Dating vs Seeing Someone: What’s the Difference?

We all have gone on dates or have had someone we’ve fallen head over heels for. But how is it different dating vs seeing someone? This is exactly what we’re going to cover to take the guesswork away.

The terms dating someone vs seeing someone both sound all too similar, yet mean very different things. Social media has drastically changed the meaning of these terms, especially when we implement modern hookup culture into the mix. 

While there are proper explanations of both of these terms, the internet has now taken it into their own hands and unofficially changed the meaning for certain cultures; even some popular TV series have twisted the meaning of the two. 

Although they both involve a mutual relationship with another, there is a major difference. One means you put your best effort forward to impress. The other, however, means that you show both sides; the bad and the ugly. Let’s learn what these mean, so you can cringe whenever you see the terms misused, like in an episode of your favorite show.

Dating vs Seeing Someone: What Are The Differences?

Dating Someone

What is Dating?

Dating success

Dating is a term well known in many cultures, which essentially means that you’re trying out a person. This allows each of you to showcase yourselves, hopefully truthfully. It’s mainly a time to have fun and explore each other. 

A great example of dating would start out as the initial contact, followed by meeting for coffee, enjoying a movie at the local theatre, along with other similar activities. The two will likely only show their best side to the other and they may seem flawless at first.

Dating means that you’re both starting out lowkey and casual, yet exploring vast personal territory. It’s definitely proper to call dating a temporary arrangement, as most people do not actually stay with their first date. (Unless, of course, it’s the rare love at first sight!)

Common Dating Activities?

Since dating is the first step of a relationship and how everything begins, it’s important to get to know each other as quickly as you can, which can be accomplished through different common dating activities.

This is why we typically see those who are dating do similar activities. These activities range anywhere from attending a movie theatre, to visiting the local beach, or simply taking advantage of a mutual interest. 

These activities are usually acute and short in nature, which allows them both to learn more about the other faster than most “traditional” ways would. It’s a way to simply have a ton of awesome fun before things get more serious.

Seeing Someone 

What is Seeing Someone?

This part of the relationship is a bit more serious and starts to get a little heavy. “Seeing someone” essentially means that both of you have taken it past the point of the initial dating stage, and are both ready to plan for the long-term. 

A very common thing that those in the relationship do at this point, is the introduction of the partner to friends and family members. This is often the point when most may move in to live with each other. 

Seeing someone gives each other an invisible “official” band around the wrist. Basically a promise to each other that they’re in it for the long haul — and this is also when the learning of each other truly begins.

What Do You Do?

Things like bills, vehicles and hobbies become intertwined for those in a serious relationship. They’ll start to go grocery shopping together, plan trips, or other activities that are possibly more friendly to their friends attending as well. 

You’ll finally get to plan that huge vacation for next year, but not without the help of your partner—who also wants to rent beach buggies to race on the dunes. Yet you need to have someone watch the dogs, so your partner has his mother stay over while you’re gone. (Seeing someone has its benefits!)

All joking aside, in most cases, you’ll know when you’re officially seeing someone. That first kiss and the ones that follow, will morph into a strong love for each other, a rare occurrence when you’re just simply dating. This is also the last step before the big day: the proposal.


The Spectrum: Where Are You?

This part involves determining where you are within the spectrum of dating and seeing someone. The first place to start would be to look at your dating crowd. If you have found someone who you’ve been dating while you have let the others fall off, even possibly introduced them to family and friends, then you’re likely in the ‘seeing someone’ category. 

The other side of the spectrum (‘dating someone’) would mean that you haven’t really settled down just yet. Maybe you have a few other people you’d like to check out before making any long-term decisions. You probably haven’t met many of their friends yet either, let alone family.

It’s definitely possible to be in-between the two stages too. This would basically mean that you’re not quite sure which way you lean yet. You like the person, but you’re still hesitant to delete the Tinder app. Yet you ‘think’ you’d like to finally settle. You’ve introduced the person to a few friends, but haven’t invited him/her to meet your family members. Just give it a little time.


Final Thoughts 

Relationships are complicated; and not in a bad way either. Online dating has opened up so many opportunities to try out different people, thus giving you many more options than the traditional bump in with a stranger at a restaurant that could lead to marriage. The terms seeing someone and dating someone, while very different, both have their own ups and downs. 

Yet, as superficial as dating may seem at first, it’s undoubtedly a necessary step that can lead into the ultimate goal for many — marriage.. Before the first date, think of your favorite hang-outs that you enjoy and would also likely be fun for others too, such as the beach. If you’ve been dating for a while, and you’re ready to start taking it seriously, ensure this is mutual between the both of you, as the other person may not yet be at that point just yet. 

Nonetheless, relationships are beautiful, so enjoy every minute of them. It’s human nature to want to be close to someone! If you plan to start dating in the near future, then put on some nice clothes and deodorant. It also helps to keep a few locations in mind. The rest will fall into place!



Bryan Rucker
Written by Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker writes about all things related to online dating and lifestyle. He has written hundreds of articles, specializing in online dating scams, and has written other fun and exciting topics in the online dating space. Read more of Bryan's articles.

Other Related Articles