Dating might seem like a walk in the park for some but a shot in the dark for others. With everything a working adult or student has to go through in their daily life, some can’t afford to waste their time on dating if it doesn’t yield any result. Therefore, it is important to have a purpose for why you want to date someone.
The primary purpose of dating is to boost social confidence, develop your personality, understand one’s orientation and preferences and learn more deeply about intimacy. Dating helps people understand and narrow down their likes, dislikes, and expectations in a relationship.
With such diverse purposes to dating, it is natural to also question what one wants to achieve out of dating.
What Do We Wish To Achieve When Dating?
For most people, dating is usually restricted to the ultimate goal of marriage. This isn’t wrong, but it should be kept in mind that it also isn’t the sole purpose of dating.
1. Having Fun
One of the biggest reasons people date these days is to relax and have fun with their person.
People are more ambitious and driven these days and would instead focus their attention on work than find a lifelong mate or partner.
This, in turn, causes people to shy away from commitment, “live in the moment”, and have fun. Having fun has a huge role to play in someone’s love life.
According to research conducted by Dr. John Gottman, it was established that couples are usually happier when they have reached the “magic ratio” of 5:1.
Simply put, for every one instance of a severe argument or conflict, a couple must have five instances of affection, caring or fun interactions.
Dating creates a space for a playful dynamic with your partner, helps ease tensions in a relationship, and makes you better at resolving conflicts.
2. Encourage Social Interactions
Another one of the biggest reasons people date is to find their footing in a social setting. Dating requires people to meet various kinds of people from varying backgrounds and carry a conversation with them.
Most people use dating to meet new people and increase or strengthen their social circle. It is also one of the best ways to boost a person’s confidence in social interactions.
3. Understanding gender roles
Dating helps one understand how one can contribute to a relationship.
It helps people of all genders understand what kind of purpose they serve in a relationship and how they can strengthen their relationship owing to these roles.
According to a 2016 paper, fifteen college-aged women were interviewed about their feminist and dating beliefs.
Results revealed that having feminist beliefs can feel cognitive dissonance when dating more traditional men. This leads them to seek and communicate egalitarian roles in a relationship.
Gender norms ensured women were subordinate to men, who were to be worshiped, while it required men to be hypermasculine.
Now, women can practically gain the confidence to carry a relationship when dating, both financially and emotionally.
Men can be as vulnerable as they please and express their emotions without worrying about anyone. This is important as most of those roles interact and express themselves in traditional, straight relationships.
4. Exploring one’s orientation
Often, people date to understand and discover their true orientation and preference.
Some people prefer to “experiment” a relationship with people of different genders to understand where their preferences lie.
This proves to be quite beneficial for people who are still “in the closet” or exploring, and would like to understand themselves better.
Experimentation helps people gain experience in what they gravitate towards and what kind of people they are attracted to- they may even find something new about their identity.
Dating is a romantic open field for figuring out what sticks, and what doesn’t.
5. Learning about intimacy
Dating helps people understand intimacy better and explore themselves more actively.
It helps people understand what they are comfortable with in a venereal scenario and also helps them to make more informed decisions in the future.
Dating proves to be quite beneficial for people who would like to explore their bodies as they are better informed about what they like and what they don’t.
It is important to know that relationships and intimacy aren’t simply about physical needs. There is more to intimacy than what meets the eye.
A healthy relationship helps people understand various forms of intimacy, like emotional, creative, intellectual, and aesthetic intimacy, among others.
6. Increases maturity
I believe that young children above the age of 16 should be allowed to date as it helps to increase their emotional maturity. What you learn as a child sticks with you.
Therefore, having informed opinions about one’s own likes and dislikes in a relationship and forming a type helps people, especially children, to grow up with a more mature mindset regarding what they are looking for in a partner.
Dating young helps children learn the art of building and maintaining relationships, learning about their limits in an intimate situation, and also helps them understand the importance of privacy and boundaries.
7. Providing companionship
Humans are crafted to crave emotional and physical attachment. Trying out dating is one of the best ways to achieve a strong companionship that can serve you emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Having a partner can help relieve stress as you have someone you can rely on emotionally without burdening them.
8. Finding the right partner
Most people date with marriage in mind. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, and one can’t get into a commitment without being 100% sure about their partner.
Dating helps people create a “type” they are most compatible with, according to which they can choose the right person to spend their lives with.
Marriage is all about emotional intimacy; therefore, it is crucial to develop emotional intimacy before you marry someone.
Dating your partner helps you to develop emotional intimacy with them before you commit. It helps you partially simulate married life, especially if you live together and work it out together.
9. Develop healthy habits
Dating helps people develop healthy habits in their general lifestyle. It helps people understand where they lack and encourages people to do better.
According to a study based in Queensland, it was found that people in a relationship were likelier to be non-smokers, consuming limited amounts of fast food and alcohol.
This clearly indicates that relationships help people inculcate healthier habits in their day-to-day life.
10. Seeking validation
There are days when people feel their 100%, and then there are days when they simply… don’t. On days like those, people often seek validation from those who could not know any better.
Casual dating is great for the times people want to be told they look great.
Validation essentially means to help someone feel seen and heard. It is a potent tool in a relationship as it helps to calm nerves and bring in a more stable environment in the relationship.
A relationship with a healthy validation system helps to boost confidence levels, communication, and the listening skills of the parties involved.
Validating your partner often helps to boost emotional closeness, intimacy and bridges trust gaps.
11. Mental wellbeing
Dating has proved to be one of the ways people cope with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
The activities one performs in a relationship have proven to release quite a few hormones that alleviate an individual’s mood.
These include serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin, which help cope with many mental illnesses- or just a really bummer day.
Our brains release dopamine, or “the happy hormone”, whenever one engages in acts of love like kissing or cuddling. Quite similar to the release of dopamine when an individual is on illicit drugs.
No wonder love is considered a drug!
Companionship makes people happy. For the sole purpose of happiness, dating is a great way to go as you get to meet different kinds of people who entertain you wholeheartedly.
Loving relationships help individuals feel emotionally and mentally satisfied. It helps people realize that there is always someone waiting to listen to you if you’re low and hype you up.
For people at risk of depression, a supportive and healthy relationship reduces the risk.
Objectively speaking, relationships lead to greater satisfaction in daily life and increase happiness in individuals. They can also magnify the joy derived from existing reasons for happiness.
Ensuring You’re Not Losing Sight Of The Purpose When Dating
Dating involves the spending of more than just monetary assets. It also involves the investment of time, feelings, and emotions.
In casual dating or a serious relationship, the effects of being with someone you have a blast with are undeniable and highly positive.
However, while it is important to have a purpose, it is also important to remember to stay grounded in your purpose and not lose sight of it.
1. Draw a line between “ME” and “WE”
Looking for commitment or not, you should definitely remember that you and your partner are very different people.
You are with them to explore yourself, adventure, and understand yourself better; therefore, it is vital to not make everything you do about your partner.
There are certain things you feel your partner doesn’t need to know. So, don’t tell them.
The point is that you aren’t obligated to share every moment of your day with your partner, nor are you obligated to spend 24 hours of the day with them.
You must have your own life, which is separate from your relationship.
You must realize that you and your partner are very different people and overly depending on them is just going to hurt you, especially in a situation where you aren’t actively looking for commitment.
2. Socialize on your own accord
Rather than spending a large amount of time with your partner, go out and spend time with your own circle of friends and network. This will also help identify a critical “red flag” in your partner.
Say, for example, you are to go out with your friends tonight, and you let your partner know about it.
If your partner says things like “I don’t know why you’d want to go out today” or “I won’t let you”, it’s obvious your partner is insecure about your friend circle and doesn’t trust you.
Insecurity is one of the biggest reasons relationships turn toxic, and therefore, spending time with yourself will also help you understand if your partner is capable of a healthy relationship.
Socializing outside of your romantic relationship is also very beneficial to blow off some steam and meet a new variety of people.
3. Effective communication is key
When we catch ourselves in a rut, it is better to vent all frustrations rather than piling them up.
If you’re genuinely interested in your partner and would like to explore a future with them, it is better to talk to them about the problems you’re facing in your relationship.
This will help you strengthen your relationship and also find a more balanced footing in your relationship.
Even if you aren’t looking for long-term commitment with your partner, it is important to remember that you have someone in your life to speak with and someone who’d understand you.
Speaking with your partner helps to strengthen the bond, increase empathy towards each other and eliminate any sort of power struggle that might exist in the relationship.
4. Remember who you are
Most people change their whole personalities to impress the ones they want to date.
If you don’t remember why you’re dating or what your purpose is, you will end up losing a distinct identity and become one with the crowd. When dating, it is pretty easy to lose track of yourself.
In order to impress someone you are interested in, it is quite probable that you create a facade for yourself to mold yourself according to what you think your potential partner will like.
Some examples include changing your physical appearance to look like someone you think your potential partner would like, or pretending to love a sport they enjoy but about which you know absolutely nothing.
It is crucial to remember what you like and dislike and always remain extremely firm on them. A relationship works best if you are honest with someone from the very beginning.
If you are dishonest to yourself, the relationship will not lead to anything good.
5. Having strong boundaries
In a relationship, boundaries are extremely important. Certain things are absolutely unacceptable and unforgivable in a relationship. Healthy boundaries make for stronger bonds in a relationship.
It helps you assess your relationship and focus on the purpose for which you are dating. Know what you cannot negotiate upon and speak to your partner about it.
Having these boundaries helps you to resolve arguments maturely and increases the efficacy of communication.
Whenever there are fights in a relationship, for example, it is always important to give each other space to let off some steam; therefore, the boundary of personal space and autonomy of decisions needs to be respected then, especially.
Know when to say no and when to voice your concerns if you’ve been put in an awkward or uncomfortable position.
6. Do what sets your soul on fire… alone
We often spend so much time with our partners that we forget the things that set us free and fill us with adrenaline and joy.
It is always good to take some time off away from your partner and assess your position in life and what you want from it.
Doing things that you enjoy reminds you of the immense potential you have to achieve whatever it is that you want. It helps you stay grounded in your reality.
Away time from your relationship also helps you understand if it is something you want to continue at all.
Distances help people analyze their current standing in a relationship and then make informed decisions that are to the best benefit of both parties.
7. Never forget your old friends
Along with going out to socialize, it is also great to come back home. Friends who’ve been with you pretty much your entire life will help you stay grounded in reality and remind you of your purpose and your worth.
Having conversations with old friends helps you relax, enjoy and feel good. Speaking to your friends about your relationship gives you a chance to look at it from the third person perspective.
Spending time with old friends is necessary for you to remind yourself of your roots and retain your distinct identity.
8. Don’t idealize or condescend to your partner
The people we date are human, and no human is perfect.
We need to keep in mind not to put our partners on a pedestal or denigrate them because that leads to the crumpling of their self-confidence and makes you the toxic one.
Stay true to your partner. Tell them about the things they can improve, workwise or otherwise, and have healthy conversations with them about the things you like or dislike about them.
Having conversations like this increases the chance of you understanding your partner in a more mature manner.
Being cynical or overly idealistic of your partner makes being in the relationship very difficult as now there exists a power struggle between you and your partner.
Always speak to them like a companion and a well-wisher because, at the end of the day, that is what you are.
Relationships are tough, and dating is definitely not a piece of cake. Therefore, it is always better to date with a purpose as it helps you look for the right partner without wasting much time.
It is important to focus on your own self while you also focus on your partner- and have fun doing it!