Dating is an age old stage of civilized romantic relationships practiced mostly in Western societies where two individuals meet socially usually with the intention of each evaluating the other’s compatibility as a potential partner in a future romantic relationship. While these types of relationships have been prevalent since time immemorial, it has become increasingly common in the contemporary world especially among the middle class. A study conducted in the US by Dr Steven Hendlin indicated that almost 60% of the adult population engages in this type of dating practice. The reasons for such high adoption rates can be explained as follows: dating has become more acceptable in today’s culture; it provides a forum for socializing with like minded individuals, it eliminates the possibility of personally offending someone and it allows one to save money on any expensive dating accessories. However, most people involved in such relationships remain confused as to what exactly is meant by ‘romantic’.
The definition of this term differs slightly from one dictionary to another, with some listing ‘date’ as a synonym for ‘affair’. Another suggests that ‘dating’ is one of several labels that describe a relationship characterized by sexual attraction, while others would say that it is the process by which two people develop a feeling of sexual attraction for each other. Some men may need to visit an erectile dysfunction clinic in Florida or their local area for sexual attraction issues, but most would say dating is just one component of a relationship; indeed, it would not be incorrect to say that all relationships would come with ‘dating’ as an implied part of their make-up. Hence, a discussion of what constitutes a relationship would also include discussion of what qualifies as a dating relationship.
For the purpose of this discussion, a lasting relationship is required, so we need to define what we mean by dating. To put it in simple terms, to date is to experience love and attraction toward another person. To be in love and to feel attraction toward another person implies that you have gone through the experiences of love, rejection and loneliness; you have known pain and suffering and you have experienced all the stages of maturity. As you know someone very well, you have shared everything in your lives with him or her, and you have developed an emotional closeness similar to a bond that holds you closer than blood. This emotional bond or connection with someone is referred to as dating, and if you have dated someone and are ready for a serious relationship, then it is important to know how dating allows you to develop such a bond.
While you may have experienced the joys of dating at some point in your life, it is important to note that many of these experiences were not of a serious nature. There were probably times when you did not feel loved and did not feel comfortable. This is why it is important that you develop the emotional intimacy that goes along with true dating. The more you share in meaningful relationship experiences, the more you will know about yourself, and the better you will understand what it takes to truly love another person. When you share in experiences such as these, you begin to realize that dating is more than just having fun, but rather, it becomes an opportunity for you to gain insight into who you really are, and how you fit into someone else’s life.
Another element of dating that needs to be mentioned is the level of casualness that is involved when you hang out with others on dating sites. Most people that hook up with someone are very reserved in their relationships, and it is important that you don’t become one of them. By avoiding hooking up in the beginning of your online dating experience, you are giving yourself the best chance to become someone special. By having a good time and being casual during your dates, you give the impression that you are someone that is fun and sociable, which is exactly what dating is all about.
Lastly, there is one aspect of dating that should be emphasized above all others: the idea of commitment. It is unrealistic to think that you can spend time with just anyone and never get married or have a serious relationship. If you are serious about building a lasting relationship, then you have to think long term. While you should occasionally hang out with friends, it is much better to focus all of your attention on a single person for a meaningful amount of time. When you spend time hanging out with a group of friends, it is easy to get distracted and wind up chatting with every person you meet. If you are planning on getting serious with just one person, then you should plan to spend more time with him or her than you normally would.