Casual Dating Tips — How to Date Someone Casually
So you’re not looking for a serious relationship and would like to try casual dating for a while. That sounds easy and uncomplicated, right? While dating without developing an emotional attachment to any one person sounds effortless, it’s not always that simple.
In a perfect world, you could simply ask everyone you date, “What does a casual relationship mean to you?” However, opening up any conversation about the meaning of your relationship can counteract the attempt to remain casual.
Casual Dating vs Dating to Find a Partner
If you’re confused about what casual dating means or what happens if you want to move from casual dating to relationship dating, you’re not alone. The practice is best defined as dating one or more people without the intention of building a serious relationship.
Even if you only date one person at a time, agreeing to date casually means you have no expectations or goals for the relationship — except to enjoy your time together.For many people, casual dating is a way to stay connected socially and enjoy the benefits of companionship on their own terms.
Casual dating does not obligate you to have casual sex. However, for those who are interested, casual dating does provide an outlet to enjoy sex without taking on the responsibilities of a serious relationship.
Some casual daters have recently left a long-term relationship and are not ready to enter into another deep emotional commitment. Others might fear rejection or have had toxic relationships in the past. This dating style is also beneficial to young adults who are transitioning from hookups but are not quite ready for serious relationships.
Whatever the reason, casual daters enjoy being nonexclusive and, if they choose to, dating more than one person at a time. This approach is about keeping your options open and enjoying the moment without pressure to plan for the future.
Some of the benefits of casual dating include:
Meeting many different types of new people
Having new experiences
Avoiding emotionally fraught breakups
Broadening your social circle
Having opportunities for sexual connection without long-term commitment
Having companionship when you want it and independence when you want it
Dating several different people can also help you learn more about yourself and what you want from a future partner. However, not every person is well-suited for this lifestyle. If you tend to develop strong feelings for people easily or need a clearly defined relationship, casual dating may not be right for you.
People who genuinely enjoy casual dating must be honest with themselves and their expectations. If you’re secretly hoping that the next date will turn out to be the one, casual dating might only bring you heartache.
9 Casual Dating Tips to Remember
In any dating situation, the only thing you can control is your own behavior. People aren’t always honest, and they don’t always treat others as well as they should.
Unfortunately, there is just as much risk of encountering thoughtless people during casual dating as in any other dating scenario. The key to successful dating without commitment is being honest about your own intentions and treating every dating partner with respect.
1. No Ghosting
Casual dating doesn’t mean the people you date are expendable or that it’s okay to treat them rudely. Ghosting (disappearing without explanation) is hurtful and confusing. If you don’t want to continue seeing someone, tell them in person. If it’s not possible to meet in person, texting or leaving a phone message is better than ghosting.
2. Set and Respect Boundaries
Even if you know someone you’re dating is dating other people, it can be uncomfortable to hear about it. Don’t share stories about your recent dates with the person you’re currently with, and ask them to do the same for you.
Make sure you’re both on the same page with the limits and expectations of casual dating. To some people, casual dating means simply that a relationship is not serious yet.
For example, your companion may not be interested in having sex with someone they are not committed to. If sex is your main reason for dating, that’s okay. Just make sure you are honest about your intentions and respect the other person’s boundaries.
3. Keep Commitments
Keeping it casual does not mean the other person’s time or feelings aren’t important. If you make a date, plan to keep it. If you must change plans for a legitimate reason, then be honest with the person and ask if they can reschedule for another time.
You might decide you don’t want to see a particular dating partner anymore — and that’s fine. It is casual dating, after all. In that case, it is kinder to end the connection than continue stringing them along.
4. Be Honest
Honesty may be the most important of all casual dating tips. Don’t lie to yourself, and don’t lie to the people you date. When you connect with someone, let the person know your intentions and ask them what they’re looking for. It’s better to discover you have different dating goals right away than to risk hurting someone’s feelings unnecessarily.
5. Abstain from Sex — or Don’t
Some people can engage in sex without developing deeper emotional feelings, and some cannot. If you’re the latter, it may be best to remove sex from your dating life until you decide to pursue a serious relationship.
There is nothing wrong with two adults engaging in consensual sexual activity, but if it triggers the desire for emotional investment, your casual dating will quickly become complicated.
6. Protect Your Sexual Health
It is always important to discuss sexual health when entering a new relationship, and even more so if you are having sex with multiple partners. Before things become intimate, make sure your partner clearly understands you are having or may have sex with other people.
Use condoms and other barrier methods correctly, including putting on a new condom if switching between activities like oral and vaginal sex. Get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections and take appropriate precautions to prevent an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.
7. Go on Actual Dates
Dates should include activities outside of the house, like going to the movies, checking out a new restaurant, catching a concert, or playing mini-golf. Cooking dinner at each other’s place, watching movies snuggled up on the couch, and hanging out at home together in cozy pajamas are things couples do.
Blurring the lines between dating and nesting can lead to confusion, unmet expectations, and hurt feelings.
8. No Family Introductions or Plus-Ones
Do not introduce a person you are casually dating to your parents or children. While you may opt to bring your date to a group event with friends, family introductions send a mixed signal and may lead to expectations. In the same vein, taking your casual date to a family event like a wedding or graduation is also a bad idea.
9. No Jealousy Allowed
Seeing someone you’re dating out on the town with another person may stir feelings of jealousy, and that’s normal. What is not normal is to get angry or criticize them for dating someone else.
Be aware that jealousy can indicate that you have more serious feelings for a person than you realize. If you want to take casual dating to relationship status, have an honest talk with the person and see if they feel the same.
What Does a Casual Relationship Mean to You?
If you’re not ready for a deep relationship or you want something short-term, casual dating might be the answer. But not everyone is built to date casually. If you are honest with yourself, candid with your dates, and respectful of their feelings, keeping it casual can be a fun way to meet new people and enjoy activities you might not try alone.