If you've been on three or more occasions together in public, then it's generally safe to assume that you're dating. Going on small romantic dates, especially if you don't stay overnight, is a sign that things may be getting serious. Hanging out is a more casual version of dating, where you spend time with someone you're attracted to but don't necessarily see as a potential partner. Casual dating or hanging out focuses on fleeting fun, while dating someone focuses on a potential partnership and a future together.
So what are the signs of a successful date? Pay attention to how they follow up after the date - that's important. If they wait a week to send a one-word text message (Heyyyyy) versus getting in touch after 10 days with: Hey, things have been hectic at work, but I'd love to see you again. Are you free next week? - then that's a good indication of their interest. New York City psychotherapist Rachel Sussman says that understanding the difference between a date and just hanging out can be confusing.
Clinical psychologist Sonya Rhodes from New York adds that a date takes it to a new level. But sometimes, even when you're on one, it can be hard to tell the difference. Before you get married, it's important to go on several dates with your partner to get to know them better. If you're a woman looking for a male partner, there's no reason why the man should have to pay for the date - and vice versa.
After the date, your partner may ask if things are getting serious between the two of you. You always have the option to break up with them any time by calling them for a date and then selecting “break up”. If someone asked you out in advance and something needed to be scheduled, then it's probably an appointment.