Tired of sitting alone at home on Saturday night with a bottle of Chardonnay as your wingman and your little cat Fluffy for company, as you watch old reruns of The Love Boat? Tired of all those exclusive Girls Nights out? Thinking about entering into a relationship, but know you’re not quite at that “love you til I die” point? Just want the pleasure of male companionship without the burden of bonding issues? Don’t know how to navigate down that stream without making huge mistakes? Well, live and learn.
Casual dating comes under the guise of what the Relationship Coaching Institute (RCI) refers to as "Short Term Recreational Dating", wherein a person dates for fun and socialization without expecting any commitment or involvement of emotions, other than friendship.
Following are tips on the art of casual dating, keeping it simple and assuring that no one gets hurt.
The first step in this casual dating scenario is making certain the two of you are in total agreement regarding the make-up of the relationship: This is a no-strings attached, let’s have fun together adventure, with rules, that you have decided to embark upon. Why rules? Because people have emotions, and emotions more often than not, can be wounded unintentionally and unnecessarily. There is a huge difference in knowing something going in – what to expect – than having it sprung upon you as a surprise.
So, let’s look at the rules of casual dating. For example, physical and emotional boundaries must be set, acknowledged and agreed upon before the fun begins:
Do I allow this person to meet and interact with my children? If so, to what extent (considering your intent is not to add this person as a permanent fixture to your life)?
What’s the level of exclusivity? Do we both agree to date others? (If it's casual, and you're not really a "couple," - why not?
How long do we continue to see one another, for several weeks or months? Know the limits up front and date accordingly.
How sexually active do we become? Don’t even think about touching my body sex? Sex every now and then? Sex on birthdays and holidays?
Obviously, it’s sometimes difficult to adhere to these rules when you meet someone who’s fun, exciting and shares all your interests and who easily segues from casual friend to your possible next love interest. When your mind becomes awhirl with romantic thoughts of “THIS COULD BE THE ONE!," stop, think long and hard and prepare to have a conversation on the nature of the relationship.
Know exactly what you really want out of this relationship before changing anything. Also, know your readiness before trying to renegotiate the rules. If your partner feels the same way, moving into something deeper, lucky you. But be prepared to move on (for the sake of emotions and sanity) if your partner is not as in to you as you’re in to them.