How Do You Define Dating, Relationships, etc.?


A few nights after my conversation with Robert, I had some girl friends over for wine and chocolate (one of my favorite combinations!) After catching up on work, apartment hunts and diets the subject turned to men and relationships. As we caught up on everyone’s current situation, we started talking about titles. Something I found interesting was that everyone has a different definition of the titles we associate with the opposite sex.

Here are mine:

Talking: I’m not sure if this is a California thing but for me, the “talking” phase is the time frame between meeting a guy that you’re interested in and actually going on a date with him. This is the time full of phone calls, texts, emails etc. but no face time.

Dating: When two people who are interested in each other begin to spend time together. Dating can include all the elements of Talking in addition to outings. One person dating multiple people at the same time is not considered cheating.

Relationship: When two people decide to only Date each other. Some call this Exclusivity. Being in a relationship with multiple people at the same time is considered cheating.

Courting: When two people are showing each other who they are and what they have to offer in the spirit of longevity. This is kind of an old fashion term, but I feel like if you’re on the track to marriage, courting is an important part of Talking, Dating and Relationships.

These are my brief definitions… did I miss anything? How do you define dating, relationships, etc.?

  • Lusty Sagittarian

    For me, one who is choosing not to marry again (perhaps a commitment ceremony if we feel so inclined at some point), my definitions stop at relationship, but I would go so far as to say it is indeed a life-long relationship. We’re in it for that long haul into the twilight years. By the way, I love the term courting, and I think we could use a little more old fashioned in the dating realm.

  • NikkiB

    I’m trying to add to the list, but I can’t think of another title for the life of me… that being said, I’d reiterate your point that titles are different for everyone. Some people don’t think “relationship” means “exclusive”… so maybe another title is “open relationship”?

    That being said, I think the key is to 1)remember that titles are different for everyone, and probably conversing about this with someone your into is a good thing, to make sure you’re on the same page and 2)if your definition of “relationship” doesn’t jive with someone else’s, don’t expect them to just change their mind. We can be pretty damn good at hoping that someone we’re “dating” will just magically change their mind eventually – even though they’ve explicitly told us they don’t want a “relationship.”

  • Rebekah

    I think “relationship” is the end of the titles for me. After that would be marriage. Here’s a question, do you always have to have “the talk” before you go from “dating” to “relationship”, or is it sometimes implied? That is never a comfortable conversation to have.

  • DawnMooreNotLess

    What about those who have been dating for over 7 years without marriage. There is a couple I know who are very good friends of my husband and I. I never know quie how to introduce them to other people. She finally got him to buy her an engagement ring but I still don’t know how to group them. How savvy are you with titles?

  • Pingback: How Do You Define Dating, Relationships, etc.? | The Big Girl Blog … | Dating Blog

  • G/W

    My definitions would be the same with the exception of courting (I’ve just never put it that way but it seems about right.
    Anyway, it’s fun to see how men may see these. I asked a guy friend who is conveniently sitting beside me and he commented on them in a really interesting way. I put his remarks here for your benefit too :)

    While you think you’re “talking”:
    He’s trying to figure you out and see if he wants to see you more. This is a very loose period- he’s trying to figure out if you’re a no go, a potential sexual partner or actual dating material.

    While you think you’re “dating”:
    He thinks you’re “hanging out”. He agrees that he can hang out with other people. This is a very casual relationship.

    The intermediate stage of what he calls “getting serious”:
    He wants to see you more often and will spend a considerable amount of time thinking about you. He starts making you a priority in his life. You start hanging out more often and frequently.

    While you think you’re in a “relationship”: He agrees that this is the exclusive stage of being boyfriend/girlfriend. You’re an important part of his life but not important enough for him not to pull the plug. P says this is usually the first year of his relationships.

    What you consider “courting”: He internally refers to you as his “wifey”. He’s on the steady path with you and he likes it. He can see a future with you. You’re a permanent fixture in his life. If this relationship ends, he will get belligerently drunk and either throw up several times in a bush outside the local bar or shower you with multiple phone calls and visits at 4 AM in the morning (he speaks from personal experience).

  • Ed

    Relationship: When two people decide to only Date each other. Some call this Exclusivity.

    Courting: When two people are showing each other who they are and what they have to offer in the spirit of longevity.

    Why would you ever enter into an exclusive relationship without the Spirit of Longevity?

    Why do you consider Dating different from Courting?

    I could not help but notice you went from Talking to Dating. Where does Friendship fit into your perspective of how things should proceed?

  • hellahink

    I thought that “Talking” was a term exclusively used at my college in DC until now ! (Well, our definition sometimes includes sex)…very good summary!


    You are not alone, the whole “talking” definition means the same to me, while to some of my friends its means one step above the “dating” thing. (Oh, and I live across the country…)

  • L

    Here’s a question, do you always have to have “the talk” before you go from “dating” to “relationship”, or is it sometimes implied?

    You ALWAYS have to have a talk any time you or your partner want the dynamics to be different–just to make sure you’re on exactly the same page (because, as stated, some people have different ideas about what these words mean).

  • LoveMyselfFirst

    I grew up saying “talking” and I grew up in NYC and NJ. I agree with your definition. Although sometimes “talking” can also mean “kicking it” which means that you spend time together, but it’s not too serious – very easy breezy – but you know there’s a mutual interest. But, you can also be “talking” to and “kicking it” with others. I would say “kicking it” is a step below “dating” because it can be more casual. I think “dating” and “courting” go hand-in-hand. If a guy properly courts you while you are dating, that will lead to a relationship.

  • syneloi

    Pracuj dla przyjemności a więc w taki sposób by była ona pożyteczna dla wszsytkich a przekonasz się, że będziesz miec więcej niż do życia potrzebujesz.

  • Mischief
  • Pingback: Quit putting labels on me, man! « Women Are From Mars

  • Fabglance1

    I agree with all those terms. I’m from MA, living in TN. My friends and I use those terms all the time. We also use a term called ‘The application process’ which means a guy is on the way to the dating stage. Courting usually means you are very close to an engagement.

    Good stuff!

  • getagirl

    This is such a great website and I love your articles. Cheers!

  • jashwin

    what does it mean, when a girl tells you-I’m still trying to figure you out, after going on the most perfect first and second date?

  • michee

    such a nice post. :)

  • dating

    What is a date really, but a job interview that lasts all night? The only difference is that in not many job interviews is there a chance you’ll wind up naked at the end of it.

  • delhi escorts

    Nice and let me tell one thing that it not my hobby to post comment on other blogs but this is very well so i made up my mind to post comment.