While the term dating has many meanings, the most common refers to a trial period in which two people explore whether to take the relationship further towards a more permanent relationship; in this sense, dating refers to the time when people are physically together in public as opposed to the earlier time period in which people are arranging the date, perhaps by corresponding by email or text or phone. Another meaning of the term dating is to describe a stage in a person's life when he or she is actively pursuing romantic relationships with different people. If two unmarried celebrities are seen in public together, they are often described as "dating" which means they were seen in public together, and it is not clear whether they are merely friends, exploring a more intimate relationship, or are romantically involved. A related sense of the term is when two people have been out in public only a few times but have not yet committed to a relationship; in this sense, dating describes an initial trial period and can be contrasted with "being in a committed relationship".
There is evidence that couples differ in the pace and timing with which they initiate sex in their relationships. Studies show that approximately 50% of premarital young adult couples become sexually involved within the first month of dating, while 25% initiate sex one to three months after beginning to date and a small proportion of couples wait until marriage before initiating sexual relations.
Monogamous relationships tend to be the first one people learn about as they are the most traditional, and usually the easiest for children to understand, who often see it exhibited by their parents. Those in monogamous relationships only have one sexual/romantic partner at a time. Most people who enter into "traditional" relationships and marriages do so because they want to be monogamous, though they don't always stay that way.
Beware of the lukewarm factor. Of itself, having a party is not wrong. But, what happens when the world influences its activities? People fall into dissipation, into abuse of their God-given responsibilities. Christ worries that although we intellectually say the world is full of self-centeredness and excess, we will still find it attractive. He warns us to be careful because, if we are not, the consequence is that the Day of Judgment, or the day of Christ's return, will come on us unexpectedly.
There are conflicting reports about dating in China's capital city. One account suggests that the dating scene in Beijing is "sad" with particular difficulties for expatriate women hoping to find romance. One explanation was that there are more native Chinese women, who seem to be preferred by Chinese men, and that expat women are seen as "foreigners" by comparison. According to the 2006 report, expat Chinese men have better luck in the Beijing dating scene. A different report, however, suggested that Chinese men preferred Western women, whom they consider to be more independent, less girlish, and more straightforward than Chinese women. Another account suggested that western women in Beijing seem invisible and have trouble attracting Chinese men.
This stage of dating requires much intentionality. If you are in a courtship, you should be asking yourself, “What do I need to know about her and what does she need to know about me to be able to make this decision about marriage?” When Olive and I were in this stage of dating, we found it helpful to give ourselves a time frame so that our decision-making process would not drag on forever.