So, to recap: dating is an important part of being human and can help you meet needs on all different levels. To date successfully, you'll need to be clear with yourself and your partners about your intentions and objectives. Not doing this from the beginning can cause you both a lot of frustration and hurt feelings. But, if you're clear and direct with needs and boundaries right from the start, you'll build a strong basis for understanding, no matter what type of relationship you're looking for. Looking for the best dating sites? Click to see our top picks now.
If two (or more) people are explicitly making time for each other, and it becomes clear in the course of spending this time together that there is a mutual desire to sleep with each other and continue spending time talking to and engaging in activities together, particularly if feelings are developing and embraced as an integral part of that interaction, I say those people are dating, whether they know it or not.
It’s not to say that something not-so-serious cannot turn into dating, but you most definitely can’t assume it will. You also can’t assume that dating will turn into an exclusive and committed relationship. If you’re foggy about what you’re doing with someone, it’s always best to have a terribly awkward chat with them. I give you permission to have a glass or three of wine first if you’d like. It tends to make things easier. But just like most issues in the world of relationships, communication is almost always guaranteed to clear up any confusion.
Humans have been compared to other species in terms of sexual behavior. Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky constructed a reproductive spectrum with opposite poles being tournament species, in which males compete fiercely for reproductive privileges with females, and pair bond arrangements, in which a male and female will bond for life. According to Sapolsky, humans are somewhat in the middle of this spectrum, in the sense that humans form pair bonds, but there is the possibility of cheating or changing partners. These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating. However, one particularity of the human species is that pair bonds are often formed without necessarily having the intention of reproduction. In modern times, emphasis on the institution of marriage, generally described as a male-female bond, has obscured pair bonds formed by same-sex and transgender couples, and that many heterosexual couples also bond for life without offspring, or that often pairs that do have offspring separate. Thus, the concept of marriage is changing widely in many countries.