Are you a couple? What is casual dating? What does casual dating mean to a guy? Are we even on the same page?!?! Ah, the world of dating. It’s a wonderfully confusing thing.
First—the flutters of attraction, and you get those crazy highs and lows when you see them. Then, you go on that first date and things progress physically. Next, you find out that what you’re actually in is a casual dating situation.
Wait! What? What on earth does that mean?
If you expected your new romance to move at a moderate pace towards a full on relationship, being placed in the casual dating sphere might knock your confidence. Never fear, casual dating can and does sometimes move towards relationship city. In some cases, it never really gets off the ground.
To figure out what this really means for you, it’s important to think about this question, what does casual dating mean to a guy really?
[Read: How to know if you can handle casual dating]
Now, an important point to highlight here, all guys are not the same. It doesn’t mean because we state one thing, every guy out there will think the same. People don’t work like that. We’re all different with our own perceptions, thoughts and feelings.
What we do know is that most guys have pretty much the same idea of what causal dating is. It’s important to figure that out. Then, you decide whether your definition is different or not.
What is casual dating?
There are two ways to look at this. Firstly, casual dating can mean that you’re in the early stages of seeing each other and going with the flow. There is no rush to reach a particular destination or milestone. You’re simply having fun with each other, enjoying the time. What will be, will be.
The other way to look at casual dating is that you’re simply hooking up.
Yes, the first scenario is far better than the first, I know, but let’s cover all bases here.
In terms of what does casual dating mean to a guy, it can mean either option, but sadly, if you’ve been seeing a guy for more than a few months and still in the casual dating tick box, it’s likely that you’re more of a friends with benefits kind of situation.
[Read: Casual vs serious: What’s your current dating speed?]
The thing is, you can’t rush dating. If you just met someone, don’t expect things to move at a rapid pace and be Insta official after a couple of weeks. The path towards true love takes time, and if you want to develop a lasting relationship, go with the flow.
Casual dating can mean doing exactly that. However, casual dating shouldn’t go on for longer than a couple of months or so, because by that time said guy should have an inkling of where he thinks this situation might be going.
What does casual dating mean to a guy after more than a few months?
How you feel about this next point really depends on what you want to get out of this situation. Maybe you’re not so sure about him. Perhaps that’s why it’s not advanced onto something a little more official. If you’re still only casually dating after more than a few months, there is very little chance of this relationship progressing.
If you’re in this situation and you want more, you’re well within your rights at this stage to find out where you stand. Maybe he’s worried about moving things on for a specific reason, e.g. maybe he had a bad experience with his last relationship and needs reassurance. Maybe he’s been too scared to bring up the “where do we stand” conversation, and he’s waiting for you to do it. These are both plausible reasons for a lack of action. [Read: When to define the relationship – 20 signs it may be right now]
Still stuck? Go for it and find out what on earth is really happening. Does he want a relationship? Is he happy to date casually for a longer period of time because he has no intention of anything more serious?
If that’s the case, figure out how you feel about it too.
If you’re happy to date casually and you have no problems with the situation, then I say great, go for it. Casual dating can be a great confidence booster, provided your feelings don’t get involved. If you’re not in that space and you’re happy to just spend time with someone you like only, then there is no harm in continuing your fun times.
But, if you have feelings for this guy and you want more, ask yourself whether it’s ever going to progress to what you really want. If he doesn’t want a relationship at this stage, you can’t sit around and wait for him to be ready. How do you know he will ever get to that point? And sadly, if he ever does, how do you know he’s going to want to make that move with you?
Put yourself first and work out what you want. If that means waving goodbye, then so be it. If you’re happy with things, carry on as you were! [Read: How to have a casual relationship without getting hurt]
Is casual dating exclusive?
Ah, the crux of the matter. The reason many people don’t like casual dating, there is no real stipulation for exclusiveness. Unless, you’ve had a conversation to the contrary.
In this case, communication is key to avoid hurt over a situation that you probably don’t have a right to be hurt about… but at the same time you do.
Can you see how confusing all of this can get?
Casual dating doesn’t always have good communication happening. One partner is usually scared to rock the boat so they keep their thoughts and feelings inside. The other partner is happy in their casual bubble and think everything’s fine. This is a recipe for disaster. Communication is vital. [Read: Why do guys only want to hook up with you?]
It’s possible to date casually but be exclusive. But, on the whole, the word “casual” gives it away. When something is casual, it’s not exclusive. Surely if you only spend time with one person, you’re more than casual, you’re actually dating with a view to a relationship? Or maybe you’re already in one and haven’t defined it.
A lack of exclusiveness can often cause pain for one partner. Working out what you want, talking about it, and setting boundaries that suit you both is important if you want this arrangement to work out, whether it progresses in the future or not. Avoiding discussions simply means muddy waters which can easily be mistaken and misinterpreted. [Read: 18 clear signs to split casual dates from real love]
Casual dating doesn’t have to be about just ‘hooking up.’ Two people casually dating might spend time with each other away from the bedroom too! What you should know is whether you’re getting to know each other and seeing how it goes, or whether you’re just a friend with added benefits when it suits.
[Read: The worrying signs you’re being taken advantage of in your relationship]
What does casual dating mean to a guy is often misinterpreted, and most of the time it means a total lack of commitment. If you’re okay with that, go ahead and enjoy yourself.
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