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The challenges of dating
What am I up against?


For many young people in the dating stage, the progression from 'dating' to 'in a relationship' isn’t simple.

This is partly because 'dating' itself can be a very confusing thing. It’s a deliberately casual and undefined term without any clearly defined rules. If you’re in a relationship, you can establish rules around exclusivity and faithfulness but, in the early stages of dating, there’s no expectation of commitment. So, while dating might be a great way to test the water, there’s also plenty of room for confusion and heartache.

How can I deal with it?

1. Try to label what it is you want

If you feel you don't know where you stand with your date, or where it’s heading, have a think about what you want from it. Be honest with yourself about where you're at. Are you looking for something casual, or do you want to start a committed relationship? The crucial thing here is to ignore social pressure and choose what’s right for you, providing of course, that it fits with what your date wants too.

2. Define your terms

Whatever kind of dating relationship you’re in, it can still be helpful to define your terms. It’s helpful if both parties are clear about what they want from the dating relationship – whatever that looks like. Making assumptions that the other person is on the same page could be problematic, so let them know where you stand, and give them the opportunity to do the same.  It might seem unromantic, but it could save a lot of heartaches and headaches. 

3. The nature of a relationship can change – so re-assess your terms

If you agreed your terms up front when you started dating, it might be helpful to re-assess. The reason for this is because emotions and feelings fluctuate and evolve. Over just a short time one of you might feel differently about the current arrangement.

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