10 Types Of Casual Relationships We’ve All Experienced At Least Once

You might think a fling is a fling and a casual relationship is just low-key and chilled, but they’re so much more than that. What kind of casual setup are you in? Here are 10 kinds of casual relationships that we’ve all found ourselves in at one time or another.

  1. The classic fling This is when your relationship is basically about sex. You’re not getting to know each other to create a lasting relationship. It’s about sexual pleasure and then you’ll probably move on to someone else. The one-night-stand is a perfect example of the classic fling.
  2. The emotional fling It might seem strange to think of a fling as emotional, but this can happen. It’s like an emotional affair, just when you’re (hopefully) both single. You confide in each other, talk about your problems, and support each other through life. You’re like a couple, just without the other relationship perks. Basically, you’re getting emotional support that you could get from a friend, but what makes it feel more real is that you don’t confide in your friends this much.
  3. The “let’s keep it as it is” casual relationship You want to know where your partner sees your relationship going and they say, “I like things the way they are” or “let’s just keep on enjoying ourselves.” Yeah, they’re putting you into the casual dating category for life, make no mistake about it. They don’t want to get too serious or bring commitment into the picture. It’s just about having fun and having an escape from real life. It can’t last forever.
  4. The “talking” relationship This is a common dating phase, focused on — you guessed it — talking and getting to know each other. The danger is that all that talking doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll progress from talking to actually dating. That’s why it’s good to talk about what the person in question actually wants so that you don’t waste your time.
  5. The “let’s be friends” casual dating thing Maybe you were FWBs for a while or you actually dated for some time. Whatever the case, you guys have history and now you’re making the transition into the friend zone. You might still be in a dating state of mind with this person, but you know it won’t last. Soon, you’ll be purely platonic friends with boundaries. It’s just not always easy to get there after some romantic history. You might not even be 100% ready to be “just friends,” which can cause you to hold onto them.
  6. The “hanging out” relationship You’re not dating, you’re hanging out. If someone says that you’re hanging out together, don’t think that soon you’ll be dating officially and exclusively. In fact, you can’t even call this a relationship because it’s so casual it’s hardly anything at all. The important thing is to be sure that both you and your partner are okay with going with the flow for as long as it lasts… even if the flow ends up nowhere. If they can’t tell you they want a real relationship, the “hanging out” will hit a dead-end.
  7. The “we don’t know what we are” relationship You want them to DTR but they’re taking their sweet time so you broach the subject and ask them what’s up. They don’t really have an answer for you about where you guys are headed. In other words, they seem confused AF. Or, maybe you’re the one who’s confused about what your relationship is about. While you’re figuring it out and wasting both of your time, you’re listed as “complicated” on Facebook.
  8. The situationship Maybe you’re having a fling or casual relationship with someone that you don’t see long-term potential with at all! In fact, when your friends ask you about this “relationship” and where it’s going, you laugh. It’s not going anywhere. You’re just living in the moment and having fun, but you’ve got an expiry date on whatever this thing is. 
  9. The “let’s pretend this isn’t happening” phase This might seem like a weird one, but it’s really about secret relationships and situationships. You’re hanging out with and talking to someone you don’t see being included in your life and social circle. They’re not going to meet your friends and you’re not going to take them as your plus-one to your friend’s wedding next month. You’re enjoying each other’s company, but on the DL. You don’t even tell your friends about them.
  10. The social relationship You might think casual relationships are all about sex, but that’s not the case. Maybe they’re about your social life. You might enjoy hanging out and spending time with this person in a social setting, even though they’re not your official partner (and might never be). You like having them around and you call them up to invite them to be your plus-one at events. You get your flirt on with them. You’re having fun just getting to know each other without expectations and pressure. Sometimes this can become something more serious but chances are if it’s been months of this setup, it’s going to stay this way forever or fizzle out.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.