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What does the Buddha say about dating, in general? This is a fairly open-ended question, and any scriptural references would help. I would have lustful thoughts when I look at a pretty girl (though I try not to act on it and meditate on impermanence as I walk by her.) But, it just occurred to me that if I eradicate lust, then do I even need a girlfriend in the first place?? Thus, I'm really confused about how the mechanism of dating works. Is it even possible to have a girlfriend/wife without lust? Or, is there an entirely different answer?

This question has been bugging me for at least a year, I would really appreciate anyone's efforts in helping me resolve this. Thanks! Answers with Scriptural references is preferred, but personal experiences are also welcomed.

Praises to the Dharma!

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A wise man should avoid unchastity as (he would avoid falling into) a pit of glowing charcoal. If unable to lead a celibate life, he should not go to another's wife. - Dhammika Sutta

A layman is not expected to lead a celibate life. What you are expected as a Buddhist is to avoid sexual misconduct.

Is it even possible to have a girlfriend/wife without lust?

Yes, but not necessarily for the good. ex: marrying to get citizenship, marrying for money, power, marrying to cover up sexuality etc.

A good example would be a married man becoming an Anagami later. He can still live in the lay life, but girlfriend/wife will merely be ceremonial positions. He will just treat her as a sister or a friend.

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