You must have heard people using the term “courtship” rather than “dating” while defining their relationship, and wondered if the two mean the same or there is some difference between the two. If you have been confused about the meaning of the two terms, then this article is for you. Just keep reading!
Oxford defines, ‘date’ as a verb, denoting going out with someone, in whom you are romantically or sexually interested. The same dictionary explains ‘court’ as to be romantically involved with someone, with the intention of marrying them.
In today’s world, you date before you court. Dating means two people are acquaintances, while courtship means, two people are planning to bind themselves in the wedlock. Scroll down for a more detailed description.
#1. Exclusivity in the Relationship
Courting the person you are in a relationship with is a serious commitment, considered to be a pre-engagement. A couple in courtship is exclusive and monogamous. They do not date anyone other than each other and are serious about the future of the relationship.
On the contrary, when two people are dating each other, they may go on dates with other people or may stay monogamous. When you are merely dating someone, you have the authority to end the relationship at any point and start seeing somebody else. The exclusivity, when you are dating, depends on the mutual understanding of the couple. If the couple that is dating can come to an agreement about whether to see other people or not, then the relationship can continue. Otherwise, it’s over.
#2. Time Frame of the Relationship
Two people are said to be dating when they are romantically or sexually involved with each other. Their relationship may end after a few dates or may expand for months or even years. The people dating each other are aware that it may not last long, and they are only getting to know each other. They are at the stage when they are learning about one another’s like and dislikes, without any expectations of the future. However, the couples, who are courting, know that they are in the relationship for a long period. They have long-term expectations from the relationship and plan to spend their life together.
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#3. Intentions for the Future
The intended outcome of courtship is to get engaged and marry each other one day. Their focus is a long-term commitment and wishes to spend their lives with each other, whereas, a couple, who are dating, may or may not have any specific or pre-defined outcome that they seek to achieve from the relationship. Engagement or marriage may not be in their plans for the future, but may just be spending time together because they like each other’s company and are just having fun. They may have formed the relationship for a short period, ready to end it on a contingency.
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#4. Family Involvement in the Relationship
Dating is casual. When you are dating someone, you can choose to keep your relationship secret or private. You may not even tell your parents about the person you are currently going out with. However, courtships are usually conducted in a public environment, and the approval of the parents of the two partners is essential. In some traditional cultures, relatives and pastors may even play the role of the matchmaker, finding a suitable partner for their son or daughter.
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