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Dating vs Relationship - How do I know?

"Relationships, in general, make people nervous. It's about trust.

Do I trust you enough to go there?"

Neil Labute

Growing up in the UK dating wasn't a thing and I learned about dating on American TV. I remember being fascinated by TV shows where young teens were encouraged by their parents to go on dates. This seemed so foreign to me as I couldn't imagine my parents doing that.

Like many trends, dating is an American tradition that is now adopted by many cultures around the world and has been normalised as the way people meet and begin a relationship. This is in contrast to Indian and some African cultures where arranged marriages are the norm. In these cultures, couples are introduced by parents or other family members.

What dating is:

  • Dating means you're intentionally going on dates.

  • You are actively getting out there and meeting people and spending time with them.

  • Dating someone means you're seeing somebody specific, with purpose, and on a regular basis.

  • You're spending time with a person (or persons) in hopes of finding a committed relationship.

Dating isn't:

  • Hooking up. Although there's nothing wrong with this, it is not the same as dating because it does not have the intention of leading into a relationship. One person may believe they are dating while another may see the encounter as a casual hook up or friends with benefits.

  • Dating is not a casual hook-up you hope will turn into a relationship.

  • Hook-ups very rarely turn into a relationship.

  • If you're unsure, always clarify.

DTR or define the relationship

Once we've been on a number of dates, getting on well, and there's chemistry between you, there will naturally come a time to clarify the status of the 'relationship'. Until you've had the 'talk' it's unclear whether you're in a relationship yet or not.

For many people, there's perhaps nothing more anxiety-inducing than figuring out how to define the relationship. Most people try to figure it out themselves or by talking to friends. You may be wondering:

  • Are we talking enough?

  • Are we dating or just hanging out?

  • Are we exclusive?

  • Are they seeing other people?

  • Do they want to take it further?

At this stage, you're ready to create the boundaries of your relationship and have an honest conversation about where you each stand. This is a stage most people dread.

To find out why it's important to define the relationship, read, Here's Everything You Can Expect to Change After You Define the Relationship.

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