We’ve all been there. You see someone a few times and generally assume that you are “together” only to find out that they didn’t have quite the same understanding. If this resonates with you, you are in the right place.
I am going to bring you some clarity to the topic of “defining your dates”, and give you the tools you will need so you will never be blindsided in this way ever again.
Since there are so many definitions of personal relationships, it is even more important to be able to clearly express your wants, needs, and expectations in order to avoid hurt feelings.
What we are going to talk about here is how to clarify your expectations and set realistic dating goals. This will lay the foundation for everything that happens later on.
Let’s first talk about the different types of dating.
“Dating” means different things from one person to another, but at its most basic, it describes the early stages of an intimate relationship; a time during which two people are getting to know each other better, usually in an effort to determine whether there is enough substance there to take the relationship to the next level of coupledom.
Dating can be sexual, but it isn’t always that way. It can be serious or light-hearted, exclusive or open, short-term, long-term, casual, committed – there is no one way that it can be defined.
How the relationship is described is—and should always be—up to the two people who are in it. That said, it is important to make sure you are clear about what dating means to you and articulate that to your potential dream man. In addition, it is just as important to understand how he interprets dating in order to avoid future disappointments or heartaches.
A causal relationship can be physical and emotional in nature without having the expectation of the kind of commitment you might see in a more traditional romantic relationship. Casual relationships can be part-time or full-time. They may or may not be exclusive.
Exclusivity means that both partners agree that they are not dating or having relations with others outside the relationship. Even while exclusive, a couple may engage in consensual sex with others if it is of mutual benefit. For some, however, exclusivity may extend to all aspects of the relationship.
Online dating is a bit of a minefield for some as a person’s wants, needs, and motivation for engaging in online dating is often misunderstood. If you are actively dating online, be sure you are using clear statements that best describe what you are really looking for. How you broadcast what you are looking for is critical.
“Finding that special someone”, “looking for a partner to share my life with” or “searching for a meaningful connection” are all good things to say when you are looking for a relationship. They clearly describe your objectives and they do not make you sound desperate.
Stating that you are looking for commitment will not scare people away. You want to be sure that the other person is on the same page, right? It stands to reason that if they are also looking for a relationship, your expression will draw them in – not push them away.
On the other hand, “looking for a date”, “looking to hang out” or “hoping for a hook up” sends an entirely different message. Of course, if that is all you are looking for, then by all means. You just want to be sure that the people you meet have the same goals in mind, so, say what you mean.
If you or your partner are secretly dating multiple partners, you should know that there are many dangers involved. Somebody is bound to get hurt. You (or they) could end up being emotionally torn between two or more people. This could lead to lying, which will destroy trust and sabotage any future with this person.
The discussion around what type of relationship you are aiming for should take place on the first date – but if you don’t feel comfortable with that, the sooner the better. You are, after all, getting to know each other. What better way than to evaluate what you both want than to say it out loud?
Knowing what type of relationship you want and being able to talk about it is so important. It will save you both from a lot of heartbreak, worry, and wondering if he wants the same thing as you do. It will also save you from spending all your time focused on a person who does not know what you want.
Now that you understand what’s possible in the realm of dating, we will look at where and how to find the man who is going to spark the kind of connection you are looking for. That’s all coming up, stay tuned!
Here’s what you can do right now:
Step 1 - Reflect on the type of dating relationship you are looking for right now.
Step 2 - Practice articulating how you are going to clearly communicate those needs when the time comes.
Step 3 - Update your online dating profile to reflect your intention.
How do you approach your dating life? I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below.