Welcome to the confusing world of dating in the 21st century! If you’re asking this question I am guessing you are trying to figure out dating and what all of the different terminology actually means.

Dating’ means you are actively meeting new people, spending time with them and going on dates. ‘Dating someone’ means you are getting to know one person specifically. You have a romantic connection and you may want to end up in a committed relationship with them.

So, to sum up there is ‘dating’ which is you are dating different people, spending time with them with a view to a possible romantic connection. When you are dating someone means you are spending time with someone specific regularly and with purpose.

This is not always the case though as some people may want to date casually indefinitely. There are different types of dating; random dating, casual dating and exclusive dating. <<link to article different types of dating>>

There are so many variables to the question. For example, this might be a blind date and the first time you have ever met so it usually would not be defined as dating them already as you don’t even know one another. However, perhaps you’ve been friends a while and you’ve already kissed or even had sex so you know each other very well. In this case if you are now going on a date it perhaps wouldn’t be too premature to consider yourself dating. Generally speaking, I think you would need to go on at least a few dates before you would consider yourself dating that person.

The topic is extremely subjective. There would easily be two people out there who we consider themselves dating if they have a planned date and others who may have been on 10 dates but not actually want to label themselves as dating. Much of it comes down to your intention.  if you’re interested in getting to know someone to see if there a romantic future there then you’re dating.

Then comes the complexity of ‘is it casual’? That is, are you both seeing other people or are you exclusively dating? The exclusively dating status can take a lot longer to reach than just the ‘dating’ phase. It usually requires a chat to ensure that both of you are on the same page. The last thing you want to do is become extremely emotionally invested only to realise the assumption that they weren’t seeing other people was wrong. So as awkward as it may be to ask the question, it is worth having ‘the chat’ to make sure you are both heading in the same direction.

There are also different stages of dating. Firstly, there is the attraction, then infatuation and first date stage which is usually when the first kiss happens. Then comes the casual dating stage where perhaps you might meet each other’s friends and family. If you already knew them before your first date the ‘relationship’ could move at a faster pace because these are usually milestones which are hit further along when getting to know someone new. Then comes the exclusively dating stage which is more serious and committed.

Not only might you already be friends with the person you’re going on a date with, there are other circumstances which may make you feel you know the other person more than just going a blind or random date. For example, I met my husband online and before we met we had two skype dates, each lasting over an hour and we had messaged for a couple of weeks so when we did meet up I actually felt like I knew quite a lot about him rather than meeting up with a stranger. After two dates we decided to exclusively date which is pretty fast paced but we were both older (32) and knew what we were looking for and we had found it! At long last! 😊

There are several key things to look for which will indicate if you are actually dating. Firstly, date night is on the weekend – they are giving you the prime night of the week. You talk and text often and when you do meet you do fun things together. You connect emotionally and feel awkward about being on dating apps. You have met each other’s friends and family and make plans for the future. The only sure way of knowing is to have ‘the chat’ about it. << link to article how do you know if you’re dating>>

Red flags are things to look out for which might suggest you aren’t dating at all and instead you are just ‘hanging out’. There is no intention to move forwards with this kind of relationship. Things to look for include;

  • if you are if you only see each other late at night and you don’t do fun activities before having sex,
  • there is no deep conversations and you don’t open up emotionally.
  • you haven’t met each other’s friends or family
  • you don’t do anything romantic
  • you only plan your meet ups over text message, and it tends to be last minute
  • you only spend time together behind closed doors
  • you’ve never been out for a romantic meal or to the cinema

Dating Ed:
Does going on a date mean you’re dating?

So, to sum up there is ‘dating’ which is you are dating different people, spending time with them with a view to a possible romantic connection. When you are ‘dating someone’ means you are spending time with someone specific regularly and with purpose.


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First Date Phone Call Etiquette – Video Call Before Date
How To Tell a Guy You Dont Like Him
How To Tell a Guy You Like Him
How To Tell a Guy You Love Him
How to Date a Celebrity
How to Date During Lockdown – Date Successfully during a Pandemic
Dating Do’s and Don’ts – What you should you do and not do while dating
How Do You Date Someone?
How Do You Know You’re Dating the Right Person?