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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

How Does One Define “Dating”? All The Complications of Dating Within This Generation

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

The conversation surrounding the topic of dating is already a very complex and complicated one. Everyone has their own definition and expectations when it comes to dating, so it’s just a huge pool of confusion. I pose the question, “how does one define dating”, because recently I was involved with someone and within that short lived experience, we had a conversation about what the term dating means to the both of us…we were on two different pages. I think some of the main complications of dating within this generation is that 1. either no one is specific about their intentions with the individual they are dating, 2. they fail to tell the person they’re dating that their intentions have changed, or 3. they state their intentions but they have ulterior motives. 

When it comes to being specific about your intentions regarding dating, I don’t think people recognize how much their choice of words can affect the person they’re talking to. The topic of dating has two categories: dating casually and dating exclusively, but they are a bit more complicated than people make it out to be. If you are trying to date someone casually and just trying to get to know them, but also trying to get to know other people, then maybe you shouldn’t immediately jump the gun and tell that person that you see long term with them, and let them know that you are also pursuing other people. I’ve noticed that a lot of people assume the person they’re trying to date already knows what they’re referring to when they say “dating” or “dating casually”, but you’d be surprised by how many people define those things differently. Even though this is a very generic response, I think a conversation clearly stating your intentions would definitely help avoiding all of that confusion. Another observation I’ve made is that many people are afraid to be 100% honest with their intentions so they’re selective with the information they share with the person they are trying to pursue. Many are fearful that if they tell the complete truth then that person won’t want to date them, but little do they know that they will end up hurting the relationship if they’re not completely honest. 

When dating an individual, it’s completely fine if your intentions with that person have changed. If there’s any take away from this article, it’s that it’s okay to change your mind. Say for instance you are casually dating someone, and you’ve told them that the relationship between the both of you will eventually turn into a long term relationship, but you think y’all are moving too quick, so you want to dial the affection back a little bit, PLEASE simply express that to the individual. When you’re expressing your feelings to the individual you are dating, I think it would be good and healthy to provide them a sense of comfort and reassurance. If you truly care about their feelings and you actually want to keep pursuing them, then please do not be afraid to make sure they know that you’re not backing out of the relationship, but simply want to take more time to see if both of your personalities align. 

I think this third reason is the main reason why dating in this generation sucks and it all leads back to fear. I’m unsure what this generation has against honesty but it’s not a complicated idea. One of the leading causes of heartbreak is people having ulterior motives and not being straight forward with the person they are trying to pursue. If your intention with someone is to only have sex with them, then when it comes to approaching them that’s all that should be stated; don’t tell them you’re interested in them and then when you guys finally have sex you ghost them, that’s a punk move. Little do people know, there are so many people on the same page as you. You’d be surprised by how many people out there who are down to just have a sexual relationship with you, there’s absolutely no need to lie. Even if you’re honest with someone about just wanting to have sex with them and that’s not what they want, that’s okay as well, find someone who is on the same page as you. There’s no need to trick and deceive someone to have sex with you, that’s very cruel, disrespectful, and low. It causes a lot of trust issues and you never know what people have experienced in their past, so anything can be a trigger for them. 

Dating does not have to be so complicated. Despite it being a cliche and probably easier said than done, having a conversation with your person can really solve a lot. Even if things are left uncertain in one conversation then don’t be afraid to have another one. If there’s something that doesn’t make sense in one conversation then question it so you can receive some clarification. Never be afraid to state your intentions and specify them as much as possible for limited confrontation, and whatever you do, DO NOT LIE. 

Jasmine is a Senior at The College of New Jersey, majoring in Woman, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minoring in Social Justice. Her passion for writing began in elementary school when discovering Literacy/English was her favorite subject. As an aspiring African American Literature professor and Journalist, she loves to create writing pieces that shows the versatility of being a Black woman.