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‌Dating VS. Courting: What Should Men Know About Both?
‌Dating VS. Courting: What Should Men Know About Both?
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‌Dating VS. Courting: What Should Men Know About Both?

Latest update: 2021-06-11
Dating VS Courting

‌Dating and courtship are different and at the same time pretty similar types of relationships. The 1st one is well-known today. Everybody understands what dating is and supposedly every adult dated someone at some period of life. But what's the difference between dating and courting?


‌It looks like people are quite familiar with what dating means. It's spread all around the globe, but it's particularly popular in Western countries. Even kids have a rough idea of what it is as it's broadcasted everywhere — through media, films, etc. But how to define dating?

‌According to the Cambridge Dictionary, dating means to regularly hang with someone you like and find attractive. But this definition is a bit superficial. Let's dig deeper. What else does it imply?

‌It's romantic relationships 2 people practice with several purposes. The principal one is to assess each other's compatibility and see if they suit each other as possible spouses in a prospective marriage. However, it's not always the case and often people date just for the sake of dating.


‌How does it look and what's included in dating? People who like each other go out regularly to have a good time and learn more about one another. Intimacy is optional, it depends on every couple. The perception of the “dating” idea may vary significantly from culture to culture. Moreover, it's a common practice to look for partners on special dating sites and date them online.

‌So, dating is when people see each other regularly because of mutual attraction. It can be serious or casual, straight or gay, monogamous or open, short-term or long-lasting.

What is courting?

‌The notion of courting is greatly older than dating. Men were kind of eyeing up women with a purpose to check and understand whether she was a good woman to marry. This was followed by wooing to attract a girl into a lifetime engagement.

‌However, in time, this way of pastime changed its form. Couples didn't want to spend time together with the only purpose to see if they were compatible for marriage. They wanted to spend time together because they were attracted to each other.

‌And that's why today the concept of courting is perceived differently. Here are 2 main definitions people give to the term:

  • To court is to pay special attention to someone in an attempt to win their support or favor.
  • To court is to have romantic relationships, with the hope of tying the knot.

‌When courting is compared to dating, it usually implies that you court someone with a purpose to marry them.

‌How long should courtship last? How long should you wait to propose? It depends. Every single country has different statistics that vary widely. Moreover, it's a different period of time for every single couple within 1 country. Very often, there's no courtship at all. There was an investigation in England that researched the duration between the 1st meeting and the accepted proposal of marriage. On average, it takes almost 3 years.

‌Thus, courting is often regarded as the experience of developing a deep relationship with someone, with a view to seeing if marriage is right for the couple.

dating and courting

What's the difference between dating and courting?

‌In fact, the difference is huge if we take the traditional way of perceiving what courting is. There are 3 important constituents courting usually implies:

  • Parents' involvement. At least, this is essential when the most traditional, classic form of courtship is regarded. However, it can be omitted often nowadays between couples with more modernized worldview.
  • Intimacy. This one is also optional, but was previously an obligatory condition — sex is the privilege only married couples have. Now, it's up to everyone.
  • Marriage. Men court women with one ultimate goal — to marry her.

‌Because of such pretty strict rules, courtship is so uncommon in Western civilizations. On the other hand, because these conditions are becoming more flexible today, courting is coming back and practiced more. Still, dating is a much more popular form of relationships.

‌People choose to date because they don't want to burden themselves with quite tough requirements courting suppose. They don't need parents' opinion anymore, they rather want to experience on their own whether a partner is compatible with them. Moreover, sex after marriage is another thing they don't agree on believing this compatibility is also as important as anything else in a relationship.

‌Thus, when people date, their common future is often never a subject to discuss. They date for the sake of dating. Dating may be accompanied by a more simple form of courting — men court women by being nice and friendly, giving presents, asking out, etc. They do what they need to attract a woman and make her like them.

‌A traditional form of courting can be described as purpose-driven romantic dating. Marriage is the purpose.

‌The difference between courtship and dating is vague and not that simple to define as both social phenomena are recognized differently by people from one culture to another. What do you think about it? What resonates with your worldview more? Enjoy your relationship no matter of its form!

Chris Goode
Chris Goode
Contributing editor

Chris is an experienced dating coach who covers the following topics:

  • texting and calling
  • first date tips
  • how to be a good husband
  • how to get a woman to love you
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