What Are The Different Types of Dating (25 Notable Types)

by April Maccario

There are many different types of dating relationships. In fact, often, people are unsure as to what kind of relationship they are in with another person. 

One person thinks that you are exclusive, seeing one another only and no one else. The other person expects the relationship to stay casual and enjoys dating a variety of people rather than just one person.

This kind of confusing behavior can result in two people butting heads when the status of their relationship comes up. If your dating habits are very open and casual, you should make sure that your potential partners know your expectations. That way, you don’t unintentionally hurt someone who thought the two of you were serious. 

In this article, we will define the different kinds of dating relationships. This will help you when you feel confused, hurt, or just oblivious regarding the type of relationship you are actually in.

The Different Types of Dating Relationships

1. Casual dating

casual dating

When dating someone casually, you probably aren’t ready to define the relationship just yet. Instead, you are just enjoying the ride (having no strings attached)!

2. Open dating relationships

These dating relationships may be serious, but they have agreed to see other people at the same time. For this to be successful, both people need to have the same life goals of wanting to see others.

3. Toxic dating relationships

Many relationships could fall under this category, but these are generally very unhealthy relationships that just lead to hurt, disappointment, and detriment to one’s life.

4. A fling

This is typically seen as “cheating” on a serious partner. You might say that if you were in town at a convention, you could have a fling, something frivolous with someone you don’t plan on seeing again.

5. Sexual dating 

Individuals in these relationships are just after one thing - sexual intercourse. They crave sexual fulfillment in their lives. 

6. An enabling dating relationship

Usually, a person is “enabled” when their partner helps them with negative things in their life. For example, addictions, bad habits, or unhealthy actions could be negative actions. 

7. Codependent dating relationships

A codependent dating relationship actually has one member of the relationship who enables the other person to do whatever negative action plagues them.

8. An exclusive dating relationship

This type of dating relationship is reserved for serious people who only want to see one another and no one else. Exclusive means you are the only person your partner is dating. If you are unsure if you are in this type of relationship, you should ask your partner for clarity. You don’t want to make assumptions when it comes to your heart.

9. Long-distance dating

A couple engaging in long-distance dating still wants to see each other, but unfortunately, both people live in different locations. This could be a temporary situation like going to college in a different state.

10. Friends with benefits

This means the people are dating other people and are just friends with each other but have sexual relations. This kind of dating relationship can get quite complicated because one person usually wants more out of the relationship than the other person does.

11. Intimate dating

intimate dating

Intimacy is all about “closeness.” When you are intimate with your partner, you bare your soul without hesitation. You have decided you can completely trust him or her and tell them every thought you’ve ever had. You may also engage in intimacy if you have mind-blowing, meaningful sexual relations. 

12. Swinging

This may or may not be a serious couple, but the premise is that both parties are welcome to sexual experiences with other couples. 

13. Serious dating

This is the opposite of casual dating. If someone is serious about their love life, they probably aren’t speed dating in an effort to “hook up” with someone for the night. 

14. First love dating

Often, people experience love for the first time when they are merely teenagers; for some cultures, this age is even younger. Often, when you first fall in love, you think this person can do no wrong and may even end up marrying him or her.

15. Arranged dating

In many cultures, including American, people are “set up” with each other by their church or their parents. Some people even “marry at first sight,” meaning they first see their groom or bride on their wedding day! Depending on who set you up, you may have a high rate of success in this type of dating relationship. 

16. Soulmates

There are some people that believe soulmates are arranged by God, a predestined journey. Others learn to love each other in such an intimate way that they believe they are, in fact, soulmates. The term can mean there aren’t multiple people “out there” for you; instead, your “soulmate” is somewhere out there waiting for you.

17. Dating for fun

People who are dating for fun usually try to meet others with the same goal - to just have a good time. You may engage in speed dating or online dating to meet new people on a regular basis. If you do just want to have fun, you should make your intentions clear to those you see on a casual basis, so you don’t hurt them unintentionally.

18. Courtship

This is the period before marriage. It’s the time for “wooing” your partner. You may even give them a promise ring as a symbol of your commitment to this stage in the relationship.

19. Engagement

At this point, typically, the guy has asked the girl to be his wife in the future. A ring is usually presented during the proposal to marriage. The ring symbolizes the level of commitment each person is giving to the relationship. 

20. Online dating

While in the past online dating had a bad reputation, it’s actually a popular way today for people to date. There are many dating applications and websites geared toward helping single people find each other with the aid of all that technology. 

21. Blind dating

Blind dates occur when a girl or guy is “set up” by friends, family members, or other individuals (or even companies). This method of dating is often seen as a “last resort” to those who have found themselves to be unlucky in love. However, there are plenty of instances where blind dates have led to successful marriages.

22. Speed dating

Speed dating is often arranged by a company so that individuals can find partners in a group setting. A timer may be involved, allowing you to only spend a “set amount of time” with an individual before switching to another person. At the end of the night, you receive a list or index cards of those who want to continue getting to know you.

23. Platonic dating

This is sexless dating, but it doesn’t mean romance is not involved. Many couples decide to wait until marriage before having sex, so they enter into platonic relationships. Other platonic relationships may include friends, acquaintances, or family members. If you are dating someone without sex, you may have a reason for doing so. 

24. One-night stands

one night stands

These are typically not positive experiences because you’re drunk or incapacitated the night before when you had sex with the individual, you woke up next to. Some people view these as “mistakes” or “regrets,” but there are “serial daters” who love having a variety of sexual partners with no commitment or expectations involved.

25. Rebounding

To rebound is to date someone right after being in a long-term relationship or marriage. The negative connotation that comes with the terminology is the result of these relationships turning out negative, even if the two people were perfect for each other. The rebounding individual just isn’t ready for a new relationship, and it goes sour.

FAQs

What are the 3 types of dating?

One type of dating is usually done for fun and enjoyment; it’s perhaps very casual. Another type of dating is purposeful, meaning there is intent present; the person has a long-term goal. The third type of dating is geared toward marriage as the end goal of the courtship.

What are the 5 stages of dating?

Usually, a dating relationship starts with attraction. Then, the rose-tinted glasses are removed, and reality sets in. If the people continue to see one another, they will commit, have real intimacy, and ultimately get engaged with the hope of a successful marriage relationship.

What are the 4 types of relationships?

There are many different types of relationships, but the four main ones include family, friends, acquaintances, and romantic relationships. In your love life, you can expect your relationship type to vary depending on the stage of the relationship. For example, you may go on blind dates or do online dating.

What is a relationship vs dating?

Dating can involve casually seeing many different people at the same time, but relationships mean you are committed to one person. That is, at least, what one hopes for when entering a relationship. No one goes into a relationship hoping to be cheated on.

What is a sexless relationship called?

Usually, having a sexless relationship means you are platonic with the person. You may have both decided to be friends, or the relationship just hasn’t evolved to the point where sexual relations are involved. Friends are typically in platonic relationships with one another.

To Sum Things Up…

What type of relationship are you in right now? Do you think your partner is “on the same page” with that status? Can you think of any dating type not mentioned in this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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