If there’s one thing that most people in relationships have in common, is that there comes a point when you cannot escape the dreaded “what are we” dilemma.
Is your relationship headed towards the serious route or are you keeping things “casual”?
And if you do decide to take the latter route, what does keeping the relationship casual entail?
How do you define the term “casual relationship”?
To help you answer these questions, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the realm of casual relationships and shine a light on what casual dating really means!
We’ll also be dishing out tips for casual dating to help you get the most out of your casual relationship exploration. Keep reading!
- What is casual dating?
- Types of casual dating
- Tips for successful casual dating
What is casual dating?
In essence, casual dating is when you enjoy spending time with someone, you feel invested in them and you want to get to know them better. But at the same time, you aren’t committed to each other in any way.
While there may be a deep physical and emotional connection, and you also go on the occasional dates, you are free to date other people and seek other possibilities at the same time.
From a sex-positive perspective, casual dating is a great way to explore various sexual activities, connect with someone(s) without the commitment of a long-term relationship, de-stress, while expanding your social circle.
People who choose to date casually do so for a variety of reasons.
Most who engage in casual relationships in young adulthood ultimately settle down for the long run as the relationship progresses, and it can also lead to matrimony.
Next, let’s explore a few types of casual dating!
Types of casual dating
The different types of casual relationships are understood in a sophisticated and complex way. Different people have varying definitions of the term.
Booty calls, sex buddies, friends with benefits, and one-night stands are four identified types of casual dating.
They’re not all the same, and each of the four categories defined by Canadian researchers Jocelyn Wentland and Elke Reissing has its own set of expectations.
Tips for successful casual dating
1. Define the relationship
Once you decide that you want to go for a no-strings type of relationship, everyone involved should be privy to it. As with all types of relationships, communication is important to make things work.
No need to make a big fuss with the reveal, but it should be as early in the relationship as possible so that everyone is on the same page.
Like the relationship you’re about to undertake, keep it light and casual.
Let them know that you are not expecting anything serious from the relationship or that you are seeing other people.
By communicating your decision, the other person can decide for themselves if they want to pursue the relationship with you or end it altogether. It also saves you from breaking a few hearts along the way!
2. See other people
If you’ve been a serial monogamist all your life, dating more than one person at a time might not be as easy as it sounds, but it’s necessary if you want to date casually.
We’re not saying go out and bang everyone you can (unless you want to, in which case, you do you! But remember to do it safely), but keeping a few people on your dating roster can help you maintain a secure distance to avoid ‘catching the feels’ from any one of your casual engagements.
You can also just casually date one person at a time if you think it might get too overwhelming. But the best thing about it is that you’re not bound by traditional relationship norms, so go forth and explore!
3. No plus-one dates
Weddings, work events, and other parties are the perfect place to meet new people who you might want to date casually.
Rather than bringing any one of your casual partners, going solo would be way more fun! Trust us!
This type of social interaction can introduce a great amount of stress and tension, which violates the objective of keeping things light.
Taking someone as your plus-one to these occasions also brings other people (and their opinions) into the mix. Sometimes, other people’s definitions of your relationship can have a big impact on how you choose to define it.
4. Don’t be possessive
You might feel yourself getting jealous if you happen to find out that your casual date is also seeing other people.
Jealousy is a normal human emotion, but it has no place in casual dating.
Obviously, you’re allowed to be jealous, but don’t feel personally attacked and you need to learn to be cool with it. Always remind yourself that you want the same thing too.
Likewise, if your casual partner starts exhibiting signs of possessiveness, end it.
5. Be honest with yourself
You might like the sound of a casual relationship, but you might not be entirely up to face it, much less enjoy it.
Alternatively, you may have ended up in a casual relationship because the person you like proposed the idea and you accepted it without hesitation just so you can spend more time with them.
We can’t stress this enough – ALWAYS be real with yourself!
Be honest with yourself about whether casual dating suits your needs to avoid more mess than you initially signed up for, and possibly avoid some real emotional traumas.
6. Limit texting
Freedom from obligations to communicate during the workday or any other day is one of the benefits of being single.
Maintaining constant contact with someone throughout the day poses a significant threat to your entire situation’s delicate status.
Furthermore, if you begin to rely on an emotional connection with them, everything becomes much more intense.
Sending good night GIFs is cute when you’re in a relationship. But if you send it to someone you’re seeing casually, you could be sending the wrong signals.
A good rule is to skip all the chit chat and text each other only when you want to make plans to meet up.
7. Only meet when you’re healthy
We sometimes tend to become a little needy when we’re feeling under the weather.
Fatigue, tiredness, and depression can evoke a more primal desire to long for comfort and solace, causing you to throw all your boundaries out the window.
Once you spend a sick day with someone, whether you’re the patient or the carer, the whole circumstance invokes a level of intimacy that you shouldn’t meddle with if you want to keep your distance from someone.
8. Go out for dates
Make sure you actually get out of the house and go on dates when you’re casually dating. It’s all about having fresh experiences with someone new in your life.
Go bar hopping for a fun night out, mini-golf, or even skydive!
No cuddling up together and being comfy after cooking dinner at each other’s place, and no lazy Sundays in pyjamas because these activities are tell-tale signs of coupledom.
It’s one thing to invite your man-of-the-moment around for a nightcap. But unless you’re ready for the relationship to develop, it’s best to avoid playing house.
9. Communicate when things aren’t going as planned
Just because your relationship is casual doesn’t mean you should be unsatisfied. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Whether you feel like you’re catching feelings, you’ve met someone else you want to focus on, or your casual boo is demanding too much of your precious time, initiate a conversation to talk about it so that you always remain true to yourself and what you want.
Honesty is not a prerequisite for committed relationships, it’s common decency!
Be honest with yourself, and with the person(s) you’re seeing casually so that nobody ends up getting hurt.
10. Forget about special favours
Taking care of your pet when you’re away, picking you up from the airport, or consoling you after a bad day is the stuff of serious relationships.
So, don’t anticipate nor ask for these favors if you don’t want to need-to-do this kind of stuff for them too.
After all, having no obligations is why you chose the casual life in the first place.
Trust us, taking a cab to the airport instead will save you from future obligations, or having to make up lame excuses to get out of them.
11. Practice safe sex
Many things can go wrong and cause your casual relationship to turn sour, but STDs and pregnancy scares are definitely on the top of the list. Moreover, you might be forced to make some adjustments in your life.
To avoid STDs and having to go through the process of breaking the news to all your sexual encounters, always practice safe sex!
Condoms have around 85% effectiveness when used typically and 98% effective when used perfectly. With these probabilities, even if you use a condom every time and you put it on right, it still may fall off or break.
There’s a new daily medication that can significantly reduce your risk of contracting HIV.
If you think you might be exposed to this STI during your, ahem, explorations, talk to your doctor about starting PrEP, also commonly known as Truvada.
If you take this every day, it can protect you by at least 90%.
Getting tested for STIs on a regular basis is always a good idea. It is recommended that you get tested every three to six months.
If you’re comfortable, inform your doctor about your lifestyle so they can help you build up a testing calendar for how often you should be tested based on how many partners you have and how often you have new partners.
Because of the term “casual”, most people underestimate the complexity of casual relationships.
But in fact, there are varying levels of personal and social engagement, including several alternative pathways that could lead to long-term relationships.
If a long-term, all-hands-on-deck type of relationship doesn’t sound like your cup of tea at the moment, casual relationships can fulfil your need for intimacy and sexual pleasure.
Go in with your eyes, mind, and heart open, communicate your intentions clearly with your partner(s), while connecting with a compassionate and considerate attitude towards those around you.
Not meeting the right casual partners? Visit Sugarbook today to browse a selection of ideal candidates!