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What Does Dating Mean? What You Need to Understand about It

what does dating mean

Not everyone likes dating, but a good one changes everything. But what does dating mean? What happens after the first or fourth or twentieth date?

I wish there was a rule book when it came to dating. It would make things so much easier. But at the same time, our lives would probably be too easy. Where’s all the fun in analyzing and bitching to your friends? What else would we talk about? Global warming? Politics? We need something light to throw into the mix, hence why we all have no idea the answer to what does dating mean. [Read: 15 reasons why being single can be a lot of fun too]

What does dating mean? The real dating guide

There have been some people I go on one date with, and they assume we’re exclusive from then on. While other guys I’ve dated, I’m wondering why this taking so goddamn long for us to be exclusive.

Through my tragic dating life, though I’ve been grossly unsuccessful, I’ve learned a couple things about the dating world. Things that will help you. So, let’s get to the bottom of what dating actually is and what it’s not. It’s not easy to figure out, but it’s a breeze once you know.

#1 There’s no set definition. Of course, in Webster’s dictionary, there’s a definition for dating. But in the real world, there’s no set definition which people follow. Some people only date one person at a time, while others ride the merry-go-round of dates. Some people take dating seriously while others are very casual about it and have no intentions of committing. [Read: Why it’s normal to not feel interest in dating]

#2 Dating vs. relationship. You probably wonder what the difference between dating and a relationship is. Good question. The biggest difference between the two is that those in a relationship made a mutual commitment to each other.

Whether it’s official or not, both decided to not see other people and be exclusive. Of course, people have open relationships, but it still means they’re committed to each other. [Read: 9 relationship stages all couples have to go through]

#3 It’s about getting to know each other. Before entering a relationship, you need to get to know someone, right? That’s where dating comes in. This is the time where you try to see if you are compatible. I you would actually want to spend time with them on a regular basis. Dating is when you talk, laugh, see their habits. You know, catch a glimpse of who they are.

#4 It can include sex. Listen, I don’t want to say that dating includes having sex. But, you can have sex during the dating period. Sure, you’ll go for dinners, hikes, movies, but you can also have sex with them. I mean, why not? It doesn’t mean that you’re in a relationship though, so don’t get it mixed up. You’re still just dating.

#5 You can date multiple people. If you’re dating, you can date other people at the same time. Though, after a couple dates with one person, you should tell them that you still see other people, just so they know where you stand. Dating doesn’t mean you need to date one person. If you want to go on three dates with three different guys, do it. [Read: Why it’s healthy to date multiple people]

#6 You introduced them to your friends. If you went on several dates with this person, you introduce them to your friends. I mean, you’re dating them so why not introduce them to your friends. If you’ve been seeing them for a couple dates, then you don’t have to. But after several dates, it’s a good thing to introduce them to your friends. That way, they get a glimpse into your life and vice versa.

#7 You’re relaxed around them. When you date someone, there shouldn’t be pressure. Remember, during this period, you get to know the person you date. If you’re constantly nervous or anxious around them, that’s not dating. Dating should be relaxed and enjoyable.

#8 No expectations. When you’re in a relationship, there are certain expectations that go along with it. This is normal as you’re in a committed relationship. But, when it comes to dating, you shouldn’t have any expectations. You just get to know each other, so don’t expect a relationship out of it.

#9 Hooking up doesn’t count as dating. I know you may think you date someone, but if you’re hooking up with someone that doesn’t mean anything. Hooking up is a broad term, but it’s usually very loose and casual.

So, if it just means you sleep together and only see this person for sex, you’re not dating. Dating means you actually leave the bedroom. [Read: Are they dating material or a hookup?]

#10 Dating is about the future. Sure, dating is fun but realistically, we go on dates to find a future partner. I know this sounds intense, and it actually is. The only reason why we spend all this time dating is so that we find the person we want to be with longterm. Or else, we just hook up with people for the rest of our lives.

[Read: 12 reasons why courting is better than dating]

You no longer must ask yourself, what does dating mean? Read these tips and memorize them so that you won’t be confused on your next date.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic
A serial dater, Natasha Ivanovic knows a thing or two about men and the dating scene. Much of her writing is inspired by her encounters with men - and for good ...
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