What Does Casual Dating Really Mean?

To avoid confusion the best way I can put the word CASUAL in a dating sense is  this…
If I am casually dating someone it means I am not invested in them…
I am not invested in them emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially!
I am not expected to show up anywhere on time, answer their calls, spend money on them or perform any favors for them. Even though these are all nice things to do they are not EXPECTED of a casual dating partner.
When you enter into a relationship you become invested in that person – casual dating, casual sex and casual relationships are a way of removing the complications of emotional investment.
It means different things to different people – therefore I would advise you to figure out not only what it means to you but to your current casual date!
This is because if your views differ strongly on this point there is going to be some confusion and even tears.

Assumptions can be very costly in the dating game!

The usual story goes like this
Sarah assumes that casual dating means that she is going out with Tim on casual basis – to her this means tim does not sleep with anyone else or is not to associate sexually with anyone else. If he wishes to he must consult her and on this meeting she will decide if she want’s to end the relationship or not. To her casual means no plans for marriage or kids… just fun while we are at college or in this phase of her life.
Tim assumes that casual dating means casual sex – he believes that it’s ok to sleep around and that sarah is an amazing person to hang out with… kind of like friends with benefits. He hangs out often with her but doesn’t feel attached to her in any emotional way. He sees Sarah as an amazing friend with which he as a unique relationship with. However he read no fine-print that said he couldn’t see other girls while occasionally sleeping with Sarah.
To many women casual dating is an oxymoron – the contradiction in terms occurs because in casual dating you are supposed to hold back a part of your emotional love… however the very term dating is meant to be a sharing of love between two people.
The wiki definition of casual dating: source
A compound of casual, meaning not regular or permanent and dating, defined as going out with someone in whom one is sexually interested. Casual dating differs from the “friends with benefits” concept of dating in that the former assumes dating may lead to a relationship and the latter satisfies current sexual needs of both parties.
Is Casual Dating Different To A Casual Relationship?
Yes – the very word relationship suggests that there is some exclusivity…
However once again these terms are hazy depending on the two people involved.
In a casual relationship there are some romantic and emotional needs being met however there is no expectation that:

  • future dating will take place
  • monetary support will take place
  • marriage is on the cards
  • they will answer your calls
  • they will turn up on time

A casual relationship could also be called friends with benefits…
Like I said before the definition is hazy and is up for interpretation…
Some like to think that a casual relationship can certainly involve emotional investment. That casual dating can be very romantic and even rather serious. I would place this thinking more in the category of serious relationship turned bad.
That’s not to say that your one night stand or casual relationship is not full of passionate sex where you do feel a real connection. Good casual relationships always have a strong underlying knowledge from both parties that either could ditch at any stage.

The Test

If your casual date let’s you know that she is leaving for a 6 month journey around the world with her friends, and your devastated, it’s a good sign your emotionally invested. For you, the relationship become more than just casual sex and quite rightly so… In fact many casual dating relationships turn serious and many of these transform into marriage.
There is nothing wrong with this – you just have to be aware of the repercussions of letting your sexual motivations play cupid in your life. Your dick is terrible at distinguishing between suitable long term partner and great lay.
This is in fact where many guys get into trouble – the strong and persistent sexual motivation forces guys to select based on sex FIRST and suitability SECOND.
This is where glaring personality mismatches tend to show up but not before they guy has fallen madly in love with his sexual match.
There is nothing to fear with regards to casual dating so long as both parties know the score. Talk openly about your intentions and your plans for the future.
psychology today suggests talk about FWB (friends with benefits) relationships with regards to the research done:

Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit and Michigan State in East Lansing surveyed 125 undergraduates (65 women, 60 men). [Bisson, MA and TR Levine, “Negotiating a Friends with Benefits Relationship,” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2009) 38:66.]

The main theme was that FWB were more likely to become friends after this relationship than they were to stay in and develop a committed relationship.
This sort of behavior is most common in young adults where “folks” are still looking to find their way.

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