Double Dating Meaning: How the Term Has Evolved

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Double Dating Meaning

Your phone starts buzzing like crazy. When you check to see who it is, you’re surprised to read a barrage of upset messages from your best friend. 

Some guy she’s been seeing has been double dating her. 

Hmmm. There must be something you’re missing here because, at first glance, you think, what’s the harm in that? Just two couples having an evening out. 

But her angst gets you thinking that there’s got to be more to the double dating meaning than you’d previously thought. Upon some rapid Google searches, you’re surprised to find some varying meanings—a couple of which would surely send your friend into a rage. 

So, do you think you know the meaning of double dating? Well, there seems to be more to this phrase than what you may realize. 

We’re going to check out some definitions and see how they could fit into your dating life. 

Defining Double Dating

As I’ve already mentioned, and you’ve probably started to realize in the new and improved dating slang, is that there are a few different double dating meanings today. 

“Traditional” definition

Double dating in a cafe
Double dating in a café.

This is the definition we’re all familiar with. Heck, this is the definition our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on are familiar with. 

Double dating, as traditionally defined, is when two couples go out on a date together. It could also be in a group (more than two couples), but more often than not it’s just two. 

This is our old-fashioned use of the phrase that is most likely not upsetting anyone. 

Modern meaning 1

This is where the definition starts to get interesting—and much less traditionally accepted. 

Double dating is when someone goes out with two different people within 24 hours. 

Sounds brutal? Well, it doesn’t have to be. While I’ll agree it’s an ambitious undertaking, sometimes dating lives get busy and many opportunities present themselves at once. 

Not wanting to miss out on getting to know someone who could be someone special, or just looking to have multiple fun dates, our double dater takes advantage of those especially busy dating periods. 

Modern Meaning 2

Young woman spying the man she dates
Young woman spying on the man she dates.

The second modern definition of double dating is less likely to be understood and accepted by the masses. 

Double dating is dating two people at the same time for an extended period. 

More often than not, this is not being done in an upfront and open way. Our double dater here is most likely cheating on one or both of their partners. 

Cons of Double Dating

We’re going to dive into the cons of our modern double dating meanings. I’m sure you can imagine some of them off the top of your head, but let’s see what the worst parts of double dating are. 

It’s offensive 

That’s right. Should we say it louder for the people in the back? 

While our two-in-one 24-hour period double dater probably isn’t technically doing anything wrong, it’s certainly not flattering to have someone rushing from your date to the next in one evening. 

It’s not enough

If someone dates two people seriously for an extended period, it’s likely someone in the scenario isn’t getting enough time and attention, including the double dater themselves. 

I know that untraditional relationships are in fashion. And that’s great! However, they’re not for everyone. 

Truly healthy relationships take a lot of energy to work. It’s hard to give that level of energy to multiple people. 

It gets messy

Man texting with another girl while on a date

Our double dater is on the second date of the evening and accidentally confuses this date’s name with the first. 


While probably not a deal-breaker, especially on what is most likely one of the first dates, it certainly doesn’t feel great to be on the receiving end of that. 

Now, imagine our long-term double dater doing the same thing, but worse. Maybe they accidentally ask about something that’s going on in their other partner’s life. A ‘bigger’ WHOOPS! 

Seeing multiple people can be messy. If both partners in the relationship are aware of the situation, then it’s less of a big deal, but still hurtful. 

It’s usually hidden 

And this is the biggest con of them all. Our double daters usually aren’t being honest about what they’re doing. 

As a modern dater, I feel like all types of relationships are fair game. However, the one, huge, underlying rule in them all is honesty. 

Do what you want, but let’s not lie about it. 

Unfortunately, the trend in double dating seems to be that it’s hidden. When simplified to that, our double dater, after reaching a certain level in their relationships, is just cheating. 

When is double dating OK?

Man holding hands with another woman
Man holding hands with another woman.

So, the big question is: is double dating ever OK? Like I said before, certainly. 

If intentions and relationships are clear from the start, then most certainly double dating is fine. The problem is when the situation isn’t communicated to one of the people in the relationship. 

I would venture to say that our “rapid” double dating scenario is acceptable when on first dates with new people. However, once relationships reach a certain level, if the situation isn’t made clear, then someone is probably going to get hurt. 

Long-term double dating may also work for some people. Again, assuming all parties know about the situation and have some sort of agreement about it. 

Basically, double dating isn’t ok when it is hidden. The best policy when it comes to dating and relationships is to have clear communication with one another about boundaries, expectations, etc. 

But, hey, if all parties involved are fine with it, then double date away. 

An Evolving Phrase

It seems that double dating is an evolving term within the dating world. That means that it could change again. 

But for now, we’ve got traditional double dating and a couple of modern double dating meanings that you’ll want to be aware of if you’re dating now. 

Remember, you don’t have to be ok with double dating. And if someone has been double dating you without your knowledge, then you are certainly right to be upset about it. 

Like with everything in dating, know your limits and stay true to them. 

Just because double dating is a term doesn’t mean that it should be a part of your dating life. Keep an eye out for it and be sure to call out a hidden double dater if you find one. 

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Sarah is a writer at While she enjoys writing on a variety of topics, her favorite is dating and relationships. She’s curious about dating trends and how they continuously evolve. When dating gets hard, she likes to find humor and reason in the situations that she affronts. Through a combination of personal experience and research, Sarah loves connecting with readers through her pieces on their shared dating experiences.