What does 'exclusive' mean and how is different to being in a relationship?

Last night’s Love Island saw Kyler take another step forward in their relationship, as Tyler asked Kaz a significant question on very the spot where they shared their first kiss.

No, they aren’t getting married, and, as far as we viewers are aware, they’re not calling each other ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’, but they are ‘exclusive’, with Tyler holding up a series of towels on which he’d written the words: ‘Shall we be exclusive?’ 

Kaz looked positively gassed to be asked and said ‘yes’ with a huge smile on her face, but some viewers have been left baffled by the concept of being exclusive without being in a relationship.

It’s a valid question, what with arguably the main criteria for getting into a monogamous relationship being exclusivity.

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So what exactly is the difference between being exclusive and being in a relationship?

Hayley says taking the latter step indicates more of an intention to be together long-term, adding: ‘This is also around the time where you may find your lives become more intertwined, meaning you might meet their families, friends, and someone will refer to you as their boyfriend or girlfriend in public.’

In the end, every couple is different, and if you and your partner feel comfortable with the ‘relationship’ label sooner rather than later, then you might not feel the need to have the ‘exclusivity’ conversation at all.

After all, for couples who are consensually non-monogamous, exclusivity may never be a factor.

The most important thing to remember is to just do you.

Hayley says: ‘As your relationship grows, take time to get to know your partner and let the process unfold organically.

‘Remember, keep true to yourself within this stage of the relationship while you’re figuring each other out and make the next steps in your own time, at a pace that feels most comfortable.’

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