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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » How do you date?

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Author Topic: How do you date?
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Spurred by a user's question today, I realized that I don't think we have a very general post on dating.

So, what's dating like for you (stating your age may be helpful with these, since it can make a big diff)?

How do you most often meet people, do you ask people out more formally or informally? Do you kind of make dates happen or is it more organic? Are your dates usually solo or in groups, especially at first? How long do you generally "date" before you enter an exclusive relationship with someone, and what spurs that relationship on? What does "dating" even mean to you?

If you have issues or confusions with dating, what are they? What have been things that worked for you or really have NOT worked for you?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68006 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bluejumprope
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 40774

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I'm 21 and I've been doing what I'd call "dating"--getting to know new people with the aim of finding out if they could be close friends/lovers--for maybe two years. I had sexual/romantic relationships with people before then, but they more seemed to "just happen." One day we'd barely know each other, and the next we'd be partners.

I'm not exactly sure why--it may be an age thing--but the very concept of dating is pretty new to me. Like I had an abstract, Hollywood picture of a "date," or "being asked out," but I didn't think real people did that.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of dating now. [Smile]

I've mostly met people online. I don't meet many new people in real life because I'm not very social and I live in a small town, so I appreciative how it widens my dating pool and introduces me to people. I also like how direct it is, how the format lends itself to being able to easily reject people or be rejected before meeting. Also, how you can find out some important compatibility requirements, be upfront about desires, and see if you could possibly have rapport with this person, beforehand. It is pretty formal, I guess, but in a laid-back sort of way:
"I liked your ad. You look cool. Here are 6 things about me and I'm looking for this sort of relationship."
"I like those 6 things too, and what you're looking for sounds good to me. And you're cute. Want to hang out?"

Dates are always solo for me. I feel much more comfortable talking with people one on one.

One pet peeve: I hate meeting new people in cafes or restaurants. I feel extra self-conscious because other people can hear us being awkward.

My ideal first date is always a walk around town or in a park. I like how it frees up having to look at the person, how silences feel better; movement also lets out a lot of nervous energy for me--I feel better about myself; it's a much better way for me to learn if I like someone than over a seated meal.

I'd like to be get better at introducing myself to new people in person--both strangers and in like a queer student group setting. One of my big worries about doing that is getting "stuck" with someone. It's not rational, and doesn't exactly give the other person proper respect, but I forget that I can express interest in someone and then decide I'm not interested.

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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September
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This is such a timely question for me, because over the past couple of weeks, I've realized that I have no idea how to 'date'.

I'm 24 years old. I've just gotten out of a 5-year relationship. The three years right before that, I lived in a community where I felt very isolated and had very little social interaction of any kind, let alone of the dating variety. So, basically, I've never dated.

So far, what's been hard for me, is figuring out whether an invitation to hang out is platonic or has the potential for more. Talking to friends about this, they tell me that analyzing the subtext is part of the fun, but oh gawd, I'd prefer to just know.

Part of the problem is, also, that I've been going to the same University for the past four years. I have set circles of friends, set places where I hang out, etc. I'm not going to suddenly meet vast amounts of new people who are potentially date-worthy. I'd have to actually go out of my way to meet new people.

Clearly, this post is about the confusions of dating. [Smile] It has also been fun, though, and I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually.

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Jill2000Plus
Activist
Member # 41657

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I've never dated, except for this one boy in 6th grade who got their friend to ask me out until I said yes to get his friend to stop bothering me, then barely talked to me and got his friend to break up with me on the basis that I talked too much (by which he meant I was the liberal activist kid at a conservative religious school).

There's this one boy I really like, but I'd have no idea how to ask them out, I've never had any ability with that kind of thing, and I tend to think no-one will be interested in me *ever*. I did get the whole "you must be dating because you're friends and he has man bits and you have lady bits" thing once and I just said "I'm not interested in you that way" (which was so not true), and they said something similar, but I don't know whether they just said that because I said what I said first... these things are so complicated. I suppose soon I shall go to bed and fall asleep thinking about them again (and hug my pillow).

So basically, I've never dated and I have no idea how to tell if anyone else is interested in me, and I reckon no-one ever will be, so I don't really know how I'd go about it.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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saguy
Neophyte
Member # 32916

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I'm 25 and have never dated, largely due to debilitating social anxiety. That said, the dating world is too confusing to even think about for me.

The first thing I don't understand, is why it's seen as a bad thing to become good friends with a member of the opposite sex before you have feelings for that person. How else can you know? I hear about people only knowing each other for a very little amount of time, they're in a relationship and I wonder how it's possible.

I also don't understand people who are "dating" more than one person at a time. A guy I worked with a few years ago went out with 3 different girls in one week. What kind of explanation could there be behind that?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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quote:
I also don't understand people who are "dating" more than one person at a time. A guy I worked with a few years ago went out with 3 different girls in one week. What kind of explanation could there be behind that?
I think it's pretty simple, actually. Dating is basically window shopping until any two people decide that they want to pursue a relationship and be exclusive. So, someone casually dating more than one person at a time is someone who either a) doesn't want a more serious or involved relationship or b) hasn't yet met a person, during dating, who they yet feel are a good fit for them for something exclusive. And of course, not everyone is seeking out exclusivity, either.

Mind, some people prefer to only date one person at a time: these things are mostly about personal preferences.

I don't know who said to you that it IS a bad thing to do friends-first, but plenty of people are totally on board with that (and not just with an opposite-sex: don't forget that not everyone is straight). Again, just like with dating more than one person at a time, that's not how everyone does it, or what happens every time, but there is certainly nothing wrong with that: it can be a great way to start romantic relationships.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68006 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
saguy
Neophyte
Member # 32916

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I still don't understand the difference between dating as in being in a relationship and dating "casually". Wouldn't "casual dating" be the same thing as just going out and doing something as friends?

I've always understood dating to be part of a relationship.

Posts: 35 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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