Take a moment to consider what dating means to you and how your interpretation of it might compare to someone else’s version. I imagine you might find that there are many discrepancies evidenced in the wide variety of popular views about dating.
In the general sense of the term, dating can be reasonably characterized as the process by which two people who share a romantic interest get to know each other better. This is usually accomplished by going out on “dates” and sharing experiences together. It sounds pretty straightforward in theory but the truth is that dating can sometimes get downright complicated.
One of the main issues that contributes to the complexity of dating is the fact that people tend to have very different ideas about what dating is or isn’t. If you go out once with somebody does it mean that you two are dating or do you have to go on several dates with the same person before that title rightfully applies? Should you be physically intimate with someone you are dating but not committed to and if so, how long should you wait before jumping in the sack? Will dating the same person for a long period of time eventually translate into a committed relationship? Can you date more than one person at a time? What can you expect to gain out of dating? Are there any specific dating rules that you should be aware of?
There are no concrete answers for any of these questions. It basically comes down to the personal preferences of those who are directly involved in the dating experience.
Times have changed and so has the dating landscape. It wasn’t very long ago that dating was mostly governed by a widely accepted set of conventions. These customs were often centered on a number of gender stereotypes that seemed to lock men and women into predictable and pre-fabricated roles. It was often difficult for people to deviate from the societal expectations to which they had been held. While some people may still subscribe to the traditional ideals of dating, singles today are no longer locked into such rigid gender roles and now have more opportunities to develop a personal dating style that suits their individual needs. People have different reasons for dating. Some date casually to avoid loneliness or for entertainment purposes whereas others are more serious about dating and hope that it will eventually lead to the establishment of a long term relationship.
In order to get the most out of your dating experience and avoid potential misunderstandings, it is probably a good idea to make sure that your definition of dating matches up to that of whomever you may be dating at the moment. The best way to reduce the possibility of dealing with unwanted surprises somewhere down the line is to talk openly and honestly with your partner in the early stages of dating.
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