Every horrible 2019 dating stage and what they mean

0
51
Every horrible 2019 dating stage and what they mean



(Picture; Ella Byworth)If you’re under 35 and have ever tried talking to your parents about your relationship status, you’ll know fine well that there’s a huge generational divide.
The ambiguity around what different terms mean at the start of a relationship can almost make you want to go back to the days when your only logistical option was to court (and then marry) your closest viable neighbour.
Dating doesn’t just mean dating anymore, and exclusivity doesn’t come without a fight – or at least a few terse ‘what are we?’ messages.
During BBC dating show Eating With My Ex, couples who had been regularly on dates for upwards of half a year were still having conversations about whether that meant they were together. For those of you who have been in relationships for any length of time, this will seem absolutely wild, but – as Emily Thornberry says – ‘there we are’.
The game playing you may experience cannot be deciphered, since it’ll be dependent on the player you’re dating. What we can look at, though, are the different dating stages, and the terms used to describe them in the year of our lord 2019.
Buckle up, folks, as there’s a lot to take in, and a lot of overlap.
Talking
You’ve matched (in real life, or on a dating app) and are texting and calling without any real direction on what might happen next.
You’re establishing whether there’s any banter between you both, and making sure they don’t casually drop into conversation that they enjoy fox hunting or watch Mrs Brown’s Boys.
While this tentative stage can be frustrating before you’ve locked down a physical meeting, the beauty in it is the ability with which you can cut it off if the pairing isn’t for you.
Hanging out
Hanging out can happen with friends, colleagues – you can even hang out with your granny.
The term comes into its own, however, when used in a romantic way. Although it can be used by those already in a relationship, it’s more commonly something that refers to the stage before dating.
This is when you’ve been on a date or two, seeing where it goes, but not in the territory where you’d ever consider yourself inextricably linked as people. If you parted ways at this point, you wouldn’t consider each other exes; rather two people who met a few times.

(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)Friends with benefits
Hanging out can branch into dating or an FWB situation. If you become friends with benefits, you will be in a situation where you’re having sex without any commitment.
You may also still hang out (here’s where the overlapping and confusion starts) but you can sleep with others with no need to communicate that this may be happening – except in a sexual health sense.
Friends with benefits is a wonderful situation as long as both you definitely don’t have romantic feelings for each other. For example, there may be spooning, but the spooning is the type that happens between you and your best friend after you’ve been crying at All Bar One and eaten a whole KFC bucket (still crying). It represents care for your happiness, but not the kind of care that will ever prompt you to change your Facebook status. And that’s something you need to be aware of throughout.
Dating
So although FWBs are having sex without commitment and dating is a step up, if you’re dating you may still be having sex without commitment.
Dating can refer to people who’ve been going on dates for a few weeks to a few years, and can be both exclusive or casual.
You need to read into the tone of how dating is said to understand its exact meaning, as well as whether it’s prefaced with anything else.
If it hasn’t been defined as friends with benefits, but you’re past the hanging out stage you’re dating. Just don’t expect that the other person isn’t also dating others too.
Exclusive/casual
Ah, exclusivity. What once was a given in any relationship now has to be explicitly said before you can count on it.
Yes, New York gave us bagels and Joan Rivers, but it also gave us the rigid dating rules that the Sex and the City girls abided by – and absolutely hated.
To be casually dating essentially means that there are no strings attached – but not in the obvious FWB way. If you want to bring that into something exclusive, the ‘what are we?’ chat mentioned previously will need to be deployed.

(Illustration: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)Seeing each other/Going out
These two can be interchangeable, and mean that this person is a bonafide part of your life.
Ghosting at this point is completely unacceptable, and you may have met their pals, even if it was an in awkward and unofficial way when you left their flat wearing yesterday’s fake eyelashes.
Annoyingly, exclusivity still isn’t a given here, so once again you will still need to have an actual adult conversation. Gross, but necessary.
Boyfriend/girlfriend/partner
Have you been to somewhere that does latte art together and taken a picture of said latte art? Do you allow them to put their toothbrush in your holder (not a euphemism)? Have you farted in your sleep around them yet?
These are real milestones that boyfriends and girlfriends meet. Unless you’re poly (which you’d know by this point), you can also assume they aren’t sleeping with anyone else.
Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert at Lovehoney, has some advice on how to know whether you’re boyfriend or girlfriend. She told Metro.co.uk: ‘The hope is that you will naturally evolve into this situation. You like each other so much you both want to tell your friends and family that you are an item. That is one of the nicest early stages of falling in love.
‘If there is some awkwardness about making that announcement – perhaps changing your status on Facebook or using the words ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ around other people – that would ring a few alarm bells with me because it is a sign that you are not communicating as well as you should and that you’re probably not on the same page.’
So basically, if you have to force it, it isn’t happening. If you do need to work out what stage you’re at, though, Annabelle can help.
How and when to define your relationship
Annabelle says, ‘The crunch time in a relationship where you both decide whether you are exclusive can happen any time from the first date to weeks later when you have been dating regularly but are both wary of commitment. No two couples are the same, and we all want different things at different times in our lives.
‘Forget about ‘three date rules’ or timeframes for commitment dictated by society and just do what you feel is right for you. Hopefully that conversation will evolve naturally between the both of you because you are having such a great time together, but if it doesn’t, here are some good tips about establishing healthy parameters and establishing exclusivity with a partner who might be more wary of settling down.
‘Rule number 1 – do it in person. Text or email is not the way to communicate what is a vital step in your relationship. All tone is lost over text and crucial non-verbal cues will be missed. Text also leaves lots of room for misinterpretation.
‘Rule number 2 – frame the conversation in a way that makes you feel comfortable. You don’t have to go in all guns blazing,  laying a clear plan about how you see the relationship developing. But do be honest about how you feel and what you want from your partner as things develop.
‘Rule number 3 – go in with a good idea of what you are hoping to get out of it and, unless there’s a good reason don’t change your goal posts or lower your bar.
‘Rule number 4 – set your own time frame. You’ll know when you are ready to go exclusive but you have to appreciate that your partner may need to go at a different pace.’
What Annabelle also says is that you should be prepared to get ghosted, as some people can scare easily. If that does happen, though, it’s a perfect indication that they weren’t on your level. Better to be single than waiting for a sign that’s never going to come.
MORE: Pregnancy test adverts hurt women by only showing positive results
MORE: I’m Muslim and LGBT, and I teach children it’s OK to be both

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here