Dating vs Seeing Someone: Understanding the Difference

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Dating vs. Seeing Someone

Dating and seeing someone are terms that are often confused to mean the same thing. But how different are they? 

The nature of dating is evolving, and it can be hard to tell what is dating and what is seeing someone. This is exactly what we will cover to help you understand the key differences. 

This article will help you put things into perspective and help you understand what you are doing, where you are, and where you are headed. 

What is dating?

Dating means that you are with a person and exploring whether you will work out together. The level of commitment at this stage can be minimal, depending on whether you’re dating one person or multiple people.

You can date one person or several people at a time to get to know each other and figure out chemistry and compatibility before deciding whether they are a good fit for a romantic partner.

A couple enjoying themselves while riding bicycles
A couple enjoying themselves while riding bicycles.

People usually date for the following reasons:

  • Getting to know each other
  • Having fun together
  • Exploring commitment
  • Discovering compatible personalities and similar interests, beliefs, values, etc.

Common dating activities

Dating is the first step toward a serious relationship. As a result, it’s important to do activities or visit places that can help you get to know each other as quickly as possible. 

Some activities include: taking a walk, seeing a comedy show, physical activities like exercising, having a coffee date, visiting the museum or art gallery, etc. 

Dating couple walking by the river
Dating couple walking by the river.

These activities are short and fun. They can provide plenty of discussion topics while creating a natural break from serious conversations.

What does “seeing someone” mean?

You could use this term if you are going out with someone you like. This term can not only be confusing to the family and friends of the people seeing each other, but to the people in it themselves.

This stage is a bit more serious. If you’re seeing someone, you’re past the dating phase and are ready to commit exclusively. People use this term to let others know that they are not open to dating. Depending on the personalities of the people involved, they may or may not be sexually involved.

With “seeing each other,” the initial attraction is based on compatible personalities, similar interests, beliefs, values, etc. There are emotional ties and some kind of commitment to each other.

What activities do you do when you’re seeing someone?

Couple shopping in the grocery
Couple shopping in the grocery.

Activities such as grocery shopping, traveling together, and trying new things are mostly for those past the dating stage.

They are intimate activities to help partners grow closer. People who see each other can always feel the need to do such things to help them connect better. 

Dating vs. seeing someone: which is more serious?

There are two sides to the spectrum of dating and seeing someone. You can determine which part you fall under by looking at your dating crowd. 

If you’ve been dating for a while and notice that you’ve been giving one person most of your attention and focus, you’re likely to be in the “seeing someone” category. 

The other side of the spectrum means that you are dating and haven’t settled down yet. You’re actively dating and exploring before making long-term decisions.  

Therefore, seeing someone is more serious than dating.

The Difference between dating and seeing someone

Here are the key differences between dating and seeing someone.

The Stage of the relationship

You start seeing someone after you’ve known each other for some time. On the other hand, dating happens at the beginning stage of a potential relationship.


When two people are seeing each other, they can frequently and consistently go out. They can frequently go to see some movies, visit nice restaurants, or do fun activities together. It’s different when you are dating because the frequency can be sporadic.


When you are seeing someone, you can discuss serious stuff such as finances, boundaries, marriage, kids, family, your future together, etc.

With dating, you have casual conversations and nothing serious about deep stuff until you find the right person.

Becoming exclusive

Seeing someone already provides some sense of exclusivity. Both of you have been together for a while, and it can only take one conversation to take it to the next level of an exclusive relationship.

On the other hand, dating, especially casual dating, doesn’t involve or demand commitment.

Physical element

People who are seeing each other tend to be involved physically. There’s a physical connection that pushes them closer together and propels them toward extra commitments of a serious relationship.

People who are dating can have a physical relationship without necessarily demanding serious commitments.

How to transition from dating to seeing someone

Couple enjoying time together while traveling abroad
Couple enjoying time together while traveling abroad.

No relationship automatically becomes anything. There’s a process involved, and every couple goes through transitional periods at some point. From strangers to friends, to hanging out, to dating, to seeing each other, and finally to an exclusive relationship.

  • Know your partner better. Move past the small talk and dive deeper. Ask questions about their values, interests, fears, goals, and deepest desires to ensure that they align with yours.
  • Explore together; go on dates, and try new things together to form a closer bond.
  • Be yourself.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Communicate your thoughts and feelings.

The good news is… there’s no formula. Do it your way. Be intentional and create the relationship you want.


Dating and seeing someone are quite different. The type of relationship you are in currently determines where you stand. 

While seeing someone is more serious, dating is essential in any relationship. It can ultimately lead to seeing each other. 

Both are beautiful.

Photo of author


Over the years, Stephanie has had her fair share of dating experiences. While some turned out great, others weren't so great. She believes that relationships are meant to be fun, exciting, and full of laughter. She wants to help men and women become confident, attractive, and successful in their romantic relationships.