What is casual dating anyways?
I define it as the purgatory between friends with benefits and a committed relationship. It’s more than friends with benefits because it’s more than just having sex. It’s less than a relationship because there is no commitment or conversation about your future together.
Casual dating is supposed to be fun, light, and usually temporary. I’m not saying that it can’t develop into something serious, but it typically doesn’t.
Crystal clear, right?
No, and that’s what makes it so damn complicated. There are so many gray areas, the only thing you know for sure is what their name and number are.
I hope to clear up some of the confusion once and for all.
Be on the same page.
When you begin to casually date someone, you both need to know and understand what each other wants from it.
It’s vital that you figure this out sooner than later in order to avoid wasted time, hurt feelings, and a messy situation.
If one of you is hoping your dating situation turns into a relationship, and the other is just interested in having fun, there are now different expectations.
This sort of difference in expectations is what causes things to get very messy, very fast.
Imagine Greg waking up to 17 missed calls from that girl named Vanessa he took out to dinner twice; all because she saw him talking to another girl at a bar.
Or imagine you’re Vanessa, who thinks she just saw her new boyfriend Greg macking on another girl. Yeah, I’d hate to be them too. Establish you are on the same page from the get-go. If you’re not, end it then and there. Is it okay to see other people? What about sleeping with other people?
This goes hand in hand with being on the same page, and it varies case by case.
In some cases, both of you might agree that you want to keep it casual but not see other people. In other cases, you might agree that you both want to play the field and keep your options open.
Neither option is better or worse. It’s just a personal decision and preference.
But what if John and Becca haven’t established if it’s okay or not okay to see other people, then Becca gets asked out on a date? Or John sleeps with a random girl he met in a bar?
In Becca’s case, she shouldn’t say no on account of John. If Becca wants to say no, it should be for her own reasons.
In John’s case, he technically didn’t do anything wrong because he and Becca didn’t establish commitment or monogamy before that point.
In both cases, they need to let each other know so that they remain on the same page and maintain respect and courtesy. I’m not saying they should come out and tell each other every detail. It could be brought up by saying:
“Is seeing other people okay with you?” Simple and straight to the point, but still generates an important conversation. That being said… Use protection.
Using protection should always be a given if you’re not in a monogamous relationship. As stated above, both of you are more than likely going to be sleeping with more than one person. The last thing either of you need is an STD or worse: the B word.
When is it okay to text or call them?
Don’t expect to have constant, daily communication with the person you’re casually dating.
Save the texting and calling for when you want to set up a date or a meetup and get straight to the point. For example:
“Hey, are you free tonight? There’s a new Sushi place downtown I want to try.” or
“Movie night tonight?” You could even get fun with it and send each other “naughty texts” because why not?
But remember, don’t blow up the person’s phone. There’s nothing more unattractive than someone who sends three, four, or even five texts in a row.
Don’t sit anxiously awaiting their response, either. It’s casual for a reason, if they don’t respond who the hell cares? Leave your emotions and expectations out of it.
Don’t talk about the future.
Because casual dating is usually short-term, it’s weird if you bring up doing something together on Halloween when it’s May 4th. Making plans more than five months in advance is anything but casual. It will probably put pressure on the other person and make them feel trapped.
Take your dates and time spent together day by day. Don’t look too far into the future.
Even if you can see yourself barbecuing baby back ribs on the Fourth Of July together, refrain from telling them that until it’s July 3rd (Okay, maybe a little before July 3rd.)
Don’t overthink it.
Overthinking things is one of the hardest parts of casual dating, especially for women. But honestly, cut it out. Ending your overthinking habits begins with changing your mindset.
Take comfort instead of fear in knowing that this is a very no strings attached situation. Honestly, the worst thing that is going to happen is it doesn’t work out. And if it doesn’t work out, it shouldn’t be that detrimental because of its casual nature. Remember, this isn’t a relationship.
Or, put more bluntly,
Stop giving a shit!
Don’t be a social media troll.
You know who you are. First, you check your Snapchat. Did they post a story? No. Move onto Instagram. Did they post a picture? No. Then, move on to their Twitter. Now Facebook…
You get the picture. STOP.
Remember, casual dating allows you to enjoy some of the perks of a relationship without dealing with some of the heavier stuff that comes along with a commitment. Have fun while playing the field. Try new stuff in bed, go to new places, try new restaurants, and do things you usually wouldn’t.
And, remember the beauty of it: there’s always a way out.