The Difference Between Hooking Up, Dating (Casual) & In A Relationship


Dating has become very confusing now a days with all the terms available to define a relationship. So here's a breakdown of the difference between the most popular terms hooking up, being casual and in a relationship. 





Hooking up.

This means there should be no feelings and no strings attached. Usually, you won't spend time together outside of the bedroom. You might make small talk to be polite before and after, maybe small texts here and there, but all light and superficial. No substantial conversations. If you and your hook up are having "real" conversations, you're going down a slippery slope. Either you'll move into the "dating" stage or one of you will develop feelings and the whole situation will fall apart.

If you are both mature enough to separate your emotional feelings from physical interactions, then you could be friends with benefits. This is mildly different from hooking up, but falls in the same category. This means you can and do hang out as friends, whether alone or in group settings. However, this can be very tricky as spending time with each other outside of the bedroom can lead to feelings. If you have a FWB and both of you have some sort of emotional attachment to each other but don't want commitment, that's dating. That's NOT hooking up.

If you want to maintain a hook up status, limit the talking and focus on the physical. And of course, no commitment.

Dating / Being casual.

This is where you can both enjoy the physical aspect of a person and combine it with appreciating their company. Here, you definitely spend quality time together and even go on dates. You are intimate, not necessarily sex, but kissing, holding hands, etc. You are also (maybe) starting to be more involved in each other's lives. Perhaps meeting each others friends and knowing details about how work, school and other facets of the other person's life.

The key thing here to remember is that neither of you are committed. There is absolutely no obligation on either ends. If you want to hang out or hook up, you do. If you don't, then you don't. If you want to end things, there's no need for explanations. They can drop you any time the relationship starts to be too inconvenient and vice versa. You can also both still be seeing other people. This is casual, also known as dating. You like each other but you're not that invested.

A distinguishing factor between friends with benefits and dating is that in a FWB scenario, there is absolutely no intention of it growing into something more whereas in dating, there is definitely potential and there is a desire to pursue it.

You can be exclusive while dating but that's basically being in a relationship. If someone says they want to be exclusive but not be in a relationship, they're being stubborn and have a fear of titles.

In a relationship.

The biggest thing here is that there is commitment. Also, both physical intimacy and an emotional connection exists though their gravity varies. Neither of you should be dating other people. There's different forms of being in a relationship (like being in an open relationship) but I won't get into that now. For all purposes of this article, we'll stick to the traditional definition of a couple meaning you are emotionally and physically loyal.

There are other responsibilities that come along with being in a relationship that don't apply to being casual, as well. For instance, you have now integrated that person into your life. This means making time in your schedule to see them instead of just seeing them when it's convenient. This means seeing them more frequently. This also means you start introducing them to people in your life like friends, coworkers, classmates and family. Basically, you start to be more invested and involved in each other's lives. You're creating the building blocks of a life together. When you're casual, you are both still living very separate, independent lives but find a place outside of your life bubbles to spend with each other.