The phrase is extremely common, and so is the grey area that tends to follow it around. The trend of not defining a relationship is growing more and more common, and in the wake of this trend, “dating” has come to be a catchall term for everything from hooking up to being in an exclusive relationship, and that can make it a difficult world to navigate.
Dating may also involve two or more people who have already decided that they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other. These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations. This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement. Some cultures[which?] require people to wait until a certain age to begin dating, which has been a source of controversy.