Simply Solo Spotlight: Falling into Romance – The Blurred Line Between Dating and Relationship
Danae’s post is about that fine (and blurred) line between dating and a relationship. Do people still have the “DTR” (define the relationship)? Or at a certain age, is it just assumed? We’ve been seeing each other for four months, and I’m not seeing someone else … I guess he’s my boyfriend? I hope you enjoy today’s post and I’d love to hear what you guys think. And be sure to stop by Wink’d when you have a second!
Falling into Romance: The Blurred Line Between Dating and Relationship
You go on one date. Two dates. If all goes well, there’s date three. Coffee, dinner. Movies. Then four. Then five.
But when do ‘dates’ become ‘dating,’ and when does ‘dating’ become ‘in a relationship?’
This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. See, I’m working for Wink’d, a company that focuses on romance, dating, love, flirting. Want to know how to start overanalyzing your romance life? Want to know how to spend your spare minutes contemplating what makes hearts go thump thump and palms go all sweaty? Want to know how to drive all your potential romances a bit insane by spending the entire dinner asking: “So, why did you order THAT drink, exactly? Is it because you want to be strong? Approachable? Dashing?” …Yes. Work for an amazing dating company. That’s how.
Lately I’ve been focusing on sorting out when casual dating becomes something more. How do we go from one date, two dates, five dates, to dating? How does ‘open relationship’ become ‘exclusive?’
I blame my friend Becky** for planting the seed of inquiry in my mind. Becky is a nice girl: educated, fun, pretty. She has great blonde hair and a quick tendency to laugh. Becky also had a semi-boyfriend for several months.
“We weren’t together, really…” said Becky. “But we weren’t apart. We just… well, we were just dating.”
“So could you date other people?” I asked her.
“I didn’t want to. But we could. There was never an agreement. We didn’t have ‘the talk.’ We just wanted to keep things casual.”
Casual can be understood. Everyone likes a fun date, a nice dinner, a relaxing evening or a flirty event. But casual for several months? That’s what got me. The more I talked to Becky, the more little bits and pieces dropped out indicating her frustration with the situation. She liked the guy. He kept a distance. She wanted to move closer emotionally. He held her away. Polite and affectionate, always, but away.
“What happened?” I asked.
“We split up. I suggested that he take me on a real date, something more than us just being together. He said he liked the way things were casual. I told him I wouldn’t be exclusive for a ‘just casual,’ and so we split… from the relationship we weren’t really in anyways.”
I’m an optimistic. Dating, especially casual dating, can be quite fun. So I went hunting for more answers.
Enter Tom**. Tom is one of those people who have started to Make His Way in the world. He’s shaping big deals and organizing serious events. Give him a month, a couple months, and he’ll take over some kind of prominent company.
As a result, Tom doesn’t have time for a Girlfriend.
Tom is busy working and doing genuinely impressive things.
“But I like girls. And there are girls I find attractive and interesting. Just no commitment.”
Tom told me this when we were dating, casually, enjoyably. We were more pals than partners. We simply did romantic things together.
As things panned out, I started seeing someone else (can you casually date more than one people at a time? Oh, questions for another post!). Tom and I reverted back to friends.
Last time I spoke to him, Tom-The-Casual-Dater had a girlfriend. “It’s a bit surprising, really,” he said. “It just sort of… happened.”
“How?” I asked.
“We had the same interests. I’m surprised I didn’t notice her before.”
“But did you have a relationship talk? Boyfriend, girlfriend?”
“Not really. We just dated. And now we’re dating exclusively. That means we’re together.”
Again, we have the just sort of happened situation. It’s as though people fall into relationships, or they don’t, or they sort of stumble upon each other, or they don’t.
“English folks just fall into bed together. That’s how you know you’re going from flirting to dating. And then you just don’t date anyone else,” explained Rena**, a friend of mine.
“I have been told that over and over,” I answered. It’s true. I have. All my English friends (since I’m a native ‘merican living in the UK) have more or less said something along these lines.
“Surely that can’t be right,” argued another buddy. “What makes it different from a one-night stand?”
“Lasts for more than one night!” Rena responded.
According to Illana Gershon in her book Breakup 2.0, dating doesn’t really need to involve ‘the talk’ anymore. Now we have things like Facebook and other social networking sites to declare, in a very official, public manner, when couples go from the casual to serious dating.
It’s like the modern day equivalent of pinning, Gershon argues.
Right. So the way to go from casual dating to committed relationship is to post it in Facebook? Now that’s romantic.
I like dating. I like working for a pretty great dating agency. I have no intentions of stopping the casual adventure anytime soon. But I have started to wonder: Is the relationship talk dead? Do folks simply fall into bed and/or relationships together, then declare it on a social media site? Is casual the way of the future?
Let me know. I’m curious… And it means my next dinner date won’t have to answer all these questions.