• Relationships

What’s Your Definition Of Dating?

I was on the phone with the guy I had gone on a handful of dates with. We were discussing whether or not we would continue “dating.”

“I want to be able to spend the night and I want you to come to my neighborhood once,” I explained.

“I don’t want to have this conversation,” he said with conviction. “This conversation is about compromise. And compromise is a thing that people in relationships do.”“I don’t even know if I want to have a relationship with you, I just want to date you some more and find out,” I shot back.

How presumptuous of him to assume I wanted a relationship with him, not to mention how confounded I was by his jump in logic. All this time I thought we were casually dating, he was trying to dodge a relationship with me? I felt like I did when I was in Paris, trying to use my high school knowledge of French to order lunch at a cafe. I thought I ordered a crepe, but instead the waiter gave me ham and cheese on baguette. I hate ham and cheese.

A few months later, I found myself in a similar conversation with another guy who I had one amazing date with. We were talking online pretty much every day, getting to know each other virtually, but there were no dates on the docket.

“I can’t have dinner with you again because I don’t want a relationship,” he told me gently.

“Dinner is a date. A date doesn’t equal a relationship,” I explained, getting frustrated. I went on, “I want to go on dates with you so I can find out if I would want a relationship with you.”

I seemed to be speaking Swahili to him. No comprende.

I wondered if perhaps I didn’t understand the definition of dating. Or if it had changed and I missed the memo. I looked it up on Wikipedia.

Dating is a form of human courtship consisting of social activities done by two persons with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse.

Phew. Wikipedia and I were in agreement. Dating is something you do before you enter into a relationship. It includes activities, not just text messages. It is a period of evaluation. I thought this was the definition understood by men and women everywhere. But maybe I was wrong.

The men I’ve been “dating” seem to have misinterpreted my desire for a relationship in general as a desire for a relationship with them. Don’t flatter yourself, buddy. I date to find out if I want a relationship with you, not as a means to trick you into one. I need an evaluation period just as much as you do.

This made me think it’s possible that all singles are floating around out there with different definitions of “dating.” For God’s sake, I think we need to come up with an agreed upon definition. It seems hazardous to proceed without one. Let’s set some guidelines here to avoid further confusion.

Please tell me, what is your definition of dating?

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