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I was just reminded of a conversation I had with one of my friends a few months ago about a guy she was “seeing.” I wanted to know what the deal was with him, if they were “in a relationship” or not and she said we’re “dating.” She then went on to explain the difference between “dating” and “being in a relationship” – apparently if you’re “dating” someone, it’s not serious and just for fun. But if you’re “in a relationship,” it’s more monogamous and you are seriously seeing just each other. So, I’ve decided to make a pro and con list of the two situations, as I’m just intrigued that there’s even a difference at all.

Dating Pros:

1. It’s casual and fun. When you’re simply “dating” someone, you can just go somewhere fun and have a good time together. It doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic, since you’re both just out because you appreciate each other’s company. While you could be romantic while having it be casual, it’s just a more chill atmosphere without the expectations.

2. It’s not necessarily monogamous, unless you want it to be. While “dating” does imply that you’re not exclusive, you can choose to be monogamous, but not serious. There are less strings attached when you are just simply “dating.”

3. You can always end up becoming more serious. There is always that possibility, but at the moment, you’re just seeing where the “dating” takes you.

Cons:

1. You want something serious, but the other person doesn’t. When do “dating” and “relationship” possibilities collide? Perhaps the other person doesn’t want what you want. You mutually have to make it clear in the beginning what you’re looking for or it could get messy.

2. You’re having fun with them, but just want to be friends. You’ve got to not lead them on or it could be a bad situation. As with number one, you’ve got to be honest from the start or there could be problems. Maybe they won’t want to be friends if they feel led on.

3. You get attached easily and want more. This could be hard if you’re moving in a direction that the other person is oblivious to. This is similar to number one, but it possibly could go in a deeper direction – you need to walk the fine line and read signals as to where the “dating” is going.

Relationship Pros:

1. If both of you want to be monogamous, this is perfect. It’s a bit more than simply “dating” and there’s expected loyalty, so you can feel secure in what’s going on.

2. You get both the emotional and physical connection. If you truly want to be with the person and the feeling’s mutual, then it’s the best of both worlds.

3. You always have someone there. You have someone to confide in and lean on that cares about you that you like on a deeper level.

Cons:

1. If you’re not comfortable with something serious, this could be difficult to handle. A lot of emotions go into a committed relationship, so if you’re not ready for it, then you shouldn’t let it get as serious.

2. Attachment, especially if you ever break it off. There could be a lot of turmoil after the break-up (if that were to happen), so investing yourself so much into a relationship should take a lot of thought beforehand.

3. If you ever have to take it long distance, this might strain your relationship. If one of you has to take a job in a different state or country, what do you do? Depending on how long you’ve been in a relationship, this could be a turning or breaking point.

In general, there are pros and cons to both scenarios, so you have to discuss with your partner which one you’re going for in the dating/relationship scene.

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