What Does A Casual Relationship Actually Mean?

couple at the beach enjoying casual dati

When you first hear the term casual relationship, you may think it just refers to casual sex. And it can. But there may be a little more, or a little less, involved too! 

So freedom from the rules, no expectations, and you can date as many people as you want… sounds perfect, right? For some people maybe! But the truth is it isn’t for everyone. Maintaining a happy no-strings-attached romance is trickier than it may seem. 

Why would you want one?

People begin casually dating for many reasons. Some people see it as a way to explore multiple connections at the same time until they feel ready for a relationship. Others see casual dating as the end-game! And have no desire to engage with an exclusive relationship.

Can they become serious?

Yes… And no. Any relationship has the potential to become serious. But most people who are in this kind of agreement are in it because of the fact it’s casual. That’s it. While some relationships do begin as casual hookups, this isn’t always the outcome.

Our advice? Avoid entering a casual relationship unless you’re sure it’s for you. If you’re counting on it turning into something serious or feel pressured to agree to one in case you lose your crush, we say don’t go for it.

Instead, pursue people who are interested in the same things as you! 

How to Have a Successful Casual Relationship

State your intentions and boundaries

We recommend both parties state their intentions and boundaries early on. That way everyone’s on the same page. This doesn’t need to be a serious conversation, but it should be honest. 

Ask yourself what you want out of this agreement. Will you be disappointed if the person you’re dating never wants to commit? Are you ok with them being intimate with someone else? Do you want to discuss other people you’re dating with them?

Clearing up these question marks may seem a little boring, but it’ll ensure you’re both in this for the right reasons. 

Respect each other 

Probably the most important rule of a casual relationship, or any relationship for that matter, is to be respectful. No matter how informal things may be, your casual partner may not want to hear the details of how things are going with your other dates. And that’s fine! 

In the early phases of a casual relationship, it may be helpful to come to an agreement about how much is shared, what’s kept private, and when you’re going to date others.

The point of being with your partner is to have fun, but you can do that while still respecting them

Steer clear of jealousy 

Feeling jealous from time to time is natural. But when you’re in a casual relationship, it’s important to not let those feelings get the best of you.

Realize that this is part of the agreement you’ve made. If you’re someone who is easily jealous, then it’s likely that this kind of relationship isn’t the one for you. 

Communication is key

For a casual relationship to succeed, there needs to be open communication… and lots of it! Poor communication can cause trouble in any relationship, but especially in a casual one where boundaries aren’t automatically clear. 

Both parties should state their intentions early on so that they’re on the same page. It would be pretty awkward if you found out later on that your partner had the wrong idea. Or vice versa. If you’re open for it being serious down the road, state that as well!

Check-in with each other regularly. Are your boundaries working for you? How much time is ok to spend together? Is this arrangement still what you’re looking for? Do we introduce each other to our friends?

Asking yourself and each other these questions won’t just make sure you continue to have fun, it’ll also stop anyone from getting hurt.

Casual dating isn’t for everyone. It all depends on what you want and what you’re comfortable with. Ultimately, it’s important to stay true to you.

If you decide down the line that this arrangement isn’t working for you anymore, then that’s fine. Until then enjoy the perks of this no-strings-attached fun!

Demeter DeLune

Demeter is a writer and sex positive blogger who’s been practicing what she preaches for longer than she’d like to admit. She’s the friend you have to warn your other friends about and channels that into her writing. She’s given advice all over the world, but still can’t get her cats to listen.

Discover more about her on her Twitter or website.

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