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Dating The Number One Reason the Term Needs a Clear Definition by Andrea Adams-Miller

Dating is About Getting to Know Someone to See if They are Worthy of a Deeper Relationship

When it comes to dating, so many times the date becomes the relationship instead of the casual opportunity to get to know each other better. When dating, the dating process should be open, casual, and fluid. Unfortunately, so many couples go from the first date to a committed dating scenario. They are dating each other exclusively without discovering if the person they are dating is worthy of the commitment of a deeper relationship.

Personally, I would like to see the term dating go back in time a bit when dating meant that two people were hanging out together as friends to explore what might be possible for them in the future. The more they date, the more they get to know each other. When the couple decides that they only are committed to dating that one person, then I prefer the adage of ‘going steady.’ While the wording is outdated, the difference between dating and dating exclusively needs to be identified for both parties involved and extended family and friends in society.

The reason I suggest the difference be made for both parties is that when a couple is dating it used to mean that they were open to dating other people, too. Unfortunately, not everyone is clear on that definition, and most frequently, they assume or are too afraid to ask if that is the correct definition to ‘coin’ their relationship. Therefore, inevitably one partner gets hurt because they thought they were dating exclusively and the other thought that dating meant it was casual. This hurts relationships and puts the couple at a disadvantage as it brings up jealously so early in the relationship. Jealousy pushes back against what people want for the relationship, and usually with an early jealousy issue, one party or the other decides it is not worth it to pursue the relationship. This is unfortunate as it could have been a pleasant relationship if things had not progressed so rapidly so early. Additionally, if the relationship level had been defined earlier on in the relationship all of this disappointment may have been avoided.

Family, friends, and extended society who know the couples’ dating status tend to say the right things and tend act more appropriately. Being clear about a status just makes everything a bit easier on the couple and the people that associate with them. Plus, when it is clear, then Aunt Betty will likely quit fixing up blind dates with people who are not potential dating material! Additionally, it makes it easier for the couple to reject other possible opportunities as the expectation of fidelity increases when the ‘going steady’ differentiation is made rather than the guise of ‘just dating.’ By reading this article it should be clear that the confusion can cause more confusion when feelings, expectations, and obligations are added into the mix.

Unfortunately in society, I think we put too much pressure on people to be in a relationship. I would like individuals to feel comfortable and be confident as themselves and reduce the necessity of defining self as someone’s partner or spouse. Dating then could be used to go out, have fun, interact, and spend time with others without the pressure of finding ‘the one’ and becoming a couple. Maybe in reading this article, families nd friends will stop asking family members and friends if they are dating anyone or if they are in a committed relationship. By not asking the question, they are not putting the expectation that the person is less than enough to be an individual. I realize that in asking the family and friends do NOT think the person is less than, however, in consulting with individuals over the last 20 years, the single people PERCIEVE that they are less than when that is what they hear asked of them time and time again. The solution is to stop asking. If they are dating someone and if they want others to know, they will tell on their own!

Younger and younger teens are dating which is translated into ‘going steady.” To me, this impedes their development of friendships with multiple people and stunts their growth as maturing young adults. While I wholehearted support hanging out with potential dating partners or even one potential partner, I would like to see more casual interaction that involves many friends, groups, and families, too. In this case scenario, the teens are able to be more comfortable and feel less pressure to move the relationship to levels that they are just not mature enough to handle. Even if they are mature enough to handle them, we do not want to foster serious relationships that impede their ability to run, play, explore, and enjoy life too early. Let them be teens and let them be young adults to find themselves before they feel obligated to become ‘a couple.”

Andrea Adams-Miller, CEO of, is a corporate and interpersonal relationship consultant who fosters open communication to create quality relationships in business and at home. She has been recognized as Business and Professional Women’s Young Careerist, the American Association of University Women’s Young Leader of the Year, and a three time nominee as one of NW Ohio’s 20 Under 40 esteemed professionals. Adams-Miller is a best selling author, an awarding winning International radio show host, a keynote speaker, and corporate trainer. Additionally, she provides interpersonal relationship consulting in the areas of marriage counseling and sexuality/intimacy. To learn more sign up for the Bodaciously Bold Tip Line to recieve direct professional information to your email account to uplift your life, your career, and your personal relationships!

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