Maybe you’re thinking of switching things up in your dating life or you’ve heard the term “casual dating” but you’re not sure how it really works. Before you start playing the field, you need to be sure you understand what you’re getting into and whether it’s a good fit for you.
Casual dating is whatever you want it to be. There is no strict definition for what casual dating is. In the broad sense, it means a lighthearted relationship without any serious commitment or promises of monogamy, but it’s really up to you (and the person you’re dating) to make your own rules. Do you want some degree of emotional investment? Is it going to be monogamous but with low expectations? Do you still want to go on dates and see other people on the side? All of these things are possible.
Are you going to be fine with your partner dating other people? If you’re the sort of person who gets really jealous or wants your dates all for yourself, casual dating might not be right for you. You need to be cool with giving your lovers the freedom to try their luck with other potentials. You want to set boundaries from the start so you both know how much information you’re willing to share about this aspect of your private life.
Can you enjoy sex without getting attached? People who are able to get intimate with someone else without losing their heads or catching feelings are typically able to handle casual dating. If you can’t have sex without forming an emotional connection, you might want to steer clear, or you can take sex out of the picture when casual dating until the relationship becomes more serious.
Kindness and intimacy are important. You shouldn’t disregard basic human decency or treat your dates like sh*t because you don’t have feelings for them. Casual dating is not an excuse to mistreat someone or let yourself be disrespected. It’s never okay to toy with other people’s feelings regardless of where the relationship is headed. Be honest, kind, and considerate with your dates and demand the same from them.
There’s not a lot of accountability involved. In a regular relationship, you have to consider your partner’s needs in everything you do. You need to be present, show up, check in, and avoid doing anything that might put the relationship in jeopardy. With casual dating, you don’t have to worry about any of that. You can do whatever you please. Text or don’t text, flirt with other people, come and go as you like, say no to dates. You’re free to do what you want.
Forget about giving or asking for personal favors. You can’t ask your casual dates to do things that only a boyfriend or girlfriend typically does. If you need someone to help you paint your room or move or babysit your pet when you’re out of town, call your friends. Asking them to help in such a personal way or doing the same for them is going to put a confusing twist on the relationship.
You’ll have to keep the interaction to a minimum. You probably can’t handle casual dating if you can’t go days without checking in on your dates or spending time with them. Leaving stuff over at their place, texting them about how annoying your day was, or seeing them multiple days a week is serious relationship business. You need to be able to keep it light and breezy and cut out all the unnecessary stuff.
It’s time to ditch the standards. The whole point of casual dating is to meet new and interesting people that you could connect with until the right one comes along. Your dates don’t have to be perfect or live up to all your ideals. Can you let go of some of those standards and let yourself have fun? Remember, it’s just a casual affair you can walk away from at any time.
Dating drama is a no-no. In a regular relationship, it’s okay to show off your partner on social media or let your friends and family get to know them. That won’t fly in most casual dating settings because it could either of you or others to think things are more serious than they actually are. Being able to be discreet and keep it low-key is what makes casual dating work.
You need to live in the moment. This means you can’t make plans beyond a few days or weeks with your casual dates. You can’t plan future commitments or focus on building a life with them because that’s not part of the arrangement. If you find yourself wanting more, you’re going to need to come clean about your feelings. Otherwise, just enjoy the present and embrace the fun of it.
You have to stay ready to end it politely and maturely. All casual relationships have an expiration date. You either take things to the next level or break it off. If the relationship has run its course, you can end it without things getting messy. You both knew it was only temporary so come clean, tell them you’re not feeling it anymore. You should also be able to handle getting dumped by dates without taking it to heart.