“I don’t want to have this conversation,” he said with conviction. And compromise is a thing that people in relationships do.”“I don’t even know if I want to have a relationship with you, I just want to date you some more and find out,” I shot back.How presumptuous of him to assume I wanted a relationship with him, not to mention how confounded I was by his jump in logic.But if I'm dating someone in the present tense, that's probably someone who I'm hooking up with exclusively and seeing regularly, but we don't have the label yet.I wouldn't refer to a current boyfriend as 'the guy I'm dating.' Past tense is used more loosely.While hooking up involves a bunch of late-night booty calls that don't necessarily need to lead up to anything, dating is time spent getting to know someone, trying to figure out whether or not you're going to take the next step and pursue a real relationship.
I think back in the day, dating was more loosely going on dates with one or many people, but now dating is the past's equivalent of 'going steady.'It's interesting because if I say I dated a guy in past tense, that usually means it was someone I was hooking up with and not an ex-boyfriend because I'd just say ex.Then he asked me to be his girlfriend, and boom: We were in a real relationship.So, the way I see it, "dating" is what happens before you're boyfriend and girlfriend.Of course, life has a cute, charming way of making things unnecessarily complicated, so there are about one million different stages you can undergo within the "hooking up" and "dating" stages.But overall, odds are you're doing something that falls under one of the two umbrellas.