How to Tell The Difference Between Dating and Relationships

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How to Tell The Difference Between Dating and Relationships

Is There a Difference?

Dating and relationships share the common characteristic of being fun activities.

dating and relationships boy and girl

Are you really still dating when you thought you were actually in a relationship?

People engage in these activities because of the happiness associated with being close to someone they like. Positive emotions usually run high in dating and relationships.

They also offer a chance for the parties involved to share their tribulations and joys. Those who are dating or in a relationship can relax comfortably knowing that they have a constant shoulder to support them.

Nevertheless, the similarities between and relationship stops there.

Many people have a tendency to use the two terms interchangeably. As a matter of fact, many people do not know whether they are dating or are in a relationship. Unknown to them, dating and relationship differ from one another in different aspects.

This is down to the fact that they cannot decode the tell-tale signals that define the status of their relationships.


Characteristics Of Dating

Some of the activities that feature when dating include:

Casual Agreements

Casual agreements feature prominently in situations where people are dating.

For example, both parties may have a casual agreement to undertake certain activities on certain days. This means that commitment is usually pushed to the periphery.

There is never a big deal in the event that one of the partners would wish to cancel the arrangement. In this case, any of the parties would not make a big deal upon the cancellation of these plans.


Small Talk Conversations

Those who are dating are more likely to engage in small talk than those in serious relationships, well except for an adult dating site that is.

Both partners try to avoid the temptation of burdening each other with problems. The topics of the conversation are often general and center on issues that interest both parties.

The small talk conversations could range from the latest movies to the last episode of a TV series.


Predominant Physical Feelings

Dating may be based purely on physical feelings.

In most cases, people date one another because they feel physically attracted to each other. This physical attraction usually provides the gateway to exploring the inner characters of both partners.

This exploration is what provides the incentive to move from dating to establishing a relationship.


Tell-Tale Signs Of A Relationship

Some of the tell-tale signs of a relationship include:

Couples Miss Each Other

Being in a relationship normally involves immense emotional investments.

This is evident when one partner misses the other when they are miles apart. Both partners are constantly thinking about each other when they stay for a long time without being together.


Talking About Constructive Issues

People who are in a relationship would have to make a detour from small talk.

Instead, they engage regularly in constructive conversations. This is integral in establishing a connection between both parties.

As such, the conversations revolve around deeper issues that impact on the growth of the relationship.


Lack Of Active Dates

After establishing serious relationships, people tend to avoid serious dating.

Since they have found a perceived lifelong partner, such people do not see the need to engage in dating.

This is also down to the fact that relationships require deep commitment for their success and longevity.


Speak Your Mind, With Your Opinion

Nice to see you made it this far so here’s what you can do next:

  • Do you think it’s important to understand where your relationship is at?
  • Do you prefer the dating cycle or yearn to be in a more meaningful relationship?
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Tom has been writing useful and informative articles on top dating sites for over many years now. He gathers details and info on these topics from

Tom – who has written posts on GeekandJock.


  1. wrote on May 12th, 2014 at 8:15 pm



    Nice Topic. Everyone has bad taught about dating and relationship. And people dont know the difference of these two words.

    This article is clearly mentioned the difference.

    Now people can’t take miss understand these two.

    thanks for sharing this article.

  2. wrote on June 1st, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Janis Binder

    mmm Dating and Relationship. I am not sure everyone would agree with me on this but I at some point have to check in with the person I am dating on a regular base where we are with dating each other. I would be dating other people until 1. He mention he wants to be exclusive or 2. I bring it up. Now when
    I say dating that does not mean I am going to bed with any of my dates unless
    we are exclusive. That may mean some lonely nights for me. When I start dating
    it will be casual. If all goes well perhaps it will be a second or third date. Before we step into the bedroom I think we will have talk about what we expect from each other at that point. I know some guys may say too much too soon well i say it seem to work for you when you want to go to bed with me.
    I am sure he could go some where else and get his desires filled. I have just learned over the years to treasure my self worth no matter how my lust for him may be. You know that physical attraction with some guys you see make you want to jump all over them. (smile) So I just say let’s see how things go and where we want to go with this before making any strong commitments.

    • Avatar of Martin
      wrote on June 1st, 2013 at 4:27 pm


      Wise wise words, Janice.
      Whether man or woman, maintaining your self-control and self-worth not only avoids you doing something you’ll later might regret but it also gives the other person a glimpse into the type of person you are i.e. you’re worth knowing as a person and you aren’t just after a quick slap-and-tickle, never to be seen again.
      It’s good you’re taking this approach – committments come all in good time.
      Martin recently posted..Why Good Guys Finish First and Usually Suck As BackstabbersMy Profile

  3. wrote on October 25th, 2012 at 8:43 pm


    The tell-tale signs of a relationship is the part I most love. Sometimes, people are too caught up in their attraction with each other to notice that their dating is flourishing into something more beautiful. This is a good thing. Just learn to finalize things so you don’t end up in confusion if this suddenly ends,

    • Avatar of Martin
      wrote on November 17th, 2012 at 12:01 am


      Interesting comment, Shaimak and thank you for your visit too.
      But isn’t the first tell-tale signs of a relationship the attraction to each other? I’d have thought that attraction (on whatever level) NEEDS to happen for the dating process to start?

      I am really interested in what you mean by ‘finalize things so you don’t end up in confusion’ though. Could you elaborate a little more?
      Martin recently posted..I Love Her But I Don’t Want To Be With HerMy Profile

  4. wrote on October 23rd, 2012 at 12:26 pm


    These are helpful points. I think it’s ideal that a couple who were in a relationship or on the verge would feel comfortable discussing this, so as not to leave it up to guessing, but it’s not always so easy as that.
    Mike recently posted..Going In For The KillMy Profile

      • wrote on November 16th, 2012 at 7:45 pm


        I think predominantly the fear of rejection and fear of caring about someone more than they care about you, is what makes it challenging. But maybe that’s just my perspective
        mike recently posted..TYEB Bonus: Instant ForgivenessMy Profile

        • Avatar of Martin
          wrote on November 16th, 2012 at 10:19 pm


          But wouldn’t you say, Mike, that one party or the other in any relationship is likely to feel that way?
          I mean it’s uncommon for both people to reach the same conclusion at the very same time. From what I see, it’s an unneeded and, probably, unfounded fear. Get what I mean?
          Martin recently posted..Meditation – How To Get It To Improve Your RelationshipMy Profile

          • wrote on November 17th, 2012 at 7:04 pm


            Valid point, yes. But so many fears are irrational and baseless as you say.
            I guess I mean it’s a bit scary when the love is new and you don’t know how the other feels, and fear that they won’t ‘reach that conclusion’ at all. As a loving relationship ages, that fear hopefully ceases to be.
            mike recently posted..Why Women LeaveMy Profile

            • Avatar of Martin
              wrote on November 17th, 2012 at 7:59 pm


              Yeah, I do get what you mean Mike. I’m guessing you’re talking about those first steps with someone you’re not totally connected with. Unsure footing on the best step to take next since you’ve yet to establish a solid communication foundation. Is that what you’re referring to?
              Martin recently posted..How Fighting Can Actually Be GoodMy Profile

          • wrote on November 18th, 2012 at 3:35 pm


            Yes that’s exactly what I’m referring to

  5. wrote on October 17th, 2012 at 2:45 pm


    A serious relationship is when you have to start thinking about finances, and moving in and living together as well as paying the bills etc. Nice points here, youngsters should definitely read this post and understand these two concepts before considering a serious commitment.

  6. wrote on October 16th, 2012 at 12:43 pm


    This is very insightful, since it’s important to be able to tell when a couple stops ‘dating’ and actually gets invested in a serious relationship with each other. I’ve never been a fan of dating more than one person at a time, so open relationships are a weird concept to me.

  7. wrote on October 16th, 2012 at 12:47 am


    These are very good points you have made here, Tom. Dating and being in a relationship is often confused by people. Thanks for the share.

  8. wrote on October 15th, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Julia Reed

    Hi everyone,
    I do agree with every word of this post. We should distinguish between dating and relationships to avoid misunderstanding and disillusionment. Sometimes dating can grow into relationship, but sometimes it doesn’t. Anyway, we should always be realistic about the form of our relationship and have adequate expectations for our partners.
    Julia Reed recently posted..Where to Find Cheap Textbooks Online: Internet’s Hidden GemsMy Profile

    • Avatar of Martin
      wrote on November 15th, 2012 at 6:03 pm


      I’m going to disagree with you on this one, Julia and I’d love your comment back too.
      Would you think dating is like evolution? Dating to begin to know the other person, dating of a different level when you know them reasonably well and then there’s dating your spouse which has different mannerisms than all the others.
      Martin recently posted..I Love Her But I Don’t Want To Be With HerMy Profile

  9. wrote on October 15th, 2012 at 9:16 am


    Short and to the point, although I do believe relationships should be filled with active dates as well.

    • Avatar of Martin
      wrote on November 15th, 2012 at 6:01 pm


      Too true Eric – whether you’re in a relationship / marriage / partnership, the dating cycle should never stop. It’s about freshness and caring.
      Why do you think they should be filled with active dates? Actually, what do you think an active date really is, in the first place?
      Martin recently posted..4 Tips for Arranging a Romantic Christmas EveMy Profile

  10. wrote on October 10th, 2012 at 3:51 pm


    Hey Tom

    Loved all your points. Dating and being in a relationship are two different things and people sometimes tend to confuse both. Thanks for the share.

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