What Is Dating? Defining Dating in Our Modern Culture

man and woman in grass field representing what is dating

Tinder, hookups, dating, relationships, "Facebook official"... the list goes on. These are all things that we hear about when people discuss romantic relationships. The problem is, not everyone knows what the different terms even mean anymore. The relationship concept has gotten muddled and people are confused. So, what is dating? In this article, we want to help you understand modern dating culture.

What is Dating?

Being in a relationship can mean anything from a fully committed and monogamous thing that will likely result in marriage, all the way down to two people who just occasionally have non-sexual contact with one another. It all depends on the context and who you're asking. So, when a person says that they are in a relationship with another person or are going on dates with them, what exactly do they mean? Elite Daily asked men to explain what they mean when they say "relationship."

What Guys Think It Is

As you might expect, different men had different understandings of the relationship question. They said that it could mean anything from seeing someone of the opposite sex on a more regular basis to get to know them, all the way to an exclusive romantic partnership. Sure glad we got that misunderstanding cleared up...

Still, there are reasons why modern men and women don't date the way previous generations did. There are far fewer formal dates today, which used to be the main way past generations embarked on romantic relationships.

Why We Don't Date Anymore

There is no one reason why people are not going on formal dates like they used to. People are quick to site technology as an obvious answer. But in reality, the answer may not be so simple.

People are picky about the person that they want to be with. Blame it on Hollywood movies or trashy romance novels, but people want to find someone who fulfills all of their needs, all the time. They expect more and more out of a partner, perhaps unrealistically, and it's nearly impossible to meet those expectations. When you throw the seemingly endless possibilities that internet dating promises into this equation, you get even less willingness to stay in a single committed relationship.

The Anti-Commitment Generation

Another reason for fewer dates? The idea of commitment terrifies us. Our generation has watched parents get divorced in much larger numbers than ever before. It's no surprise that the kids of divorced parents don't want to end up reliving those difficult times, and try to keep themselves from winding up in that position by simply not committing to a partner in that way.

So, what is dating? When someone today uses the term "dating," it usually implies something much less meaningful than it might have in the past. It might mean that these two people just have a sex relationship and could easily be with someone else next week or next month. Not quite what dating meant to other generations.

It Has To Be On Social Media

The relationship status of two people has to be displayed on social media for it to really "count." Not ready to post your relationship on social media? It could be a sign that you're not really committed to the person you're "dating."

On the other hand, when you put your romantic business on social media, what you're saying to the rest of the world is that you are committed to that person. Of course, people still cheat sometimes, but having a relationship status on social media makes it much harder to do so.

Other Options Are Always Available

Why go out on a formal date when there are so many other ways to spend an evening? In the past, people went on dates for entertainment just as much as romance. But today we have all seven seasons of Game of Thrones at our fingertips...

Now that you know the answer to the question "what is dating?" you're probably ready to get started! Click to see our list of top dating sites now!

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Samantha Elise Oscar
Samantha Elise Oscar
Author, Dating Expert Extraordinare
At DatePerfect, we're lucky to have Samantha as a regular contributor and key researcher. A dating expert at her core, Samantha's knowledge of the dating space spans many provocative topics, from marriage tips to sugar dating how-to's. Samantha has her finger on the online dating pulse and keeps us plugged in to dating's newest trends, most surprising twists, and biggest stories. Is there a topic you'd love to see Samantha cover? Please contact us if you have an idea for a future story and we'll get Samantha on it. Thanks for reading!
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