Casual dating has become a legitimate option for modern men and women who want to enjoy romance and flirtation without the constraints of a traditional relationship; gone are the taboos of the 40s and 50s, after all.
And yet there are those for whom a casual arrangement really doesn’t work. The trick is figuring out whether it works for you!
What Is Casual Dating?
There are those who think of casual dating as a series of one-night stands without any feelings, and those who think it refers to a “friends with benefits” arrangement that is ongoing but not exclusive. In truth, both are correct; casual dating is flexible by definition and can be whatever you need it to be.
Every casual dating relationship is one of a kind, and so there really is no right way to go about it (thought, as always, there is an unspoken etiquette!).
The Benefits of a Casual Relationship vs. a Serious One
Despite what some people might tell you there is no right answer when it comes to dating; it’s all about what you need at the time, and so as long as your partner is on the same page as you there is no reason why you should not date casually.
A casual arrangement has many, very specific, benefits.
Firstly, for people who are simply too busy to enjoy a relationship a casual arrangement or one-night hookup eases some of the loneliness that we are all subject to. Secondly, you keep your freedom when you date casually…
After all, single doesn’t have to come home early or say no to another shot; when you casual date you keep your life moving in your direction on your terms, just with a little company from time to time.
Finally, casual dating doesn’t tie you down; if you move frequently for work or like to travel a lot a traditional relationship may very well get in the way of that. A casual arrangement, or
the occasional hookup won’t put a stop to that!
Serious relationships, by contrast offer security and a deeper level of emotion; a committed relationship is for people who are happy with the general basis of their life and want to add to it by sharing the road with someone. Committed relationships change your life, but when they are wanted and healthy they change it for the better!
So, as you can see, there is no right answer here… only the right answer for you.
How Do I know If I Want Casual Dating?
Well, it’s simple; when you think of your ideal situation right now, does it include a significant other? Or would you much rather be somewhere far flung and exotic flirting with attractive strangers?
Many people know already whether they want to casually date, but some do not; if you’re not sure what’s right for you that’s fine, but you should pay close attention to how your feelings change if and when you see someone more than once.
How to Date Casually (Without Heartbreak)
So, one of your casual hookups has become a regular occurrence, and you know that you like this person, but you also know you’re not ready to date in earnest…. What are your options?
There’s nothing to say that casual dating must end in heartbreak, despite what Hollywood might imply; you just have to communicate regularly and clearly with each other. The most common cause of heartbreak in a casual relationship is a change of feelings that isn’t dealt with appropriately.
Here’s the secret to successful casual dating
1) Define the relationship from the start; ascertain whether you both want a casual relationship.
2) Set boundaries; are you casual but also exclusive for example? Or perhaps you see other people but agree not to text or take calls from them when you’re together. Hammer out something that works for you.
3) Check-in; regularly talk about the state of things, agree to talk if either of your feelings change.
4) Understand that this isn’t permanent; some people do have long-term casual arrangements, but for many people casual dating is a “right for now” kind of thing that is subject to change. Understand that you agreed not to owe each other anything; if the relationship stops working on the terms you agreed upon it has to change or it has to end.
5) End it well; if it has to end make sure you do it with respect and tact, especially if one person has developed more serious feelings. You might not have made a commitment to each other, but manners and empathy cost nothing; be kind.
If you can get all of this under your belt, you’re certain to enjoy successful and happy casual relationships until you’re ready to think about more committed arrangements!