What is dating
There's a ridiculous amount of social pressure in North America to have sex, for men to have "more" partners, and for women to detach emotionally and make it "okay." Almost everyone I met in Europe in their mid 20s to 30s had had one, maybe two, very long term partnerships, and perhaps one casual, one night stand. It's really a method, and a pretty intelligent one at that, to get to know someone before you bond physically with another person.
You're just bumping the naughty bits, and that's why we North Americans have so many, varied terms for what is essentially a no strings attached sexual relationship. It isn't an excuse to "test the merchandise," or "see how I feel in six months.".They started off as casual, and then things got a little more serious when we became exclusive.Then he asked me to be his girlfriend, and boom: We were in a real relationship.I think back in the day, dating was more loosely going on dates with one or many people, but now dating is the past's equivalent of 'going steady.'It's interesting because if I say I dated a guy in past tense, that usually means it was someone I was hooking up with and not an ex-boyfriend because I'd just say ex.But if I'm dating someone in the present tense, that's probably someone who I'm hooking up with exclusively and seeing regularly, but we don't have the label yet.