If you're wondering what the difference is between dating and being in a relationship, you're not alone. Many people are confused about the terms and don't know when to use them. Generally speaking, dating describes a less serious level of commitment before either person is ready to describe the other as a girlfriend or boyfriend. This is not a firm rule because the terms don't have a strict definition.
You can only determine which term is appropriate by discussing it with the person you are seeing. People can make the assumption that dating and being in a relationship are the same thing, but each of them has distinct differences. Sometimes it depends on how someone introduces their partner to people they know. They can refer to them as their girlfriend or boyfriend or say it's someone they're dating. If you're not sure if it's considered a relationship, you could be seeing someone but still be uncertain. Clarifying the aspects of each will help to understand the status between you and your partner.
Being in a relationship means that you and your partner have agreed to be exclusive and committed to one another. You can openly refer to each other as partners, which conveys the exclusive position they occupy in your life. However, exclusive dating doesn't necessarily mean that you're in a relationship - that role requires legitimate responsibilities and a change of priorities. If your partner introduces you as their girlfriend or boyfriend to their friends or family, then it's certainly official and congratulations! From college onwards, people are more likely to go on dates with the intention of meeting someone they would like to marry. If the person you've been seeing recognizes that you're dating but doesn't want to use words like girlfriend or boyfriend, then they may not consider the relationship to be solid yet. Words like girlfriend and boyfriend are used to describe a relationship in which two people consider each other a couple.
Seeing someone doesn't mean that you're in a relationship with them or that they're your boyfriend or girlfriend. If the other person doesn't want to have a full relationship (or even an exclusive date), then you can decide to keep it casual or end it and move on. Exclusively going on dates means that both of you have decided not to date anyone else and take things seriously by investing more energy and time with each other. It starts with online texting, then progresses to the first date, and then deciding if one wants to continue with this or not. Quotes can be used to describe dating before committing to a relationship, as well as a descriptive verb that refers to being in such a relationship.