The word dating often has an inexact meaning. It may mean different things to different people. Though dating is usually perceived as a process leading to marriage, the real picture is different. The perception about dating can be different for those who are in and for those who are observers. To some people, dating is a kind of fun. Young people find the idea of boyfriend-girlfriend relationship exciting and start dating. They have no idea where the relationship will lead them to. It is fun to start with and remains fun till it lasts.
The other kinds of boyfriend-girlfriend relationships may have a little more seriousness in that people do develop some intimacy that goes beyond the natural attraction between a boy and girl. These people are likely to have been inspired by the romantic stories they have read and the films they have watched. But to their own surprise, the relationship may not last. They will not know what attracted them to each other and why that attraction has vanished. Another kind of dating may be motivated by physical attraction. It will have physical contact with a member of the other sex as the main aim. This kind of relationships may develop into deeper relationships or may end abruptly, if the lust fades out.
Only some boyfriend-girlfriend relationships develop into serious relationships. But unfortunately, people who are in a dating relationship do not know the nature of their relationship. The perception about the relationship by one person may be different from that of another. By asking a few questions, you will know what kind of boyfriend-girlfriend relationship you are in.
What are the goals of each?
Finding out the goals of each will clearly indicate whether you two have common ideas about your future. You will be able to find out whether your goals are compatible and you will be able to live together.
What is your idea of marriage?
Asking this one question can simplify the situation. If you are interested in a marriage and your partner is not, then you are pursuing divergent goals. You can conclude that the relationship is not serious.
What are the ideas about children?
It happens very often that only after the marriage has taken place, a couple find out that they have different ideas about children. One may like to have children and the other may not be enthusiastic about it. The number of children you would like to have is also important. If one wants quite a few children and the other feels that you should have only one or two, conflict may arise in future. If your perceptions about children are divergent, then you are not likely to be in a serious boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.