropriately for a chinchilla. It’s actually recommended (at least in my special species course at the veterinary school) that you don’t CONSTANTLY give them access to a clay bath as they can over-bathe and end up dried out depending on the temperature/humidity. You are supposed to institute a regiment where they are regularly given access to a dust/clay bath.

        Have you interacted with every chinchilla on the face of the earth? I spent an hour yesterday talking to multiple chinchilla owners and the animals’ various personalities, temperaments, etc.

        Sugar gliders I have no comment on.

        Okay done.

      2. AliceInDairyland says:

        PS sorry for starting a chinchilla fight on the exclusivity letter, LW.

      3. You took the words out of my mouth. It all comes down to research (which any person should do before adopting ANY animal) and the chinchilla’s temperment. Mine is not a cuddler. She would, however, sell her soul for a chin rub.

      4. I wasn’t meaning you Alice – sorry if I wasn’t clear in that I just wanted to throw out some general info. I kinda assumed based on your background that you would obviously be doing the research, etc. I mean you are going to be a vet:-)

        I just wanted to put that out there because there are lots of people I know who lump animals together and think hamster = guinea pig = bunny = chinchilla because they are kinda the same right… and it just ends badly. I worked someplace back in the day and the number of mammals and reptiles that people “donated” to the facility because they couldn’t care for them – because they should have never gotten them in the first place – is so awful. When I think about parrots being sold in pet stores in the same vein as parakeets, or large pythons being sold as babies like they are so similar to other reptiles – it makes my blood boil. Don’t even get me started about the poor ducks and bunnies after Easter…

      5. and to clarify I have taken care of numerous Chins, and Sugar Gliders (some of whom were deformed and could barely climb thanks to their lovely owners) and just about every small exotic mammal, or reptile, or bird or prey, or other bird, etc. that you can think of… so I’m not just spitting into the wind. It used to be my profession, part of which was educating the public about “good” pets and “bad” pets – especially for children. Having to turn down animals (space limitations in the facility) that were going to end up dumped somewhere because they wouldn’t cuddle, or they were too loud, or gross you had to feed them live crickets… well it was heartbreaking.

      6. and to clarify I have taken care of numerous Chins, and Sugar Gliders (some of whom were deformed and could barely climb thanks to their lovely owners) and just about every small exotic mammal, or reptile, or bird or prey, or other bird, etc. that you can think of… so I’m not just spitting into the wind. It used to be my profession, part of which was educating the public about “good” pets and “bad” pets – especially for children. Having to turn down animals (space limitations in the facility) that were going to end up dumped somewhere because they wouldn’t cuddle, or they were too loud, or gross you had to feed them live crickets… well it was heartbreaking.

      7. Oy – sorry for the multiple redundant posts. No clue what happened there !

      8. and to clarify I have taken care of numerous Chins, and Sugar Gliders (some of whom were deformed and could barely climb thanks to their lovely owners) and just about every small exotic mammal, or reptile, or bird or prey, or other bird, etc. that you can think of… not everyone on the planet but a fairly representative sample… so I’m not just spitting into the wind. It used to be my profession, part of which was educating the public about animals, and nature and “good” pets v. “bad” pets – especially for children. Having to turn down animals (space limitations in the facility) that were going to end up dumped somewhere because they wouldn’t cuddle, or they were too loud, or gross you had to feed them live crickets… well it was heartbreaking.

  21. One of the keys to communication is talking to each other. This message brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Also WDS

  22. You say you’re bothered that he hasn’t brought it up but maybe he’s bothered you haven’t. You’re not a passive member of this relationship. If you don’t feel comfortable or scared to rock the boat by bringing up this issue then, I think you need to decide why that is. I get that there is a certain I’m nervous about this talk, what if we’re not on the same page. But, you should still feel comfortable bringing this topic up, beyond those initial nerves. It’s easy to build things up in your head, but they’re usually not as bad as you build them up to be.

  23. I only read the title, soooo…you talk to them. You say “hey, are we only dating each other?” He answers yes or no. The end.

    1. OK, my advice is still the same after reading this. Talk to him. It’s really that easy. I guess I’m one who is uncomfortable NOT being exclusive, so it usually comes up within the first month. I always wonder why women are so…hesitant?…to ask about stuff like this. Or those who are hesitant to ask guys out. I don’t understand that. It’s 2014, we don’t have to revert back to 1950’s dating rituals.

  24. tangerbean says:

    Sometimes I wish Wendy’s posts had a “like” button we could click for her responses. Because… “LIKE!” 🙂

    1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      I have a Facebook like button at the bottom of ever column!

  25. Bittergaymark says:

    If one is just left wondering about whether or not they are in an exclusive relationship — NEWSFLASH: they aren’t.

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