The Definition and Meaning of Dating. What Does Dating Really Mean?
Dating... With the rise of hookup culture these days, no one really knows what the meaning of dating is. However, you’d think the opposite since we throw around that phrase so often.
“Yeah, I’m dating him.”
“She went on a few dates.”
“I didn’t know they dated.”
It’s 2021. While dating means something different for everyone, that doesn’t mean we should be in the dark when it comes to what it means for our specific situation.
If you stumbled across this article, odds are you’re single and looking to get the most out of your own dating experience. If you’re ready to put yourself out there and join the online dating pool or even if you’re just looking for more advice and dating resources, check out new dating site Promenad!
We shouldn’t have to ask what dating means. Does it mean that we’re exclusively seeing someone? Or that we’re merely hooking up, or even that we’re testing the waters and seeing multiple people? What does dating mean to a guy? What does it mean to date someone? All are questions you might be wondering. We may not have all the answers, but here’s what we’ve discovered about the definition of dating.
What is the Meaning of Dating?
If you want to get technical, Merriam-Webster defines the term dating as making a romantic social arrangement to meet with someone. This can be true to an extent.
But the definition of dating someone is not that simple. When it comes to certain situations, there’s more to unpack that can change its meaning.
How Do I Know if I’m Dating?
Like we mentioned before - dating is different based on your specific situation. Meaning there’s room for things to be a little complicated. However, there are some universal guidelines to figure out if you’re truly on the dating scene.
If you relate to any of these points, you can confirm that you’re dating:
- You find yourself liking someone and putting in an effort to get to know them better - we know that you probably won’t do this with just anyone.
- You spend more and more time with someone in hopes of it turning into a committed relationship.
- If you’re regularly seeing someone and you can imagine settling down with them. “Settling down” can range from moving in together, raising a pet together, getting married or even having children.
It’s important to note that while you can relate to these situations, you should still communicate with your partner and have that conversation to confirm that what you’re feeling is, in fact, true.
What I’m Doing isn’t Dating?
If you just read through those previous guidelines and find yourself scratching your head in confusion, you may be wondering what you’re actually doing. You could potentially be single and weighing out your options - that can still be classified as dating. The key difference is one word: are you dating or dating someone?
Similar to our last list, here’s one that outlines situations where you might not be dating:
- You know you’re not interested in a relationship at all. You make it a point to clearly tell that to people you’ve been seeing or hooking up with.
- The tables have turned - the person (or people) you’re seeing or hooking up with have expressed to you that they don’t have the intention of being in a relationship.
- You have a pattern of not seeing the same person more than once or twice before you see someone different.
These situations don’t take away from your personal growth or desire for a relationship. Sometimes, you just need to have fun and experience being in other people’s company without the pressure of commitment. Another thing to keep in mind is that dating isn’t for everyone - it’s totally okay to keep things more casual. It’s just a part of life!
At the end of it all, the one thing that defines dating is intention. If you think about it, all these situations are different because of the intention of both parties. For example, if your intentions are to get to know someone because you feel there could be a future with you and that person, then you’re dating. Even if that doesn’t mean marriage or any sort of end game - you see yourself being with that person in some capacity - you’re dating.
So, the key takeaway here is that the difference between dating, hooking up, seeing someone, etc - is intention.
The thing people confuse most about dating is exclusivity. These terms are not interchangeable - just because you’ve only been seeing the same person for six months does not mean they’re doing the same. However, when it comes to dating, there is one thing that you can never assume, and that is that you and the person you’re seeing are on the same page. And, to be honest, you’re not going to know if you are unless you sit down and communicate with them. No matter how painful or awkward that conversation might be, it needs to be had to clear up any confusion.
Just remember this: just because you’re on the dating scene doesn’t mean you’re dating someone. On the other hand, if you are exclusively seeing or dating someone, you are dating. Again, it all comes down to intentions.
There you have it, folks - that is the meaning of dating.