Casual relationships certainly aren’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a no-strings-attached situation (or a very-few-strings-attached one), it can work for a while. Maybe you’re not interested in being in a committed situation at the moment or you simply don’t have time for anything more than a relaxed, informal arrangement. Whatever your reasons for connecting in this way, just make sure you follow these casual relationship rules to avoid anyone getting hurt.
- Always be upfront and honest. This is a key rule for any kind of relationship, but especially a casual one. It’s absolutely key that the communication between you and your partner remains frank, direct, and fib-free. Being sneaky or lying about anything is the fastest way to make what’s meant to be a simple, uncomplicated situation way too much drama and neither of you need that.
- Notify your partner if the situation changes. If you suddenly develop feelings for the person you’re in a casual relationship with, you need to tell them so that they are aware of the situation and can either address their own possible feelings for you or exit the situation so as not to lead you on. Same goes for if you happen to start dating someone else seriously. They need to know so they can decide if this might be a good time to end things between you (though you should also consider this).
- Spare them the gory details. This is one of the most important rules of a casual relationship. Since you’re not officially in a couple, you’re free to date other people and you definitely should. You should be honest about this, of course, but stop short of bombarding your casual partner with all the details of your other relationships. They really don’t want or need to know about it, as tempting as it might be.
- Don’t get possessive. You’re not girlfriend and boyfriend (or girlfriend and girlfriend, girlfriend and person, etc.) so you honestly have no claim over them. Don’t act as if they owe you anything beyond honesty and basic common courtesy. You have no right to get mad if they don’t text you back right away, make plans to hang out every weekend, etc. It’s casual – don’t put stress where there shouldn’t be any.
- Never base your plans around them. At the same time, make sure that you’re not sacrificing plans with your friends, family, or even on your own for someone you’re only casually dating. Yes, you’ll want to see each other sometimes, but if you’re otherwise engaged, don’t drop the previously scheduled program simply because they’re around. It’s a casual relationship, remember that.
- Don’t do girlfriend stuff for them. In addition to not basing your plans around them, you also should stop short of doing things girlfriends would do. Don’t pick up their favorite candy when you stop at the bodega or order them some new boxers when you notice their old ones are getting a bit raggedy. Don’t cook their meals or soothe their woes or anything of the sort. That directly goes against the rules of a casual relationship.
- Don’t outstay your welcome or let them outstay theirs. When it’s over, it’s over. This was never a real relationship anyway, so it’s not like there can be a breakup. Realize when things have naturally fizzled out and say your goodbyes with grace.