Dating is this huge umbrella term that covers everything from one date to a long term relationship. But, what is casual dating? And is it right for you?
Casual dating is not for everyone. But, some people thrive in a casual dating situation. Before you can decide if it is right for you it is best to answer the question, what is casual dating?
Essentially, casual dating is regular dating but without the commitment. It can include being involved sexually or not, but often lacks the pressure or responsibility of a more serious relationship.
How is casual dating different from dating?
For some, this may just sound like ordinary dating. But, that depends on what dating is to you. When you date someone, are you monogamous? Are you building a bond or having fun when you’re dating? What is the focus or the endgame for you? Do you even have one?
Casual dating removes the questions from the situation in a way. Casual dating requires a lightness. It is about playing the field and enjoying your time with this person or people, and not worrying about the heavier aspects of dating.
This does not mean trust goes out the window or that there is a lack of respect. Rather, casual dating can only work if both parties agree they both want something casual. [Read: 15 reasons why casual dating is the best ever]
What is casual dating?
Casual dating can be defined in broad terms, but it is up to you. If you are thinking about casual dating as opposed to more traditional dating, you need to figure out what it means to you and how it would work.
Some people are happy with casual dating. They don’t require emotional conversations. They don’t need to know if things are moving forward. They don’t need to know if the person they are seeing is seeing anyone else.
But, that may be too hard for you. You may be interested in casual dating but still, want more intimacy and connection. You may want to know if the person you are sharing time or sex with is also doing that with others. It doesn’t have to change anything, but that knowledge is important to some.
Hopefully, you have figured out what casual dating means to you. But, is it right for you? Is it something you could be happy and comfortable with? Do you want to start dating, but aren’t ready for a full-on commitment?
Answering the following questions may help you answer this one.
#1 Can you date more than one person at a time? Although this is not a requirement of casual dating, it can make things easier. When you are having fun with more than one person, you may be less likely to build an emotional connection that can take things into more serious territory.
Do you think this is something you can do? For me, it isn’t. Whenever I have tried to even flirt with the idea of dating more than one person at a time I feel icky and wrong. Although I shouldn’t, deep down I am all about monogamy. Are you? [Read: Why dating multiple people is actually really healthy]
#2 Can you let go of jealousy? This is a big one. I cannot tell you how many guys have told me they only want to casually date, but then get insanely jealous if I even talk to a guy friend. Casual dating does not work when jealousy is a player.
If you know you are a jealous person and cannot let go of that, casual dating is not for you. If you cannot deal with someone you’re seeing also seeing someone else, you may need to reevaluate what you want from your dating life.
#3 Can you let go of your standards? Casual dating includes dating around. You might go on a few dates and not like someone, but you don’t need to connect on every level. Casual dating does not mean you are looking for a life partner.
If you have different religious or political views, you can still have fun. Try to let go of standards that may have ingrained themselves into your psyche. They are not always useful when it comes to casual dating.
#4 Can you be brutally honest? This sounds tough, but honesty is key when you are casually dating. You need to be completely transparent about the situation. You can’t decide you want to casually date while the other person thinks this is going somewhere.
You have to be on the same page in order for it to work. If you can’t flat out say what you want from this, things will get complicated and no longer be casual.
#5 Can you set boundaries? It sounds contradictory, but casual dating needs boundaries to work. Yes, there are a sort of rules that need to be followed. These are not one size fits all though. You and whomever you are dating need to set boundaries.
#6 Can you keep things discreet? Casual dating is an alternative to traditional dating which can often be consumed by drama. The attractiveness of casual dating is the lack of drama. But, if you thrive on drama, casual dating won’t work for you.
Being able to keep things relatively private is what makes it work. When others *friends or family* weigh in on your casual relationship, things get complicated. You second guess yourself. Are you capable of keeping things on the DL?
#7 Can you be sure to check in? Although casual dating is a great idea in theory, it can often get messy if not maintained properly. Say you have been casually dating someone for a few weeks and it is going great. Be sure to check in with each other to make sure you are still on the same page.
If one of you is catching feelings or moving forward with someone else, you need to fill each other in. Think about it as a work evaluation. Without this, you will continue making potential mistakes without realizing it.
#8 Can you live in the present? Casual dating is all about living in the present. If you focus too much on your past or the future, things get heavy. Enjoying the moment you are in is what this is all about.
Serious dating thrives on future plans and commitment, but casual dating feeds on the fun.
#9 Can you release expectations? Try not to depend on this casual relationship to fill a void in your life. Sure, you should respect each other, but casual dating does not come with this dependency of a serious relationship. You should not be bringing your casual lover to a family wedding.
#10 Can you end it cleanly? Casual dating cannot go on forever. One person will want to move on at some point. Another benefit of casually dating is that the breakup, so to speak, should be clean and mutual.
You should be able to cut things off without feelings getting hurt or any fighting. Being afraid to end things is normal, but when you both went in knowing this was casual and temporary, you should be able to end it without drama.