Casual dating is sometimes seen in a negative way. But as long as everyone is honest about what they want, there is no reason not to do this. Whether it’s through free dating sites, apps, friends, or singles’ night at your local bar can be a fun experience. It allows you to blow off some steam and reduce the expectations associated with each date.
So, what is casual dating?
We can understand it as the practice of going out with different people or just one person with no strings attached. As the name suggests, you are here just to have fun. You might not be “going steady” or setting a commitment. And you might be willing to just go on a few dates and have a couple of hookups, but not engage in a serious relationship.
Many people see dating as a way of finding a serious partner for a long-term relationship, and that’s definitely fair. However, others approach dating in a less committed way, and that’s also fine.
Casual dating is associated with a few goals.
To have fun
Dating with no expectations can be fun. You get to spend time with new people, some of which you like and some of which you don’t. You have new experiences, conversations, and get to have some fun without committing to anything in particular. It gives you a way of spending an afternoon, an evening, or a night in a nice and enjoyable way without having to narrow down your options.
If you date someone casually, it might put you into the friends-with-benefits category where you get to spend some time with each other but not necessarily commit to a formal relationship.
To get involved with the dating game
Sometimes, casual dating can help you get into the game after some absence. Maybe you have just gotten out of a serious relationship or you don’t know what exactly you’re after or you’re looking to start dating but are a bit rusty. Casual dating can help you find your feet and get experience with the whole thing without becoming immediately tangled in a relationship.
People who are in a vulnerable position, for example, have just had a break-up or a loss or a bad experience could benefit from a more casual approach that removes the pressure to commit and become vulnerable right away.
To explore what dating means to you
We might find ourselves being pressured into a serious committed relationship, but that doesn’t always make sense. Some people have little experience with dating and want to explore and understand what works for them and what doesn’t. However, some don’t want a serious relationship at all. And, some are just starting out and want to have a lot of different experiences before they settle. All this is valid as long as you are upfront about your intentions to keep things casual.
What is the key to casual dating?
It involves mutual understanding and communication. You should let the other person know whether you are hoping for something casual, no strings attached, no formal commitment, no exclusivity. Don’t assume that it will be obvious – communicate and see if it works for the other person. Just as you get to say who you like and what works for you, the other person can also accept or reject the casual situation your propose.
The best online dating sites and apps allow you to easily find a lot of people in your area who might be looking for something similar. You can look for those who advertise they want casual fun on their profiles, people who are in the area for a short amount of time and discard those who state they are looking for something serious.
Of course, even if you go on a date with the intent to keep it casual, sometimes life gets in the way. It could be that you find yourself wanting more with the person or you suddenly see that you would like to try an exclusive or committed relationship. That’s fine and that happens. Again, the key is communication. If you find that your priorities and needs have shifted, talk it through with the other person. You shouldn’t keep things casual if you are secretly hoping for more. As it will likely hurt you and might also lead to negative situations with your date. Like jealousy.
A risk that always can occur is that one of the people involved will want something more serious. That’s fine, and whether it happens or not, is up to both people. However, if you find yourself on the receiving end, it’s just as important to communicate what you want and what you need. Sometimes, those needs won’t align anymore, and it will be time to move on.
You might find that the other person is willing to try or not. However, the desire for more commitment needs to come from both parties. Talk it through and see what happens.
Casual dating is stigmatized culturally. But as long as everyone involved is on the same page, it’s really not a big deal. There are those who prefer to keep that dating like this long-term and those who find it’s not for them. Trying out casual dating can be fun and teach you a lot about relationships in general.
The key to casual dating is to communicate clearly what you are looking for. Talk about situations when those feelings and wants change. If everyone agrees to keep things casual, then there is a bigger chance of things working out. Sometimes, you won’t like casual dating at all, and, at times, the relationships can evolve. But why not have some fun in the meantime and explore?