When in a relationship are you exclusive?

There are a few ways to figure out when you’ve gotten yourself into boyfriend/girlfriend territory.

From recent reports it seems that actors Michelle Williams and Jason Segel have quietly crossed that line between playing with the idea of being exclusive and committing to being a couple. At a premiere party to celebrate Segel’s film “The Five-Year Engagement,” they were seen holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. They are both known for taking their time when it comes to romance. It raises the question: How does a hopeful pair get from one point to the next? When do you actually become an exclusive couple?

One of my patients was pondering this recently, and she asked me when it is appropriate to have the conversation and negotiate the terms of becoming a committed couple. I told her that in order to gauge that, you want to look at what is going on between the two of you.

Being exclusive is the exciting hill everyone wants to get over in a new, promising relationship. And there will be definite signs that you are successfully making that climb. There is the obvious: If you begin to refer to each other, and to introduce each other, as boyfriend and girlfriend. Other clues are when you start to show your affection in public by holding hands and touching, making the statement that you belong together, or the biggie: You start saying “I love you.” And the best indication of all is that you no longer want to date other people or even leave that door open for the possibility. When it becomes clear that you are focusing your energy and heart on that one person, and that it is a mutual choice, that is a good time to check in to determine if you are now being exclusive.

Once you decide you are each other’s one and only, you will be able to usher in the emotional and sexual trust and safety that most people crave. You want “the talk” my patient was referring to — and even more importantly, you want the move toward steady dating. You want to acknowledge what is already happening between the two of you rather than be in a negotiation to put something in place the way it seems to be for Michelle and Jason.

— Relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer is the creator of “Shrink Wrap” – national commentary on what we can learn from celebrity relationships – and host of “Let’s Talk Sex” at Healthylife.net. Her book, “What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship,” is available nationwide.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Ditka calls Redskins team name critics 'politically correct…

Mike Ditka, the 74-year-old 11-season coach of the Chicago Bears and 3-season coach of the New Orleans Saints, may be endangering his position as an…

National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

Television

TV watch list, Thursday, Aug. 21: 'Simpsons,' 'Simpsons'…

It's time to change the channel to FXX, and then never change it again, as you watch all the "Simpsons" episodes you can handle.

Television

'MasterChef' open tryouts are coming to NYC

Home cooks, sharpen your knives. Tryouts are coming for the sixth season of the reality show that challenges ordinary chefs to rise to restaurant standards.…

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…