After a small debacle in a car last week: A middle aged man that I was “dating” started to freak out when the meter-maid came up to the car and asked him what he was doing? What were we doing? I saw him quickly go into his head. He took the question a bit too seriously. All the meter-maid wanted to know is if he was parking his car or leaving. So I got into my head and I started to ask around (both men and women) and realized that everyone has an unclear definition of different stages of relationships.
I think people (usually men) get freaked out when they hear the word “dating” and automatically think “dating” means you are in a monogamous relationship. I don’t believe that to be true! There is no reason to freak out. Dating does not mean you are in a monogamous relationship.
Okay so let’s break it down.
The most simple way to define dating is through a mathematical equations.
Yes…if you only go on one date it is not considered dating. But if you’ve gone on multiple dates (three to be safe) with a person, then you two are dating. A date consists of two people making plans to go out to a public place over dinner or drinks with the intent to get to know one another better (not just to get laid). And yes, you can date multiple people at one time. Definitely allowed. A date doesn’t begin with going over to a guy’s house to borrow a hammer after 9pm and end up banging it out for an hour.
Hook-up: Hook-up + Text + another Hook-up = Hooking-up
You meet a guy at a bar, flirting happens, you share a kiss, you go back to his house and you hook up. Now whether or not you have sex is your business…either way it’s still a hook up. Hooking up usually constitutes going straight to the bedroom or living room (whichever you prefer) without dinner or drinks beforehand in a public place. Hook-ups are usually initiated by flirty text messages, a facebook message or a DM (Yes, some men go fishing on Twitter and Instagram via direct message) and happen after the hours of 9 pm and may include sporadic sexting throughout the week.*Note- The line can get blurred between hooking up and dating with just having drinks and then going back to one of the party’s house. But I believe if plans have been made on a continual basis then it leans more toward the sides of dating, but each situation is unique.
Dating or Hook-up Equations: Dating < Hook-up or Dating > Hook-up
“I like to keep things casual.” = Hook-up (red flag)
He only texts you and never picks up the phone to call you. = Hook-up (red flag)
Makes plans to see you again, while you are on the date. = Dating
Asks you questions about yourself. = Dating
Moves your hair out of your face and does the little stare. = Either (He has game.)
Wipes up the food you spilled on the table while in a conversation. = Neither (OCD)
Friends with Benefits: Friends + (dinner+ movies+ hiking) x Sex = Mess
Now this is where it gets really messy and confusing. You have a friend who you hang out with…but also have sex with them. You two are friends and are NOT dating each other; you make plans to go hiking, have dinner or to the movies…and then occasionally have sex when it is convenient. This usually never works and one person usually ends up getting hurt (usually the woman). Most of the time one party has made it very clear that he/she is not interested in a relationship with the other and are just friends. Now, if the second party is really okay with this, then it’s a win/win situation. The problem lies when the other has convinced themselves that they are okay, or has the intent to change the other party’s mind over time. These people believe if they continually have fun, hang with their friend and have great sex… then it can form into something more. IT USUALLY DOES NOT. Yes, there are the occasional hook-ups or friends who hook up that do evolve into relationships.*Example: My ex ended up marrying his best friend of 10 years and they are living happily ever after in Brooklyn. I called that one when he and I were still together.
In a relationship: Multiple Dates + The Conversation – (Any other lingering dating partners) % Communication = In a relationship
The conversation has been had. You both have an agreement that you are only dating each other. Any past relations are off the table.
Bottom line: Communication is key. Make sure you know what you want and what you are capable of and vise-versa. But honestly…sometimes it’s easier just to let something develop and not think about it too much. The earlier you try to define something, the quicker it becomes over. On the other hand, if it’s a good match and the timing is right…It is the women who deals her cards right and makes it clear what she wants, that usually ends up getting the guy.
Back to the middle aged man and the meter-maid…he ended up asking me for a parking pass and stayed…