Dating vs Relationships: 10 Pros & Cons Of Both Approaches To Love

Casual dating isn’t for everyone, but then again, neither is being in a relationship. Depending on your personality, goals, desires, and stage of life, one arrangement might suit you better than the other. Here are the pros and cons of dating vs relationships.

  1. Dating Pro: You still have your freedom. One of the biggest drawing points of casual dating is that you still get to maintain your freedom. You have the luxury of having someone there to have fun with but you don’t have to commit to them. Depending on the terms of your arrangement, you’re still allowed to see other people. And you don’t have to check in with them often like you would your partner. Those who fear commitment or aren’t ready for it might choose to casually date so they can keep their total independence.
  2. Relationship Pro: You always have support. On the other hand, people choose to be in relationships because of the support they get in return. While you can have fun with someone you’re casually dating, you usually can’t rely on them to be there for you when you need them. But in healthy relationships, this is a given. You’ll have someone to listen to you cry and cheer you on when you need it.
  3. Dating Con: You will probably deal with rejection. As fun as dating may be, it’s also brutal out there. The dating world comes with lots of stress that you don’t have to deal with when you have a relationship, including rejection. If you date widely, you’ll probably get rejected sooner or later, which can hurt. On the flip side, you’ll also probably have to reject someone else, which isn’t much fun either.
  4. Relationship Con: Life becomes more predictable. Life is easier to predict when you’re in a stable relationship than it is when you’re casually dating. Some people view this as a con because the element of unpredictability keeps things exciting. Sometimes, people in relationships develop routines that they stick to so closely that they fall into a rut.
  5. Dating Pro: You learn a lot about your needs and wants. As difficult as dating is sometimes, it does teach you about your needs and wants. When you date a number of people, you see firsthand what you like and don’t like. And you’ll have a better idea of what a healthy relationship looks like to you. But if you’ve been in a relationship with one person for most of your life, you might not know what you really want. You’ll only know what you see in front of you because you haven’t experienced anything else.

Dating vs relationships: more ways to compare

dating vs relationships

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  1. Relationship Pro: Society will validate you. Society is geared towards relationships. Particularly if you’re a woman, others will see you as more complete and fulfilled if you’re in a relationship. Regardless of if that relationship actually makes you happy or not, it’s seen as a success to the outside world. When you casually date or remain single, as a woman especially, you’ll likely be seen as incomplete and possibly even slut-shamed.
  2. Dating Con: A lack of commitment can affect your self-esteem. While some may fear commitment, the truth is that having someone commit to you can be a serious boost in your self-esteem. It’s a pretty big form of validation that someone has chosen you above everyone else to be with. This is one of the biggest differences when it comes to dating vs. relationships. When you’re just dating, you might crave that validation or believe you’re not good enough because the other person won’t commit to you.
  3. Relationship Con: You have less time for other things in life. Relationships usually take more time than casual dating does. A casual affair places less pressure on you to be there than an official relationship does. So when you do have a relationship, you might find you have less time for other things. Other areas of your life, like work, personal goals, friendship, and family, might suffer as a result of you being in a relationship. This is usually the case particularly at the beginning of a relationship, when you’re still trying to find balance with the rest of your life.
  4. Dating Pro: It can be fun and exciting. Many people choose to date rather than get into a relationship because it’s often fun and exciting. Because you’re not comfortable with the other person like you would be in a relationship, there are still butterflies and stomach-flipping. The chase aspect of dating can also be entertaining (or torturous, depending on where you stand). Those who seek excitement and adventure may choose dating over a relationship, even though you can still have these things in a committed relationship. You just have to be more creative in working out how to achieve them.
  5. Relationship Pro: You don’t have to deal with dating drama anymore. Ask anyone who’s in a relationship after years of dating and they’ll tell you that the best part about it is no longer having to deal with dating drama. Dating can be fun but it also comes with stress, anxiety, and insecurity. It can be an emotional roller coaster that takes a toll on your mental health. At least many of the issues exclusive to dating, like ghosting and cat-fishing no longer apply when you’re in a relationship.
Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.