Relationship vs dating, times without number, those words may have struck a string of similarities in your subconscious mind. But again, an inner voice keeps telling you not to confuse them both, that they are different, contrary to what many think. Are you on this boat? Do you think there are any differences between a relationship vs dating? Or it’s just another propaganda used by relationship experts to confuse many? Whether you like it or not, the debate between dating and relationships is forever going on. Like a moving train, it moves on for decades nonstop. But you can choose to exit the train anytime by unravelling the mystery behind relationships vs dating. So, without wasting time, let’s dive in!
What is Dating?
Dating is a short-term friendship that occurs before things become more serious between the two parties. How long it takes varies from a few weeks to months. But the parties are usually not committed to each other during that time.
Dating is usually characterized by date nights. The parties set a time to meet and learn more about each other in the future.
What is a Relationship?
The relationship stage comes immediately after dating. At the stage, you feel you have both come a long way and don’t want to date anyone else. Instead, you want to commit to your partner and ride together.
A relationship is a friendship that is focused on you and your partner. There are no third parties; you may have agreed to commit to its success by investing emotionally in each other, maintaining an open mindset and effective communication.
Relationship vs Dating: Are There Any Similarities?
The relationship stage is usually created without any formal agreement or discussion that marks its beginning. However, most couples would agree that when they were in a relationship, they could tell any significant difference between that time and when they were dating.
This could easily make most people think relationship vs dating is the same with little or no difference.
Yes, there are similarities, but they are pretty insignificant, and the differences far outweigh them. For example, both parties may decide to go on date nights, hand out frequently and even take time to understand themselves during dating and relationship phases.
Relationship vs Dating: 12 Differences You Should Know
If you are still confused about your relationship status, perhaps, it is time to learn the striking differences between a relationship vs Dating. Most people don’t know their status even after they have known their partner for a long time. These tips could help you draw the line and identify the differences without mincing words.
- Unlike while dating, you are more comfortable in a relationship
When thinking about the difference between a relationship vs dating, you should know that relationships create a “wall of protection” around the parties in contrast to dating. This means that you may experience a safer feeling than while dating.
Secondly, you are usually conscious of your looks and appearance when dating each other. You understand that a little mistake could ruin your chances and opinion. So, you try hard to hide your no-so-pleasant side from him.
But in a relationship, the reverse is the case. You will subconsciously reveal the ugly side of your personality because you know you are already committed to each other.
- You see each other as a priority
This is usually the scenario in a relationship than in dates. But in the realm of dating, you might be the least he cares about. If he is on a call and your call comes in, he will never hang up to take it, and he might forget to call back.
The expectations in a relationship are somewhat different. You both will go all the way to keep each other’s back and even defend the other in their absence. If you are in a relationship, he will see you as a priority in all he does, and he will also think “we” instead of “me.”
- Being in a relationship affects your emotions, time and energy
You may not want to give in your all while dating because you are probably still testing the waters. But in relationships, a sense of commitment erodes your emotions and gushes down your spine. You understand you have to invest your time and make it worthwhile.
On the other hand, you expect your partner to do the same and compliment your efforts. In contrast to dating, a little downturn in a relationship could hurt your personality, mood and expectations.
- Expectations blossom in a relationship
Highlighting the difference between a relationship vs dating won’t be complete if we fail to mention expectations. While dating, expectations are usually null. You may wish for many things to happen suddenly, but you do not want to rush things, and your partner doesn’t mind taking things slowly.
But as the relationship gate opens to both of you, your expectations blossom and your emotions severed. As you nurse these expectations, you begin to wonder what you might do to ensure they don’t hit the rock before they become a reality.
- Goals always come knocking in a relationship
This is one of the facts that explain relationships vs dating. In relationships, goals are your second companion. You ensure setting goals and pursuing them too. It is more enjoyable when you involve your partner and both work towards it.
While dating, you are pretty much on your own. You don’t have anyone that got your back, and there is no room for emotions. But, in reality, relationships become interesting when both parties start setting goals they want to look forward to in the future about their friendship and love life.
- Dating is shorter
When discussing relationship vs dating, you should know that relationships could go on for a long time and span through many years. But dating is usually short-lived. In the dating phase, it’s hard to see it survive three months. On the other hand, if you see two people dating for many months, chances are there are inching into something severe and already in a relationship.
Uncertainties characterize dating, and no one has the patience to hang on to this rope for many years. It’s either their patience that runs out or the string wears out. If you have been dating for too long and you still don’t know your stand, it’s time to evaluate your situation and understand your actual position in his life.
- Dating allows you to be choosy
Dating is like going to a vast pool where you are allowed to take many dives. You can choose to date many men or women at a time. But in a relationship, you must put on your commitment cap and stick to one partner.
While dating, you can explore a wide range of choices, and any rules don’t restrict you until you find that person you feel is worth it. For most people, a dating zone is a place filled with fun, excitement, and many opportunities to explore their sexual fantasies.
Being in a relationship is like being in a closed room where you aren’t allowed to go and sleep in other rooms and feel what they could be like too. Still, for many, a relationship is like a safe aboard devoured of distractions.
- Having a boyfriend or girlfriend
These titles are used in relationships and not while dating. If your man refers to you as his girlfriend, chances are they are already into you and have considered taking you seriously. On the other hand, a person you are merely dating will hardly refer to you as their girlfriend. They could easily say “my friend” or could also say, “the girl I’m seeing.”
- You now discuss us
In a committed relationship, it’s common to find the partners discussing the relationship’s future and planning their lives to follow suit. Therefore, when your partner begins to think “we” instead of “me,” it’s a sign that they have taken the relationship to another level by advancing to the relationship stage.
While dating, you may not hear the word “us” from your partner at any moment because at that stage of the friendship, they don’t see you in their world yet, and you aren’t part of their lifetime picture frame. You both are just two separate individuals who want to explore their fantasies and be together for the moment.
- Dating is specific, while a relationship is broad
Here is another significant difference between a relationship vs dating. A relationship is broad yet well-defined. This is because many types of relationships exist: like platonic and polyamorous. No matter where you stand on this beautiful ladder, being in a relationship means you are either enjoying yourself for the time being or moving towards marriage.
Unlike dating, a relationship is like a moving boat, usually characterized by organized planning and expectations where you and your partner look to the future for many advancements. In contrast, dating is like a static boat that isn’t moving anywhere, just there rotating within a spot.
- Relationships require effective communication
In a relationship vs dating, the former can survive even without effective communication while the latter can’t. This is because relationships are built on a more structured foundation, and communication is essential.
While dating, minimal communication is required to learn about each other briefly whenever you meet with your date. Of course, you don’t need those long night calls, gifts, hugs and even body language while dating someone. But these things are crucial in a relationship. They could help determine its longevity and health. In a relationship, partners are expected to discuss all sorts of things and even plan their future together.
- Relationships are built on agreement and trust
Does that sound strange to you? Not when you have been in a committed relationship. If these two essential elements are absent in your relationship, you are probably just seeing each other or dating.
Cohabiting with someone and sleeping with them doesn’t define a relationship. You could live together for many years and still not be in a relationship. Dating is only a phase you need to go through while trying to build a committed relationship, and nothing more than that.
It might also interest you that more than 70% of dates never make it to the relationship stage. This is because either party didn’t see the need to carry on with it.
If you are looking for specific traits in a person and you both start dating, chances are you may find eventually part ways when you can’t see these traits in them after several dates.
Choose Your Side of the Fence
Now that you know where to draw the line between a relationship vs dating, you must know where you stand in your partner’s life. And if you think you both are still dating after considering the criteria for evaluating your status outlined in this post, you may decide to discuss it with your partner and see if you are still on the same page.
Dating is a sensitive issue, likewise a relationship. Therefore, no matter where you stand on the fence, no situation should be taken for granted. However, you may talk things out with your partner if you feel you have overstayed your welcome in the dating phase and are overdue for a relationship.
But if your partner doesn’t see the need to take the friendship to the relationship level, don’t rush it. They probably have their reasons. Perhaps, they haven’t satisfied their curiosity enough or are still sceptical about committing to a relationship. Nevertheless, it would help if you encouraged them to be open about it instead of jumping to conclusions and making a wrong decision.
Are you dating for benefits or dating for reasons? Fortunately, relationship vs dating isn’t an uncommon issue. This article has unravelled the mystery behind these two stages of romantic friendship. Now, you should know where you stand on the fence with your partner and whether or not you wish to continue is solely up to you to decide.