It’s the younger who often assume they’re in a one-on-one relationship just because they’ve had sex once. Expectations run sky-high and are often unsustainable – though sometimes our earliest relationships do indeed last into the long-term. For those with a little more experience, the various commitments made with another person take time and need to be discussed.
Agreeing to go one-on-one – and be boyfriends
Whether or not you say so, your expectation should be that you aren’t boyfriends and it isn’t a one-on-one relationship until you have agreed this with your partner and are sure this is what you both want.
It is generally best not to ask for this commitment within the first few weeks of a relationship. For starters, you can’t really trust any promises made at this point. It is also (usually) too soon for either of you to tell if this is really what you both want. Of course, there are love at first sight exceptions – but even then the discussion can wait.
When you feel it’s the right time to ask, when it’s not just because you want a relationship in principle but because it is to be with this person, you need to have a think about what to say.
Plan the venue. Suggest a meal out, perhaps. The restaurant doesn’t need to be especially ‘romantic’, just somewhere you both like. It’s a bad idea to plan this discussion to happen in bed, or even in either of your homes. Neutral territory is usually best.
Wait until the food arrives, then begin: ‘I’ve been thinking…’ Express your affection. There’s no need to go so far as the ‘L’ word, but you might if this feels right. And say you’ve been wondering if you are now together and won’t be having sex with other people.
With any luck, he’ll say yes.
If he doesn’t, well, let’s not beat about the bush, you’re going to feel rough. If he doesn’t even say he’s not sure – if he says, for example, ‘Me and you? Absolutely NOT!’ – then it’s a fair bet , assuming you have given it time, that he’s not the most considerate person ever and you might as well express your regret and up and walk away now. If he does attempt to soften the blow, then it would be a bit silly to burn the bridge – and the friendship.
As you might have inferred, you need to have this conversation sober – one cocktail to loosen tongues, then begin. That way, you can be reasonably sure that the commitment you’re making, or otherwise, is sensibly considered and not the result of a moment’s excess. You don’t want to be thinking later: Did he really mean that?
One thing about trust and one-on-one commitment is that you might decide to stop using condoms. This does require absolute trust and you should both go together to be tested for HIV – the usual three month rule applying.
Any deviation from one-on-one commitment thereafter is a serious breach of trust – because of the risk of STI transmission as well as the effect on your feelings.
If you are both HIV positive already, it is recommended that you continue to use condoms. This is because HIV, as a retrovirus rather than a mere virus, mutates very quickly, producing new variants, some of which have proven highly drug resistant.