The main difference between dating and being in a relationship is a level of commitment, and generally, an honest and open chat with your partner. You can date someone casually as you get to know them. The halfway point between casual dating and serious relationships is usually a gray area of dating exclusively. This is a good time to find out if your partner is right for you.
You may not be committed to the long term yet, but both of you are ready to agree that you won't see other people for the time being. Jonah Feingold, a 29-year-old man from New York, says he hasn't been so clear with the people he's dated, and that's led to mismatched expectations. Even if there are sparks on every date and you have incredible chemistry between the sheets, it's not necessarily a guarantee that you're getting past the stage of just seeing each other. While women tend to date in search of commitment and relationships, men often date for fun, companionship and attention.
Two people can continue to date others, even if they want to be exclusive, House says, because they both wonder if it's too soon to have the conversation or if the other person feels the same way. If the other person doesn't want to have a full relationship (or even an exclusive date, for that matter), you can decide to keep it casual or end it and move on. People often make assumptions about the exclusivity of the relationship that their dates may or may not share. It's also a time to explore what life would be like together, go on dates, try new things, and be vulnerable with your thoughts or concerns.
You'll see each other for a few months, along with a few other Tinder candidates and swipes, until you finally decide that your crush is the person you want to be in an exclusive relationship with. If you've stopped going on dates but theirs are still alive, that may be a sign that they're still looking to find out what other fish are in the sea, and that could mean it's time to cut and run. If you and a new partner have friends or connections in common, you'll have to be very careful not to parade dates in front of each other, says Lindsey Metselaar, dating expert and host of the millennial dating podcast “We Met at Acme.