You meet someone on JDate and go on a date, then another date and another date, all the while chatting on the phone and texting regularly. And yet, when someone asks you if you’re dating, you don’t know how to answer. I mean, technically, you are “dating” because you’ve been on more than one date, but saying it out loud puts a label on a relationship that may not be ready for one.

If this sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. We probably put too much stock in what label a relationship has. Even so, it’s good to have an idea of what these labels mean in that hazy stage before a relationship becomes “official.”


Why are we afraid of simply stating the truth about a situation? You’ve been on three dates and there is a plan for the fourth date, so therefore you are presently dating. If you went on more than a couple dates with someone but no longer are going on dates, then you can state that you dated that person.

If you only went on one date with someone, did you date that person? Well, that’s a gray area, but I would recommend forgetting about the one-and-done dates. I used to say that I went on dozens of first dates, but only a handful of second dates. I didn’t “date” the guys who fell into the former category.

Hanging Out

Some people seem allergic to the term “dating” and prefer to say “hanging out.” It sounds more non-committal, at least until things become more serious. If that’s the case, you have to decide if you’re okay with that terminology for the time being. Does that phrase excuse certain kinds of behavior? If you’ve been on a few dates and the person calls you at 3pm for a date that night, are you okay with that? Some people might think they are a back-up option when they are asked out at the last minute; others are happy for the opportunity to spend more time together and create momentum because there is a connection. Again, you have to decide which category you fall into.

Seeing Each Other

There’s yet another potential label for new relationships: “seeing each other.” That sounds promising, right? You’re going on dates, but you haven’t had “The Talk” yet, so you’re seeing each other. Again, does that excuse certain behaviors, such as seeing each other only late at night and at someone’s house rather than at a restaurant or bar?

If you want more from the person you’re spending time with, then the best solution is to speak up. Just because someone is trying to make plans doesn’t mean you have to accept them if those plans are last-minute or late at night. Feel free to say no. If you never hear from that person again, then you have your answer as to how committed they were to getting to know and date you. If they begin asking you out in advance and making actual plans, then you know that they truly want to spend more time with you. And wouldn’t you rather find out sooner rather than later? This doesn’t mean forcing “The Talk” before either of you is ready; it means sticking to your standards and demanding a certain level of expectations be met.

You may also be interested in Not Just A Relationship Cliche: 6 Common Dating Phrases You Shouldn’t Ignore

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