The Difference Between Dating and Being in a Relationship

Dating vs relationships - what's the difference? Learn more about how these two stages differ from each other so you can make sure you're on the same page as your partner.

The Difference Between Dating and Being in a Relationship

Dating and being in a relationship are two different stages with two different levels of commitment. Dating is all about getting to know someone romantically, while being in a relationship means that couples have already committed to one another and intend to cultivate their connection. One of the main differences between dating and relationships is having your own idea about what the two of them are. While relationships are based on mutual agreement and trust, dating isn't the same thing.

For some, casual dating isn't mutual. The idea of exclusivity with someone may differ. Some people like to date each other exclusively, while others like to date other people and don't want to commit to just one person. A key difference between dating and a relationship is how each one feels about their position with the other person.

In relationships, both individuals are on the same page with regard to the question: “What are we? However, in dating, the idea of exclusivity when being with someone may differ. Certain people like to date exclusively, while others like to date several people at once and not just commit to a partner. Dating usually requires less communication than a relationship. They can simply text or call each other to make plans to go on a date.

It may seem like there's a thin and annoying line between a relationship and a date, but there's much more to it than that. Early in your dating phase, there are no conversations about “us” because you don't plan to build a future together with the person you're dating. If you're the shy type and looking to meet someone new, be sure to check out the 7 Best Apps for Introverts to Date and Find Friends. From the nervousness of first dates and the light in your eyes when you look at them to the absolute electricity you feel around you and the first kiss, everything seems perfect.

It's easier to talk about past trauma, injuries or future dreams in a relationship than on a casual first date. 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? It starts with the online texting stage, the first date and then deciding if one wants to continue with this or not. Some people choose to have an “open relationship”, meaning that they are in a relationship with each other, but they are also allowed to go out and have sex with other people. But how do you truly love someone in a relationship? A relationship is rather based on sacrifices and commitments.

While there is no fixed or predetermined number of dates after which two people automatically enter into a relationship, 10 dates or a period of dating of one to two months is considered sufficient time to decide whether they want to be exclusive or have a relationship with one another. When you start spending more time with the other person instead of just official dates and outings, and there's a promise of commitment, you've probably gone from dating to a full relationship. There is a smooth transition from dating together to referring to one another as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Kathy Alliance
Kathy Alliance

Hardcore zombie expert. Proud burrito aficionado. Proud pizza nerd. Evil bacon fan. Extreme web lover.

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