Cyber-Dating Expert

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Dating Advice – Are We Dating or Just Hanging Out

Cyberdating Expert Julie Spira at BlogworldIn this week’s “Ask the Cyber-Dating Expert” post, we’re going to tackle the issue of the relationship status.

It’s getting very blurry these days to determine whether you’re actually dating someone, or just hanging out as friends.

A 25-year old college student told me that she’s never been more confused about dating in her life.

After chatting and texting with a guy she met online for several weeks, he sent her a text to say, “Hey, let’s hang out tonight.”

So, what does hanging out mean?

Hanging out could be several things.

1. He might have a party to go with and they’d be hanging out with a group of friends.

2. It’s his way of saying I’d like to have a date with you tonight.

3. He’d like to hook up for a casual fling.

4. He’s testing the waters, so keeping it cool to see if he likes you or not.

Whatever the intention means when someone says, let’s hang out, one thing is for sure, singles are confused about their relationship status with members of the opposite sex. Whether they’ve met while cyberdating or out-and-about, dating in groups has added to the confusion for many singles.

When I digged a bit more into her “relationship” with her texting beau, I found out he her took her out to dinner. He paid for dinner. He gave her a short kiss after dinner. He went back to texting with her for several weeks and then asked her to hang out again.

The Digital Dating Process

The digital dating process does include flirting via text to stay in touch, emails back-and-forth, and putting actual dates on the calendar.

The rise in popularity of group dating, where singles who like each other hang out in a group and go to an event together, makes most women unsure of where they stand in the relationship, or if they’re even in a relationship at all.

My response to her was, “Yes, you did go on a date.” She wasn’t sure if he was just being chivalrous and kind by paying for her dinner, but they didn’t go “Dutch” treat and he did ask her out again.

Is he her boyfriend? No. Just because he sends texts daily, doesn’t mean you’re status has been elevated to boyfriend or girlfriend. Chances are he’s playing the field, having fun, and doesn’t really want a steady girlfriend. More than likely, it’s a flirtationship, which is a common place in between friends and being in a relationship. He has an active online dating profile and she has an active online dating profile.

Read: How Do You Know if You’re in Flirtationship Mode?

If a man really wants to make you his girlfriend, he’ll let you know. He won’t want anyone to claim you as his and will make his intentions known.

Are you confused about your relationship status?

Julie Spira is an online dating expert and founder of She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the Weekly Flirt newsletter.

Need help with your dating life? Find out how our Irresistible Coaching programs can help you date better and find love online.


Julie Spira is America's Top Online Dating Expert. She's an award-winning dating coach who's been helping singles find love online for 25+ years. Follow @JulieSpira on IG.

16 thoughts on “Dating Advice – Are We Dating or Just Hanging Out”

  1. My best friend and I just admitted we have feelings for each other. We have discussed what would happen if we did have a relationship and that we’ll remain best friends. He asked me what this makes us. I don’t know how to respond. I was going to say that we are just “us.” No labels just yet. I’m shy when it comes to relationships and I don’t really like other people knowing because I feel judged. I don’t want to call him my boyfriend yet and we aren’t “dating”. Are we just seeing each other?

  2. Hi Autumn,

    Some of the best relationship start as friends first, so you’re probably off to a good start.

    There’s no need for a label until you start dating officially. Then you’re
    “dating.” Once you decide to become exclusive, it’s fair to say you’re seeing each other. Eventually you might want to start calling him your boyfriend, but labels don’t matter as much as feelings.

    As long as you have continuity in your relationship and are both happy with the pace, keep open to the possibilities of where it will lead. There’s no need to change your Facebook relationship status to make a big announcement. At some point, one of you might want it to become more serious than the other or you may just say you want to go back to friends.

    I applaud you for admitting your true feelings and hope this relationship evolves into something that makes you both happy.

    Keep me posted!


  3. I have been “hanging out” with this man for almost four months. I stay over, we text and call each othet everyday but he introduces me as his friend. When I ask if I’m his girlfriend he says not.

    When I tell him I’m confused and don’t casually date or have friends with benefits and want a relationship, he doesn’t respond. He says I should know and I tell him I really don’t know where he stands and it is starting to become frustrating. Am I being used?

  4. Hi Chelsey,

    “Hanging out” is also considered by many has “hooking up.” If he won’t call you his girlfriend after four months, and he says you’re NOT his GF, believe him and find an available man who’d be proud to call you his girlfriend. There’s no confusion here. It sounds like FWB to me, so don’t be so available and find someone who will be proud to put that label on you.


  5. I’ve been seeming this guy for a little over a year now. We agreed to start off as FWB however I’m not sure that’s still true. We are together 2-3 nights a week and every other weekend. I’ve been around his kids, he’s been around mine and we’ve even had our kids together. We went to school together and actually hooked up in school. We hadn’t seen each other in over 20 years when we reconnected. He doesn’t like putting labels on things, says once you do it ruins everything. He’s been hurt in the past a few times. He refers to me as his lady friend, which I’m not a fan of and I’ve told him that. I’m not sure exactly what we are but i feel like we are more then lady and guy friends. I know I’ve got feelings for him. What do you think? Do I keep just going with it to see what happens? He’s a great guy, we have lots of fun together. Does there have to be a label? Is it ok to be referred to as lady friend? What does that even mean?!

  6. Hi Morgan,

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    If you agreed to start out as FWB and your feeling have grown more for your guy, it’s time to let him know you see him as your boyfriend, if that’s how you truly feel.

    Women get attached and bond with men after a long period of time, and one year is a long period of time.

    Does he date others? Is it an open relationship where you both can see others and sleep with others?

    You are spending a lot of time together, as if you’re in a full relationship, which can be confusing.

    Labels are much more important to a woman than they are to a man. He might be happy with the FWB definition, but it sounds like you’d like to have a more serious and defined relationship status.

    Ask him if he will be your boyfriend and if you can date exclusively, if that’s what you really want. If he doesn’t feel the same way and you’re looking for a serious relationship, it’s time to move up, or move on. Since he’s hesitant to give you the label you desire and deserve, waiting it out won’t make it magically happen, especially after one year together.

    Being called a lady friend, means you’re a friend, not a girlfriend. You signed up to being friends with benefits. If you can share a bed together, you should be able to share your heart and feelings together as well.

    Keep me posted on your progress.

    Wishing you much love and joy.


  7. So we have gone on a few dates already and at first it was we were going to wait to meet each others families. But the other day after our date his parents asked if I was going to come over so he brought me home to them and now he gets to meet my family. We’ve both made it clear that we want each other and to make things work and established simple little ground rules but when asked what am I, he’ll say I’m not his girlfriend and it’s confusing me. We’ve both been hurt before and he reassures me that there is nothing I can do wrong but I don’t know what to do or how I should bring it up to him about the labeling since things are moving in a good direction for us.

  8. So I’ve talking to this guy for a month now. He’s been divorced for a year and been separated for 3 years. We both have been through a lot and he has mentioned he is “bent” but not “broken”. We have been on 4 dates and things I thought have been ok. Well about a week ago and actually after we made out heavily, he’s been pulling back big time. We haven’t had sexual intercourse and have been taking it SUPER slow. He doesn’t talk to me through the day like he used to. It’s like his personality dimmed and his words are shorter. I recently asked him when I was going to meet his 3 kids and his response was strong and stern. He said he wasn’t ready to share that side of him yet. Like I get it, considering I have a son myself and I wouldn’t want to introduce him to just anybody. I told him I understood and whenever he’s ready, just let me know. I need to know if I’m wasting my time and energy with this or if I’m setting myself up for another failure. I honestly can’t go through another toxic relationship or do these mind games. I just won’t do it again. Or I can NOT go through it again. My heart or emotional state can’t take another beating.

  9. Hi Jillian,

    It’s great that you met someone you like, but four dates in the course of one month doesn’t equate to a serious relationship, or even one where there’s a commitment to be exclusive.

    The guy you’ve been dating is newly single, and has the responsibility of being a single dad.

    Putting pressure on him will just push him away further. Guys tend to pull back when they’re on the verge of committing, or if they aren’t sure you’re the one they want to be with.

    For now, you need to go out and date other men, and be open to the possibility that you’ll meet an amazing available man who isn’t “bent.”

    Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may swipe or roam.


  10. California girl

    I started dating this guy 3 weeks ago. He just got out of the marines. We started talking on a dating site and he and I planned to meet up for a movie. We did meet up in person. He has a bright personality and he just makes me happy. I stayed the night at his family home and we started doing outside activities to enjoy. The situations is, he won’t show me affection such as a kiss or a hug in front of his own family and then other problem is, he told his adopted mom that I was a friend to him even though he convinced to me before that him and I are dating. I do want to be honest to everybody about our relationship but calling me a friend broke my heart.

    Why would he lie about the truth? It’s almost a month.

    Ps, he already said I love you to me and treats me like a queen.

  11. I met a guy online almost 2 years ago while he was traveling in my country. We have traveled together when we just met then I went to his country. We chat everyday and video calls regularly, twice a week. We do everything like a couple, except he has introduced me to his friends and family as friend. I’m confused asking him why he said he only wants to date in person, not start a distance relationship. He’s looking for a job for me there, but it’s so difficult or almost impossible to get work permit in the USA. But we have traveled back and forth twice since then. No label still, I plan on traveling to meet him again this year. Traveling is much more difficult for me due to visa, money and time off work. I’ve put a lot of effort into this. This is a big investment for me, time, money, and emotional. This time I want to ask him again to be my boyfriend and say I love him first, but I’m afraid of rejection. It makes me torn in between should I travel to meet him this time or no. I’m lost, should I go or should I not? How do I start the conversation? What should I do next? Sorry I’m on mobile so it may not be a good format.

  12. So I this guy was flirting with me, texting me daily, and calling me quite a catch.. once I fell hard he backed away and he blamed me for treating him like a boyfriend… and denied that we dated even casually. My only problem is what do I call him.? When I call him an ex, I feel crazy. I feel ashamed. I feel like I’m validating his narrative that I’m chasing him. I don’t know what to call him. By reading this article, I know what to call the situation… a flirtationship… but what do I call him when I talk about him? Ex what? Thanks in advance.

  13. Fearful to let go

    I met this guy over a year ago at an AA meeting. We first became friends who would talk ever other day or so and that was fine. He is raising his two year old daughter and is running his own painting business. He also goes to his cabin almost every weekend. I asked him if he wants to take this to the next level and he said he did. So after a few months we became intimate. He used to be really interested in pursuing me when I wasn’t so available and now he tells me he is so busy with his life right now I can only see him once a week. He also introduces me to his relatives as his friend. I feel like I should just stop texting him and see what happens. Will he miss me and reach out or will he just walk away. I am going crazy over this.

  14. I have been seeing this guy for 2 months now,I stay over at his place 2-3 nights a week sometimes he tells me I’m free to come stay as long as I want. I remember asking him in the beginning if he had a girlfriend he said “somehow”, I didn’t mind because he didn’t look like he had one, we were still hanging out. He gets jealous whenever I go on a date with other guys. Sometimes he asked if I had cheated on him and tells me before he met me he use to sleep around, but he just wants to be disciplined and just be with me. We don’t communicate much, I was thinks no of ending it or maybe talk to him. I’m confused.

  15. Dear Confused,

    Of course you’re confused. Sleeping together doesn’t mean you’re exclusive, and you’ve already both talked about seeing other people, cheating, and conversations that just don’t happen when you’ve defined the relationship.

    Since you’ve only been dating for two months now, if you continue to see him, it’s time to speak up and decide exactly what you’re looking for. He probably thinks you’re fine with the arrangement, and if you’re not, it’s time to have the DTR talk.

    Follow me on Instagram @JulieSpira

  16. Hi Colleen,

    Thanks for writing in.

    Relationships based on fear never go smoothly, and trust is important to compatibility. It’s true that men love the chase, and often back off once they’ve slept with you. If he calls you his friend, and doesn’t call you his girlfriend, it’s a sign that you’re in a FWB situation. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then it’s time to move on to be with someone who realizes you’re the prize and is ready to label the relationship.

    Keep us posted!

    FOLLOW @JulieSpira on Twitter and Instagram

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