Whats a casual relationship

Casual Dating: What It Means, Benefits & Rules To Follow

What is casual dating?

Casual dating is a type of relationship between people who go on dates and spend time together in an ongoing way without the expectation of entering into a long-term, committed relationship. Casually dating someone usually means you like them enough to want to hang out with them regularly but are either not ready for a serious relationship or just don't want one, whether that's in general or just with this person in particular.

"There is no commitment and possibly a lack of interest in establishing a serious, meaningful relationship," couples' therapist Racine Henry, Ph.D., LMFT, tells mbg. "The bottom line is a hard-and-fast boundary around the depth of emotional intimacy and attachment."

People might be casually dating each other exclusively, meaning they are not dating other people, though usually the term "casual dating" implies that it isn't exclusive.


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What is the point of casual dating?

Casual dating can sometimes lead to a serious relationship and can be one of the early stages of a relationship. But in other situations, people choose to keep things casual because they specifically don't want further emotional attachment with the other person.

"There are a lot of reasons people date casually, ranging from wanting to gain more interpersonal experience with people to whom you're attracted, to avoiding the emotional attachment that comes with deeper levels of commitment, to just wanting to have fun," sex and dating coach Myisha Battle, M.S., tells mbg. "A lot of my clients are casually dating until someone presents themselves as a viable long-term partner, so sometimes it's a stopgap between relationships."

Casual dating vs. hooking up vs. friends with benefits.

Casual dating, hooking up, and friends with benefits are all related concepts but distinct in certain ways. Casual dating may or may not involve having sex, Battle notes, though some people use the terms "casual dating" and "casual sex" interchangeably. But "hooking up" and "friends with benefits" both definitively involve some form of physical intimacy.

Being friends with benefits usually involves hanging out regularly in a nonromantic way with sex as a main feature of your get-togethers, whereas "hooking up" is a more general term to describe any two people who are engaging in any form of physical intimacy.


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Benefits of casual dating:

  1. You get to have romance and touch in your life without the commitments of a serious or long-term relationship.
  2. You have someone to hang out with in your downtime.
  3. You have someone to do "couple" and "relationship" things with, without the commitment.
  4. You can get to know someone in a laid-back, pressure-free way.
  5. You can potentially date multiple people at the same time.
  6. You can have sex with a regular partner.
  7. You get to spend time with someone you like who likes you back.
  8. You can get to know someone in a casual way while deciding whether you want to pursue a serious relationship with them.
  9. You can determine if someone isn't a good fit for a long-term relationship with you before actually entering into a long-term relationship with them.
  10. You can enjoy spending time with someone you like even though you know you two wouldn't make a great couple in the long. term.
  11. You can enjoy dating someone without having to share your whole life with them.
  12. You can enjoy the fun parts of dating without a lot of the more mundane or difficult parts of maintaining a long-term partnership.
  13. Things aren't purely sexual usually—you and the other person genuinely like spending time with each other, even when you're not having sex.
  14. You have more independence and flexibility since you don't need to totally sync your life up with the other person's life.
  15. You don't need to find the "perfect" partner—you can enjoy spending time with anyone whom you find fun to be around, even if they're not the "perfect" fit for you.
  16. You might find out you really like each other and decide to enter into a more serious relationship.

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Risks of casual dating:

  1. One person may start to form real romantic feelings or emotional attachment to the other person, and the other person may not feel the same way.
  2. If you develop feelings for the other person and they don't feel the same, you can end up getting hurt.
  3. If the other person develops feelings for you and you don't feel the same way, you may end up feeling guilty about hurting that person.
  4. Some people may not communicate clearly about what they want from casual dating, causing misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
  5. Some people may use casual dating as an excuse to avoid communicating about needs and boundaries.
  6. Some people may use casual dating as an excuse to be careless, selfish, or dismissive of the other person's needs.
  7. Some people may use casual dating as an excuse to lie to the other person.
  8. Some people may say they want to casually date, when in reality they are hoping for a serious relationship.
  9. If your relationship isn't exclusive, there may be a higher risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections.
  10. There's a possibility for jealousy if one or both parties is also dating other people.

Tips for successful casual dating:


Know what you want and why you want it.

"It's a good idea to think about what you want from your dating experiences so you can communicate that with casual partners," Battle says. "Not everyone you meet will be down with your vision, so if you are clear, you will save everyone some time and energy. Plus, putting what you're really looking for out there first is the best way to attract people who are on a similar path."


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Tell your partners exactly what you want from the relationship.

Just because you're keeping things casual doesn't mean you don't need to define the relationship. On the contrary, both Battle and Henry stress the importance of communicating very clearly about what you want from your casual relationships.

"Be as explicit in your communication as possible," Henry recommends. "What are the boundaries? What actions or expectations would be crossing the line? What kind of veto power is allowed?"


Be honest with yourself.

People sometimes like the idea of a casual relationship but don't actually enjoy it once they're in it. Or you might agree to casually dating someone just because you like them, they used the term, and you just went along with it. To avoid getting hurt or any other kinds of misunderstandings, it's important to be real with yourself about whether casual dating really meets your needs. It's OK if the answer is no.

"Be honest with yourself about why you're pursuing this kind of relationship, especially if you're a serial monogamist or serious dater," Henry says. "Check in with yourself often about whether this relationship is meeting your needs. If not, speak up and let your partner know."


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Check in often.

After you establish a casual dating relationship with someone, it's helpful to periodically check in and make sure everyone's feeling good about the dynamic. It can be as simple as asking over dinner or in bed while cuddling: Hey, how are you feeling about the time we're spending together? I'm enjoying it, and I like keeping things casual. How about you?

Give each other space to voice any needs, any discomfort, or any suggested changes to the dynamic. Just because things are casual doesn't mean you shouldn't care about each other's feelings and needs.


Communicate if things aren't going as planned.

If you realize you're not getting what you want from a casual dating experience, you can say something. Maybe you've actually developed more serious romantic feelings, or maybe you just feel like your casual partner is being a little too flaky and disrespectful of your time. Or perhaps your casual partner is asking for too much of your time and attention than you're able to give.

"Initiate a conversation about what you're feeling and where you stand," Henry says. "It doesn't have to mean you want something serious, but just because the relationship is casual doesn't mean you should be unsatisfied."


Stay true to yourself.

"There is still a stigma against casual dating, so be prepared for that," Battle warns. "Whatever your reasons for keeping it casual, you may run across people who judge you for not wanting to take things to the next level. That's why being super clear on your 'why' and communicating it can be really helpful."

Not everyone may align with your definition of casual dating, and that's OK. Find the people who are down to have the type of casual relationship you're looking for, and be OK with saying goodbye to the people who aren't on the same page.

Is a casual relationship worth it?

"Any relationship experience is 'worth it' as long as it reflects what a person really wants and is a comfortable and safe space. Dating doesn't have to lead to a long-term relationship or marriage," Henry says. "A person can be a serial casual dater in a very healthy and positive way."

A casual relationship is totally worth it if what you want is something noncommittal and short-term. It may not be worth it for someone who really is holding out hope for something more serious or for someone who tends to want a lot of commitment and exclusivity in a relationship.

How to know if casual dating is right for you.

If the benefits described above sound worth the risks, casual dating might be a good fit for you. In general, casual dating requires someone who can enjoy an open-ended, nonexclusive relationship.

"You have to be really honest with yourself about what you want and what your motivation for a particular kind of relationship is," Henry says. "If you truly believe you can handle the lack of commitment and openness of casual dating, it might be for you."

Henry recommends exercising caution around casual dating if you:

  • have been hurt in past relationships and are just trying something different to protect yourself.
  • have to keep convincing yourself that it's "fine."
  • feel bothered or hurt by the idea of your casual partner being casual with someone else.

In such cases, Henry says, "You probably want a more serious, committed arrangement, and you deserve that. Just be patient enough to find it with the right person who wants the same thing."

What Does It Mean to Be Casually Dating?

When it comes to dating and relationships, the term “casual dating” comes up a lot, yet many people don’t know what this phrase means or what it entails. So, in order to determine if casual dating is right for you, it’s time to formally define this kind of informal dating process and weigh the pros and cons of this type of connection.  

What Is Casual Dating?

Casual dating or is a physical and emotional relationship between people who go on dates without necessarily demanding or expecting the extra commitments of a more serious romantic relationship.

In the most basic sense, casual dating is when you enjoy spending time with someone and are looking to get to know him or her better, but you aren’t committed to this person in any way. Additionally, while you may have a strong physical and emotional connection with this person and engage in “date-like” activities together, you’re free to date other people and pursue other options simultaneously. In other words, casual dating implies that there’s no obligation or commitment between the two of you, and your relationship with one another is light and informal with no strings attached.

Pros of Casual Dating 

Casual dating can work well for many people, and there are numerous reasons as to why it can be the right choice for you. For example, perhaps you just got out of a long-term relationship and you’re not interested in and/or ready to pursue anything serious with someone new at this juncture in your life. Or maybe you’d prefer to date in a way that removes the underlying pressures, demands and anxiety that can come from monogamy or a formal commitment. Whatever the case may be, casual dating enables you to partake in the dating world on your own terms and with your own rules. 

Additionally, casual dating can be an intriguing and exciting option because it enables you to keep the thrill of the chase alive as you’re able to pursue and date multiple people at once—all while staying completely unattached and uncommitted. Casual dating truly leaves the door open for new people, new possibilities and new experiences without the obligation or burden of being tied down.

Cons of Casual Dating

Casual dating isn’t for everyone, and there are several reasons why you may not want to engage in this kind of informal connection with others. First, you may find it awkward, inappropriate, or a bit unnatural to date many different people at once. You may also find it challenging to date more than one person in terms of your own schedule and other commitments, not to mention the fact that it can limit the amount of quality time that you’re able to spend with someone. After all, it can be difficult to learn anything beyond the superficialities and really get to know a person when you’re devoting your time elsewhere to the other people you’re casually dating. You might even find it hard to keep track of who said what!

In addition, if you’re casually dating someone and then have the desire to take things to the next level, it can be hard for you to transition your casual connection to that of a committed relationship, as the person you’re dating may not be looking for anything serious. Along these lines, people may also find themselves longing for the deep connection, intimacy, and closeness that an exclusive and monogamous relationship can bring. In fact, it’s not uncommon to feel emotionally unfulfilled when you’re casually dating.

Is casual dating right for you?

If you’re wondering if casual dating is the right choice for you, it’s important to look internally in order to understand what your dating expectations are. While it may be difficult to ask yourself the tough questions, it’s time to reassess exactly what you’re looking for at this point in your life. And depending upon your current relationship goals and personal preferences, casual dating can be a great option when it comes to getting to know multiple people at once and keeping your options open.

However, if you know in your heart that you’re looking for a serious relationship and long-term commitment, casual dating may not be the best choice, as it can leave you feeling used, unhappy, and unsatisfied. When it comes to casual dating, there’s nothing casual about making the right decision for yourself.

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Random connections: are you for or against? | A man and a woman

It just so happened
Here he and she met. Perhaps you have already known each other for a hundred years, but there was no talk of such a close acquaintance. There is also a second option. You stand, turning your head from side to side, and suddenly... He. Or She. A couple of on-duty phrases, light flirting and sudden insight: I want to! The further choice is to proudly reduce feelings to nothing and disperse in a good way, or . .. or cuddle with your whole body and fly even to the ends of the world. nine0006

Young people whose eyes darken with lust tend not to be too selective in their choice of interior. If you're lucky - someone's room (it would be nice with a latch too). A little less lucky - a bath, its tile-cooling surroundings and constant knocks on the door "Guys, what are you doing there, huh?" Extreme!
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There are rumors…
The first fly in the ointment is, as a rule, eyewitnesses, who later will remember “Do you remember her??? Yes, he outperforms everyone…” and in the same vein. Of course, if you fly into space from day to day or inherit the fortune of Bill Gates, then you don’t care about gossip. Otherwise, having enjoyed the "forbidden fruit", be prepared for the attack of rumors. Just imagine: when you meet, the eyes of your friends grin doubtfully. The company of smokers falls silent when you appear. And if the second participant of the incident spices up the rumors with all sorts of details? nine0006

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If the previous arguments don't convince, it's worth thinking about the medical aspect of sex for once. Few people think about reliable protection from various troubles in the heat of passion. And then fear, tests, panic and babble: "It all happened so quickly." Is even the most divine sex worth it, huh?

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Of course, fate is a capricious lady. You will never guess what will turn out for you tonight. Perhaps in the morning he won’t even remember who you are, and she will say: “I already have a boyfriend.” One-time sex can grow into a huge spiritually bright love, or it can remain a pleasant memory that warms the soul, which no living soul will know about! Shhh... nine0006

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7 stages of casual relationships: when it's too late to run

Sometimes we ourselves do not notice how relationships from which we did not expect much, wound up out of boredom or lack of fish, grow stronger and turn into something serious and long. How does this happen? How did we miss the moment when it was still possible to just say "adyo" and hide in the fog?

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Bad habits

A break up

Man and woman

Relationship stages



First dates

He asked for your phone number, and for some reason you dictated it. Or maybe you talked on the Internet. Your girlfriend didn't go to the cinema with you at the last minute, and you decided to meet that guy so that the evening wouldn't be wasted. For the first five minutes, you were discussing Game of Thrones, then the conversation faded. nine0006

Can I slip away quietly? Quite. You don't owe each other anything yet.

2. Several dates

You walked around the city, visited the zoo, sat in a cafe. He walked you home five times, kissed you goodbye twice, stayed overnight once. But you're still not sure how much you need it, and at work it's a complete blockage...

Can you just disappear without explaining anything? Well, he'll be a little disappointed, but he'll come to his senses quickly.

3. Month

You know the former passions and the names of some of each other's employees (“Well, has Yulia stopped carrying your erasers?”). You stay with each other for the night. You are no longer nervous when you are going to meet him. And you don't have to frantically search for topics for conversation.

Technically, you can still run away, but how would you feel if you were him? I would wonder why he doesn’t write, doesn’t call ... I would ask my friends if they pick up mobile phones here and whether calls go through ... If you decide to stop meeting, at least come up with a decent excuse, for example: “I have so many things to do now , which is absolutely not up to meeting. nine0006


4. Two months

He knows how you look without make-up and when you are unwell. You know what he boasted about at the first meeting. You have friended each other on all social networks and keep in touch regularly.

It would be strange to leave without explanation. You have already invested some amount of time and energy into developing these relationships. If you're going to break up with him before you start seeing him as your other half, just say that you don't want a serious relationship right now. nine0006

5. Three months

You vaguely mention the future ("Mushrooms will come in autumn - I will have to show you my favorite meadow with honey mushrooms"). Posting pictures together. Know some of each other's friends.

It's too late to just leave. If you decide to take this step, you will have to explain yourself.

6. Four months

You met most of each other's friends and learned about the family skeletons in the closet. One of you is definitely waiting for the other to talk about how serious you are. nine0006

And you really have to talk about it sooner or later.


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