The definition of dating is ambiguous. Some people define dating as going on dates with many people, while others define it as going out with one person with the expectation that it will lead to a commitment. To other people, dating is a committed relationship. The best way to know a person’s definition of dating is to ask them. So what does dating mean to you? This article outlines different definitions and types of dating.

Different Opinions on What Dating Means to You

The meaning of dating varies from one person to another, especially across generations. Many people consider dating as an intimate relationship between two people. The relationship may be sexual or not. It may be long-term or short-term, straight or gay, open or committed, and casual or serious. We've done some researches and found out different opinions on dating. Here are some of them:

  • "I like you and not anyone else -- we are together."

  • "I am going out with you until I meet someone better."

  • "I really like you but I also like other three people that I will sleep and go out with when I am not with you."

  • "Our relationship means nothing but we are sleeping together regularly."

  • "I am not ready for a serious relationship, so we will stay at this mystery level maybe until one of us dies."

  • "I think buying me dinner every time we go out is dating."

  • "We shared a weird eye contact on the train at 5am. I think we are dating."

  • "I do not know why you are with me. I am not attracted to you."

  • "You are the best person I have ever met! I am in love with you! (runs away two days later)."

  • "We have not talked for months but we did not end things so I think we are somehow still dating."

  • "I get free drugs from you and I will have sex with you."

  • "We have not met physically but we are a perfect match according to the dating app so I think it is real! Kindly get back to me."

Types of Dating in Terms of Purpose

What does dating mean? What does the man I go out with think about me? Am I his girlfriend or just someone that passes by? Here we discuss the different types and propose of dating, which will provide you some clue about all of these.

Dating for Mutual Enjoyment

There are no strings attached in this form of dating. Two people date just to spend time together and have fun. Both of you enjoy each other’s company and spend time together when necessary. But you are not compelled to call each other every day. You do not get upset if the other person does not reply your text messages because you are not dating seriously. There is no other expectation but fun. That is, wedding and long-term relationship are definitely out of the picture. 


Dating to Know Each Other

This is an intentional type of dating. You do not only date to have fun but also to know each other well and eventually get into a serious relationship. People share their goals and views about marriage in this form of dating. They make decisions on having children, and building a family or a career together. People share their family backgrounds and spiritual beliefs. 

Some types of dating that fall into this category include speed dating, blind dating, and online dating. The relationship may or may not be exclusive. In addition, you may or may not introduce the person to your family and friends.


Courtship Dating

Couples know each other well during courtship with the purpose of making a decision on whether to get married or not. This form of dating is very private and sometimes the community and families get involved. The couple is committed to an exclusive relationship and some live together to determine if they are compatible.


Dating to Grow a Marriage

Is there dating after marriage? And what does dating mean in a marriage? Some couples continue to date after getting married exclusively with their life partners. This form of dating is different from others because you are committed to one person and the main purpose of dating is to grow your relationship. Dating in marriage gives you exclusive time with your partner and gets you full attention from your partner. You can talk about recent activities, share your feelings about recent changes, make important or trivial decisions, talk about your family, etc.

Other FAQs About Dating

Are There Differences Between Dating and Open Relationships?

Yes, of course, they are different. The main purpose for dating is to have fun, to know each other better, to decide if a long-term relationship is possible, or to spice up a relationship. The form of dating is changing and has different rules with different understanding.

But open relationships, on the other hand, are committed, honest and open, in which one is aware that his or her partner is probably sleeping with and/or dating other people. Although open and committed can be contradictory, the couple have some agreement that makes their friendship a relationship.

Is “Hooking Up” Dating?

Hooking up refers to casual interactions between two people who may or may not be friends. The person may or may not be your only partner and your interaction can include sex. Your partner should not control or disrespect you even if you are just hooking up. You should have freedom to share feelings without fear of abuse or negative consequences. So there are some overlaps between hooking up and dating for fun or casual dating.

At What Age Can I Start Dating?

Many people who ask “What does dating mean?” also ask this question. In fact, the age at which you can start dating is not definite. Parents consider their beliefs, culture, perspectives, and views when setting an age for dating. If you are not sure, ask for advice from your parents. Talk to your friends or other adults you can trust first if talking to your parents is difficult. However, the most important thing is that you are confident and feel ready to make the move.


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