What is casual dating?
So, you have decided you are ready to try something a little different than your normal dating routine. You want to date casually. That cutie you have been trying to reign in for the past few months says they aren't interested in anything serious. Well, what does this even mean, and more importantly, can you handle it? Casual dating should be fun, free, and relaxed. You get to call the shots and free yourself from the chains of a restrictive relationship and the expectations of how society says a relationship should progress.
Consider these 10 rules when deciding to date casually
Casual dating can mean different things to different people. So...this is where you need to be sure you and the "casually" are on the same page. It's safe to assume that casual means no commitment to most. Are you ready for that? If so, here are a few rules and ideas about how to prepare yourself for your new life as a casual dater!
1. Know why you want to date casually
If you have recently had your heart broken and you just aren't ready to get back in the saddle, avoiding serious relationships may be the best way to move forward. When you are ready to start dating again, going slow and casual may be the best remedy. Just be sure you are ready and know that casual means just that...casual. Avoid rushing into a rebound relationship, and know that this is entirely different than casual dating. A rebound relationship carries a lot of baggage and expectations with it. While it can be a good thing to date casually after a serious relationship, just be sure that the excess baggage you may carry isn't too heavy. If casual dating becomes a chore, you aren't doing it right, or you just aren't ready for it. Emotionally, you must be prepared to be a casual dater. So when you start scouring the Tinder app or dating sites like farmersonly.com just be sure you aren't just rebounding.
2. Be honest with yourself
Speaking of excess baggage, if you are telling yourself you want to date someone casually because that is what they said they wanted, make sure you are being honest with yourself. It is easy to form attachments with someone you enjoy spending time with. Often the idea of getting into the world of casual dating can seem like a solution to a broken heart, but be sure it is something you truly want before you take the plunge by swiping right on your favorite dating app.
3. Know what your gameplan is
When you decide that casual dating is something that is good for you, you must understand your limits. What are you willing to do physically, and where do you draw the line? Think about this question before you start dating because, in the heat of the moment, you do not want to feel confused. You must be able to stick to your guns on this one. Always remember, if you need to revisit your decision, you can do so later on when you aren't in the middle of a hot makeout session. Before going into it, know if you are you comfortable with staying on first base or if you ready steal second. Maybe you want to go all the way and hit a home run? Know these things before you start dating so you can stick to your plans. It's about trial and error as well, so this can change over time if need be. Remember, when you begin casual dating, make sure you and your new guy or gal are on the same page, so he or she doesn't come into the new relationship with any ideas that do not match your own view of casual dating.
4. Get over your ex and be ready to date
Be honest. No, really, be honest with yourself. If you aren't emotionally ready to start dating casually, you may find yourself in a very uncomfortable position. Your date may feel a bit awkward if you keep talking about your ex. Yup, this is a major faux pas, and I know you already know this, but it doesn't hurt to remind you. However, it is also OK to not be over your ex, sometimes deciding to start dating casually is a way to help move on. Just find a good middle ground because no one knows you and how you feel better than you do. If you are on your first casual date, and all you want to do is burst into tears because you miss your guy, time to politely end the evening and let them know you just aren't ready to date. Better now than later! Just find the happy medium and go for it!
5. Consider: Is your ex over you?
Does it matter? If it does, see rule #4.
6. Set dating boundaries and play by YOUR rules
As a point of reference, I recommend watching Seinfeld, Season 2: Episode 9, "The Deal." Once your dating apps load you up with the top 20 guys to start dating, and you get to know a few of them well enough to have a frank conversation about rules, talk about how things will be handled. Will you be friends with benefits, or are you hoping to have a casual friendship first and move on to other things? It is easier to have these conversations through online dating apps and sites because you aren't face-to-face. However, it is also easier to lie and say things you don't mean. Talk to each other, and throw around some ideas, it won't be long before you understand what your counterpart is looking for in a casual relationship. Again, be honest! Set boundaries and rules for yourself and follow them.
7. Keep it casual
Again, casual dating means different things to different people, but many will consider casual dating to mean seeing more than one person at a time and trying each of them on for size, so to speak. Gone are the days of the little black book; apps and dating sites are a great way to collect a few fellow casual daters. Apps like Tinder and sites such as match.com will be a go-to for you as you begin to explore the world of casual dating. Many times a person's profile will indicate what kind of relationship the person-of-interest is looking for. Take this seriously when reaching out. Always be safe when meeting anyone new. Tell your friends when and where you will be meeting and make sure it is always in a public place. There are way too many catfish out there to take this tip lightly. It can get weird, y'all, and you do not need that kind of drama in your life!
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8. Taste test the buffet
Casual dating is like eating at a buffet. You go up to the counter, taste what looks good, then go back for seconds of the dishes that rocked your world and load up on the goodness that is a fried donut. Have fun with this; after all, this whole process is about you. You don't know what you like until you try it, just as you didn't know you hated kale until you finally caved and gave it a whirl. I bet you won't make that mistake again! It isn't any different in the world of casual dating.
9. Know how much is too much
All of a sudden, it happens. You have gone through your dating apps and sites over and over, and no one jumps out at you. Or, you are just exhausted from all these date nights you are having. Maybe you need to slow down and think about what is next for you. Perhaps, guy A decides he is getting jealous of guy B, and you need to decide on who to kick off the island. Hey, if we are entertained by ideas like those posed in the Bachelorette, then why not live it yourself. If you have too many noodles on your plate, push it to the edge of the table, grab a clean plate and grab that spicy beef you know you enjoyed yesterday. Que sera, sera!
10. Allow yourself to switch gears
This is the most important rule that I hope you take with you. The fact is, casual dating can lead to many different outcomes. If someone you are currently trying on turns mean, cruel, abusive, or the complete opposite of who they portrayed themselves to be on your fave dating app, don't go back for seconds (and because this is casual, don't feel bad)! Be gentle and kind, but remember, you don't owe anyone anything as long as you were honest in the beginning. On this same note, if you start falling for someone, you don't have to run away automatically. They (whoever "they" is) always say that love finds you when you stop looking for it. Be honest with your new guy or gal, because if you keep this to yourself, you may make the mistake of falling for someone who was under the impression you weren't looking for love. Ask your casual "pal" if they are feeling the same way you are. Better to know now rather than later when you have invested too much and left the buffet altogether. You don't want your plate empty at this point! Plus, who knows, maybe they were falling for you too, and you certainly don't want to miss out on love.
This is all about you!
Wherever you are coming from, whether you had a mean ex, you haven't dated in awhile, or you need a little something to help you move on, casual dating might be just what you need in your life. Don't worry about what others may think about your new status. Some friends may be judgemental, and some may be super jealous! No worries, this is something you are doing for yourself. Think of it as a reset button! Keep an open mind, allow yourself to have fun, be forgiving, and love your life. When it comes to the rules...well, the fact is, you make the rules! It's called casual dating for a very good reason. It should be relaxed, and easy, never confusing or suffocating. So, when it comes down to it, it is about you, being honest with yourself, and finding yourself. So, make your own rules, and follow them to protect your heart as you begin your journey as a singleton! Enjoy!