What is Casual Dating and is it Right for You?

28 Apr

Casual dating is different for everyone, it may start as nothing more than a fling or it can mark the beginning of a relationship. Casual dating works for some and not for others; it all depends on what you’re looking for in a partner and your definition of ‘casual dating’.

To enjoy casual dating, both of you must share the same definition of the term and be comfortable with whichever direction the relationship takes over time. Casual dating is rarely a long-term or serious commitment; it is supposed to be fun, flexible and act as a stop-gap for people who aren’t necessarily looking for a serious relationship just yet.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what casual dating is, how long you should casually date someone, the benefits and the ground rules to ensure you and your partner get the most out of it.

What is Casual Dating?

You may encounter different definitions and meanings of casual dating depending on who you ask. In its most basic sense, casual dating is a type of relationship that sees two people date and spend time together, with the understanding that the relationship will probably not become long-term. In essence, if you are casually dating someone, you enjoy their company but are not willing to commit to a serious, long-term relationship or simply don’t want one with them.

How Long Should You Casually Date Someone?

How long you should remain in a casual relationship depends on both your and your partner’s expectations. There’s no expiry date for casual relationships, it simply comes down to whether or not you’re both enjoying the casual aspect of the relationship and want to continue with it. If you’re both happy, then it can last as long as you want. However, it’s not uncommon for one person (or both) to develop stronger feelings, which can then shift the dynamic of the relationship.

Casual relationships can last as long as you want, so long as you’re both comfortable and happy with the direction it’s taking. As soon as one of you, or both of you decide you want something more, or less, then your casual relationship either needs to end or change.

How Often Should You See Someone You’re Casually Dating?

In most cases, when you’re casually dating someone, meet up with them once or twice a week. If you find yourself wanting to see them more and more, then you may want to consider the definition of your relationship and discuss the prospect of taking things more seriously with your partner. For casual dating to work, you don’t want to be too needy or clingy as that’s never attractive, especially in a casual dating situation where expectations of a commitment are lower. It’s important to enjoy the first instances of casual dating and keep tabs on how things are going to make sure you’re both still comfortable with the relationship direction.

If in doubt, be open and simply talk about how often you both want to see each other.

Going from Casual Dating to a Relationship

If you find that you’re falling for your partner in a way that breaks the boundaries of casual dating, trying to voice this can be difficult and nervy, especially if you don’t know how they feel! It’s not uncommon for people to jump into casual relationships with a subtle and even subconscious desire to pursue a committed relationship with that person further down the line.

If you are considering taking your casual relationship to the next level, you may want to think about the following before broaching this conversation:

  • Pay attention to mutual interests and reciprocation

You can tell a lot from the words and actions of your partner. For example, are they only calling to see you in the early hours of the morning or exclusively on Friday and Saturday evenings? Or are they more interested in seeing you throughout the day and spending time messaging, talking and spending time together? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you form a better understanding of whether or not your partner might be interested in pursuing a more committed relationship.

  • Express yourself and be confident in your approach

If you are serious about moving things forward, you must be sure this is something you want to pursue. If you’re confident that your partner will reciprocate your feelings, now is the time to tell them how you feel. Don’t be disheartened if you find that they don’t feel the same way about you, because the fact you now have clarity will allow you to dictate how and if you want the relationship to continue.

It’s important to bring this conversation up casually to not make it serious; after all, you’ve been enjoying casually dating, so try to adopt the same approach when talking about taking things further.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask them out 

We’re not specifically saying to ask them to be your partner, just to ask them if they’d enjoy going somewhere together. Whether that’s a bar, restaurant, walk in the park or attending a party or gathering as a couple. From this, you will develop a better idea of how the two of you might function as a couple and shed light on how you operate in this new environment. If you discover that this new dating experience didn’t go so well, that’s okay! Talk about it and come to a mutual decision on where the relationship can go from here. Alternatively, if it did go well, you may want to start talking about becoming exclusive.

Why Casual Dating is Good

There are plenty of great reasons to experience casual dating or a casual relationship. When entering a casual relationship, you get to have the romance and intimacy of a traditional relationship, without the commitments of a serious or long-term romance.

People enjoy casual relationships for different reasons, but some of the most popular shared reasons might include:

  • Getting to know someone in a more relaxed and pressure-free way
  • Enjoying each other’s company without long-term commitment
  • A mutual understanding that the relationship is casual and therefore more versatile
  • It’s a great way to find out whether or not you want to pursue a serious relationship with that person or someone else
  • If you struggle with intimacy or relationship anxiety, casual dating can help boost your confidence

Casual Dating After a Long-term Relationship

Coming out of a long-term relationship is always difficult, even if the break-up was amicable. Navigating this new and often unfamiliar single territory can be a daunting prospect, but casual dating may offer a fresh and noncommittal reintroduction to the dating world – which may be exactly what some people need.

Answering the question of how long should you wait to start dating after a long-term relationship depends on a few factors. Namely, how long the relationship was and how it ended. For example, if you were in a 6-year relationship where the romance and spark slowly faded in the last few years, you might feel more inclined to jump back into the dating world sooner. By contrast, if your relationship ended suddenly or without any real closure, it may take longer for you to heal and come to terms with how things ended.

Casual dating after a long-term relationship depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re in a positive mindset and confident in your ability to start dating again, casual dating might be a great reintroduction to the dating scene. However, if your confidence has taken a knock post-breakup, it might be wise to take some time to work on yourself and gain a better idea of what you’re looking for in your next relationship.

What is the Point of Casual Dating?

The term ‘casual dating’ can sometimes be associated with negative connotations. A lack of commitment and disinterest in long-term relationships is enough to deter people from considering entering a casual relationship. So then, what’s the point of casual dating if it doesn’t lead anywhere?

People often forget that casual dating encompasses a few different meanings. Casual dating is technically what we experience in the early experiences of a relationship. You are not yet in a fully-fledged committed relationship, nor has it been long enough to be defined ‘long-term’. So, in this instance, the point of casual dating is to learn more about your potential partner before you label anything.

Casual dating also alleviates the pressure of committing to the relationship too soon plus, it offers a sort of “stop-gap” for people who don’t want a serious relationship yet.

The point of casual dating is to have a fun experience with another like-minded person. There are several reasons why people choose to date in a more casual sense. Some people may be looking to gain a deeper understanding of who they’re attracted to or simply want to experience a fun relationship where serious commitment or emotional attachment isn’t at the forefront.

Check-in from Time to Time

If you are involved in a casual relationship, be sure to check in with your partner from time to time. Although the concept involves a more laid back approach to dating, it’s important to communicate with your partner to ensure you’re both on the same page regarding the direction of the relationship.

 


Are You Uncertain About Your Relationship?

If you are currently in a relationship and are looking to take things to the next level but are struggling to do so, we may be able to help. We provide a personal and genuinely bespoke date coaching service that focuses on all aspects and stages of a relationship. From ‘not dating at all’ to ‘I’ve been casually dating someone for almost a year but we aren’t sure where the relationship is heading’, date coaching is designed to address these worries in a relaxed, personal and psychology-led format.

by Rachel Vida MacLynn

Founder & CEO

Rachel Vida MacLynn is reputed as being a world-leading matchmaking and dating expert. Registered as a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, Rachel advocates a professional matchmaking approach based on psychological principles and professional consultation.More by this author

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