Usually there's some episode(someone gets tired of the other dating other people), or a moment (you sit down and talk about it) where you agree that you will be exclusive.
In my experience, this is the only way to know you're exclusive: to talk about it.
This "unspoken expectations" level isone of the scariest thing about commitment for guys...because we are lazy.
Do you agree with me that commitment and exclusivity are different? Is it yet another difference in how men and women think?
"Boyfriend" and "girlfriend" seem to share the same fate as the now arcane "going steady." People are still dating -- sure -- but recently, would-be couples less readily refer to one another as "boyfriend" or "girlfriend," opting instead for basic , sans label.
Of my friends who entered into relationships in the past year, every single one of them first entered a period of exclusivity before even remotely venturing into "boyfriend/girlfriend" territory.
While some people make their intentions known and agree to becoming exclusive at a certain point, others go with the flow with the hope that they’ll become his or her one and only, even before becoming Facebook official. While some people make clean breaks with their ex, others still have occasional contact.
It is now expected that a couple will first hookup for a significant -- albeit unsubstantial -- period of time, only to then qualify their pseudo relationship with vague promises of monogamy.