Dating exclusively means that you and your partner have discussed your future and have agreed to go out just for the time being. The main distinction between exclusive dating and a committed relationship is expectations and priorities. Is dating someone a relationship? Well, it can be. But only when both partners start to develop serious expectations of each other.
When going out with someone else, there are no expectations. You can have fun, go on dates, and even have great sex. But it all ends there and it will most likely stay that way. There's no room for emotions, late-night conversations, and surprises.
You don't have anyone to back you up, and you're still pretty much on your own. The difference between dating and relationships tells us that in relationships, things go a little differently. In the exclusive dating phase, your relationship is monogamous, but you can leave whenever you want. In a committed relationship, partners stick together through thick and thin. It's the time when you're still exploring and determining if you want to have a serious relationship with that person or not. A committed relationship is exclusive or monogamous, and the partners involved are willing to talk about long-term goals and difficulties within the relationship. So, at what point does the difference between dating and relationships stop mattering because they become the same thing? When do you know that this is all and that now there is nowhere to go but to move up in this relationship? This brings up another important point, namely, there is often a considerable area of overlap between dating and being in a relationship. To determine if the two of you are in the dating phase or in an established relationship, consider the following indicators and signs.
It's almost like the whole face of your relationship changed, once you go from the dating period to the serious period. Some may choose to get closer to each other through sex or a one-night stand, but that doesn't mean they're in a relationship. Someone may be in a relationship and not be dating, for example friends with benefits, but someone who is dating has given their relationship a somewhat more definite definition. They choose to refrain from planning for the future and agree that the relationship will continue informally. Some relationship experts suggest that you can have a conversation with your partner about exclusive dates or enter into a relationship after two months of dating.
Not surprising to anyone who has been in love, although generally not as tenuous and shady as dating, intention can even be problematic in relationships. It's not easy to give up much of your life and your routine for someone up to that point and that's the main difference between dating and relationships.