There are plenty of different reasons why people choose to date. There are some who would love to meet their partner for life, while others are trying to work out what they want after a breakup. For others, they’d just like to meet people without any strings attached. This is called casual dating, which is loosely defined as dating multiple people or having a casual fling without the feelings that come with a committed relationship. It’s dating without commitment and often non-exclusive. Dating casually can be a step between hook-ups and more serious relationships, helping forge an intimate connection with somebody before heading into something more committed. It can be a way to have some fun and a great opportunity to meet new people, but there are a few things to bear in mind to make this arrangement work for you.
How to date casually
While it may seem simple to meet new people and keep things casual, there are actually a few important considerations to ensure you are both on the same page about what’s going on. We’ve shared our key advice below.
Be upfront about what you are looking for: It can get messy if you are both looking for different things. If one person is hoping the arrangement turns into a full relationship, and the other is only looking for a bit of fun, then it can easily lead to hurt feelings. Although the idea is dating without pressure, it’s still important to establish boundaries to protect feelings. They can range from emotional and relational to sexual boundaries, and you must both be happy you have similar expectations. There’s no tried-and-tested routine for casual dating, it’s just what feels right for you both. However, it is worth being aware that if you see each other regularly, meet each other’s friends, and leave personal items at each other’s houses, then you might be crossing into relationship territory and feelings may develop, which can be painful if they are one-sided. Be clear from the very beginning about what you want from the arrangement.
It can be OK to date other people: Part of dating casually is figuring out what you want from a future relationship and dating this way can provide that opportunity. Seeing multiple people can help you decide what is important to you. You’ll learn a lot about the dating experience and the red flags to be on the lookout for. It’s still important to be open that you are seeing other people so the people you are dating know the score. Jealousy can crop up if you see the person you are dating casually with other people, but if you’ve agreed to be non-exclusive there isn’t really the option to say anything about it.
Enjoy the freedom it brings: Many people enjoy dating casually because it allows them to spend more time with the other people in their life and be spontaneous with plans. Being in a committed relationship means you must consider the other person’s feelings and plans when you make your own solo arrangements, but when you are dating causally you can be a lot more spontaneous.
Be respectful: Keeping things casual doesn’t mean you can disregard somebody’s feelings. If you think things have run their course, then let them know you are no longer interested. It’s not fair to ghost somebody, as it can cause a lot of hurt and confusion and leave somebody wondering what they did wrong. It’s also not fair to cancel at the last minute if a better offer comes along. Be polite and stick with your plans or reschedule if there is enough notice. It’s still important to be kind and respectful and being casual does not change that.
Be mindful that feelings can develop: Sometimes dating casually is a stage that can turn into something more serious. If you find you are falling for somebody it’s time to be honest to see if their feelings are the same. It can be incredibly painful hanging on to a connection where you aren’t upfront about how you feel, and you know they only want to keep things casual, and their interest never deepens.
One of the most important things is checking in with yourself, making sure you are still happy to date this way and you’re still having fun. If it’s all becoming a bit much then take time for yourself, concentrating on self-care and making time for things you really enjoy. Only return to your dating journey when you are truly ready, and you can concentrate on getting whatever you are looking for out of dating.
If you are hoping to meet that person you just can’t wait to spend time with, give our expert matchmaking team a call today. We can work with you to really understand what you are looking for, helping you effortlessly meet the person of your dreams.