Meaning of dating
So, the way I see it, "dating" is what happens before you're boyfriend and girlfriend.Of course, life has a cute, charming way of making things unnecessarily complicated, so there are about one million different stages you can undergo within the "hooking up" and "dating" stages.Yet none of these are "dating." There's no courtship, there's zero determining if you're compatible romantically or long-term. So let's call dating what it really is: a way to get to know a complete stranger to see if they're a possible romantic partner for the long haul.You're just bumping the naughty bits, and that's why we North Americans have so many, varied terms for what is essentially a no strings attached sexual relationship. It isn't an excuse to "test the merchandise," or "see how I feel in six months.".One of my biggest takeaways while exploring Western Europe for six months was a conversation I had with an Austrian couple. First, I had to come up with a way to describe what I do for a living.Within a few minutes of meeting in an Irish pub, the lady of the couple asked, "So, is dating a construct of Hollywood? In North America, I say I'm a dating columnist.I wouldn't refer to a current boyfriend as 'the guy I'm dating.' Past tense is used more loosely.
I tried to say they were "dating." Someone else said they weren't dating because they weren't exclusive.
I'm just saying let's call dating what it actually is, and then everything else, well, whatever it actually is.
As far as I'm concerned, there are two types of pseudo-relationships you can be in that aren't real, bonafide relationships: You're either "hooking up" (casual booty calls, probably not going anywhere) or you're "dating" (going on dates, getting to know each other, hopefully going somewhere).
There's a ridiculous amount of social pressure in North America to have sex, for men to have "more" partners, and for women to detach emotionally and make it "okay." Almost everyone I met in Europe in their mid 20s to 30s had had one, maybe two, very long term partnerships, and perhaps one casual, one night stand. It's really a method, and a pretty intelligent one at that, to get to know someone before you bond physically with another person.
Not that I have an issue with people who want to have casual sex, and are consciously choosing it as a way to release sexual energy and truly connect.
But overall, odds are you're doing something that falls under one of the two umbrellas.