Defining Dating

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Written by Veronica Pocza

I’m just dating, and no I’m not “seeing anyone.”

I think we’ve all found ourselves in a very interesting age of dating. For one, the act of “dating,” – as in actually going on dates – has definitely dwindled. Hence the creation of the website that you are currently reading this blog on…

As important as it is for existing couples to go on dates and keep things interesting, I’m talking about dating from a whole other perspective. The kind of dating I’m referring to, is what could also be known as “dating around.”

If someone asks me if I’m single, or “seeing someone,” (I hate this term. Anybody else hate this term? Or understand it? Gah…) or taken, my answer is “I’m dating.” This is almost always followed by a “dating who?”

Um. Nobody, that’s who. Let’s clarify something, when I say I’m dating. I literally mean this in the most classic of ways. It means I am going on dates. Not with one person in particular and not with one person consistently. It just means I am single, available, and I am open to dates.

Side note, this isn’t the same as the “crazy single phase.” The opposite – single and not dating – is a completely different life state. You’re either attempting (and failing) at landing dates, or you’re purposely cutting off all contact with the opposite sex because you’re bitter or heartbroken. You are not open to dating and you are not looking to fall in love. You are on a bender of girls or boy’s nights in which you always come home alone (after stopping at Mcdonald’s, of course) or you come home with someone you’ve never met, or someone you never want to see again.

This brings me to my current state. I’m single, but I’m happy, open to finding a relationship, but I don’t need one. I’m over the “crazy single” phase (as described above), I’m in a great state of mind, I’m all for meeting new people and trying new things. So, if you’re a nice guy, who I’m attracted enough to on a first impression, who wants to take me to dinner or drinks – sure, I’ll go. Why? Because I’m single, I’m available, I’m “dating.”

Based on the confused reactions I’ve gotten, apparently this practice is completely out of date and unfamiliar to our generation. That, or we’ve completely forgotten that it exists as an option. You are allowed to go on multiple dates, with multiple people, everyone. It’s not a sin. It’s smart. You’re shopping your options and not shutting down any opportunities to meet the right person.

I’m surprised more people aren’t into this whole “dating” scene. It works nicely, because relationships require consistency and care. Right now, I’m too freaking busy for that. I work for a website that keeps growing and won’t stop (you’re on it right now, thanks a lot…), I’m taking online classes, I play drunk bingo every week (can’t break that date with my girlfriends, ever), do yoga and want to spend the little free time I have with my family. When you’re going on dates, you can work them into your schedule like anything else, because they are at an early phase. A relationship needs nurturing, and it’ll just die in the life of a busy person.

I should also mention the type of dates that “dating” includes fall under the classic, old school “date.”  Meaning there’s a dinner, some conversation, maybe a kiss at the end of the night followed by a night alone in bed. I’m careful with my actions and gestures, making sure I’m not overly leading someone on into thinking I’m anything close to their girlfriend yet. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been into anyone, I still act very much like I’m on a date, but I don’t act like we’re a couple. The difference? Wearing perfume and flirting vs. baby talk and over-the-table hand-holding. Yeah.

Lots of people don’t understand the difference and it can make it hard for your fellow dater to understand the status of your relationship. This is why people either avoid dating altogether, or rush into the status of “seeing each other” after the first date because they don’t know what else to do. These don’t have to be your only two options. You just need to find other people who are “dating” to go on dates with and you can (appropriately) play the field for a while. Just remember to stay classy. Dates are harmless if done right.

By scoping your options and being open minded, you’ll likely end up finding another dater who sparks your interest for something more consistent and a relationship that works for both of you will develop naturally from there. I’m not trying to give you false hope, I’ve seen it happen. I’m not there yet myself with anyone, but I’m enjoying the ride and it’s exciting to live in the opportunity of meeting someone new each day.

Like I said, you’re allowed to date, date around, go on one date, go on three dates or go on ten dates and change you’re mind. As long as you’re being conscious to not hurt anyone and you’re genuinely just trying to find what works for you, “dating” is a really positive experience, everybody!