Do people in your culture "date"?

Aomori is not the “sticks,” … ok it’s the sticks.

I don’t think there’s any real difference in behavior. Maybe a difference in terminology, coupled with stereotypes pulled from Hollywood.

I think your understanding of US dating culture is not up to date. My thread, entitled “When did the distinction between “dating” and "going steady” disappear?", is relevant:

A number of comments in my thread indicate that even this picture of US dating is obsolete, having been replaced by some combination of going out in groups, hanging out, and hooking up.

In my high school ('80’s) lots of kids dated, or wanted to. There was lots of romantic social drama. I was surprised when I went to college to find few couples and most people hanging out in mixed-gender groups. …Except for the night of the GLBT movie festival, which lots of forward-thinking, non-homophobic students attended, but almost all with a date of the opposite sex that they had dug up for the occasion. (Including me, I admit.)

I’d guess that it was more about premarital sex coming out into the open than AIDS - sleeping with someone tends to trend towards more exclusive relationships. After all, back when Betty Sue was dating several clean cut boys in the 50s, she wasn’t supposed to be sleeping with them all.

No doubt. Hollywood paints funny pictures of this country that aren’t in sych with most people’s realities. Example: according to Hollywood, 90% of kids are parts of frats and sororities and only date other Greeks unless they’re rebels.

I’m sure that’s what it was - Betty Sue gave up dating several boys by the late '70s and AIDS wasn’t believed to be a concern for heterosexuals until at least the mid 80’s.

This is all interesting. To me, “dating” means seeing someone for the purposes of getting to know them to see if a relationship between the two of you might work. I acknowledge that for a large number of people, it means getting together to do something and then have sex either at the end of the first “date” night or one of the dates soon thereafter; generally this results in the man moving on to “date” someone else." You might initially meet at a bar or a party or the grocery store and exchange contact info or arrange to meet somewhere soon again. That second meeting is a “date.” Then you might arrange to meet somewhere else again, or you might meet at one of your homes and go somewhere from there. That is also a “date.” This might continue for a little while. Once you determine that you want to have a relationship with that person, you aren’t exactly “dating” anymore–you’re in a relationship, with all that that entails.

I have found that since my divorce, the men I have “dated” aren’t interested in having an exclusive relationship and want to be free to date (and sleep with) whomever they want, when they want. Many of my female friends are also finding this to be true, but not all of them; some have found men who actually have committed to being exclusive and monogamous with them. The people I refer to are, in general, middle-aged (40s and 50s), although the same seems to be true for my friends in their 20s and 30s as well.

This is my experience exactly, and I’m every inch the American. I think I’ve “asked someone on a date” exactly once, and that was at the tail-end of a three-day artists’ retreat. All my romantic relationships have evolved out of something else–college friend, professional acquaintance, work in a community organization, etc. The idea of meeting someone and asking them out “cold” is pretty alien to me.

Then again, I’ve heard some shockingly high (to me) statistics about how many relationships start with online dating services these days, so I know people still do it. I’m just not one of them.

What would you call it then?

Open relationships are certainly not the norm; however, amongst the grown folks, exclusivity should never be assumed, lest you encounter some unpleasant surprises. You’ve got to have The Talk.

This is 100% what I have found. Unless you’ve had the talk, you have to assume that the other person is seeing and sleeping with other people. That’s been my experience, anyway. I haven’t been doing the seeing/sleeping with, but the men I’ve seen have assumed that it’s cool for them to do that while also seeing me because we hadn’t had “the talk.”

Yes, I tend to ignore red flags, but I’m getting better at that. “Dating” has changed drastically since I last did it back in the late 80s.

My perception of dating in US culture (which is shared to some extent by other Germans) is:

  • dating (as opposed to just eating or doing other things together) means that you are up front about meeting the other person because they are of your preferred sex, and with a view to scoping out each other’s suitablility for a relationship.
  • a set of cultural norms on how to behave on a date, related to but distinct from social norms for general social occasions.

I have heard quite a few instances of Germans referring to a meeting as a date (using the English word date rather than the German Verabredung) to convey the message that romance is a possibility (i.e. you are not (yet) mutually agreed to be just friends) but OTOH no romantic relationship exists (yet).

Right. Dating more than one person after a certain point is called “two-timing”, and is generally considered a form of cheating unless everyone involved grants permission.

I learned the term “going steady” for the point in which you commit to dating a single person excusively. This continues until explicitly terminated, either by breaking up, or explicitly agreeing that the other may see other people. In the 1980’s/1990’s, teens went on a few dates and often decided to “go steady” with the other one.

**Originally Posted by WhyNot
Interesting perspective on American dating. It’s actually quite unusual for Americans to date more than one person at a time, though. At least, past the second or third date. Third date is generally where monogamy is assumed, although it’s still a little iffy, and “I didn’t know we were exclusive!” is a defense, but one met with eyebrows raised…

Robert Columbia:
Right. Dating more than one person after a certain point is called “two-timing”, and is generally considered a form of cheating unless everyone involved grants permission.**

This has not been my experience or the experience of most of my friends at all, and I wonder why. We have found that unless you have “the talk,” most men (and maybe some women, but I don’t know because I don’t date women) assume that everyone is dating multiple people. I could go on a date with one guy four, five times, and that doesn’t mean we are exclusive, in my experience, and in fact I have been made to feel foolish for assuming it does.

Maybe it’s a regional thing? I don’t know.

I agree, except that I’d say that the “certain point” is after both parties have explicitly agreed to be exclusive.

I seriously can’t fathom this idea that you’d just assume that this person you’ve been on three dates with has the same values that you do and that you’re on the same page regarding the relationship. Why not remove all doubt? Use your words, people!

I’m American, and in my experience, romantic relationships here seem to work pretty much exactly as how you described them working in your countries. The “debutant who entertains multiple suitors who each formally ask her out” thing must have gone out of style decades ago in America, if it was ever really that common at all.

This seems to be the general consensus from the Americans. I think its kind of funny that Australians and Europeans apparently think it works differently here.

Yeah, it seems to me that the only major difference is that outside the U.S. there can arise an assumption that after only a handful of “dates,” there is an exclusive relationship. I agree with those who say that in the U.S. the assumption is that there is no exclusivity until monogamy has been explicitly agreed upon.

If you consider the 1930s-40s a “culture,” my mother claimed she and my Dad never dated. Sure, they went to events as a couple, like church and revival meetings, and spent a lot of time together, but never “dated” before getting married. Seems the term was too libertine for fundamentalist Christians, as it implied a relationship far too intimate and ungodlike compared to “courtship.”

I think this must be a generational thing. The way dating works in my social circle, (20s, middle class, northeastern U.S.) is that you start off being friends with a girl or doing the group thing. You do a little bit a of flirting to test the waters. If there’s mutual attraction you progress to making out then sex. Once you do that a couple of times, you have the talk about whether you want to be exclusive with with each other. If the people decide that they don’t want to be exclusive with each other they usually stop hooking up physically. Although sometimes they decide to do the no strings attached friends with benefits deal.

I seriously doubt that European and Australian women don’t also occasionally have trouble getting men to make serious commitments to them. Exclusive relationships seem to be pretty common to me. Maybe you’re picking men based on the wrong attributes. Or maybe you are sending up some sort of red flags of your own that are discouraging men from wanting to get too seriously involved with you.

Or maybe, when you get out of your 20s, you need a better reason to be exclusive with someone than that you conveniently already know them and are reasonably sexually compatible.

I’d definitely say that in person among a circle of acquaintances there is no more “dating” in the US - you go out with your group and then you’re a couple. However, the increasing prevalence of meeting people online does result in dating - you don’t know them, so you go on dates with them. Which seem a little weird and old fashioned. Of course I haven’t done it in six years, being long-term with the last guy I did it with, so I may be out of date. So to speak.