Why do we date?

When I was a kid, it blew my mind to think that there was a time that my parents didn’t even know each other. After all, I’d always known them as my family. When I got older, I heard the whole story of how they met, dated, got married and had kids. But it still amazes me to think that they used to be strangers! How is it that people can go from not knowing each other to not being able to live apart?

Of course, when I was younger, I got to thinking about what would have happened if my parents had never met. Would I still be around, but part of a different family? Would I exist at all?

Instead of going further down this rabbit hole, let’s get back to the central question of why people date. I suppose it’s partially human nature, or at least it’s our culture. We’re raised expecting to date, although of course dating itself has certainly changed since our grandparents’ and even our parents’ time.

In any case, it’s a far cry from the arranged marriages which were often the norm – and still are in some cultures. Still, dating is a weird idea no matter how you slice it. OK, honestly, the reason that we date is to get to know each other. You talk, learn their goals, their likes and dislikes, etc. There are a lot of times when you’re dating someone that you find yourself trying to anticipate the future – at least if you have a goal in mind for dating rather than dating being an end in itself.

Some of us date just for fun. We’re looking for some companionship and fun. Someone to grab dinner or a movie with, do dancing with, have a drink with and chat. Other people are looking for a committed relationship and will be disappointed if the other person wants to keep things casual. We all have different standards and something that wouldn’t be a problem for me at all could be a deal breaker for someone else.

When we’re dating someone, we tend to think back about people we’ve dated in the past. Not to compare them against each other, necessarily, but we’ve all wondered where some of our relationships might have gone if they hadn’t ended. I’ve done it, I’ll admit it. I saw potential in some guys which may not have been there because I wanted things to work out between us, then realized I’d been wrong. That’s the problem a lot of people have with dating. We’re more concerned about what we think or want to happen rather than what’s really going on.

Best date I’ve ever had? Not a real date! We were just hanging out, talking, having a bite to eat and getting to know each other without the pressure or expectations of a “date.” The end result was a more comfortable and enjoyable time than any I’ve ever had on a formal date. In fact, we also learned more about each other than we would have if we had an agenda for the night.

We date to meet people, to learn more about them, to find out if we like them, sometimes we date just to make friends. We also date to find serious, long term companions and partners that we build a life with. It’s probably not going to be the first person you date, but just like your first date, you’ll never forget the last person that you start dating before you decide to stop dating and settle down.

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