No one “dates” anymore. Or rather, we date, but calling it “dating” is way too much of a commitment. Before you find “the one,” you’ll date a bunch of other ones. When a friend tells me that they are dating somebody I usually ask for more of a specific status.
Typically, a relationship grows more and more serious as time goes on. You may go from being Instagram official to Facebook official. There is a huge difference, trust me. Is it casual dating? Serious dating? Courtship? Are you seeing each other? Friends with benefits? Hooking up? What’s the goal? Where is this relationship headed? “Dating” can mean so many different things.
These are the eight different types of dating that you can categorize your relationships. These will help you understand what you are looking for, even if you aren’t even sure yourself.
“No we’re not dating. We’re just talking.” You like each other and you both know it, but neither one of you has acted on it yet.
On Friday’s I like you.
You go to dinner or drinks (arranged via text) and hook up once a week, but you shouldn’t expect that text every week. You’re seeing other people too, right? While in this stage of a relationship, you’ll find yourself making a lot of up in the air weekend plans with people you feel comfortable blowing off, just in case. At this stage, it’s nothing more than sex dating until you get further down the road.
At one point, unfortunately, you’ll date someone who controls you. He will set all the rules for the relationship, and you will follow them. Something about this person makes you feel vulnerable and helpless. You don’t even see how ridiculous his rules are, such as a rule that you not go out with friends without him, or that you stop talking to your male friends, or that all holidays are spent with his family instead of yours. You get the point.
If you are dating with no strings attached, you’re in it to have and you aren’t interested in anything more. This is completely fine, we all need someone whose company we enjoy. Being checked up on is nice, and being wanted is nice.
Seeing each other.
“Seeing each other,” means that you are involved with someone. You’re not necessarily exclusive, but you’re interested in the possibility. Think of it as seeing about someone.
Dating with Purpose.
When you are dating someone with the intent of learning more about one another, you are dating to see if the relationship could turn into something more. The more and more you learn, the more invested you become. Topics of conversation include your life goals, your ideas of a good marriage, how many children you want, family background and stuff like that. Dating with purpose means dating long-term.
Pretty Much Exclusive.
Nobody’s labelling anything at this point, but, given the amount of time you’re spending together, you can basically assume that neither one of you is sleeping with anyone else.
Dating to Decide.
After a couple of years it will be time to make that decision. You can either move on, or pull the trigger. The old-fashioned name of this type of dating is called “courtship.” During courtship, a couple gets to know each other for the purpose of deciding whether they should get married or not. Some couples will introduce each other to the important people in their life: parents, family, friends, mentors, spiritual community, etc. Some couples may learn more about one another by traveling together.