The Purpose of Dating
Dating has become a normal part of our culture. We don't usually sit down and think about the purpose of dating beyond getting to know someone and possibly finding a life partner. But, I think that dating has a much larger purpose.
1. Knowing yourself and others.
Dating gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself, others, and relationships. It provides the chance to discover how other people view relationships and others' expectations of relationships. It also allows you to figure out what you like and don't like, and what you're willing to deal with or not deal with. You’re never going to find a perfect person – they don’t exist. But you don't want to commit to or marry a person with problems that you don't want to or can't deal with, possibly for the rest of your life. Dating gives you the chance to figure it out.
2. Building relationship skills.
Dating challenges you to build relationship skills that are necessary to maintain a healthy long-term relationship, such as negotiating skills, conflict resolution skills, and basic communication skills. Dating also gives you the chance to build character through the development of qualities such as patience, empathy, honesty, and self-control.
3. Practicing boundaries.
An interpersonal boundary is similar to a fence. It signifies where you stop and someone else starts; what is your responsibility and what isn't your responsibility. Setting boundaries in a dating relationship can be trickier than setting boundaries in a friendship. Boundaries define who you are and what you want. They let others know what is OK and what is not OK. Honestly and clearly defining your boundaries around values, morals, and preferences will make the process of dating much easier. This allows the other person to know who you really are. It's important to date someone that acknowledges and respects your boundaries. If they don't, that might be a sign that they have character issues. You can’t have a healthy, long-term relationship with a person who disregards your boundaries.