Dating culture is strange to me; the ideology that you should “date with purpose”, being picky about who you choose to date and only dating those you view as having the potential to be a future spouse. Maybe it comes from the fact that I seem to have a different ideology concerning dating than most do.
Ultimately, the way I break down the romantic relationship progression is several fold: The initiation of a potential friendship, dating, the relationship itself, the engagement, and then marriage; if you are unlucky or incompatible then somewhere in that process there is a breakup and the process is ended and begun again with a new person.
Where I seem to differ from others, really, is in that I do not view dating another person as a commitment; I don’t see it as even remotely near being in a relationship with them, or as something that should be done with “purpose”, only with people you view as potential spousal material.
I guess what I am trying to say is that ultimately I do not believe in the commonly held ideology surrounding dating in common culture. Instead I tend to see dating as a commitment free point during which you determine if that person is relationship material.
You spend dedicated one on one time with a person in a safe environment in order to discover them on a more interpersonal (though not necessarily intimate) level; you go out, you perform activities together, you talk to one another, learn about one another, determine whether or not you enjoy each others’ company, and so on and so forth- and you make an attempt to build something ultimately akin to a regular friendship, except with a person you view as having romantic potential, with the specific intent of seeing if you are right about that potential or not.
In other words, I view dating as a stepping stone to a relationship. There doesn’t need, in my eyes, to be a purpose other than learning about the person, with no commitment to continue seeing them if you are incompatible in the end… And I believe that after you have decided that all parties involved are compatible insofar as you can currently tell, and you do decide that you are indeed romantically or sexually interested in them (or, hopefully, both)… Then I believe that you should enter into a mutual relationship however the you choose to define that (monogamous, consensual non-monogamy, etc).
I never understood the point of holding emotional attachments to dating itself when the real commitment to one another, to me, comes with the mutual agreement to be in an actual relationship– and I certainly do not believe that Dating and Relationships are mutually exclusive or require the same amount or type of commitment. As a result I cannot agree with dating-oriented monogamy wherein two (or more) people agree to perform those activities exclusively with one another and no one else. Likewise, I feel that it is preposterous to get offended or upset when one or the other continues to date additional people under the same circumstance.
I simply do not think that by dating you are inherently committing to the person in that way- and that kind of a monogamous commitment, to me, signifies a relationship of a romantic type. Ergo it is illogical to make that sort of a commitment to and put that sort of emotional attachment into dating, without establishing a formal romantic relationship.
I guess, simply put, I do not understand regular dating culture. To me, it is illogical. But that is my opinion and viewpoint- and it seems to be a little liked one as it does not buy into the unnecessarily romanticized notion of dating.