The term “casual dating” has gotten a bad rap in the dating world, as it’s sometimes used interchangeably with hookup culture or people think it all boils down to getting physical with your partner.
However, it’s much more than that.
Casual dating occurs when you decide to be in a non-exclusive arrangement that involves every benefit you can get from a relationship but in a more laid-back style.
Think about going on dates and having someone to talk to, but without the labels. Oftentimes, you can also decide if you want to get physically intimate with them or not.
As much as this all sounds good enough, is casual dating a good idea? Should you even consider going into one?
What is casual dating?
Casual dating involves dating one or multiple partners without any commitments or the relationship turning into something more serious.
They can be someone you talk to on your bad days; you can also get intimate with them if that’s your goal, but what you’re sure of is that sooner or later, you’ll be calling it quits.
Taking things casual can be exactly what you need after the end of a long-term relationship. You aren’t looking for anything too serious, and that gives you a chance to explore a wide range of options, get to know more about yourself, and learn more about what you want before going into another relationship.
With that out of the way, let’s get into some of the benefits of casual dating.
The Benefits of Casual Dating
There’s no pressure to commit to your partner
As long as you and your partner are clear on your respective positions, the next step is to begin dating without considering whether this person would make an ideal spouse or a good parent to your children.
Secondly, since you’re not in a relationship with them, it gives you the freedom to do whatever you want without thinking about whether they would be okay with your choices.
Another perk of casual dating is that you’re free to date other people, and for a while, you’re just able to live your life the way you want it to be.
Physical or emotional intimacy can be a part of the equation or not
Unlike being in a committed relationship with your partner, where at some point it’s required to get physically intimate with them, casual dating is not like that.
You’re not trying to keep anyone to yourself, which means they can always get their needs fulfilled elsewhere, and if you want sex with them, that’s all possible too, as long as you communicate your needs to your partner.
Emotional intimacy is also not necessary, as that causes attachment. If you don’t want to know about someone else’s past experiences or the intricate details of their life, casual dating is the right way to go about it.
You’re free to see other people
As long as you two aren’t exclusive, then you’re free to go out on dates with other people and figure out what you want in the long run. You also don’t have to worry about cheating because there are no commitments.
Also, through your exploring, you might even find someone, but let’s digress.
Casual dating gives you a chance to hang out with as many people as you want to, and it just gives you a breather from your usual everyday relationships.
Some perks come with a relationship without the labels
Whatever you can enjoy in a normal relationship, casual dating can provide you with that and even more. Besides, it takes away the fact that you have someone because you two are just going with the flow.
Although this has serious consequences if you fall in love with your partner, don’t let anything stop you if this is what you need at that point in your life. After all, it’s all about diving deep and seeing what happens next.
It gives you a chance to focus more on yourself
Say you just got out of a divorce and you need to rebrand yourself—get to know yourself more—but at the same time need someone to talk to without getting serious, then casual dating can be for you.
This doesn’t mean you become selfish with your desires, as you also need to respect that person; it’s all about taking trips without the other person, practicing self-care, and deeply reconnecting with yourself again.
And trust me, everyone on the casual dating scene is looking for the same thing. But what if the lines blur?
Cons of Casual Dating
Why you shouldn’t get into casual dating
Casual dating can be fun, but it’s not for everyone, so what are some of the reasons one shouldn’t get into one?
Romantic feelings might not be reciprocated
It’s human to develop feelings and fall for someone, but the problem pops up when that person doesn’t feel the same way about you.
In cases like this, no one is to blame because you two were clear from the onset about what you wanted from each other, but things ended up going the other way.
So, if you’re someone who likes to focus on just one person or gets attached quicker than expected, then casual dating might not be for you.
You can tell yourself lies all day long about the fact that you could handle this. However, what you should be on the lookout for is someone who wants to be in a relationship, because if you get into casual dating, you might just get hurt.
You don’t know what you want
Casual daters are sure of what they want, and that’s why they’re headed in that direction.
If you’re a little unsure, figure out what you want before jumping into this to save yourself from being mentally exhausted from all the people you would encounter on this journey.
Casual dating can’t be treated like a normal relationship
It does involve everything you can get from a relationship, but that doesn’t mean you get lost in that bubble.
Suppose your partner is out with someone else; you need to accept that because it’s none of your business.
In casual dating, everyone has their personal lives, so you can’t get jealous if they aren’t spending every moment they can get in the world with you.
Things don’t always go the way you want them to be
At least when you’re in a relationship, you can fight for what you two have, and you have expectations of being together forever.
Casual dating doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get ghosted. Well, if your partner finds someone else, they could dip, and you’d be left wondering why they couldn’t choose you. Lastly, it doesn’t assure you that you won’t get heartbroken.
People just go into it because, for once, we all want to live carefree.
Breakups can be a real bummer
Just because it’s fun doesn’t make it easy.
There are limitations to this setup, such as the fact that you cannot introduce this person to your family or friends because that’s what a relationship is all about. You also can’t bring them up close to the intimate parts of your life.
Crossing these lines can pose issues for you, and if all this makes your head spin, reconsider doing this.
The hardest part would be ending things because you two are no longer on the same page. For starters, compared to a usual breakup, this one can take a while to recover from because, in your mind, you “almost” had that person.
Bottom line: if you love the idea of being together with someone forever, then this isn’t for you because breakups always come sooner than expected.
Is Casual dating a good idea?
Casual dating can be a good idea if you’re sure about what you want. It can also be great for those who just got out of a serious relationship and don’t want anything serious.
The only reason casual dating might not be for you is if, when you fall for your partner, you expect more than they can give or than the laws of casual dating require.
At the same time, with this article, you have the chance to know if you want to get into one or not.
Differences between casual dating, hooking up, and friends with benefits
Since casual dating gets confused with the other two terms, clearing things up wouldn’t be such a bad idea:
Casual dating: This means seeing one or multiple people at once without commitments or thoughts of getting into a serious relationship with them. It’s also usually a short-term arrangement that ends when you want it to.
Hooking up: Hooking up is when you meet someone for the first time and get intimate with them. Sometimes, it can also be someone you’ve been talking to for a while, but what you want from this person is sex. A very good example is the one-night stand. Nothing is promised except intimacy.
Friends with benefits: Friends with benefits are friends who are attracted to each other in some way but don’t want a relationship with each other so as not to ruin the friendship dynamics. Friends with benefits are just friends with the added advantage of sex.
No matter where you’re at in life, casual dating is not for everyone, and if you get into one and at some point want out, talk it out with your partner.
Also, just because it’s casual doesn’t mean your partner’s feelings aren’t important; they are, and you must choose to respect that.
In the end, to make this successful, communication is highly essential at all levels, which means what you need to put first is communicating your needs, your boundaries, and everything in between. Happy casual dating!