One of the more interesting things I’ve learned from people is that the words “date” and “dating” can mean drastically different things to different people. I’ve heard “dates” refer to a range of activities from meeting for coffee to spending the night. Of course, two people can go out for coffee with only one of them thinking it’s a “date” and the other thinking it’s something more casual.
“Dating” is a little bit clearer, but not by much. When people say they’re “dating,” there’s usually some form of implied commitment, but this too can vary from having some vague intention of exploring a possible relationship to focusing on one person exclusively.
What is certain is that at some undefined point or process, the relationship advances from going out on “dates” to “dating.” What is far less certain is exactly how this happens. The most common explanation I’ve heard from my friends is something along the lines of “it just happens.”
This is something with which I’ve struggled personally and most of the “advice” (often unsolicited) has been thoroughly unhelpful. Resorting to my “moving target” analogy that every situation is different may be accurate, but just as unhelpful as anything else.
So, not having any answers, I’m going to turn this one over to you. Just how do you get from “dates” to “dating?”
And no, “practice” does not count as an answer.