Casual Dating Expectations: Are You On the Same Page?

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Casual Dating Expectations Vs. Reality

There is no fixed rule for casual dating. Those involved come up with the rules that govern their relationship.

As such, every casual relationship has a different dynamic, but there are overall expectations in every casual relationship and casual dating in general. 

These expectations are common and known to the outside world as the cornerstones of casual dating. 

Are you familiar with these casual dating expectations? Don’t worry if you aren’t. This article covers them in detail and explains their reality. 

It also answers some frequently asked questions regarding casual dating, so stick around to learn all these in detail. 

Let’s get started!

Casual Dating Expectations

Casual dating can take any form (good or bad) that the parties involved agree on. It could be going out on dates without real intent or having casual sex and nothing more.

But generally, casual dating involves low expectations from both the relationship and the other person. And for that to work, people expect things like no commitment or feelings in a casual relationship.

Let’s look at these casual dating expectations in detail. 

There is no commitment

Often, people expect a commitment-free relationship when dating casually. So you just hang out together, go on dates, and have sex without committing to each other.

You’re also not answerable to the other person, depending on the dynamics of your relationship. That’s why most casual relationships are non-exclusive because there is no commitment involved. 

And that’s the whole concept of casual dating. Having an excellent dating experience with zero commitment. 

There won’t be feelings involved

When casually dating, you’re not expected to have feelings or involve them. That’s why most people end things when they or others develop feelings. 

Feelings are said to compromise the whole aspect of casual dating. Because when you develop feelings, you get attached and want more, which you can’t get from a casual relationship. 

A couple casually dating and looking at their photos
A couple casually dating and looking at their photos

You can’t be heartbroken

Some people opt for casual dating because feelings aren’t involved, so they can’t be hurt, which makes sense because we get hurt when we care about others. 

It’s more about sex

I’ve met individuals who believe casual dating is more about sex with several people at once. Some even argue that it’s promiscuous. 

If such a person tried casual dating, they’d expect it to be as they imagined: having casual sex with anyone they wish. 

Your actions don’t affect the relationship

It’s expected that because casual dating doesn’t involve commitment, those involved can do anything they want. After all, you’re not answerable to the other person, so your actions don’t necessarily affect the relationship. 

The Reality

There are our expectations and reality; here are some facts about casual dating.

It’s not necessarily zero commitment

If you think about it, casual dating is not commitment-free. For any relationship, even a casual one, to work, there must be some degree of commitment. 

The intensity might vary, but the degree is still there. People make time and effort to spend time together in a casual relationship. For them to meet, they have to adjust their schedules accordingly. 

This means the parties involved forego some things for their relationships. They commit to the relationship, just not in the same way as in a traditional relationship. 

Feelings are often involved

People in casual relationships can do almost everything partners in a normal relationship do. This means going on dates, having sex, and anything else they agree on. 

All these are things that lead to the development of feelings. Besides, it’s not like parties in a casual relationship don’t like each other.

There is some level of emotional attachment, and that’s why they decided to pursue the relationship. Engaging in all bonding activities fuels the attachment and waters the feelings. 

A casually dating couple looking in love with each other
A casually dating couple looking in love with each other

Sometimes your feelings are hurt

While people don’t expect to get hurt while dating casually, sometimes it happens. The expectation is associated with the assumption that feelings aren’t involved in casual dating. 

And as we’ve seen, feelings are often involved. So even if parties started with zero feelings (which is rare), they could develop feelings over time, especially when activities they engage in support bonding. 

Unfortunately, humans don’t all work the same way, which means one person can develop more feelings quicker than the other. This may result in conflict because they won’t be on the same page.

One may want more than the other, and they may be hurt if their feelings are ignored. This proves that dating casually doesn’t shield you from heartbreaks. 

It’s not all about sex

If you’re not committed to each other, this means you’re only dating for sex, right? Well, this is not always true. 

While some casual relationships are more about sex than others, others aren’t. The point of casual dating can be defined differently by the parties involved. 

For some, it’s a learning experience to engage intimately with someone. For such individuals, their relationship will be less about sex and more about the things that make a relationship. 

Some of your actions affect the relationship

Some of your actions affect the relationship in one way or another. And if that weren’t the case, casual dating wouldn’t have rules. 

For example, if your relationship is exclusive, you can’t get intimate with others. And if you do, you risk jeopardizing the relationship. 

Another thing, partners in a casual relationship should be honest with each other. So withholding information or lying about things affects your relationship. 

People Don’t Have Control Over Casual Dating, as they Assume

People Dont Have Control Over Casual Dating
People Don’t Have Control Over Casual Dating

Most people engaging in casual dating assume they have everything under control, but whether they like it or not, this is not always true. 

And if it were, you wouldn’t hear of beautiful love stories that began as casual relationships. You get into a casual relationship expecting not to commit, fall in love, or get hurt.

But if you invest your time and a little effort into the relationship, then you care and are not shielded from heartbreak. 

The only way to prevent such things is by accepting that they can happen and finding ways to avoid them. 

One way to prevent losing control and falling in love while dating casually is to minimize the time spent with the other person. 

If you think about it, spending more time means bonding more, which can fuel feelings. When you start developing feelings, you will want to spend more time; before you know it, you’re in love. 


What does casual dating mean to a guy?

It means hanging out on dates and enjoying each other’s company without the real intent of a serious relationship. As a result, casual dating doesn’t demand as much effort as pursuing a long-term relationship.

It is governed by flexible relationship-like parameters because it involves less emotional attachment. 

How do you date casually without expectations?

Honestly, you can’t date casually with zero expectations. The best you can do is lower your expectations, but you can’t eliminate them. Planning to spend time together means there is already an expectation of seeing each other. 

Just that the expectations in casual dating are not as intense as in traditional relationships because casual dating involves less commitment. 

A casually dating couple hiking together
A casually dating couple hiking together

How long should you casually date someone?

There is no hard rule for this. Some people date casually for months, while others can extend it up to a year or two. It all depends on the dynamics of your relationship and how you feel about each other. 

Besides, you control the relationship and can make adjustments to favor it. So if you’d agreed to date casually for three months and after that, you want more, you can always extend it provided you both agree to it. 

Can casual dating lead to a relationship? 

Yes, casual dating can lead to a serious relationship. Some people find partners while dating casually and choose to commit and pursue a long-term relationship. 

This is possible because, as I mentioned, casual dating nurtures romantic feelings, and when these feelings are mutual, partners can turn their relationship around. 

Even better, they can pursue such a relationship and end up in a permanently committed relationship or marriage. 

Bottom Line

We all have different expectations for casual dating that we believe drive casual relationships. Common ones include zero commitment and lots of sex with zero or little feelings. 

And if there is no commitment, you’re not obligated to anyone, so you can do almost anything you want.

However, when you get involved in a casual relationship, you realize these expectations are inaccurate. 

Feelings can easily be involved or hurt, which is opposite to the no feelings involved expectation.

Photo of author


Over the years, Stephanie has had her fair share of dating experiences. While some turned out great, others weren't so great. She believes that relationships are meant to be fun, exciting, and full of laughter. She wants to help men and women become confident, attractive, and successful in their romantic relationships.