The Definition of Dating

There are numerous definitions to the word “date”, which can be a noun or a verb. According to, some definitions include “to go out socially on dates”, “to make a date with: to go out on dates”, and “an appointment for a particular time, especially with a person to whom one is sexually or romantically attached”. And for most people that live in the 21st century, “date” basically means that you are spending time with someone that you are romantically interested in or that you are getting to know to decide if you want to be in a relationship with them. In my opinion, you can date multiple people at the same time to determine with whom you would like to get more serious. Personally I would not engage in any sexual activity with all of these people; you need to save that for whomever you decide to be with monogamously.

Since the end of September, I have been seeing someone. Let’s call him Adam. (Previously, he’s been labeled The New Potential.)  The first time Adam and I spoke on the phone, it was a two hour conversation-with no silent moments. That has not happened with me since I was in high school. About a month in, I think we both established that we were both interested in each other. He was (and still is) consistent. Because he basically works nights and lives about 75 miles from DC, we only see each other about once a week. I’m probably giving you too much back story, so let me wrap this on up.

During one of our…”outings” (you’ll see why I chose this word in a moment), the topic of dating and us came up. When I mentioned that he and I were dating, you would have thought I told Adam we were getting married the next day. He almost fell out of his seat. That’s when he proceeded to tell me, “I think you and I have different definitions of dating” to which I replied, “Apparently we do, so why don’t you tell me yours.” According to Adam, dating is synomous with being in a relationship. What we were (are) doing is spending time together and getting to know each other. While I do not disagree, I actually call that…wait for it…DATING! I proceeded to state you can date multiple people at once to determine if you want to be in a relationship with one of them. And hopefully once you are in a relationship, you continue to date and get to know your partner even more.

This little exchange caused me to wonder if most people agreed with Adam or me. I know I have had this discussion with a few folks in my circle, and most agree with me. But I thought it would be best if I brought this topic to a broader audience. So if you’re single, married, in a relationship, or just “getting to know someone”, what is dating? Can you date multiple people at the same time? And what is the end result of dating a person-basically, what goal are you trying to accomplish? Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!


  1. I agree with you. However, I feel that dating MULTIPLE ppl isn’t as accepted amongst African Americans as it is with white ppl. Personally, I understand why ppl do it, but I would hate to be dating one person for a period of time, catch feelings for them, and then find out that I’m only a contender for them. Maybe if both parties are seeing/ “dating” other ppl, then it’s not that much of an issue.

    I’m confused as to why “Adam” was startled by the act/ art of dating you. Seems as if he was caught up in semantics. Whether you call it dating or seeing each other, the actual interaction bw you 2 is the same….

    Just my thoughts on what I’ve been thinking. Lol.

    • Well, Brit, to be honest, Adam is currently the only person I’m dating. But at the end of 2012, I was dating two guys at the same time. When I was younger, I used to think dating multiple people was wrong; I have since realized the error of my ways. 🙂 I do understand your point about only being a “contender”, that’s why I promote open and honest communication. Your goal isn’t to hurt anyone, but it’s to find the best person for you.

      Oh, and Black people, actually Black men, need to be a little more liberal when it comes to dating. Men can date whomever they want, but God forbid women date more than one person at a time. You know, that should be a post…

      • And you do. I told my husband on like the second date that I was too old to fool around with are we or aren’t we. Fortunately, he was as serious as I was. You’ve got to let them know that you are not in the mood for games, so they need to step up or get out of the way. There are plenty of men who are serious and ready to settle down. Dude needs to know that it’s not about titles but intentions.

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