I cannot find the Russian phrases for these two stages of dating and am humbly asking for your help. I know that Russians say Маша встречается с Ваней (which literally means Masha regularly meets Vanya), but it is unclear to me as to which of the two stages is implied and what to call the other stage. Also, as a part of my question, how will a Russian man word his proposal to become exclusive to each other? What idiomatic phrase will he use?

UPDATE: My impression from the answer by Anixx and the comment by Shabunc is that many Russians do not really understand this English terminology, so let me try to explain. To put it simply, seeing each other is the stage in which you just go to coffee dates to see people. You are not committed to anyone in any respect in this stage. You just find someone on a dating website, go to a first date, go to a second date, but you are not a couple yet. You just see each other. You cannot become a gf and bf just from the very first moment you see each other. You are not a couple on your first date. It is not about sleeping around or, how Shabunc put it, "polyamorous relationships," but merely about trying to find a good match before really committing to be a true gf or bf. You have to see many people in order to find a good match. You can see different people concurrently. And it is only after you find your true soul mate and after you and that person decide to be a couple that the second stage begins - being exclusive to each other. Just shoot through the following articles to better understand what I am talking about: link1, link2, link3.

  • you make it sound like this two layered approach (let's see each other and let's see each other exclusively) is a common thing in Japan, or, say West. But well, it's not to my knowledge. While polyamorous relationships do exist still they are far less popular to treat them as a default option.
    – shabunc
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 10:44
  • @shabunc : Please kindly read my update, which addresses your confusion.
    – Mitsuko
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 6:52
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    thank you for this clarification!
    – shabunc
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 6:54
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    Here is an online manual for women on how to динамить tsn.ua/ru/lady/authors/… Here is another one: psy.wikireading.ru/122909 There are many books on the topic as well. These are some materials on how to combat them: liveinternet.ru/community/for_men_only/post217144207 , wio.ru/fm/fm6-06.htm
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 6:56
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    While you're still looking and before you've decided to be with someone, you can't really say that you're seeing someone. Because you're meeting many people. You'd just say you're available/looking for a relationship, you're not seeing anyone in particular. Once you say you're seeing someone, exclusivity is usually implied in normal relationships.
    – Curiosity
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 4:34

3 Answers 3


Where from did you get the idea that here should be two stages? Russian does not distinguish the two.

You can say Masha meets Vanya or Masha meets only Vanya. You also can say Masha is a girlfriend (девушка) of Vanya.

Also, as a part of my question, how will a Russian man word his proposal to become exclusive to each other? What idiomatic phrase will he use?

There is no such thing of being exclusive. It is implied the man wants his girlfriend to be exclusive to him from the beginning. So, there is no reason to articulate this.

Also, one important moment, in Russian culture explicit suggestions from a man are frowned upon and look like he has no skills to express the same implicitly.

Semantically one can say "будь моей девушкой" but this suggestion would be most likely turned down. The man would look like an unskilled, unromantic idiot. Similarly, suggesting explicitly sex is not welcome. Russian culture proclaims this should happen "by itself", "automatically", not due to some agreement.

Russian culture requires a woman to turn down any explicit proposal. People usually get laid after touching each other, not after negotiation. In this light it is funny that Ukraine recently adopted a law that declares any sex without verbal agreement a rape: in this way they declared virtually all men rapists, because Ukrainian culture has similar attitude to explicit proposals as Russian. Yes, you can ask "may I..." but this would be viewed as a sign of weakness, inconfidence, and you most likely would receive verbal refusal.

  • Thanks a lot for such an interesting description of the peculiarities of dating in Russia, but please have a look at my update. I guess you somewhat misinterpreted the two stages I am asking about. By the way, in my country you generally have to explicitly "confess" your feelings in order to move forward.
    – Mitsuko
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 7:01
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    The two phases are "Они встречаются"/"They are seeing each other" and "У них все серьезно"/"Their relationship is a serious one".
    – Alexander
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 19:51

In Russian, "встречается" in terms of relationship means both stages of dating, but usually it means "is someone's gf/bf", like "Кристина встречается с Игорем"/"Kristina is Igor's girlfriend".

There are no clear separation between the dating stages in Russian, and one of the most simplest ways to imply the first stage is to use "ходит на свидания с"/"dates X"

To ask someone out, you can say something like "Давай куда-нибудь сходим?"/"Let's go somewhere?" or "Хочешь куда-нибудь сходить?"/"Do you want to go somewhere?"


Since Russian has genders, most of such phrases are gender-specific and it is hard to put it in the infinitive form. 'Be my only one' is Будь моей единственной when said to a woman and Будь моим единственным when said to a man, still it sounds somehow bookish or old-fashioned. Usually, baser phrases are used as proposal to date:

  • Давай встречаться?
  • Давай будем вместе?
  • Давай станем друг другу больше, чем просто друзьями?
  • Будешь моей девушкой? (to a woman)
  • Будешь моим парнем? (to a man)
  • Ты станешь моей девушкой? / моим парнем?
  • Я хочу предложить тебе встречаться. Ты согласна? / согласен?
  • Я хочу, чтобы ты была / был со мной.

These are the standard phrases.

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    imho while these phrases are Ok, it's not typical and even awkward to say/hear them in the practice of dating.
    – Alexander
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 19:50
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    @Alexander : So what will you say to a girl if you want her to be your gf?
    – Mitsuko
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 6:05
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    @Mitsuko - a lot of affectionate things, but never a direct request. The phrases above are suitable for a situation when emergent couple is not sure where the relationship would go, and one of the partners has to say this thing out loud. But normally in that situation that partner would be pledging his/her undying love rather than making a "possessive" request.
    – Alexander
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 17:24

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