Generally speaking I think that after you go out with someone on three dates it is fair to say that you are dating them. This doesn’t mean you are exclusive because certainly it is within your rights to be dating multiple people at the same time, but regardless I think that three dates = dating. Unfortunately after my “three dates = dating” rule I really have no other rules for how to categorize the steps the steps within a relationship, which is why one of the elements of dating that I struggle with is getting a good how the other person views me and our relationship.
It is difficult before you have a discussion about where you each stand in the other’s eyes to know exactly what the expectations of a given romantic situation are. Certainly this is a subject that needs to be handled with care so that no one’s feelings get trampled in the process, but what happens when one of the people involved is resistant to the discussion? Does their opposition to talking about the status of the relationship mean something in itself?
Within weeks of when I first began experimenting with online dating about a year ago I met someone and we dated for several months before deciding to break it off. We got along really well, and had tons of fun together; however whenever I would bring up the status of our relationship she never seemed to want to talk about it. After some probing she admitted that she simply wanted to keep going with the flow, and not define what we had with labels, but I always had difficulty accepting this explanation.
Certainly I don’t blame her for the way she felt, and to an extent I understand where she was coming from; however I believe that after a certain period of time you come to the point where you want to hear from the other person exactly where you stand and where they think the relationship is heading. Unfortunately we weren’t on the same page in this regard, which is perhaps one of the main elements which lead to our demise, but that’s just sometimes how things turn out in relationships. In the end, even though we broke up, I did learn something from this situation which was that I am someone who feels much better being in a relationship when I know exactly where I stand.