Casual Dating: What Does a Casual Relationship Mean

Sep/05/2021 / by Team SEEMA
Casual Dating
Image credits: NATHAN MULLET via Unsplash

Casual Dating

Several relationship labels get thrown around these days, and “casual dating” is one of the most popular. It’s important to determine a casual dating meaning for you as you navigate your relationships to avoid confusion and heartache.

Casual Relationship Meaning

Dating casually means that people go on dates, spend time with one another, enjoy each other’s company, but don’t expect a long-term relationship. If you’re dating casually, it means you like a person enough to spend a significant amount of time with them but may not be ready or willing to be in a serious relationship with one person. Racine Henry, Ph.D., LMFT says that a casual relationship means that two people have a clear boundary when it comes to emotional attachment with the people they’re dating.

It is also important to note that when people are in a casual relationship, they may be dating exclusively but haven’t entered into a committed relationship.

The Point of Casual Dating

A casual relationship can sometimes become more serious; the casual stage is often the beginning stages of a long-term commitment. However, some people decide to keep their interaction casual without developing a deep emotional attachment with the person they’re dating.

Some people want to date casually to get more experience with relationships and avoid getting too attached to one person too soon. Others date casually in the hopes of finding someone to build a romantic future with.

Casual Dating, Hooking Up, and Friends with Benefits

Dating casually, hooking up, and having friends with benefits are similar concepts but have distinct differences. If you’re in a casual relationship with someone, you may or may not be intimate with the person. However, if you’re hooking up with someone or have friends with benefits, it is assumed that you’re engaging in some form of sexual activities with these individuals.

The friends with benefits or hooking up arrangement usually entails spending time with someone as though they are just a friend, i.e. going to the movies or even hanging out with your friend group. However, when the two of you are alone, you are likely being physically intimate.

Pros and Cons of Casual Relationships

There are benefits and drawbacks to dating casually. For instance, you can have the excitement of romance without the commitment that comes with a serious relationship. When you’re dating casually, you have someone to hang out with in your free time and you know there is no pressure to be something more. Some people want a casual relationship because they can have sex with one person without being in a long-term relationship. In many cases, a casual relationship is a great way for you to get to know a person/people and decide who you have a genuine connection with. While this is not always the case, casual dating scenarios can help you find your long-term partner. Since the dynamic is casual, you can get to know the person as a friend and decide if you want to take things further romantically or committment-wise.

However, there are also some things to look out for when it comes to casual dating. It is quite possible for one person to start developing strong feelings or have an emotional attachment even if the other person doesn’t feel the same. This can be difficult whether you’re the person developing these feelings or if you’re the person who has to make it clear that you want to keep things casual. Feelings of guilt and disappointment can surface if you find that you have to turn the other person down or if you want to take the relationship to the next level but the feelings aren’t mutual.

Unfortunately, some people also use casual dating as a way to avoid having deep conversations or expressing their vulnerability. This is a coping mechanism for some people but this can be harmful to people who interact with individuals who are emotionally unavailable.

As you continue hanging out with a person during the casual dating phase, you may start to realize that you want to be exclusive with them with it comes to sexual activity. If the other person is still sleeping with other people, you may be emotionally distressed if you find out. This dating can also lead to feelings of jealousy if you know that the person you’re dating is dating someone else, especially if you happen to see them out together. This is why it’s important to keep the lines of communication open so you’ll know what to expect. You should also talk to your partner about your feelings and get out of any dating situation that is taking a toll on your emotions and peace of mind.

Here are some practical tips for casual dating if you think this may be ideal for you.

Be Clear About What You Want

Tell the people you’re casually dating what you’re looking for in a relationship even though you’re not committed. Be clear in your communication during the dating phase so that both parties know what to expect. You need to know what is considered “crossing the line” or when it is acceptable to date someone else.

Be Honest

Some people like the rules for casual dating in theory but don’t actually like the arrangement once they’re actually in a casual dating relationship. You may agree to date casually you like a person but could get hurt if you start to develop deep feelings and the other person doesn’t feel the same.

It’s important to be honest with yourself about whether you can emotionally handle a casual dating relationship. If you prefer commitment or monogamy, you have to be truthful about whether a casual dating situation is meeting your needs. You’ll also need to talk to your partner if you’re feeling unfulfilled by engaging in the dating and discuss where you’d like to go in your relationship.

Don’t Forget to Check In During Casual Dating

Even after you’ve established dating rules, you should still check in often to make sure that each of you feels good about your dynamic. You can make it clear that you enjoy the time you’re spending with the person you’re dating and want to keep the relationship casual or be honest about wanting to take things further. Make sure that you make your partner feel comfortable voicing their needs and wants even though your relationship is casual. Establishing casual relationship rules could create a healthy foundation to take things further in the future should the both of you agree to do so.


What is the point of casual dating?

The point of casual dating is to allow you to get to know people before you decide that you want to be in a committed relationship with them.

What are the rules of casual dating?

It rules are based on the people in the relationship. For instance, you may prefer that the person you’re dating not entertain others while getting to know you. Or, you and the person you’re casually dating may agree to disclose whether you’ve been intimate with anyone else during time you’ve gotten to know one another.

Is casual dating healthy?

It can be healthy if you’re trying to find someone that you have a true connection with. This type of dating is also ideal to help you maintain a social life after a breakup if you’re not ready to get back into a committed relationship yet.

How do you know if you’re casually dating?

You can only know if you’re in a casual dating situation if you talk to the other person you’re in a casual relationship with. Don’t assume that he/she is dating you exclusively just because that is the type of relationship you may desire.

What is casual dating vs relationship?

It can include dating or being intimate with other people or dating one another exclusively without having an official title. A relationship means that you are generally not dating anyone else and have committed to developing a stronger bond with your significant other.


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