Dating Articles

When it comes to the modern world of dating, everybody seems to be confused about what role they should be playing. They wonder what is expected of them and even how a relationship is supposed to develop. Your fears can develop into something that makes you wonder whether the whole exercise is worth it. In short, almost every single person out there has questions when it comes to romance.

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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA

Dating

Dating in the past was stressful for everyone. Up until roughly twenty years ago, there was no online dating. Today, with the rise of online dating, dating is a lot more convenient. Plus, using a dating app or different dating sites is a perfect way to date in the time of social distancing. Also, people who use dating apps and dating sites have the possibility of meeting more people. 

How online dating has grown over the years

Online dating used to have a stigma, but it’s not like that anymore. Most dating sites and dating apps screen members regularly. People who choose to date online usually have a lot of success. On most of the dating sites, you can select the type of person you’re looking for. Many dating sites and dating apps have the option to search for a person who loves kids, dogs cats, the outdoors, or even someone who likes to run. Look at an individual’s biography before messaging them so that you can see if you feel that there could be a connection. This can also help you start a relevant conversation later. 

Is online dating expensive?

Online dating using dating sites and dating apps are generally very affordable. There are even 100% free sites that are used for dating. Many people who participate in online dating have a dating app or dating sites that they prefer. If they really enjoy it, they might pay for a premium membership. There are many free or low-cost dating sites to choose from, and typically, unless you do decide to go for the premium version of a dating app or dating website, you will not pay much. 

Social distancing and online dating 

Social distancing is a great time to take up online dating through a dating app. Now more than ever, the importance of human connection has been highlighted. Using a dating app could open you up to new perspectives. Whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship or just seeing what’s out there, this is a great time to try using a dating app if you’re single. One of the best things about online dating is that you get to know who the person is internally before you meet them in person. Of course, you’ll see pictures of them, but your conversation will be the main focus. Getting to know someone from a distance can be helpful to develop a meaningful connection. 

Get dating help 

Whether you’re using dating websites or meeting people through other means, dating is easier for some than others. If you find that you’re struggling to open up and get to know new people, a counselor can help. You can talk to a counselor or therapist about any issues that you have concerning romantic relationships or dating. Maybe, you have social anxiety, or maybe you haven’t been on the dating scene for a while and are feeling nervous. Either way, therapy can be an incredibly useful tool. Search the network of mental health professionals here at ReGain.com to find a licensed provider that suits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does dating someone mean?

Dating is the way that men and women try to find true love: it usually involves meeting with someone one on one to get to know them better. Men and women alike prefer to date like minded people, since the ultimate goal of dating is to stay in a long term relationship based on true love, mutual respect, romantic attraction, and shared goals for the future.

But you can’t just expect to stumble into a committed and intimate relationship like that. That’s where the dating game comes into play. Dating is the process by which men and women search for and test potential dates, partners, and mates to see if they’re compatible for a long term, intimate, and committed relationship. 

The dating scene these days takes many shapes: it might come in the form of a dating website, a dating service, speed dating, or an organic dating scene such as a hobby, bar, or other public space. There are entire websites devoted to dating advice, and men and women who make their whole living by giving dating advice. There are countless matchmaking services and internet dating services. This shows that the hunt for potential dates – and potential life partners – plays a huge role in social life as a whole. 

Basically, while dating can have a different meaning depending on who you’re talking to, the basic premise holds: dating means looking through a dating pool of like minded people in the hopes of establishing a connection and building a long term and intimate relationship with one long term partner. 

Is dating a relationship?

When it comes to defining the connection between dating and relationships, most people consider dating a relationship. This can be a short term or long term relationship, and while it often involves a certain level of exclusivity, “dating” does not necessarily involve an exclusive relationship. Women and men often have different expectations and definitions when it comes to dating. 

Since there isn’t one specific definition that defines the parameters of a dating relationship, it’s important for men and women who are dating to make sure that the person they’re dating is on the same page. This means that, at some point in the dating process, the couple will have to define the relationship. When men and women define a relationship, they determine the seriousness of their dating relationship. They’ll talk through – and hopefully agree on – things such as exclusivity, expectations, and goals for the relationship. Having this conversation can make the dating relationship feel more real, or it could bring the relationship to an end. 

Whatever the case, it’s important to define the relationship when you’re dating someone, especially if you want something long term and committed. 

What is dating a girl?

The definition of what it means to be dating a girl can look a bit different depending on who you ask. For example, high school and college students might consider talking to one girl exclusively, even if it’s entirely long distance through a dating website or other social media, to be dating her. However, others might say that you’re not dating a girl until you’re meeting with her in person and sharing some physical intimacy along with the emotional intimacy. Young men and women who aren’t college students anymore might require a certain level of exclusivity or commitment before tagging a relationship as a dating relationship. As men and women get older, their definition of dating a girl generally becomes a bit more rigid to include more signs of long term potential. 

Whatever definition of dating a girl you ascribe to, the best way to find out if you’re actually dating a girl is to ask her outright. Open the conversation and define the relationship. While it might seem intimidating to open up that conversation and ask “What are we?” it’ll be beneficial to both of you. You’ll be able to know exactly where you stand, and you’ll both be able to act accordingly and hopefully pursue a lovely relationship!

What are the 5 stages of dating?

In the dating world, during the course of a relationship, especially if this relationship lasts for the long term, there are five main stages that the relationship will move through. This is true whether you met your partner through a dating website, a dating service, speed dating, or an organic dating scene. 

The five stages of dating look like this:

  1. The Attraction and Romance Stage: This first stage is also sometimes called the honeymoon phase or the fantasy phase. That is because in the attraction and romance stage of a dating relationship, everything is perfect. Your partner can do no wrong. You’re still getting to know each other, and you love everything that you’re learning about the other person. Your hormones are on full speed during this phase, and you’re willing to overlook or ignore any shortcomings in your partner. People tend to spend a lot of time and effort communicating with each other during this phase, whether that is through social media, phone calls, or face to face interaction. Everything is thrilling at the beginning. This first stage when you enter a relationship can last anywhere from three months to around two years. 
  2. The Reality/Power Tussle Stage: In this stage of dating, you start to see your partner’s flaws. People tend to experience a slow-down in their hormones during this phase, which can last up to about six months. It’s during this stage that a couple will experience their first fight, and this can make the relationship feel like it’s failing. Many relationships that originated in internet dating or speed dating fall apart at this point, as many internet daters report that a web-based romance isn’t substantial enough to get over the perceived flaws in the other person. However, virtual dating relationships that are translated into the “real dating world” before the onset of this second phase are much more likely to continue into the third stage.
  3. The Exclusivity/Commitment Stage: In this stage of the dating game, the relationship verges on long term. At this point, you and your partner decide to see each other exclusively: that means that you’re investing all of your emotional, physical, and sexual commitment to your partner alone. You’re not looking for intimacy outside of your partner, and they’re not looking for intimacy outside of you. At this point, you and your partner have accepted and moved past each other’s flaws, and you’re also willing to work on your flaws for the sake of each other and the long term relationship. At this phase, you and your partner are willing to commit to each other’s goals and desires, no matter what the circumstances surrounding that commitment involve. 
  4. The Intimacy Stage: During this phase of the dating process, you and your partner are bonded and committed to bonding further. A relationship that makes it to this stage definitely qualifies as a long term relationship. At this point, both you and your partner let your guard down: you’re both open and honest with each other in a way that you aren’t with casual acquaintances, friends, or even family members in some cases. You see how true love – your commitment to each other and your willingness to be open and intimate with each other – affects your decisions and the direction that the relationship is moving in. This intimacy is not limited to sexual or physical intimacy. Instead, it encompasses all or most of the interactions and time that you share with your partner. You know each other for who you truly are, and you love each other through all of that!
  5. The Engagement/Blissful Love Stage: At this stage of the dating game, the couple choose to take the commitment and intimacy to a whole new level. For many people, it’s at this stage that they decide to spend the rest of their lives together, no matter what. So, the natural progression at this phase of dating is to get engaged and then eventually to get married. Of course, marriage is not for every couple, but the natural progression of the relationship into one of lifelong commitment will hold no matter what labels the couple does or doesn’t want to put on it. The key to this stage of a relationship is apologizing and forgiveness. A healthy relationship in this phase of long term dating can often be described as true love that has been cultivated and developed over time and commitment. 

Does dating mean sleeping together?

Dating does not necessarily involve sleeping together. Many men and women will consider themselves to be dating someone even before they’ve had sex with that person, or even if they don’t intend to have sex with that person for a long time (if at all). 

In the same way, sleeping together does not necessarily mean that you’re dating. Rather, dating usually refers to getting to know someone on a deeper level and working towards a deeper relationship. A purely sexual or physical relationship isn’t always grouped in with dating, per se. 

Are you still single if you are dating?

Whether or not you’re still single if you’re dating depends on your definition of single and your definition of dating. If you consider dating to be just going out on dates and playing the dating game in order to get to know someone better, then you have a very broad definition. Until you’re in a committed dating relationship, where you and your partner both expect exclusivity from the other, you could argue that you’re still single. Not surprisingly, men and women have different views on this one. Single women are more likely to stop calling themselves “single” earlier on in a dating relationship. But in general, once you and your partner are exclusive, you’re definitely not single anymore. 

How do I know if we're dating?

In most dating relationships, there are some key indicators that it is, in fact, a dating relationship. For example, if you met on a dating website, you’re talking every day, and you’re meeting on a regular basis with the intention of getting to know each other better and establish a romantic relationship, then you’re definitely dating. This holds true whether you met via a dating website, a dating service, speed dating, or an organic dating scene such as a hobby, bar, or other public space.  

If you’re using online dating sites, figuring out if you’re dating can be a bit trickier. This is because when an internet dating relationship exists entirely online, it’s more difficult to see the boundaries of the relationship. Online daters often feel an attraction to other people on online dating sites, but if the relationship never leaves the internet dating sphere, it’s difficult to define the relationship. Some dating advice for internet daters: if you’re looking for a committed and intimate dating relationship, you’ll likely have to have some direct conversations that will eventually lead to you bringing an internet dating romance into the “real world” somehow. 

If you really want to know if you’re dating someone, the best dating advice says to ask them outright. This holds true for anyone who might be dating, from college students to adults, and from online daters to people who despise online dating sites. By defining the relationship, you can get a good idea of where you both stand. This can help you manage expectations for the friendship or relationship, prevent bad choices, and set goals for what the relationship will look like in the future. When you ask and insist on defining the relationship outright, you give yourself the chance to express yourself to the person you’re (possibly) dating, and you show them that you are open and receptive to their honest answers. 

How long should you date before a relationship?

How long you should date before starting a more committed and exclusive relationship will vary based on who is involved. For some people, the chemistry is great and exclusivity comes quickly: they start a relationship after a short time because they click right away and they don’t want to see other people. For other single women and men, it can take a bit longer – and a few more dates – before the relationship emerges. This timeline also looks different for online daters and couples whose entire relationship has taken place via internet dating. Remember, each relationship is on its own timeline, and there’s no way to rush it. Instead, focus on the dating game as it unfolds, and pay attention to each stage of the dating relationship. 

Is it OK to date 2 guys at the same time?

When single women and men ask about dating two people at the same time, they’re usually still at the beginning and more shallow stages of dating at that point. It’s perfectly fine to be getting to know more than one guy at a time. However, as soon as the relationship moves past the superficial stage and into a more intimate and exclusive stage, it’s time to stop seeing other people. 

What are the types of dating?

When you break down the different types of dating, it often has to do with how, when, and where you met the person you’re dating. Here are seven of the most common types of dating and some great ways to meet men and women on the dating scene. 

  1. Online Dating: This is becoming a more and more popular dating method. Recent Pew research shows that about 30% of adults in the USA have reported using a mobile dating app or internet dating site to find potential dates. This included single women and men across all parts of society, from college students to people past middle age. Based on their experiences with online dating, people have some mixed reviews. For some, internet dating is a great way to meet people with whom they otherwise wouldn’t have crossed paths. In this way, internet dating broadens their horizons and opens up their options. For others, internet dating is frustrating because it offers too many options. Everyone from college students to successful professionals to catfish can be found on internet dating apps. The abundance of choices, especially when the choice is based on superficial criteria, is overwhelming and frustrating for many people who use internet dating. 
  2. Double Dates: This is a popular dating method for people with friends who are in stable relationships. A double date involves going out as two couples. Unlike internet dating, the people on a double date usually know each other, or at least have mutual friends that they trust. This can make it easier to keep conversation flowing and to get to know each other during the course of the date. 
  3. Group Dates: Group dates involve going out with the person that you’re dating as well as a group of friends. This method is especially popular with high school and college students, since their social lives often revolve around a tight-knit group of friends, and since romantic interests at this age almost always spring from that group of friends. 
  4. Speed Dating: Speed dating in an event, usually put on and hosted by a dating service, where you are presented with several potential dates in a short amount of time. In speed dating, you meet with new potential dates for just a few minutes. You give the basic information about yourself, and you hear about the other person very briefly. Speed dating relies on the chemistry and first impressions that you and the other speed dating participants feel during the dating service event. If you find someone that you want to get to know better during the event, you swap contact information and plan to meet up in the future.
  5. Blind Dates: Blind dates can be set up by your friends or by a professional dating service. You can also find a blind date through an online dating service. A blind date involves going on a date with someone that you’ve never met before. If your friends set you up on a blind date, it’s usually because they feel that you would get along with – or even have chemistry with – the person they’re setting you up with. 
  6. Casual Dating: This is the kind of dating that people do when they’re trying to see who exactly, from the vast dating pool, they want to pursue a deeper relationship with. It doesn’t involve commitment or exclusivity, but rather, focuses on getting to know someone before making such a commitment. It’s easy to use a dating app to find people who are interested in casual dating.
  7. Serious or Exclusive Dating: This level of dating usually follows casual dating. At this point, you’re committed to dating just one person, and you’re both actively seeking to build intimacy and bonding in the relationship. For many serious or exclusive dating relationships, the end goal is marriage or lifelong commitment to each other. 

How often should you see someone you're dating?

The dating game looks different for each person and each couple, so there’s no set rule for how often you should see someone that you’re dating. According to conventional dating advice, it’s a good idea to start off seeing the person that you’re dating at least once a week. Then, as you become closer to each other, you’ll naturally start seeing each more frequently and communicating more often. Of course, this isn’t a rule that is set in stone. Different people might have different expectations for how frequently they should see the person they’re dating. For example, high school and college students usually report wanting to see the person that they’re dating nearly every day. A lot of the frequency with which you see the person you’re dating will depend on the depth of the relationship and your schedules. However, as the relationship progresses, you can reasonably expect to see the person that you’re dating more and more frequently. 

Does dating involve kissing?

This is a question often asked by high school and college students, or others who are new to the dating game. While dating does often involve kissing at some point, it doesn’t have to. Kissing might come after several dates, once you and the person you’re dating have gotten to know each other pretty well. When it comes to kissing and dating, it’s best to follow your own intuition, to check with the person you’re trying to kiss if it’s okay with them, and to stop if you feel uncomfortable. Kissing is something that you control, and the person who you’re dating should respect your wishes on that.

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