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Casual Relationship: What It Is & 42 Rules to Date Casually and Not Get Hurt

Relationships can be complicated, and a casual relationship is even more so. So, what is it like to be in one, and is it right for you? Let’s find out.

what is casual dating

A casual relationship is not for everyone. But some people thrive in that situation. Before you can decide if it is right for you, it’s best to really think it through before you jump into anything.

Essentially, we’re talking about no commitment here. It can include being involved sexually or not, but it often lacks the pressure or responsibility of a more serious relationship.

This is a dream for some but a nightmare for others. Some people thrive on the stability and security of a committed relationship, while others prefer the freedom and fun of something casual. Which one of those are you? [Read: Are you sure about what you want from a relationship?]

What is a casual relationship?

A casual relationship is when you date someone, but you make no future commitments of any kind to them. You can date them, you can date someone else at the same time, or you can call it off when you feel like you’re losing interest in it. 

As long as the person you’re dating is aware that you’re only in it for a casual relationship, there are no rigid rules nor is there any talk of the future.

Of course, different people associate different meanings to the term casual relationship, but what we’ve described above is more or less the accepted definition of the majority. [Read: 15 reasons why casual dating is the best ever]

If you are thinking about casually dating instead of more traditional dating, you need to figure out what it means to you and how it would work.

Some people are happy with a casual relationship. They don’t usually require emotional conversations. You don’t have to know if things are moving forward or worry if the person you are seeing is seeing anyone else.

But that may be too hard for you if you’re used to monogamy. You may be interested in a casual relationship but still want more intimacy and connection. [Read: How to read the signs your casual relationship is getting serious]

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.

Will you only share what is necessary with someone you’re seeing, or will you connect on other levels and still be able to compartmentalize your feelings?

So, what is casual dating to you? [Read: How to date casually without getting attached]

How is a casual relationship different from dating?

For some, casual dating may 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?

If you want to settle down, get married, and have kids sometime in the near future, casual dating may be the furthest thing from your mind. [Read: Why do all the guys only want to hook up with me? And all you want is a boyfriend!]

But, if you like traveling and seeing someone just for the moment or for some fun, it is right up your alley.

A casual relationship removes the questions from the situation in a way. It requires a certain level of 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.

If you need answers and need to know where you stand or what your dating label is, casual dating probably isn’t your vibe as its whole purpose is no drama or real emotional investment.

You’re having a good time with another person, and that’s all there is to it. [Read: 10 rules for keeping a casual relationship casual]

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 the same things.

Is a casual relationship the same as a no strings attached relationship?

On a dating spectrum, a no-strings-attached or a friends-with-benefits relationship is on one end of the spectrum, while a committed and exclusive relationship is out there on the other end.

In a no-strings-attached relationship, you only meet each other to have sex with each other, you have no other conversations beyond sexual intimacy, you don’t date, and you definitely don’t indulge in pillow talk or cuddle after sex. [Read: What does friends with benefits really mean to a guy?]

On the other hand, in a casual relationship, you may spend time with each other, hang out often, go out on dates, and spend time together as a romantic couple too. But you or your partner could also be doing the same things with other people. 

While a no strings attached relationship or friends-with-benefits is strictly about sex, a casual relationship has all the perks of a relationship, without the commitment, the exclusivity, or the long-term planning of a real exclusive relationship. [Read: Exclusive dating or a casual fling – The 14 big signs that tell them apart]

Are casual relationships always bad?

Not at all! 

We might have painted a casual relationship in a negative light but that’s only because you want to learn how to date in this way without getting hurt. Emotions are very tricky things and they creep in without warning.

However, for those who just want something casual and fun in their life, for the time being, a casual relationship can be a great option. It allows you to spend a fun time with someone you appreciate and you usually get to have great sex.

However, know that it’s not going to turn into a grand love affair. Know that at some point, it will end. [Read: Dating vs. Relationship: 14 signs to know your real status]

Pros and cons of having a casual relationship without getting attached

Everyone has their own level of comfort with commitment. Some people crave it, and other people run from it.

So, before you start to figure out how to date causally, you will want to really sit down with yourself and figure out what the pros and cons are before you embark on this journey.

Let’s start with the pros.

Pros

There are a lot of pros to learning how to date casually without getting attached. You just have to look for them. Here are a few to get you started. [Read: Casual dating vs. serious dating – what’s your dating speed for now?]

1. You can keep your options open

Maybe you met someone you like, but you don’t like them THAT much. You don’t feel like they are the kind of person you could spend the rest of your life with. 

But you really enjoy their company. They’re cool, fun, and you really like hanging out with them.

When you date them casually, you can keep your eye out for the person who IS right for you.

You don’t have to totally sacrifice your dating life just because a person isn’t the man or woman of your dreams. You can have your cake and eat it too! [Read: How to not get attached to a guy – 15 easy ways to cut off all kinds of romantic feelings]

2. You have an occasional companion

Sure, friends are great. But sometimes you just want a companion of the opposite sex to do things with. It just feels different being around someone who is a date instead of just a platonic friend. 

Even if you’re not ready to be in a committed relationship with this person *or anyone for that matter*, you can still have the benefit of being in a “sort-of” relationship. It’s like having one foot in and one foot out.

3. You can focus on other things

There is more to life than romantic relationships. Yes, they are great. But they don’t have to be the center of your universe.

So, when you are dating someone casually, that leaves you time to focus your attention elsewhere. [Read: What is casual dating? And how to know if you can handle it]

You can climb up the corporate ladder in your career, spend more time with your friends, and go visit your family. You can even take up a new hobby or start on a health journey by going to the gym. 

Your time isn’t going to be wrapped up in just one person. That is one good thing about learning how to date casually without getting attached.

4. You aren’t completely alone

A lot of people don’t like being alone. In fact, some people would rather be in a bad relationship than have no relationship at all. Not that it’s a good thing to do that, but that’s just how some people feel. [Read: Dating exclusively but not in a relationship? The grey area dilemma]

So, if you’re one of those people who don’t like being completely alone, a casual relationship is a great compromise. You don’t have to spend every lonely night wondering when you will ever meet someone – because you already have.

5. You can have sex if you want

Let’s face it – a lot of people have casual sex these days. It’s no longer the 1950s when most people thought they had to be married to get laid. This is the 21st century, so you can have sex with whomever you want.

That’s one of the benefits of a casual relationship. You aren’t completely single, and you’re not completely in a relationship either.

And this gives you the chance to get some of your sexual frustrations out without making a serious commitment. [Read: Dating multiple people – the stress-free way to have fun doing it]

Cons

But, as with anything in life, there’s always the flip side to a casual relationship. Nothing is black-and-white, and so there are some cons to how to date casually without getting attached, too.

1. It can be emotionally empty

When you are dating someone without a commitment, sometimes you can feel emotionally lonely. Serious relationships give you the ability to develop mutual feelings for each other, which can be a beautiful thing. 

But when you’re dating someone casually, the expectations of emotions just aren’t there. That’s why they call it “casual.”

So, if you’re the kind of person who gets attached pretty easily, this situation might not be for you. [Read: How to find out if someone is on Tinder and dating you on the side]

2. One or both of you might develop feelings

On the contrary, even though there are expectations of NOT developing feelings, one or both of your might accidentally do just that. And whether it is you or the other person, things can get very uncomfortable quite quickly.

If you catch feelings, then you will feel rejected by the other person, and it could affect your self-esteem.

But if the other person starts getting attached to you, and you don’t feel the same way, you might be kind of weirded out by the whole thing. [Read: How to tell if a FWB is catching feelings – 20 signs they’re falling for you]

3. The person has no obligations to you

It might sound great to not have any obligations to another person. That means you are technically footloose and fancy-free!

But sometimes, you want the person you are dating to be there for you when you need someone. [Read: Dating vs. relationship – How to read the signs and know your status]

Maybe you had a hard day, and you want to talk to someone. Or you could really use someone to help you paint your bathroom. Well, when you are dating someone casually, they are not obligated to do any of those things for you.

4. You don’t have a guaranteed date anywhere

It might be easy to assume that you will have a date every Friday night, but you can’t really count on them for any specific day or time. If you need a date for your friend’s wedding or your company’s holiday party, they may think that’s a bit too much for casual dating.

It could get awkward. You are dating, but not serious. So, asking them to go to certain events that couples usually go to together could cause some confusion between the two of you. [Read: Exclusively dating or casual fling – 14 signs to know your status]

5. Managing expectations can be difficult

Even though you both think you are just casually dating, what exactly does that mean? What are the rules for a situation like that? How often will you see the person? Do they spend the night? Is this leading somewhere more serious in the future?

Expectations can be very difficult to manage. It’s best if you are both on the same page about everything, but that takes a lot of open communication.

Plus, what if one of you changes your expectations and the other one doesn’t? [Read: What does friends with benefits mean to a guy – Do they ever get hooked?]

Why would a person like a casual relationship?

It’s easier to get into one and get out of one, and it also gives a person the chance to experience the lusty side of what the world has to offer, without being tied down by the rules of society or a serious relationship.

If you’re young and don’t want to get tied down by a one-partner romance, it’s always easier to just get into a casual relationship with someone you’re sexually attracted to. 

You move on if you find someone better or stick around until one or both of you get bored and drift away. [Read: 6 signs to recognize a girl who wants to hook up and 12 ways to hook up with her]

The logic behind the idea of a casual relationship seems easy to comprehend, but it’s not always a practical idea. 

So, if you do want to experience a casual relationship, make sure your casual buddy has the same expectations from you too!

1. They have more freedom

A casual relationship gives you the most amount of freedom while still having someone to please you and keep you warm at night. [Read: How to arouse a guy and make him want to hook up with you effortlessly]

You can go about your life just as you normally would—free as you can be—and not have to worry about upsetting your boyfriend or girlfriend because they’re technically not labeled.

2. They can meet a lot of new people

Casual dating is best for getting to know the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time. If you’re in a relationship, you really only meet people interconnected with your partner or your friends. That’s far too limiting.

3. They learn what they like in a person better

Casual dating allows you to meet a lot of DIFFERENT types of people.

That being said, you get to interact on an intimate level with a lot of different personality types and you can better decipher which qualities you really want in someone long-term. [Read: 20 common reasons why most people get bored with their relationship]

Think of it like practice for the big game. 

4. It’s easier to leave when they’ve had enough

You’ll find there are far more men that want to casually date than there are women, and this reason is primarily why.

When you’re not fully committed to someone, it’s really easy to cut those ties and leave without as much drama. [Read: 17 sordid signs you’ll end up as nothing more than a hookup]

5. Focusing on their career is more important than finding a life partner

This is especially true for people in their 20s. In a casual relationship, they’re still getting the human contact and intimacy they desire, but they’re able to put 100% of their efforts into their job without the distraction of a relationship.

Since more and more people want to make sure their career is solidified before diving into a real, lifelong relationship, casual dating seems to be the best way to do it.

6. You can see a lot of different people at a time, so you won’t get bored

A lot of people struggle with boredom and dating. They just get sick of the person they are in a relationship with and move on. A casual relationship keeps things exciting and new all the time, so you won’t get bored. [Read: Why dating gets a lot, lot harder when you reach your 20s]

7. Reduces the amount of jealousy in the “relationship” 

If you’re casually dating someone and all parties are aware there isn’t really a commitment to the two of you as a couple, then there shouldn’t be any jealousy.

If you’re like me, jealousy is the single worst thing about being with anyone. It’s volatile and can ruin almost anything good in a person.

So, by casually dating, you’re eliminating this debilitating emotion that can get out of hand in a real relationship. [Read: How to deal with jealousy in a relationship]

8. They just want the fun of a relationship without the hardships

Just like there isn’t nearly as much jealousy, there’s also less of everything difficult about a relationship. Basically, people are focused on casual dating now because they reap all the benefits of a relationship without having to deal with the struggles.

9. Free meals *for the ladies*

Heck, who wouldn’t go out for dinner five times a week if they got it paid for every night? While this may seem like a selfish and shallow reason to date casually, it is a reason some girls do it.

Although not all women get their meals paid for during dates—some pay for the whole meal—it is rather customary for the guy to pay for the dinners until a relationship has been established. [Read: What is chivalry? The real meaning, The Knights Code, and modern men]

 0. You can learn what you like in bed

It’s not just about finding what you like in a person, it’s also about finding what works well for you in the bedroom. You can’t expect to live your life never knowing about a certain trick a person can do that can completely blow your mind. 

You’ll learn exactly what it takes to drive you crazy, so you can find that in a long-term partner. [Read: 33 absolutely fascinating facts about sex you never knew]

11. Casual dating lets you separate your dating and personal life

When you’re in a full-on committed relationship, these aspects of your life often overlap and can cause chaos within them all if one is out of place.

In casual dating, you’re eliminating this chaos. You don’t even have to ever introduce the person you’re casually seeing to anyone in your circle. They can stay completely out of your personal life other than interacting with you.

12. It saves a LOT of your time

Casual dating is great for going on a few dates during the week and then spending almost no time with them the rest of the time. [Read: 10 big reasons why saying “I love you” too soon just sucks]

This is a huge time saver compared to just hopping into a relationship and being almost forced to spend a few nights a week with them. Say goodbye to binge-watching your favorite Netflix series.

13. You can still be 100% into all your favorite hobbies

As you begin to get into a serious, committed relationship, you have to sacrifice a few things that take up your time so you can give that time to your boyfriend or girlfriend.

But when you’re in a casual relationship, you don’t have to do this at all and can keep all of your same hobbies without sacrificing the things that make you happy. [Read: 8 ways to get your “me time” in amidst a hectic schedule]

14. They can’t dictate anything that you do

Sure, they can suggest you wear a skirt that’s a tad bit longer, but they really have absolutely no say in what you do, wear, and say. You’re your own person when you casually date versus being part of a unit in a relationship.

15. You don’t have anyone to influence important life decisions

Most people who casually date are at a point in their life where they have a lot going on and a lot of opportunities coming their way. 

When they are in a casual relationship, they’re eliminating the need to factor someone else’s feelings into any life-altering decisions they may need to make. [Read: 20 Lifestyle Changes to Make in Your 20s for a Better Life]

Is a casual relationship right for you?

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. [Read: Why dating multiple people is actually really healthy]

Do you think this is something you can do? Some people love the idea of non-exclusivity and enjoy dating multiple people at once.

And there are others who are all about monogamy and can’t deal with the stress of dating someone who may be sleeping with someone else.

2. Can you let go of jealousy?

This is a big one. And this is the one most people seem to have a problem with. Casual dating does not work when jealousy is involved. [Read: Why am I so jealous? The real reasons why we feel it and how to fix it]

If you know you are a jealous person and cannot let go of the idea that the person you’re dating may be dating someone else, casual dating is not for you.

If you cannot deal with someone you see 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.

You aren’t looking for a life partner, just someone to have fun with. [Read: Higher standards – why going low only leads to lousy relationships]

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. 

For this to work, both of you need to be on the same page. One of you can’t want something more serious while the other is happy with the current situation. [Read: How to get someone to stop dating others casually and get exclusive only with you]

You have to be on the same page for it to work. You can’t casually date someone hoping they’d change their mind in the future and start dating you exclusively. While that is possible, there is a bigger chance of heartbreak than true love waiting in your future.

5. Can you set boundaries?

It sounds contradictory, but casual dating needs boundaries to work. Yes, there is a “sort of” rules that need to be followed. These are not one size fits all, however. You and whomever you are seeing need to set boundaries.

You need to decide if you are going to be friends. Decide if you are going to talk about your lives.

You need to decide if you are going to go on dates or just hook up in private. Will you cuddle? Will you see each other’s friends? [Read: How to have a real casual relationship without getting hurt]

6. Can you keep things discreet?

Casual dating is an alternative to traditional dating, which can often be consumed by drama. The attractiveness of this 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 other *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, 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. [Read: How to date casually without getting hurt – The 15 hurt-free rules you MUST follow]

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 them.

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. [Read: How to live in the moment – 24 positive ways to live in the now]

Serious dating thrives on plans and commitment, but casual dating feeds on the fun.

9. Can you release expectations?

Try not to depend on a casual relationship to fill a void in your life. Sure, you should respect each other, but casual dating does not come with the same level of dependency on a serious relationship.

You should not be bringing your casual lover to a family wedding. [Read: Casual dating rules that can make or break your casual relationship]

You should not expect them to help you build IKEA furniture or pick you up from the airport. Expecting these things from someone you are casually dating is a surefire way to make things no longer casual.

10. Can you keep it spontaneous?

When it comes to casual dating, you don’t want to make too many plans. When you start penciling someone into your future, things get serious. Are you able to make plans for tonight or tomorrow and not look too far ahead? 

Being tied to plans that take place more than a few days away can build up nerves and feelings. If you can keep things light and breezy, you have a better chance of being successful with casual dating. [Read: How long should you casually date someone before it gets serious]

11. Can you keep your distance?

Whether you are a casual dater or not, it can be hard to shut down your feelings. 

Even if you don’t have romantic feelings for this person and are just having sex and watching movies, you bond with someone when you spend time with them. Can you compartmentalize those emotions, so your humanity doesn’t turn into romantic feelings?

 If they are sick, will you want to take care of them? Will you want to bring them soup? If you can shut that down, casual dating is more likely to work out for you. [Confession: I really just want to be single and date many guys again!]

12. Can you not talk?

Having sex with someone can bring up emotions you didn’t want or expect. Can you make sure your bonding stays in the bedroom? Can you be okay with not talking about their other dates or partners? [Read:

It may even be a good idea not to follow each other social media to avoid any jealousy or fantasies about dating more seriously.

13. Can you end it cleanly?

A casual relationship cannot go on forever. One person will want to move on at some point. Another benefit of a casual relationship is that the breakup, so to speak, should be clean and mutual. [Read: How to seduce a friend into having sex with you]

You should be able to cut things off without feelings of getting hurt or 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.

42 Rules for a casual relationship 

When you get into a relationship and want to keep it casual, it’s always best to make your intentions clear from the beginning. 

Or you’d have one confused lover and one frustrated lover in the relationship, and that’s never going to bode well for the relationship, even if it’s only a casual one. [Read: What guys want and expect when they date someone casually]

Here are all the casual relationship rules that you always need to keep in mind if you want to keep the relationship strictly casual and intend to avoid any kind of serious commitment with your casual partner.

1. Understand what you’re getting into from the start

Know your starting point in order to be able to handle this type of arrangement. That’s what it is, an arrangement that means you spend time with someone, with no promise of an emotional attachment. [Read: Why dating multiple people is actually really healthy]

Give yourself a good talking to and be firm in your knowledge that this is not the start of a big love affair.

2. Ask yourself if you’re ready

Sometimes we’re just looking for casual sex because we’re newly single and looking for ways to stop the pain. Whatever the reason, be confident in why you want casual sex.

Doing it for the wrong reasons can cause you to be seriously hurt and no one wants that to happen. [Read: How to know if meaningless sex is for you]

3. Know yourself – can you handle this without developing feelings?

If you’re someone who easily gets attached after sex or develops feelings quickly, this type of arrangement will end in tears. Rule number one for how to have a casual relationship without getting hurt is to know yourself. 

If you’re sure you can handle it and feelings won’t come into the equation, go for it. If you’re not sure, approach with severe caution.

4. Prepare yourself for the worst

There’s no easy way to say this, so here goes: With a low level of commitment, he might suddenly disappear and fall into someone else’s arms.

It’s a very real possibility, and believing that it won’t happen to you may only hurt you even more. [Read: 10 tough love dating tips that can make dating work for you!]

Since he hasn’t made your relationship official, sleeping with someone else won’t be considered cheating. He might think that you’re also considering doing the same thing. 

Also, he may not be emotionally invested in you, so leaving without so much as a goodbye won’t be that hard for him.

5. Have a serious conversation

Nobody wants to have a serious sit-down conversation with someone about where something might lead. But, if you want to be sure of what you’re actually getting into, know the facts. [Read: Casual vs serious: What’s your current dating speed?

Ask this person what they want. Do they want a relationship in the future? Do they want to be single but have perks, e.g. friends with benefits?

Make sure they’re being open and honest with you. Then do the same with them. Obtaining all the facts will be the basis of your journey into knowing how to have a casual relationship without getting hurt in the end.]

6. Set the ground rules

There are no hard and fast rules in casual relationships. But that doesn’t mean there are no rules at all. A few basic rules could go a long way in making the relationship work for both of you. [Read: How to set personal boundaries and guide other people to respect it]

Ask your casual partner these questions once you establish that a casual relationship is what both of you are looking for.

a. Are you okay with being non-exclusive and dating other people at the same time?

b. If one of us falls in love with someone else, can we end things abruptly?

c. How many times do you think we should meet each other in a month? *helps both of you understand each other’s expectations*

d. Are we going to keep this relationship a secret from everyone else?

e. If it’s not working out for you, will you tell me about it the very instant you feel it?

Asking each other these questions can help both of you discuss the awkward things that aren’t easy to talk about. [Read: What does a casual romance mean to a guy and your future?]

You may think these questions are just awkward and not very important, but within a month or two, you’d wish you had the answers to these questions already!

7. They want a relationship, but just not with you

It sounds rude and harsh, but at times, it’s the truth and you just have to accept it. When you’re in a casual relationship, both of you are just using each other until a better person comes along.

So don’t have high hopes for this kind of casual romance. [Read: 9 Love lessons that “He’s Just Not That Into You” taught me]

Instead, have fun, take it easy and keep your options open instead of having just one long-term exclusive casual relationship because it defies the whole point of being in a casual relationship until someone better comes along! 

8. You are not a priority

It can be confusing when you’re in a casual relationship because you might accidentally start assuming you’re in a “real” relationship. In other words, you might start acting like a girlfriend or boyfriend and develop expectations.

But you need to realize that in a casual relationship, neither of you is the other one’s priority like in a normal romance.

So, don’t expect that your casual partner will drop everything and come running whenever you want them to. [Read: Why you should never make someone a priority when you’re only an option to them]

9. Emotionally unavailable relationship

A person who wants a casual relationship is usually the kind of partner who is emotionally unavailable for a serious relationship. They want all the benefits of a sexual relationship, without the baggage of being emotionally available to their lover.

Many bad relationships or a bad breakup could make some of us lose faith in love for a while, and it’s in these moments that people go looking for casual relationships instead of committed ones. 

When you get into one, don’t be surprised to see that your partner is completely emotionally closed off from you. [Read: 10 reasons why guys and girls get the fear of commitment]

10. Don’t be too obsessed with titles or labels

You call each other on a first-name basis, at least in public. No one knows for sure what you guys are. But would it really make a difference? Because you’re enjoying what you’re doing, right? 

You probably like each other’s company and the sex may be great. Would putting a label on what you are really make that big of an impact on your relationship?

Giving yourself a proper label may come in handy, especially if it kind of lets you know how you’re expected to behave.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship will suddenly transform into a perfect union. [Read: Define the relationship – 20 signs it’s time to DTR already and how to do it]

Take our advice and leave labels out of it. One of these days, you might be pleasantly surprised when he suddenly calls you his girlfriend. Just let it happen naturally.

11. Realize they probably won’t want to get serious

Maybe you agreed to this casual relationship because you hoped that your partner would change their mind and want to become serious one day. But if they already told you that they just want to be casual – believe them.

When you hold on to false hopes that the relationship could turn into something permanent, you are just living in a fantasy. [Read: Casual dating vs. serious dating – What’s your dating speed for now?]

Instead, keep your options open and date other people too so you don’t get too attached.

12. Ask yourself if you could handle seeing them with someone else

If you were out walking and you bumped into them with another person, how would you feel? Would it knock the air out of your lungs?

If you do see this, they’re not doing anything wrong because they haven’t made an exclusive commitment to you. Casual means exactly that – no strings. But how would that make you feel? [Read: Jealousy in a relationship – how to accept, deal, and overcome it in love]

13. No overthinking

If you’re wondering how to date casually without getting attached, don’t overthink it! When you overthink the situation, it makes it weird. [Read: How to stop overthinking and achieve peace in your life]

You both agreed to casually date, this means you are both doing your own thing. Don’t overthink the situation or read into the other person’s actions. If you overthink, you dive down a deep rabbit hole that never ends well.

14. Don’t get confused with your emotions

It’s easy to believe you’re falling in love with your casual partner. If you think you’re seriously falling for your partner, avoid them for a few weeks and see if you still miss them. 

If you can move on or don’t see a need to have this friend in your life for reasons beyond casual sex, you’re just experiencing a case of mild infatuation. [Read: Lust vs love – 21 signs to know exactly what you feel for each other]

15. Don’t be controlled

A casual relationship involves two people. But almost always, one person has complete control over the other person. The dominant partner decides when to hook up, and when to avoid each other.

If you find your casual partner too dominant or controlling, chances are, you’re falling in love with them. And, you are agreeing to anything they say only because you can’t bear the thought of losing them or staying away from them.

If you feel controlled or dominated, walk away before you get your heart broken. [Read: 20 signs you or your friend with benefits is falling for the other person]

16. Be truthful about your feelings

If you don’t think it’s working out, talk to your casual buddy about it. If the sex is boring or the together times are awkward and empty, chances are, you’re losing interest in this person.

On the other hand, if you wake up thinking of this person or slip into bed fantasizing about this casual partner of yours, you’re probably falling in love with them. 

Talk to your friend and ask them if they’d ever be able to see this relationship as something beyond a casual relationship. And when you get your answer, you get to make a decision too. [Read: How to read the signs your casual relationship is slowly getting serious]

17. But don’t say that you love this person

It’s very easy to feel intensely attracted to someone you’re having sex with and spending time with often. 

If you feel like saying ‘I love you’ because they make you feel so good *especially when you’re having an orgasm*, hold that thought. 

Saying those three words will take your relationship to a whole new stage. Or it may even end the relationship for good. [Read: Saying “I love you” and not hearing it back – why it hurts to accept it]

18. Talk about it if one of you crosses the line

A casual relationship is full of invisible boundaries. You don’t ask about your casual partner’s dates or their other hookups. You don’t have any control over them or the relationships you get into.

But the few things you do have complete control over are when your partner oversteps the boundaries talks about love or tries to control you or the people you meet. 

If you feel restricted or awkward at any point in time, you need to mention it so your partner knows what’s on your mind. [Read: Why am I codependent? 37 reasons and signs you overstep boundaries in love]

19. Don’t fall for manipulation

Don’t fall for manipulation, and don’t manipulate your casual buddy. Don’t say things that can confuse them like “I can’t imagine not having you in my life, but I do want you to meet other people and fall in love with someone else…”

You’re just screwing with their mind and confusing them. So are you falling in love? Are you telling them to meet and start dating someone else? 

If you want a casual relationship to work out, be truthful and avoid manipulating your partner. [Read: 18 signs you’re falling for an emotional affair and don’t even know it!]

20. Don’t get trapped

One of the biggest things you need to be wary of in a casual relationship is getting trapped in the relationship. You may not realize this until you’re ready to step out of the relationship.

Each time you try to end the relationship or drift away from your casual partner, does your casual partner try to get closer to you even if they were the one who was drifting away in the first place? 

You might be in a casual relationship with someone who tries to cling to you or trap you by pretending to fall in love with you each time you want to get away.

If that’s the case, you’re probably dating a selfish person who just wants you to stick around for some more fun, even if they don’t care about you! [Read: How to date casually without getting attached – The 25-hurt free rules you must know]

21. Avoid affection

If you’re having sex, and if you’ve had this casual relationship for a while, it will be natural to be affectionate with the other person. You might want to cuddle on the couch or hold each other after sex. And maybe even hold their hand in public. 

But you should avoid doing that because that crosses the line and makes it confusing. Having normal romantic affection will just make you slip further from the line of casual dating. [Read: Why do guys only want to hook up with me? And all you want is a boyfriend!]

22. Watch your body language

Similar to avoiding affection, you also want to make sure your body language isn’t too lovey-dovey. You want to avoid looking deep into their eyes while having sex or just having a drink or two.

Also, don’t sit too close or put your arms around each other. This might sound cold, but it is necessary to convey to the other person that you still just want to be casual, and you can do that easily with your body language. 

23. Don’t intertwine your lives

Sure, it might be tempting to meet each other’s friends and family. That’s what a normal couple would do. But you’re not a normal couple, you’re in a casual relationship, so you should keep them out of it. [Read: When two worlds meet]

Also, you don’t need to check in with each other about what their schedule looks like or how their day is going. When you intertwine your lives like that, it crosses the line into serious relationship territory, so you want to avoid it.

24. Pay for yourself

Just because you’re in a casual relationship doesn’t mean that you can’t leave the bedroom. It’s fine to go out to get something to eat, have a drink, or catch a movie from time to time. 

But make sure both of you pay for yourselves. When the man pays, then it looks like a real date. And real dates have expectations of leading into something more serious.

So, when you go Dutch, it has more of a “friends” feeling, which is casual and not overly romantic. [Read: Going Dutch on a date and all the reasons why you should keep it even]

25. Discuss protection

It’s best if you discussed the ground rules for dating or sleeping with other people. A casual relationship can be exclusive, but you don’t want to assume it is. So, that’s why discussing protection before you get sexual is extremely important.

If they are sleeping with other people, you definitely don’t want to get an STD, do you? And you certainly don’t want an unwanted pregnancy either.

26. Don’t show jealousy

It’s easy to get jealous, even in a casual relationship. You might be jealous that they were seriously committed to an ex, but not to you.

Or you could feel inadequate if you know they’re also talking to other people. [Read: Why am I so jealous? The reasons why we feel it and how to fix it]

You can’t help but feel jealousy sometimes. But, just don’t show it. A casual relationship is supposed to be low-key and not involve feelings. 

So, don’t show that you are jealous. If it bothers you so much, leave the relationship or find someone else. But don’t change the status quo when you both got into it for one reason alone – casual sex.

27. Don’t spend too much time together

When two people are in a serious relationship, it’s normal to spend a lot of time together. In fact, they want to spend as much time together as they possibly can – which is why it’s serious. [Read: 18 must-know rules to end a casual hookup with absolutely no drama or tears]

So, you want to avoid being around each other too much when you’re only in a casual relationship.

When you spend too much time together, you have a higher chance of getting emotionally attached – either you, them, or both. You want to avoid emotional attachment by limiting the time you see each other.

28. Don’t chat too much

You can talk when you’re seeing each other, of course, but you shouldn’t be spending the rest of your day texting back and forth. This isn’t supposed to be anything more than casual, right? That’s what you wanted, right? 

If so, then the only time you text is when you’re figuring out when to see each other next. [Read: Dating vs Relationship – How to read the signs and know your status]

29. Keep it light

This person is strictly for having fun with. You’re not supposed to tell them your deepest darkest secrets. Keep the conversation light. 

Saying you had a bad day at work is fine, but talking about your childhood trauma is crossing the line. The less you indulge, the better. [Read: Are you starting to get attached to your friend with benefits?]

30. Have no expectations

If you don’t want to get hurt, then expect nothing. If you’re doing this to try to get someone to be with you, don’t do it. 

You cannot go into casual dating expecting something to happen. Understand that casual sex isn’t going to land you a relationship.

31. Keep dating other people

This is the ticket to not getting attached. Dating other people keeps things loose. Of course, if you don’t want to date other people, you don’t have to. But dating multiple people will help you have low expectations. [Read: Why dating multiple people is actually really healthy]

32. But don’t talk about other people you are dating

Maybe you both agreed that you are not exclusive. That’s fine, but it could play into the jealous issues that we just discussed above. So, if you are dating other people, don’t talk about it. No one really likes to hear about their competition.

On the flip side, don’t ask your partner if they are dating anyone else.

Definitely don’t ask for details, because your body language will give away your jealousy. Keep the conversation light and don’t talk about other people. [Read: What is casual dating? And how to know if you can handle it]

33. Don’t plan for the future

Don’t plan a couple of weeks ahead, keep everything light and present. Plan a couple of days ahead but keep the pressure low. Plus, “living in the moment” is a nice mentality to have when you’re casually dating someone.

34. Check in with yourself

From time to time, check in with yourself and make sure your feelings are still in a safe place. This is a common mistake people make when they are learning how to date casually without getting attached. 

They don’t check in with themselves and then realize they’re in love with the person. Breaking it off will be really hard to do. [Read: How to make your hookup miss you and start craving for you again]

35. Remember to connect to yourself

Don’t rely on your partner to satisfy you. This is when you develop feelings. So, to counterbalance, have a sexual relationship with yourself. 

Make sure you masturbate on a regular basis, giving yourself some much-needed love. If you can make yourself orgasm, that’s even better. [Read: The sexy benefits of solo masturbation]

36. Don’t allow them to become your world

Don’t cancel plans with your friends or family to see this person. If you start doing that, you make them an important part of your life. Feelings are developing or aren’t far behind. 

Casual means that you see them when you have nothing else to do. It doesn’t mean you make firm plans and cancel your life for them. The chances are they’re not going to be doing this for you either. [Read: How to know for sure if you can handle casual relationships]

37. Don’t take the drunken conversations too seriously

Aren’t people fun when they’re drunk? Well, it depends.

When your guy has had one too many drinks and calls you for some lovin’, it’s easy for him to say a bunch of stuff that he might not even mean. For example, he may say things like, “I love you” in the heat of the moment.

You may think this is finally the confirmation you need to consider your relationship official. But bear in mind that a drunk mind doesn’t always speak a sober heart.  [Read: 10 unfair but relevant dating rules we all have to live by]

Once he’s sober, he might forget that he ever said anything. So, keeping your hopes up about drunken words may only end up breaking your heart.

38. Have other activities in your life

The most agonizing couple of minutes in your grey area relationship is sending him a text and waiting for his response. 

Since you know you’re not in a commitment, he’s not obligated to respond to you unless he really wants to. Instead of sitting around and waiting for his response, it’s better if you had other activities to keep you occupied.  [Read: 10 unfair but relevant dating rules we all have to live by]

There’s really no reason for you to spend your entire weekend being on call for a guy who might not even consider calling you. Go to the gym, read a book, binge-watch a series. 

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as your mind isn’t constantly fixated on the fact that it’s taking him too damn long to respond to your messages.

39. Don’t kiss and tell

If you’re sleeping with this person, be respectful and keep it on the down low.

You shouldn’t be telling other people about your casual relationship with your partner and vice versa. If it’s nothing serious, then it doesn’t need to be made public. [Read: The reasons why you might stay with the wrong partner]

40. Know your limits and walk away if you start to feel something

Be honest with yourself and know when it’s time to walk away. Most casual relationships are great for a time. Then they run out of steam naturally, or someone walks away because they develop feelings. 

It’s rare that a casual relationship becomes a great love affair. Not impossible, but it’s a huge risk to hold onto that idea.

If you start to feel the bubble of emotion, do yourself a favor and quit while you’re ahead. [Read: How to leave someone you love – The guide to help you decide]

41. It’s okay if it’s not for you

You may discover you don’t enjoy casually dating. Though it may be popular, that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it.

What’s important is that you honor your feelings and accept whatever comes your way. Whether you like it or not, it’s your choice. [Read: How to read the signs your casual relationship is getting serious]

42. If you end it, end it respectfully

No longer want to date someone? Rather than ghosting them, tell them. Yes, ghosting someone is the easy way out, but you dated them. You need to treat this person with respect. If you want to truly be mature and responsible, act like an adult.

[Read: If you ghost, prepare yourself for these 10 consequences]

Understanding how to have a casual relationship without getting hurt really comes down to knowing yourself and your limits. Be honest, open, and don’t hope for more than promised. 

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...