Relationships vs. Dating: How To Assess Your Status In 2023

Okay – now we’ve established what defines dating vs. relationships, it’s important to take a deeper look at the key difference between the two. The main difference between dating and being in a relationship is the mutual commitment to each other. You and the person you’re with have agreed, either officially or unofficially, that you’re seeing each other exclusively and are in a partnership together.

Alongside this, there are a few other common signs that can help couples to determine the difference between dating and relationships. We’ve outlined seven of these differences below!

1. Exclusivity

As mentioned above, the majority of relationships involve both people being exclusive to one another. That means no sleeping around, and no romantic feelings towards anybody but your partner. When you’re dating, on the other hand, it’s not uncommon to date more than one person at the same time. Remember, you’re essentially still single until you have a conversation to confirm the opposite.

2. Availability

When you’re only dating someone – and therefore still getting to know them – the time you spend together will likely be confined to individual dates you arrange: dinners; romantic walks; that sort of thing. When you’re in a relationship though, you’ll spend much more time together. In fact, your partner will likely become your go-to person when making plans. This is a key difference between dating and being in a relationship.

3. Relaxation

You can use many words to describe the dating process, but relaxing might not be one of them. When people date, they strive to show their best side. They wear their finest clothes, ensure they go out with perfectly quaffed hair, and arrive at first dates equipped with funny anecdotes . It’s all about appearing attractive to the person sitting opposite.

Conversely, when you’re in a committed relationship, the time you spend together will be far more relaxed. You already know each other well, and there’s no longer the pressure to appear flawless and fascinating. You can fully be yourself.

4. Reliance

When it comes to the dating vs. relationship debate, reliance is a key difference to look out for. When you’ve just started dating someone, you likely won’t rely on them too much. If you’re working through some personal issues, for example, you’ll probably talk to friends and family before talking to your date. After all, it might seem overwhelming to them if you suddenly unload all your problems on them. In a relationship, however, it’s normal to rely on one another for support.

5. Plans for the future

If you tried to make long-term plans with someone you just started dating, you’d look needy at best and mad at worst. Dating is low-commitment until you get to know one another. Long-term plans come when you enter a relationship together and begin to marry your hopes and dreams for the future.

6. Ugliness

When dating, we typically always try to look our best and show off the more gleaming, alluring sides of our personalities. Being in a good relationship,  however, presents more freedom to be ugly. This means not having to look our best, but it also means feeling comfortable and safe enough to show our partner the full range of our moods. A relationship is based on trust and love. This means accepting someone for everything they are.

7. Friends and Family

People who’re only dating don’t tend to meet one another’s families and friends. There’s not much point in introducing people to your inner circle who you might not see more than a couple of times. When a relationship develops, however, it’s time for your loved ones to see your new partner. Fingers crossed they get along!

About the Author

A prolific love author who specializes in creating love stories often focused on the romantic connections between people which readers can identify with.