How long should you casually date someone? That depends on how your feelings have progressed over the course of knowing them. According to a study published in the journal Sex Roles, which surveyed 221 college students, both men and women actually prefer dating to hooking up.
So how do ‘you’ feel about the person you’re seeing? You probably met them on a dating app or at an event or a friend set you up. You may find casual dating fun. However, it has both good and bad aspects to it. To find out more about casual dating rules and casual dating etiquette, we reached out to Utkarsh Khurana, a counseling psychologist, who is a relationship and intimacy coach.
He says, “Casual dating is when you have a romantic interest in them but you don’t see them as often as you would see your partner in a relationship. One of the main differences in casual dating vs serious dating is that casual dating implies non-exclusivity and lack of commitment, whereas serious dating needs commitment. You like someone, you go on dates with them, even get physical with them, but there is no mutual commitment. There are no deeper emotions involved either like vulnerability, security, and compromise.”
What Is The Point Of Casual Dating?
The point of casual dating is quite simple. You like them enough to want to hang out with them but not so much that you want to be tied down together. You want to keep things light without getting serious. Casual dating can sometimes lead to a serious relationship if both the parties are willing and share the same feelings.
Utkarsh says, “In my opinion, when you are casually dating someone, there is no bigger agenda besides spending time with them. You meet them, get physical, and have a good time. The point of casual dating is to socialize and fulfill each other’s physical needs and sometimes emotional needs as well. You like someone and you want to get to know them, connect with them, and spend quality time with them.”
Casual dating is how you gain a personal experience with someone you find charming. It’s like a trial run for a relationship with a high school crush or coworker. Casual dating rules are simple. You need to follow them if you don’t want either of you getting hurt in the end:
- Define the relationship from get-go
- Don’t make any long-term future plans with them
- Don’t be possessive/controlling/jealous
- Keep going on dates with them as long as you both want to
- Be respectful of their boundaries
- Give importance to other things in your life
- Be clear about expectations and needs
- Nurture independence, and it’s better if you keep your circles separate
How Long Should You Casually Date Someone — Expert View
And how long should you casually date someone before it turns into exclusive dating? There is no concrete answer to this. In the beginning, it’s all about getting to know each other. The talking phase is where your dopamine levels are high with the thrill of meeting someone new. It can go either way:
- The commonality between the two of you might click and you find them great
- They might have turn-offs which drive you away and you would want to keep it casual for the time being
Utkarsh says, “You should date someone as long as you are comfortable with them. Make sure they follow the casual dating etiquette and respect your boundaries and space. You can date them until it’s no longer fun or satisfying.” Below are some signs that casual dating has run its course:
- When you start thinking about committing to someone else or to the person you’re casually dating
- When you feel like something is missing
- When you feel bored
- When you notice the signs you are in a dead-end relationship
- When you don’t miss them and aren’t bothered to meet them
- When dating them feels like a chore
- When you’re both no longer on the same page
How Often Should You See Someone You’re Casually Dating?
Utkarsh says, “How long should you casually see someone, or how often should you see them – There is no set frequency or number to either of these concerns. It depends on how much the other person acknowledges, appreciates, and accepts you. See them when you want to fulfill your emotional or physical needs. But meeting them too often can lead to unhealthy dependency. This can create a toxic bond.”
Start by seeing them once a week. Once you get to know each other, increase the frequency of your meet-ups slowly. You can meet them twice a week if you are attracted to them. Build the connection from there. But the frequency of meetings entirely depends on you both. Remember, there is potential for transition from casual to serious dating here. So tread lightly.
How To Date Someone Casually Without Getting Hurt
Utkarsh says, “This is one of the most important casual dating rules: Do not hurt them or yourself while you’re dating them. This is why many people refrain from being their true selves while casually dating. They put on their masks and don’t get to know each other on a deeper level.” Below are some ways you can casually date someone without getting hurt:
1. Be honest
Maintain emotional integrity in relationships by always being honest about your feelings. If you are starting to fall for them, let them know. How long should you casually date someone? Stop as soon as you think you’re developing feelings for them, or as soon as it seems you’re not on the same page as them. That’s when casual dating turns serious, or messy.
2. Keep dating other people
With their knowledge, keep dating other people. That will let them know you aren’t ready for exclusivity yet. Don’t lead them on and make them think you are ready for commitment.
3. Check in with yourself
Check in with yourself once in a while. Your mental and physical well-being should be your topmost priority.
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4. Don’t let go of your hobbies
Many people make the mistake of letting go of their hobbies and interests once they find someone new. You spend all your time with them and forget to give time to other aspects of your life.
5. Don’t get attached
How long should you casually date someone? Before you get attached to them and can’t think about anything besides them. Don’t be the only person to get attached in the relationship especially if it’s a no strings attached relationship. Be it physical, emotional, or intellectual attachment.
6. Always be willing to walk away
We ask Joanna, a nutritionist from San Francisco: How long should you casually date someone? She says, “Till you know you’ll be able to walk away from them without causing each other a lot of pain.”
Utkarsh adds, “What casual relationship means to a guy can differ from what it means to a woman. For women, it could be a defense mechanism to avoid certain feelings. Sometimes, a woman casually dates to make someone jealous. But they can also casually date for fun and sex.
“What casual relationship means to a guy is more simple. They are inclined toward casual dating to mostly fulfill their sexual needs. Sometimes they get into rebound relationships too. They date casually to protect their feelings, identity, ego, or inner child.”
- Casual dating is when two people like each other and spend time together to see if they’re compatible
- One of the benefits of casual dating is there is no commitment required
- In casual dating, always be honest about your intentions from the start
One main benefit of casual dating vs serious dating is that in casual dating, you can date multiple people at the same time. You can’t do that in a serious relationship. There is a possibility of jealousy coming in the way, though, which you will need to tackle skillfully.
According to a dating survey conducted by Time Out on 11,000 participants worldwide, people decide to go exclusive after an average of five to six dates, which is somewhere between one to two months. If they date beyond that without commitment, then both or either one of them don’t have any intentions of a serious relationship with each other.
It depends on how fond you are of them and how comfortable they make you feel. You can meet them once or twice a week. If you see them more than that, then this is when casual dating turns serious.