What exactly is casual dating? Just for fun, here’s a definition from About.com: “an interaction between two people who are looking to get to know one another better, without commitments or promises. Either or both parties can be casually dating other people.” Simple enough right?
Both men and women casually date. Casual dating is like going to more than one car dealership and taking the cars that tickle your fancy out for spin around the block. Few people would buy a car without taking it for a test drive first or without comparing prices and models before making a big commitment. So, why date someone exclusively without looking at all your options? It’s all about choosing wisely when it comes to relationships.
However, there are downsides to casual dating. Most people who are seeing a casual dater might wind up feeling threatened when they find out they aren’t the only one in the picture. A word of advice for casual daters: never assume the other person won’t find out because they probably will, and they won’t be too happy about it. Some may even become jealous or obsessive. “I found out through other people and not the actual guy. I felt like I was being lied to and things were hidden from me,” says Stacy Picard, 19.
To help prevent potentially painful situations, I’ve come up with some ground rules to being a successful casual dater:
1. If you’ve gone out on more than two dates with someone, you need to tell them they aren’t the only person you’re seeing. If they don’t want to continue seeing you; that’s their loss. If they can’t handle that you’re single, and you’re taking your time trying to decide who’s best for you and who will make you happiest, then don’t let the door hit them on the ass on the way out. In fact, this is actually a good thing because you end up weeding out the jealous types, the crazies and the clingy ones.
2. Talk to your friends about your casual dating conundrums. Balancing more than one guy or girl isn’t easy, especially when it comes time for you to make some sort of a decision about who you want to continue dating or not. Your friends can help because they know you and they’ll be able to keep you sane.
3. You cannot casually date one person for more than three weeks. After three weeks, you are essentially leading that person on and you would be an asshole if you don’t start communicating your intentions. Three weeks is enough time to get to know a person, see if you like them, and to know whether or not there’s potential for an exclusive relationship. If by that point you’re still unsure, then you’re either not ready for a relationship, or you don’t want a relationship with that person and you’re simply fooling yourself into thinking you do.
4. Don’t give up. The only reasons you should call it quits is if you want a long term relationship or if you don’t feel like this will lead to one at the end of the day. Casual dating is not for the faint of the heart. “In a way you can see who really likes you and who’s willing to fight for what they want. Plus, you can see how confident they are about themselves and or insecure,” said Tania Lucia, 22. If you’re not confident, then this isn’t the game for you.
5. Don’t be hard on yourself. People may call a casual dater a whore or a player, but this is far from the truth. Casual dating could involve sex, but that isn’t the main goal. Casual dating isn’t about being friends with benefits and it’s not about having casual sex. It’s about finding the best match for you. This is about what makes you happy.
Casual dating can have different outcomes. Some people juggle dating a few people at once, without any of the candidates making the final cut. This is a good thing because you didn’t waste your time. You met new people, you went out a few times, and if it didn’t spark, you just move on to the next person?
But, most of the time, one person will always stand out in the crowd. The other men or women will just make you want that other person more. Then, when you finally choose that one person, you’ll feel confident in your choice since you weighed out all the options and realized that this was the best choice for you.
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