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Dating vs Relationships

Dating vs. Relationships. The truth

The definition of dating refers to that exciting, light, airy period when you like and spend time with someone, but you don’t necessarily know them that well yet. A date can be many things: a walk in the park, dinner at a restaurant, or even a movie at their place. It does not mean that the second you meet that person you are committed to one another and neither of you are to see other people it means you're going to take this time to get to know one another and have fun without reservation without demand and without expectations until a conversation has occurred.

When you’re dating somebody, you’ll mostly find yourself pre-planning meetings with them and spending time getting to know them. All this, of course, is part of the process of figuring out whether you’re a good fit for one another, romantically. People date to find out if that person is compatible with them if they like them and if it's something they can go further. They also date for fun just to have a nice evening out with different people if they are not ready to settle down.

A relationship then is when two people have bonded on a deep enough level to commit to one another further. Relationships are usually more relaxed and calm than the dating stage. And, while dating may last a few weeks or months, relationships can last a lifetime. 

The will-we/won’t-we nature of dating — which let’s be honest, is pretty thrilling — is now settled, and the two people in question have decided to move forward together as a couple. This generally means they only have eyes for one another and are in a committed relationship exclusively because both parties have a greed to do so.

Key Differences Between Dating and Being in a Relationship

The main difference between dating and being in a relationship is the mutual commitment to each other. You and the person you’re with have agreed, either officially or unofficially, that you’re seeing each other exclusively and are in a partnership together.

Alongside this, there are a few other common signs that can help couples to determine the difference between dating and relationships. We’ve outlined seven of these differences below!


As mentioned above, the majority of relationships involve both people being exclusive to one another. That means no sleeping around, and no romantic feelings towards anybody but your partner. When you’re dating, on the other hand, it’s not uncommon to date more than one person at the same time. Remember, you’re essentially still single until you have a conversation to confirm the opposite. 

Are you available?

When you’re only dating someone – and therefore still getting to know them – the time you spend together will likely be confined to individual dates you arrange: dinners; romantic walks; that sort of thing. When you’re in a relationship though, you’ll spend much more time together. In fact, your partner will likely become your go-to person when making plans. This is a key difference between dating and being in a relationship. When you were dating someone please remember that nothing is guaranteed except for the time that has been set aside to spend together, and neither one of you have any dibs on the other.


You can use many words to describe the dating process, but relaxing might not be one of them. When people date, they strive to show their best side. They wear their finest clothes, ensure they go out with perfectly quaffed hair, and arrive at first dates equipped with funny anecdotes and flirty questions. It’s all about appearing attractive to the person sitting opposite. 

Conversely, when you’re in a committed relationship, the time you spend together will be far more relaxed. You already know each other well, and there’s no longer the pressure to appear flawless and fascinating. You can fully be yourself. You should always strive to be yourself because you don't want to present something different to someone else or do you want them to do the same for you.

When it comes to the dating vs. relationship debate, reliance is a key difference to look out for. When you’ve just started dating someone, you likely won’t rely on them too much. If you’re working through some personal issues, for example, you’ll probably talk to friends and family before talking to your date. After all, it might seem overwhelming to them if you suddenly unload all your problems on them. In a relationship, however, it’s normal to rely on one another for support.


If you tried to make long-term plans with someone you just started dating, you’d look needy at best and mad at worst. Dating is low-commitment until you get to know one another. Long-term plans come when you enter a relationship together and begin to marry your hopes and dreams for the future.

Friends and Family

People who’re only dating don’t tend to meet one another’s families and friends. There’s not much point in introducing people to your inner circle who you might not see more than a couple of times. When a relationship develops, however, it’s time for your loved ones to see your new partner. Fingers crossed they get along!

Dating vs. Relationship FAQs

Here are some questions and answers

Can one change into the other?

Absolutely. The majority of couples will have been through the dating phase, during which they learned all about one another and decided to take their relationship to the next level. This doesn’t mean you have to date before entering a relationship though, nor does it mean you have to have a relationship after dating.

Is sex a part of dating?

For many people, sex is a part of dating. That thrill of sex on the first date offers a rush of unforgettable excitement. Despite this, engaging in physical intimacy with someone you’re dating doesn’t necessarily mean the connection between you and your date will deepen. But, establishing whether there’s a sexual connection is as important as figuring out whether your outlooks on life and love are in sync.

Can dating without it leading to a relationship?

The thing about dating is that there’s no guarantee it’ll work out. Often, it involves meeting multiple people, searching for that one meaningful connection that makes our hearts soar with excitement. 

This means that there’s always the chance of investing time in dating someone only for it to NOT develop into a relationship. Look at it this way though: The search for love is all part of the fun! And whether your dates lead to true love or not, you’re bound to have some interesting stories to tell after. Without dating, how would you know if you and wanted to be in a relationship with that person?

Can you go straight into a relationship without dating?

It’s possible to have a relationship without ever having dated at all. Perhaps you find yourself swept up in a whirlwind holiday romance, or you realize after many years that your colleague or friend is your true love. In these instances, people may skip the “getting to know you” stage of dating and hop straight to the stability and depth of a committed relationship.

Is Dating the Same as Being in a Relationship?

Basically, no! Dating is generally a precursor to a relationship, with its unique perks and pitfalls that go alongside those of a relationship. Remember, when it comes to dating vs. relationships, each is exciting in its own way. And, as always, communication and empathy are the lifeblood of a healthy and fruitful romance.

Many years ago when I first met my husband we dated. I didn't ask him who he was seeing or where he was going nor did he ask me. Although I chose not to engage with other people during the seven months of us dating he did and that was his business. I had no right to ask him. But after about seven months of dating him, I did sit with him to explain to him how I was feeling. I wasn't interested in seeing other people and I was hoping that he felt the same and we would be exclusive and he agreed.

That was the exact moment that we actually became a couple, and entered into an arrangement of being in a relationship. We weren't going to entertain other people we werent going to be disingenuous with each other. We were going to be with each other when we could and be committed and be honest and learn how to move forward and get to really know each other on a deeper level. That was a relationship. I was then comfortable introducing him to my children who were very young and introducing him to my family and vice versa.

Other people were out of the question and the two of us created a life together but I didn't jump into it and I didn't rush. It took seven months and that may seem like a long time but it's really not.

Relationships take many years to build and so much to know about someone it's not that quick. It's not that simple but it can be very rewarding and so can dating. You just have to understand that there is a huge difference between the two.

If you're trying to demand some thing of someone or assume something without actual confirmation from the other party, you're fooling yourself, it's always best to be honest.

Credit - Zoosk dating site

Wishing you joy!


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