As I have stuck my toes to test the waters back in the dating pools lately; I have heard one question more times this past month or two than I have in the last ten years: "When do you know you're 'dating' someone and when you are their SOMEONE?" This question, boiled down, basically is asking how do you know if you're someone's boyfriend/girlfriend. Valid question, I guess...
I have one better, though - "What does it matter, really??" At the end of the day, isn't it kind of a label? If you're enjoying the time you're spending with the person you're spending it with... isn't that enough? Or is it? If it's such a popular topic of conversation amongst singles; it's got to have some level of importance to somebody. So, I start to query my single friends and those I've been chatting with... IS this a big deal and why?
For girls, seems as it's all about the safety net of exclusivity. Like it's a warm blanket on a cold night or the revealed path to 'happily ever after.' An arrival of sorts. So, it's about gain. The guys I've talked to have, largely, related to it in terms of loss of consortial-type activities (but without the legal responsibility). ;) As in, when they've got a girlfriend? They've gone 'exclusive' precluding their ability to do whatever with whomever. Now, there are the more romantically inclined or principled men that have focused more on the whole 'dating is a process that's designed to lead you towards a greater commitment' - but by and large? It's more about the sex. Just sayin.' The dumbest response I have heard was related to condoms - specifically that they could stop using them if they were exclusive. In which case, I hope neither of you were exposed to coodies that just haven't shown up on your tests yet.
Personally, I think this whole question is one where if you have to ask? You're probably not. It's been my general experience (and goodness knows I'm no Dating Pro that has all the answers) that you kinda can tell - just have to pay attention. How are you introduced? Do you spend quite a bit of time together (face/text/phone) or does it seem like there's better than even money that one or both of you are still 'playing the field?' Often, you can kind of figure it out and spare the awkward conversation... but, that's just me.
What if you NEED to have that conversation, though? What's the best way to have it? Blunt? Direct? Beating around the bush, so to speak?? Thoughts? Send 'em my way.... I'm intruiged. :)