Dating is a stage of complex romantic relationships generally practiced in Western societies in which two people interact socially with the objective of each evaluating the other’s compatibility as a potential partner in a dating relationship in the future. Dating can be termed a “high stakes game” played by both parties to test, assess and ultimately evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each other as potential partners in the future. Dating is often initiated by one or both partners. Initial physical contact is made through an introductory conversation, typically on a first impression basis whereby the two individual tries to determine if they “speak the same language”, “dress similar” or “have the same interest”. Initial “romeo conversations” are common when dating is first occurring, especially among young college students who may try to impress each other by sharing intimate details about their lives in an effort to impress the other.

It is from this “romeo phase” that the idea of dating and courtship develops. While initially all courtship efforts appear geared primarily at attaining a relationship, slowly the focus wanes as other priorities emerge i.e. personal interests, friendship and so forth. The idea of dating then is to forge an emotional bond through shared experience with one another based on time together spent in “date nights” (planned dates between friends) where friends and /or other individuals are chosen to participate in a casual social event in an attempt to quickly develop interpersonal bonds. The emphasis is on forming a lasting relationship with each other where strong feelings for each other are expressed openly where these feelings are not reciprocated with romantic gestures or gifts which are perceived as being for the benefit of the other individual.

As time progresses it becomes more important to form a dating relationship with someone who is compatible with both oneself and one’s partner. This is where courtship breaks down as there is no longer the need to create an emotional bond with a potential partner as such. In fact, courtship is usually a process where the individual pursuing a potential partner is rejected outright by this individual. This rejection builds up pent up anger and eventually the individual involved in the dating process begins to emotionally detach themselves from their partner as a result of being repeatedly rejected and can often result in mental and sexual dysfunction treatment being required along the healing process.

When these individuals approach a possible partner they are often caught off guard as this person is viewed as being “easy”. At this stage in their dating relationship the individual is experiencing the early signs of being in the “getting to know you” stage. The reason for this is as they are not experiencing the depth of intimacy that is required to sustain a long-term relationship. By being in the “getting to know you” stage an individual is usually experiencing the “getting to know you” stage of their relationship when this lack of intimacy often causes the person involved in the dating scenario to go out with multiple people in order to make initial contact with “the one” that they are interested in. It is at this stage in a relationship when the dating relationship begins to take on more of a personal level and more of a true friendship type relationship rather than a “romantic” type relationship.

This is also the stage in which many courtship and dating take place in many countries. In the United States, courtship and dating can occur prior to marriage in many states. In many countries, especially those located in Asia, this courtship and dating take place well before marriage occurs. For example in Singapore a single man is referred to as “mate” rather than a “bride” and in China the same is true.

As one can see through the above description “dating” is very much different than “marrying” in that the purpose of dating is to start a relationship much like a relationship would be in order to build a marriage. The goal of “dating” is to begin building a relationship much like a relationship would be in order to build a marriage. The individual pursuing the idea of dating is doing so in order to have a relationship in which both partners are fully aware of all of the different aspects that are a part of this relationship. When both people in the relationship know what each other is looking for they will find that the relationship is much more fulfilling. So in summation, when someone says that they are “dating” what they really mean is that they are trying to develop a relationship that includes all of the different elements that are part of the commitment involved in marriage.