I know you can say, I'm dating him or her. Is there a verb (an -ing verb in this case) that can be used like that but for being in a relationship (the further step)?


Sam's not exactly a gay man. He's a transgender. So technically Mark'll still be ___ing a woman.

I checked the synonyms of dating. Bus as I expected they all mean dating, not being in a relationship.

(Idioms are also welcomed.)

  • 2
    There are hundreds if not thousands of euphemisms for "being in a relationship".
    – Hot Licks
    May 12, 2015 at 12:19
  • @Hot Licks I'm looking for a one-word verb like in the example above. I edited my question to clarify that.
    – wyc
    May 12, 2015 at 12:44
  • 5
    One should perhaps take some caution using transgender as a noun (cf. a gay, a black); some references say this usage is sometimes offensive. (On the other hand, it's used as a noun in some recent academic literature, so the proscription isn't uniform.)
    – Travis
    May 12, 2015 at 14:32
  • 1
    Although, @Travis, maybe it's an age thing but when I hear "with a woman", I think of the euphemism for sex. May 12, 2015 at 15:33
  • 2
    This isn't pertinent to your actual question, but your example phrase is ambiguous to me in a way that could make it potentially offensive. If Sam is a transgender woman, she should not be referred to as a "gay man", and so the sentence is correct, although "technically a woman" is an insensitive way to phrase it. If Sam is a transgender man, then referring to him as a woman is disrespectful to his gender identity. So if this example sentence is one you intend to use in actual conversation or writing, please give it some consideration.
    – recognizer
    May 12, 2015 at 18:28

5 Answers 5


"Seeing" is used as a euphemism for dating:

"Sam's not exactly a gay man. He's a transgender. So technically Mark'll still be seeing women."

And "seeing" can also be used for a relationship as in:

"You know that cute guy in the marketing department? We're seeing each other."

  • Seeing was my immediate thought, too; but in the context given, it reads like ‘dating’ to me. I would understand it as Mark and Sam being at a pre-relationship stage if I read it with seeing. In fact, I think I’d be more likely to read dating here as being further towards the steady-relationship end of the spectrum. May 12, 2015 at 17:31

Courting comes to mind, if you're looking for something that implies an intent to solidify a relationship at some point in the future as something exclusive.

  • That would quite unequivocally mean that Mark is trying to enter into a relationship with Sam, but they aren’t in a relationship already. May 12, 2015 at 17:32
  • @JanusBahsJacquet : not necessarily, it's culturally-dependent. Some (non-American) cultures have a long period where the guy is expected to exclusively court one girl before she officially becomes his girlfriend.
    – smci
    May 12, 2015 at 21:38
  • @smci Well, yes, exactly. Once they are in the relationship, they’re out of the courting phase. May 12, 2015 at 21:40
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: No, the American equivalent would not draw that distinction. To try to find a rough American equivalent, you could compare to the period in dating where one(/both) of the parties has not decided to be exclusive.
    – smci
    May 12, 2015 at 21:44
  • @smci I’m not sure exactly what distinction you’re saying the American equivalent (to what?) would not draw? To the very limited extent that I’ve ever heard speakers of AmE born this side of 1900 talking about ‘courting’ people at all, they were always talking about pursuing someone in the hopes or with the expectation of entering into a relationship with that person, actual relationship (or marriage) status being the goal of the courting ritual. I have never heard anyone, AmE or BrE, use ‘courting’ as a synonym for being in a steady, long-term relationship with someone. May 12, 2015 at 21:49

partnering is used in this sense, although it has a lot of non-sexual interpretations which might be confusing if the listener wasn't already familiar with the nature of Sam and Mark's relationship.

  • The context might disambiguate, but my first thought when reading the example sentence with partnering was that Mark was Sam’s dance partner or something like that. May 12, 2015 at 21:41

How about "we are close romantically" or "we are intimate". or "we are in a relationship"?

  • 2
    OP is looking for a single word: a verb (well, a gerund).
    – Dan Bron
    May 12, 2015 at 13:10

Sleeping with is idiomatic in North America.

  • It's not at all synonymous with 'being in a relationship'. You can be in a relationship without sex, and you can sleep with someone without being in a relationship.
    – smci
    May 12, 2015 at 21:36
  • It's hard to have sex without being in some sort of (perhaps very short term) relationship, unless you're including solo sex. And one doesn't sleep with oneself, so it seems clear enough to me. Anyway, I was definitely going for 'sex' and not 'partnership.'
    – Ryan
    May 13, 2015 at 2:50
  • no it isn't, it's quite common (in North America). It even has a name: FWB or NSA. There are entire dating sites for hookups: Tinder
    – smci
    May 13, 2015 at 23:43

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