Are you in agreement that you’re dating each other?

heart question markI’d recently read that a man can go out with a woman 2-5 times (or more) before he considers them dating. A woman often leaps to that conclusion on the second date. (A male friend even suggested that some of us consider we’re “dating” a guy we haven’t met yet, only talked to by email or phone!)

I realize there are some circumstances where it could be nebulous. Perhaps you are workmates, gym mates, or classmates and you invite each other for coffee, a hike, a movie, or over to your house for dinner. Maybe you either go Dutch or take turns treating. Or one picks up the movie and the other dinner. Even if you are physical, like cuddling during a movie, unless there’s some smooching, it still can be nebulous. And sometimes even making out isn’t a sign that you’re dating.

In “What is the definition of a date?” I shared my confusion about what constitutes a date.

After dating a man a handful of times, with plenty of smooching, I made some reference to “our relationship.” He adamantly corrected me that we weren’t in a “relationship.” I asked what he called what we were in then. He said we were “hanging out,” and “seeing each other.” I don’t know when “seeing each other” becomes “a relationship” — at least in that guy’s mind. I’m guessing it has to do with deciding to be exclusive. Interestingly, we “saw each other” for 6 weeks before he told me in an IM that we shouldn’t see each other again. I guess that if we were “in a relationship” I might have earned a breakup email instead.

Some people have told me that meeting for coffee with someone from a dating site isn’t a date. It’s a “meet” to see if you want to have a date. I could argue both sides. Fundamentally, to me a date is when you spend time with someone to explore if there is romantic potential.

Because of this ambiguousness, I’m told that some men don’t get into “date” mode until the second, third or more encounter. Because he hasn’t decided to woo you, he sees no need to call regularly, dress nicely, or show other signs that he’s interested in you. He’s in “I like her, but not sure I’m that interested in her” mode. So if you think “second dates and beyond mean we’re dating and he needs to woo me with calls, flowers, etc.” you’re setting yourself up for frustration. If you get on his case about not calling, he’ll be out of there in a flash if he doesn’t realize you’re in different places. If he sees he needs to step up his romance or lose you, he will, if he’s interested. Otherwise, he may have the “let’s be friends” talk.

At what point do you consider yourself “dating” a guy?

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6 responses to “Are you in agreement that you’re dating each other?”

  1. Rodney Avatar

    Id consider myself definitely dating when I have to make her first mortgage payment.

  2. Catherine Avatar

    Gee I would consider that married!

  3. Callebaut Avatar

    Haven’t seen the previous postings so curious where you met “Dreamboat.”

  4. Christine Avatar

    Oh, dear God, when did things get soooo complicated!? Someone asks you to meet them, you have something to eat, some conversation and a few laughs…it’s a DATE! I know I’m sooo 1979, but this definition certainly works for me!

  5. Lulu Avatar

    Despite feminism, equality and the fact that it’s 2007 and not 1907, it is more and more obvious to me, from everything I’m reading and experiencing about dating, that we generally still allow men to write the script – they prefer to ask us out, they decide whether or not to ring us after a date, they decide when it’s a relationship, they push for sexual intimacy, they choose when the time is right to either pull away or suggest co-habiting/marrying. Meanwhile, women agonise: is it a relationship/does he feel anything/where is this going/can I ring him/does he think I’m needy etc I don’t think men and women ever really sing from the same hymn sheet. We seem to be giving them all the power. But sometimes it doesn’t matter because along comes a relationship of equals, boundaries collapse, two people ‘recognise’ each other, and all the rules get forgotten.

  6. Elena Avatar

    Lulu, you are so right! And it is so damn frustrating!! The terrible thing is that things were a lot more straightforward and understandable a century ago. Unfortunately, no matter how much we women want to change the script, we can’t. Most men aren’t comfortable with a woman who pursues them, so we ladies have to let the guys take the lead, at least at the beginning, if we ever hope to go anywhere! Also, it’s my experience that the women who “act like men” in the sense of asking guys out on a date, making the initial contact, arranging/planning the dates, etc. wind up with guys who are milquetoast doormats.

    And that first comment by Rodney is very funny. 🙂