When you first start seeing someone, what do you call it? Hanging out? “Seeing each other?” Dating? If you’re just going to coffee, on hikes, or to the movies, is that really dating? Especially if one or both of you are meeting other people?
“Dating,” to me, is when something physical starts happening beyond holding hands. Passionate kissing, etc. But one or both of you might be meeting other people.
So when does it evolve into his becoming your boyfriend, sweetheart, beau? After sex? Not necessarily. When you’ve both decided you want to be exclusive. But some couples never have that conversation.
And does it matter what you call him or the stage you’re in? For many, not. However, for many others it does. What you call him describes the seriousness of the relationship, although, of course, there are plenty of examples where one of the couple thought they were just hanging out and the other thought they were exclusive.
There are different expectations when one is merely hanging out vs. when one has a beau. Hanging out means we’ll see each other when it’s convenient to both. No need to call each other daily or even text regularly. Occasional messages, via email, text or voice, are sufficient.
However, the expectations rise when one is “dating” — usually there’s more desire for frequent contact. And when one becomes the other’s “boy/girlfriend” there is nearly always some desire for daily contact, sometimes more than once in a day.
Why does this matter to me now? Because I’ve been “seeing” a man for 8 months with only literally seeing him a dozen times, during two week-long visits to his area. However, we text dozens of times a day and have weekly phone conversations. It’s hard to describe us as dating since we don’t see each other often. And he’s certainly not my beau, as I feel I need more in-person contact to elevate him to that level. Currently, I’m calling him a suitor, as that is the best word to describe our unusual situation.
I know others would consider our situation synonymous with boyfriend/girlfriend. We are not seeing others, at least I don’t think he is and I’m not. But I’m still entertaining invitations from other men, since I’ve not agreed to exclusivity with my suitor. He may be doing the same — we haven’t talked about it.
What do you call these in-between stages of dating? Or does it matter to you at all?
Do you struggle with knowing whether to keep seeing someone early in the relationship? Then get your copy of Real Deal or Faux Beau: Should You Keep Seeing Him?