The definition of an “exclusive relationship” can be both very simple and very complex, depending on whose advice you take. Simply, it means that you and your girlfriend have agreed not to kiss, have sex with, or engage in other physically romantic activities with anyone else besides each other. In this way, “commitment” is essentially a “commitment of one’s body.” However, the definition of exclusive relationship touches on many more subtle gray areas, and also brings with it expectations that extend well beyond not hooking up with other people.
Some things are obviously not allowed in any exclusive relationships – hooking up with or having sex is the most obvious one. There are a few couples that are okay with allowing each other to make out with or kiss other people. I do not recommend this, as it is likely to lead to more problems than it is worth.
However there are much less obvious actions that some, in their definition of exclusive relationship, might think are okay and others might disagree. For example, giving massages to other girls, calling up ex’s, talking to other girls in party settings, flirting, and other things might seem perfectly harmless to you, but to her might seem like a violation of your committed relationship.
How do you keep these gray areas from leading to trouble? The key is to understand the definition of exclusive relationship in a more complex and dynamic way. Nobody is perfect, and everyone is human. You will, of course, be attracted to other girls, and you will probably make some mistakes regarding other girls during the course of your relationship. The most important thing is to constantly remind yourself what an exclusive relationship means in the fullest sense.
Beyond a pledge to take your physical talents off the market, the definition of exclusive relationship also contains many other dimensions that are implied. When you commit to a girl you are, in addition to committing your body, accepting the responsibility for a portion of her happiness and giving her power over a portion of yours. You are committing to be there for her when she needs you, being her friend as well as her lover, and going out of your way to avoid hurting her. Because of this extended definition of exclusive relationship, you must realize that even interactions with other girls that seem perfectly harmless to you might be seen by a girl as a violation of the commitment that you made to her. It is therefore not okay to do certain things beyond hooking up with other girls, if they make your girlfriend unhappy or uncomfortable.
Included in the more complex definition of exclusive relationship are expectations which, essentially, are the expectations of being a boyfriend. When you commit to her, you are committing to being her boyfriend. Try to remember that. Exclusivity should not be taken lightly. If you are not ready for it, tell her that you are not, and hope that she can understand that you want to wait. If not, then not only are you not ready, but you also might not be with the right girl.