While most of us are a fan of love affairs, there’s no denying that relationships come with their own challenges. The never-ending fights, the need for space – every week it seems to get worse. The constant drama and problems you face in a relationship may make you wonder if it’s even worth it. If only you could date without all the drama. Newsflash: It’s possible with casual dating (if you follow the rules!).
That is, of course, if you do it right. Imagine the comfort and warmth of being in a relationship without the expectation of constantly being in touch. You won’t have to text your bae before every boys/girls night out.
So, how do you pull off casual dating correctly? Is it even worth it? What exactly is casual dating? We answer all your burning questions below.
What Is The Point Of Casual Dating?
Casual dating means dating without expectations and labels. You’ll both still speak to each other frequently, spend time with each other but unlike in a serious relationship, you won’t be worried about going the distance. It’s sort of a no-strings-attached, no-commitment relationship (much like your relationship with the gym).
There are many types of casual relationships, and before people jump into one, they usually set up casual dating rules they’d like to follow. Whether they want exclusivity or not, if sex is involved or not, and what the appropriate punishment will be if one of them tries making up cute nicknames. The point of casual dating, you ask? Could be any of the following, or all of them:
1. When you don’t really want a relationship
It could be because of a bad past experience, or if they haven’t really moved on, or if they’re tired of the constant “Talk to me!” texts. For people who don’t really want a full-blown relationship but still would like to have something more than just friends-with-benefits with someone, casual dating could be the answer.
2. It can be a healthy sexual outlet
While some people may not involve sex in a casual relationship, most start casually dating because of the sex. It provides a healthy outlet for sexual discovery and satisfaction, especially in young adults. Exclusivity can often take the backseat in a casual relationship and hence, people can also have multiple sexual partners.
Related reading: Casual Sex Is Great As Long As You Treat it Casually
3. When you want to avoid the relationship drama
Maybe you’ve been in a toxic relationship, or you just don’t like the drama that comes with a relationship. You won’t be receiving any “You don’t give me attention!” texts in a casual relationship. You don’t have to worry about hanging out with friends of the opposite sex. Best of all, you won’t have to answer “So, what’d you eat today?” every single day.
4. For the emotional connection
When you feel emotionally connected with a person, but you don’t want to be in a serious relationship, casual dating could be for you. Some people like being emotionally fulfilled but are scared of commitment (we’re on to you, Pisceans).
Sounds good so far, right? Thinking you might even try one? Great! But before you hop into casual dating and end up completely in love (one of the biggest concerns in a casual relationship), you should check out these casual dating rules you’ll need to follow if you want to have any shot at this.
What Are The Rules Of Casual Dating?
Just like anything else you’ll do in life, there are pros and cons to casual dating. Some of the cons include developing one-sided love or jealousy issues. Make sure you abide by the following rules so you know the casual dating etiquette and don’t end up head over heels for your partner (we’re talking to you again, Pisceans).
1. Ask yourself if you can handle it
Before you even start, you need to ask yourself if this is actually what you want instead of a serious relationship. If you think you’re the kind who falls in love easily *ahem-Pisceans-ahem*, maybe a casual relationship isn’t for you?
Evaluate casual dating vs serious dating in your mind and figure out which one you want. If you jump in without even knowing what casual dating means, you could be in for a wild ride, and not the sexy kind.
2. Set up the ground rules and follow them
The line between casual dating vs serious dating can be crossed before you even realize you’ve crossed it. This is why you need to make sure you make some ground rules.
Rules about how often you’ll meet, what stuff you’re both comfortable talking about (for example, you might not want to talk about their other dates), when and how much time you can spend with each other etc.
3. Communicate like your life depends on it
It doesn’t matter how you think they’ll take it, you need to tell them what’s on your mind. Whatever it is you want from a casual relationship, you should make sure your partner knows about it from the get-go.
Out of all the types of casual relationships, the best ones are where the partners communicate with each other openly. Get to know your partner by asking the questions that matter and not stuff like what their favorite color is.
4. Make sure exclusivity and sex has been discussed
What does casual dating mean to a guy? Of course, sex and multiple partners, right? Assumptions like that could mean your casual relationship is over before it starts.
Make sure you both have a dialogue about whether you want exclusive dating and if you’re both comfortable with sex or not. You don’t want to be having awkward conversations with your partner after they hear something from someone.
5. Don’t vanish
Casual dating is more chilled out than a serious relationship, but that doesn’t mean you can ghost your partner whenever you want. You need to respect them and make sure you’re respected too.
Completely disappearing is so against casual dating etiquette that it may just kill whatever it is you both started. Actually, there’s not a single soul on earth who likes being ghosted. So as a rule of thumb, just don’t ghost. Opt to talk to them instead, or just ask for some personal time.
6. Don’t lie about your sexcapades (or anything)
Yes, you’re not officially dating and there may be no real future here, but that doesn’t give you the right to lie. Even if you’ve both decided against exclusivity, If they want to know if you’re hooking up with people or not, don’t lie. It’s hard to deal with a liar in any relationship.
Don’t lie about other important things either. Just because you’re not going to settle down with this person doesn’t mean you can project yourself as a marine biologist who once saved a whale.
Related reading: Is it healthy to have Casual Sex?
7. Keep the cuteness in check
Over time, you may want to do cute things for your casual dating partner, because why not? In a serious relationship, that’s the kind of stuff you live for. In a casual relationship, however, you need to know when to stop.
Don’t make them think you’re in love so they don’t have to ask if this is still casual (don’t book a trip with them 6 months in the future, please). Your partner could even go through casual dating anxiety if you start acting too lovey-dovey all of a sudden. So, ease up on the heart-shaped chocolates. Or buy yourself a box. Another perk of casual dating is that you don’t have to share everything!
8. But don’t stand them up
While trying to tone down the cuteness, don’t go overboard and start becoming completely mean. You need to do enough to show them you care and you’re interested, but not enough to convey that you’ve fallen in love.
Go out to the movies, go out on dates, work on making the sex better, if you’re having any. The crucial balance between not going overboard and being nonchalant is important to find. If the shoe fits right, it won’t be hard to find the balance.
9. Keep it on the hush-hush
You don’t need to be uploading stories on social media with “out with bae!” captions. Maybe don’t tell your friends about it, just keep this between you two. You both know it’s temporary; not only will you confuse all your friends but you might also give each other the wrong idea.
Imagine waking up to being tagged in a story your casual dating partner has uploaded. Needless to say, you’ll be the one going through casual dating anxiety then. (if you’re wondering what to do in this situation, see point 3).
10. Put yourself first
You’re not in a serious relationship, go out and do what you want. Meet new people if you want to, go on that impromptu trip, live your life. Personal space is important in every relationship.
When you have a life outside the relationship, it can help put things in perspective and keep things casual. Make sure you don’t sacrifice too many things to keep this casual relationship alive. (notice the casual in bolds. That’s all it is, casual.)
11. Live in the moment
Don’t think about how it’ll end or when it’ll end. You shouldn’t be too worried about reading between the lines or trying to decipher what to do next.
Let things flow naturally and enjoy everything as it’s coming to you. At its peak, a casual relationship can be very fulfilling and rewarding. Since there’s minimal drama, you can focus on being in the moment (if you get too inspired and get a carpe diem tattoo, please don’t blame us when you eventually regret it)
12. Know when it’s time to stop
Conventionally, casual dating is supposed to be something temporary. If you keep at it for too long and you’re meeting each other thrice a week, before you know it you’ll be on the cusp of a relationship.
If you find yourself buying a bouquet of roses for your casual date, you need to stop and ask yourself what you’re doing.
13. Don’t be bitter if it ends because your partner is now in a relationship
You know, smile because it happened and stuff. It may hurt if the casual dating ends abruptly for whatever reason, but the whole reason you started was because there’d be no commitment.
They’re not picking anyone over you, just moving on the next thing. As you should too (even if it’s another casual relationship, go crazy!)
Yes, casual dating can lead to a relationship and in many cases it does. In fact, one person falling in love during a casual relationship is all too common, which is why it may not be for everyone.
A relationship that stemmed from casual dating can flourish, and lead to a fulfilling romance since both people are already comfortable with each other.
If you follow the casual dating rules listed in this article, it can be extremely healthy. It will make you more comfortable with the idea of dating someone, be emotionally satisfying, all while the drama and expectations are as low as your motivation to work out. And if you mean physically, as long as you use protection, it should be!
Casual relationships are like the candles that burn twice as bright, but half as long. They can be explosive and exciting while they last, but they usually end anywhere between 3-4 weeks to 3-4 months.
A casual relationship is absolutely worth it. When evaluating the pros and cons of casual dating, you’ll find the pros outweigh the cons if both of you are on the same page about expectations. If you’re just experimenting or don’t want a serious relationship yet, you should try out casual dating.