Labels and love: What does “dating” mean anyway?

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Gigantic news flash: I have met someone I really like and they like me back! Yep. After three years of agonizing outings and close-but-no-cigar adventures, a man has come along who piques my interest enough to pursue  a relationship that is more than just friends. I promise not to make you ill with all the cutesy details of why I like him or how wonderfully he treats me but I will share my latest relationship conundrum.

We have been seeing each other for a couple of months and there has been a lot of internal (me) and external (friends and family) pressure to define our relationship. I fail to recall this happening when I was younger but maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. Perhaps now that I have children to consider it seems more important to people that I know what I am doing or what someone’s intentions are towards me. The stakes are higher when there is the emotional interest of children to consider or property in question. Anyway, this gentleman and I have come to a place where we might be ready to define our relationship as “dating.” But before I put him on my favorites list on my phone or change my FB status, I wanted to fully understand the what I was getting into.

What does “dating” mean exactly? I know what it means to me, but the concept is open to interpretation and I want to make sure that I, we (the man in question and myself), and the collective world around us are on the same page. So I looked it up and found some surprisingly consistent definitions. Bonny Albo from About.com defines dating as “an activity two people share together with the intention of getting to know each other better on a potentially romantic level.” Simple enough and pretty much what I thought. Wikipedia takes that concept a little further, adding a tad more seriousness to the activity: “Dating is a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by two people with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse.” O.K., I can get behind that. I am in this game to find someone to share my life with for the long haul.

But my favorite definition is this one, from Urban Dictionary:

“Dating- somewhere between f#$% buddy and boyfriend.

Example:
Ashley: So is he your FB or BF?
Lisa: No, we’re dating…”

Fabulous! I think I will go update my media now.

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