Tricky question eh? This has got many ladies and lads confused and unnecessarily heartbroken because they couldn’t understand the difference between the two. Even though it’s not supposed to be that much of a big deal especially to Nigerians that put all similar words/phrases in one basket of semantics, it is however important to differentiate between the two.
Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not just “grammar”, both situations are quite similar especially to people who love clarity and boundaries in relationships and also to those who do not care for those.
Dating is specifically all about getting to know someone romantically, may or may not involve sex, but definitely not exclusive and there are no boundaries pertaining to other “prospects” both parties may have. In other words, you could “date” someone and not end up being in a relationship with said person.
So people tend to take this stage seriously when there is no clarity from the beginning, no boundaries, you guys just go with the flow or “see how it goes”. One party becomes comfortable while the other still keeps their options open for potentials. So it’s just like ladies who date guys, but can’t categorically say that they are in a relationship! They hang out everywhere and all that, but it’s not a relationship because there’s no commitment whatsoever.
When you are dating someone, you present your best self to the person. Imaginations and fantasy set in. It’s basically a fact finding mission.
Relationships on the other hand, requires a higher level of commitment. An attachment has been formed and you have agreed on certain things like being exclusive (sexually). You both are beneficial to the relationship.
In a relationship, the parties involved present the best and worst version of themselves because they can’t help it. You are comfortable with this person, so you just relax and do you. There is emotional safety, conflicts arise and solutions arise too.
In order not to get your hopes high over someone that might seem interested in you, but the person might just be looking for the right fit, learn the difference between the two situations and stay woke out there!