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/ Courtship Versus Dating

Learn the distinction between the courtship and dating phases, and how you should be adjusting your game.

As those of you who regularly read the site know, I always like to put techniques and advice in perspective. I am also a major proponent of the idea of "calibration", where you adjust technique and behavior based on responses and reactions from the other person. One very important distinction to understand in order to better calibrate behavior is that of courtship versus dating. Too often, dating advice meant for the courtship phase is used in the dating phase and vice versa. Making these kind of mistakes can be brutal.

What is courtship?

The courtship vs dating distinction is admittedly, down to semantics, so let me define them. I define courtship as the "attraction and seduction" phase. Basically, everything between the first meeting and sex (or similar level of intimacy if you are young) I consider "courtship". You are still attracting and "seducing" your prospective date.

What is Dating?

Similarly, dating is the process after sex. It is how you should behave once you already know she is attracted to you and enough comfort has been established that she was willing to have sex with you. Dating doesn’t mean you are dating or in a relationship, though a lot of the principles of the phase after attraction is established apply to both immediately after courtship and longer term dating/relationships.

Basic Principle of Courtship

Now that you understand that there are these two phases of dating which I call the courtship and dating phases, I want to talk about the basic principle of each. The basic principle of courtship is to attract. I have written and continue to write numerous articles (and a free e-book) on exactly how to attract women (check the dating and women: advice and tactics sections) so I won’t rehash too much of that here. What is important to remember is that courtship is about attraction first and foremost. Even comfort (which you will probably need for a woman to sleep with you and to be ready to date you) can be built very easily and almost incidentally if there is attraction.

For this reason, advice that applies to the courtship phase involves building attraction. Likewise, if you feel you need to build attraction with whatever women you are interested in, then you are in the courtship phase and should be applying advice for the courtship phase. Once attraction is established, you can start thinking about the dating phase.

Basic Principles of Dating

The basic principles of dating are a bit more complex, but they generally revolve around maintenance and growth. Attraction and comfort are established in the courtship phase. For this reason you do not have to "play as many games" once you already attracted your target woman. At this stage you should be focused on maintaining and cultivating a relationship. Note this can be any relationship you want, whether it be a FWB (friends with benefits) style relationship or a full on boyfriend/girlfriend relationship that can lead to engagement and marriage.

This phase involves maintaining attraction, maintaining comfort, and establishing a foundation to help the budding relationship grow into a healthy sustainable one. Check out our articles on relationships for some ideas on how to start moving from the courtship process to the dating process.

Note that sometimes, depending on the situation, you may pass from dating back into courtship (for example, after a break-up you don’t want, or a loss of interest on her part after some initial dating). Always be cognizant of this and adjust your game accordingly.


There is a ton of good dating and relationship advice out there. However, good advice for one situation can be horrible advice for another. Understanding the distinction between courtship and dating is a great way to ensure you take advice in context to further improve your success with women.

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