For most of my life, I’d sworn that I’d never date a guy I didn’t want a serious relationship with. The idea of seeing someone “just because” was far less appealing than the concept of being with someone I might one day marry. But as I got older, this is what eventually helped me realize that casual relationships might be right for me after all:
I was tired of getting hurt. As much as I loved the love and companionship of a serious relationship, I also knew that the more I loved someone, the more it was going to hurt when things ended. After getting screwed over one too many times, I decided to try taking a break from looking for a serious boyfriend and instead try something more casual. When I started going into things knowing that a long-term future wasn’t a possibility, I was able to shrug it off when things inevitably ended.
I wanted to see what else was out there. Once I get into a relationship, I’m in it for the long haul. Because I’d dated so few people in my life before, I started to wonder if I was limiting myself by only dating guys I saw a real future with. I resolved to open my mind more and date other people just for sh*ts and giggles rather than because I saw them as potential husband material. Since then, I’ve become much more relaxed about dating, and I don’t beat myself up as much when a guy turns out to be someone different from who I thought he was.
I was sick of being tied down. I’m an independent, slightly impulsive human being. I like the idea of bouncing around from place to place. But of course, that’s much harder to do when you know you’ll be leaving your boyfriend behind. By switching to casual relationships instead, I felt free to go wherever the wind blew me, and if I wanted to have a brief fling with a guy in another country, there was nothing stopping me.
I wanted to teach myself to stop getting attached so quickly. I used to be the girl who became way too invested in the guys she talked to. After just one date, he’d be all I could think about, and if I got rejected, it destroyed me. I knew that this was no way to live, so to try to make myself stronger, I gave casual dating a shot. By keeping things light and commitment-free, I essentially trained my heart to chill the hell out so I stopped falling head over heels for every guy who showed interest in me.
I started getting bored easily. When it comes to romance, I’m a pretty all-or-nothing kind of woman. So when I kept suddenly finding myself bored to death in loving long-term relationships, I knew I had to do something different. It wasn’t fair to the guys I was dating that I was crazy for them one moment and then utterly disinterested the next. I stopped looking for serious relationships and started focusing on casual ones so I could get that “new boyfriend” feeling without jumping into a serious commitment and potentially hurting someone when I lost interest.
I needed to focus on myself. One day, I woke up next to my now-ex and realized that I’d been sacrificing my own happiness to help maintain his. Once I made my escape from that relationship, I promised myself that I’d look out for my own interests next time around. By sticking with casual dating, I could be sure that I was always hanging out with guys because I wanted to, not because I felt obligated to. I could chat and hook up with whoever I wanted, regardless of whether or not they were boyfriend material. I needed to go on a selfish streak, and casual dating let that happen.
I liked the idea of a boyfriend, but not the reality. Relationships are hard work, and for a while, I was totally fine with all the effort required to maintain one. But as time went on, I realized I’d been so focused on all the work that I’d forgotten that love was supposed to be fun. Casual dating allowed me to have all the sex, cuddles, and attention that I enjoyed in a relationship without all the bickering and stress. I knew that eventually I’d want a REAL relationship once more, but for the time being, I just wanted to enjoy human companionship again.
I couldn’t decide what I really wanted. When I was in a relationship, I wanted to be single. When I was single, I wanted to be in a relationship. I flip-flopped back and forth so often that the only thing that started to make sense was casually dating. I got the independence I craved while I was in a relationship while also getting the affection I missed when I was single.
I had a small quarter-life crisis. For me, it was disturbing to realize that I was wasting my youngest, hottest years by refusing to date anyone who definitely wasn’t The One. I had my whole life to find the man I’d call my husband, but instead, I wanted to find him NOW instead of having fun with all the other attractive guys who just wanted to get to know me. Once I tried casual dating, I was able to let loose and allow myself to have fun dating guys for shallower reasons than the fact that they had soulmate potential.
I needed to figure out what I was looking for in love. I’d wasted way too many years dating guys who ended up being so, so wrong for me. I thought I knew what I wanted in a man, but my many failures in love had proven that I really had no idea what I should be looking for. When I tried taking things down a notch in my love life, it helped me see what did and didn’t work for me when it came to guys.
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