Casual relationships- does anyone else struggle with the defining them?
I am currently involved in something with a person who premised our second date with- ‘I’m not really looking for anything serious’. Two dates turned to semi-regular messaging, then became sex, now we’re back to very irregular messaging. I feel like I’m going crazy and that perhaps my definition of casual is not casual at all.
My ideal situation would be flirting, semi-regular messaging and sex- but I would like to be able to rely on some regularity. Am I being naive? Does this definition entirely oppose the term ‘casual’?
Ah @EarthMama I feel you! I have no idea if you’re being naive because I don’t really casually hook up on an ongoing basis… I’m more a one night stand or dating with the purpose of it going somewhere kind of person – all or nothing haha. but I will say that a lot of people would be looking for the same thing you are if you wanted flirting/sex. I usually feel that with people (especially men) as soon as they say “I’m not really looking for anything serious” they’re looking to hook up once or twice with someone and that’s it. That’s in my and my friend’s experience anyway. Communication is really important here but that being said, if you feel like you’re going crazy – just think of the relief that you would feel if you just removed yourself from the situation because honestly, a lot of the time the people we mull over probably aren’t even worth the mental space you’re letting them occupy in your mind. Like you really have to think what is the loss if you decide to let this person go. Plus you shouldn’t have to wait on a text message!!!
I think causal is a really broad term that probably needs more defining to actually understand what it means. I really doubt that my definition of ‘casual’ will match anyone else’s perfectly. I really like talking, even just as friends in a casual situation, so I totally get why you’d want to be in a bit more regular contact.
I don’t think you’re being naive at all, but if you feel like you have a different definition of casual, is it worth bringing it up? It might save you some stress.
Dating in general is pretty hard to define in my opinion, because I guess like with casual dating, everyone has their own definition?
I’d define ‘casual’ to be anything where you aren’t overly emotionally invested? (eg; love of course) Or where you’re free to do something without the other person, similar to an open relationship. Casual dating for me is seeing multiple people (or just the one even) without any commitments, so lots of sex and no expectations of the other person. I think when you start expecting something more from the relationship it starts to leave the casual term into something deeper.
Aaaah it really is a struggle!! I think, @earthmama, if you want to make your intentions clear you should do just that. That way you’ll both be on the same page and be getting the most out of it too. Like @purple says, communication is important!!
i agree with everyone else that the key point here is you’re definitely NOT being naive. these loose relationship definitions will send you in circles and drive you crazy trying to figure them out.
but what you’re describing sounds to me like a more ‘regular friends-with-benefits’ type situation: physical, respectful relationship that suit both of your physical needs, can be relied upon for regularity, but not a lot of emotional investment.
I guess for me casual would be like, no real expectations of anything other than what is happening right at that moment. but maybe its different for gay men haha I would probably just call that a hook-up, which could lead to regular hooking up. maybe we should ditch the term casual altogether? that kind of ambiguity has no place in messing up our relationship expectations!
Thank you so much @purple, @aunt_flo, @tea and @mintmilano !! All such insightful comments.
I feel like a huge theme that’s come up is communication being key…clearly there are as many different definitions of casual as there are people having the relationships- made more complicated still by the community or network we belong to.
There is something in me that is preventing the communication. I suppose I feel that because it’s ‘casual’ I don’t have many rights in terms of asking for regularity. Respect-YES! Safety- YES! But something that just makes me feel better because of my own insecurity…this is where I hesitate.
Hi @EarthMama how did things end up going with this person? I’d love to hear about it (only if you feel comfortable sharing of course)!
One thing I learnt @EarthMama is to never shy away from asking for more or what you want. If you want X, X and X (even if they might seem contradictory) go for it and ask! It’s so cliche but life is too short to feel unsatisfied in a relationship, and you should maintain your expectations and standards no matter what kind of relationship it is. That’s just my two cents.
Well, if I’m honest, it’s still going on…
I’ve tried hard to assert firm boundaries and we’ve had a productive conversation around being clear about when we are actually able to see each other. It is certainly not the relationship I want, but I can’t help remaining interested and sticking it out a little longer. I know I’m being hedonistic and I am definitely sensing some judgement from people around me, but I’m just not quite done.
I wish the answer was more satisfactory. Thank you for checking in 🙂
No worries @EarthMama! I guess you can always date other people and maybe find someone more suited if you’re not exclusive with this person!
I think if you’re communicating a positive way then that’s good though @earthmama! Maybe it’s not the relationship you’d like right now but as long as it’s not toxic or hurting you in any way then what’s the harm in going with the flow?
Relationships are so fluid anyway so maybe as time goes on you’ll both grow into something you both feel comfortable being a part of.