Casual dating, sigh, we’ve all been there before… you start seeing a guy you like and things seem to be going really well, or so you thought, until he hits the brakes and mentions that he only wants a casual relationship.
I get it. I’ve been there numerous times. And while this may seem confusing, even hurtful, the good news is that there are benefits to casual dating, too.
But, before we get into the different reasons why a man would want a casual relationship, let’s first define what a casual relationship is.
A casual relationship is typically a scenario wherein you and your partner hang out, go on dates, and even hook up but without the traditional relationship labels and boundaries. Furthermore, in casual relationships, there’s no expectation for things to become serious in the long term. In fact, the long-term is rarely spoken about.
In a casual relationship, things are generally kept pretty surface-level emotionally but are pretty steamy and intense physically.
Sometimes, relationships start out casually as two people get to know each other better and then progress into more serious, committed unions.
Table of Contents
Now that we’ve defined what a casual relationship is, let’s look at some of the reasons why a man would opt for a casual relationship instead of a serious one.
Generally speaking, the reasons why someone would opt for something casual over something serious has to do with emotional availability, time availability, boundaries, past traumas, or expectations.
If he’s new to the dating scene because he recently went through a breakup or divorce, or because he only recently decided to start dating people, he might want a casual relationship. Opting for a casual relationship will give him time to find his feet and discover what it is he wants, needs, and likes.
For one reason or another, the person you’re seeing might not be ready for a serious relationship. If they’ve recently gone through something traumatic or are focused on their studies or work, a relationship might not be their number one priority.
If this is the case, a casual relationship might suit them perfectly as it doesn’t add pressure to their already overburdened minds or schedules.
However, this isn’t to say that things won’t change over time. As they work through their issues or their schedules free up they might be more open to exploring the possibilities of a serious relationship.
If you’ve met someone who’s recently come out of a relationship, chances are, especially if it was a traumatic ending, that he/she won’t be ready to jump into another relationship. Unfortunately, it takes time to heal and get over the hurt and heartbreak of a breakup or divorce.
Moreover, if he’s very recently gone through the breakup, he/she might still be in contact with their ex and there’s always the possibility that they might get back together and try to work things out. In this instance, keeping things casual might be in the best interest for both of you
Depression, anxiety, stress, or anything else that impacts negatively on one’s emotional state may impact their ability to be emotionally available to others.
If he’s working on his mental health there’s a very strong possibility that he might not be ready for something serious and, instead, opt to keep things casual and relatively stress-free.
By the same token, if you’re working through anything that’s impacted you heavily emotionally, I do not suggest entering a serious relationship. Any such serious issues are bound to impact the relationship negatively at one point or another unless they are dealt with prior.
Perhaps, he’s just started out in the corporate world, recently landed his dream job, or got a promotion, or he’s overburdened with his workload. Whatever is going on in his career might be impacting his ability to be there for his partner in a committed or serious manner.
If this is the case, a relationship where there’s no time pressures or expectations might be easier on both of you emotionally.
It’s no secret that most men enjoy having casual sex without any strings attached, perhaps more so than most women.
So, if someone gives them the opportunity to have their cake and eat it - i.e. to have the benefits of a relationship without having to deal with the difficulties that naturally come with being in a committed relationship - that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Before agreeing to be with someone just for casual sex, make sure you’re on the same page mentally and emotionally.
A casual dating relationship gives someone the opportunity to have most of the benefits that come with a committed romantic relationship, without the drama. That being said, there is a level of depth, intimacy, and love that will never be experienced in a casual relationship.
Regardless, some people might not feel they have the time, energy, or emotional capacity to deal with some of the drama of a committed relationship, i.e. the jealousy, the expectations, the other person’s emotions, or the long-term considerations.
In my opinion, dealing with someone like this might also give you a better understanding of their EQ level.
Commitment issues are very real and may have stemmed from things such as childhood trauma or complex past relationships. If he has commitment issues he’s likely to exhibit some of these behaviors:
Being in a committed relationship and developing romantic feelings for someone involves a level of trust, honesty, and vulnerability. Again, due to past experiences, someone might have issues related to these qualities and might not be ready to trust or let someone in.
However, these feelings can change as a person works through their past issues and gets to know you better over time.
Many people shy away from things that are high maintenance. So, if he feels serious relationships are high maintenance and he has the option of a low maintenance, casual relationship, chances are, he’d rather opt for that.
In serious relationships, there’s the expectation that you’ll check in on each other on a daily basis, go on a couple of dates every week, introduce each other to friends and family, go away on vacation together, and be included in each other’s plans, just to name a few.
All of these expectations can add pressure to a relationship and some men may feel that, for one reason or another, they’re unable to deal with that level of maintenance.
If he is someone who wants something low maintenance, make sure you’re emotionally okay with the fact that he’s probably not going to be messaging you, checking in with you, or making plans with you unless it suits him.
More often than not, issues in relationships stem from people who have issues with themselves. Hence, why it’s so important to love and value yourself first before you’re able to love and value someone else.
If he has any issues relating to his self-esteem, communication, confidence, self-worth, or independence, it’ll impact his ability to have a healthy, committed, stable relationship.
The only way a person can improve their relationship with themselves is by acknowledging the issues they have, allowing themselves to feel the feelings they have, setting up healthy boundaries with others, making self-care a priority, journaling, making time for things they love, and even, therapy.
More and more millennials are questioning the setup of traditional relationships and marriages and their respective boundaries, and, perhaps, for good reason.
Perhaps, traditional relationships and/or marriages don’t make sense to him, which is perfectly acceptable. If this is the case, find out what his beliefs and expectations are in a romantic relationship. If his beliefs make sense to you and it’s something you feel you can work with, you may be able to have a very happy, respectful relationship with him.
Doing things traditionally is not the only way to find happiness and love!
There are a variety of reasons why a man might want to keep his options open, some of which might not be great to hear. These include:
In my opinion, you should never opt to be with a man who doesn’t think you’re good enough. Find the person who adores you exactly as you are.
Romantic relationships can be emotionally taxing on many different levels. In order to truly fall in love and experience all the magic that comes with being in love, you have to be vulnerable and prepared for the possibility of getting hurt or rejected at some point. This can be a scary thing to accept.
Not only do you need to take your own emotions into consideration in a committed relationship, you also need to consider the other person and, at times, put their feelings and needs ahead of your own.
If the person you’re interested in isn’t ready for something that can be emotionally taxing, regardless of the rewards, chances are they’ll opt for a casual relationship where they don’t have to get their emotions as invested as in a serious one.
There are many things to take into consideration when entering into a more serious relationship with someone. Things like your outlook on life, religious views, parenting styles, lifestyle choices, career aspirations, and political views should all be taken into consideration.
If the two of you aren’t on the same page with most of these, or at least willing to compromise on some of them, then dating casually might be a better option.
Unfortunately, getting in too deep with someone who isn’t on the same page as you is bound to end in heartbreak at some point.
The benefit of being in a casual relationship is that, on the surface, one can have the best of both worlds.
You can talk to and flirt with whomever, you don’t have to answer to anyone about anything, and (depending on the boundaries set) you can even hook up with other people all while still having the comfort and familiarity of someone you know and like within an arm’s reach.
Hence, why casual dating may seem like an appealing option to many people.
If a man’s attracted to you on a physical level but not on an emotional or intellectual level, he’s going to opt for a casual relationship, or maybe even casual sex only. If the sex is amazing and neither of you wants more from your interactions with one another, keeping things very casual might be the answer.
If he’s seeing multiple people and maybe even having sexual relationships with others, he’s going to want an open relationship where he can do as he pleases.
If this is something you’re on board with, make sure you take your health into consideration and that both of you get tested for sexually transmitted infections.
Furthermore, if he’s dating other people, make sure you’re emotionally prepared for the fact that at some point he may fall for someone else and cut you off.
Maybe he travels a lot and you don’t, or he’s social and you aren’t, or he’s very sporty whereas you prefer relaxing at home. Whatever it is, he might not be able to envision how you’d fit into his life and schedule.
If this is the case, he’ll prefer a casual relationship where you can both continue your lives as normal and meet up when both of you are free and available.
In this case, opting for a casual relationship might be beneficial for both of you as you’re able to give your passions and hobbies priority, without having to sacrifice too much for your intimate relationship.
A friends-with-benefits relationship (or FWB relationship) is similar to a casual relationship in terms of boundaries and expectations. However, this sort of relationship usually starts out as friends first. Once a solid friendship has been established both friends might realize that there’s some level of sexual chemistry, which they then decide to act on.
More often than not, a FWB relationship will be kept casual (at the beginning at least) in an effort to not ruin the friendship.
At one point or another, there might be mismatched wants, needs, or expectations from a relationship. Communicating what you want as openly and as honestly as possible, while still respecting your partner's wants and needs, is essential to your happiness and the future of the relationship.
Keep in mind though, that your partner might not be on the same page as you are. Regardless, being true to yourself is incredibly important.
My number one dating tip is to always be upfront and honest about what it is you’re looking for from a relationship, from the get-go. By doing so, you’ll save yourself time, energy, and heartbreak down the road.
But, in order to be upfront and honest about what you want, you need to understand what your true, innermost desires are.
I recommend journaling a list of things you’re looking for in a relationship, characteristics you’d like your partner to possess, and things that are out of the question for you. By doing this you’ll have a clearer understanding of where you’re at and what you want.
Once you’ve done the above, it’s important to communicate a handful of your top needs and expectations with your partner and that they do the same. If you’re on the same page, you can move forward harmoniously from there. If not, it’s better to cut ties sooner rather than later.
If you feel there’s potential in turning a casual relationship into a serious one, and he’s showing some signs that it’s moving in that direction, you might want to practice some patience. It’s very unlikely that a casual relationship will become a serious one overnight.
If you put too much pressure on the relationship to become serious immediately, it might crack. This is where I suggest trusting your gut and looking for signs your casual relationship is getting serious.
Again, if there’s no indication that things are moving in the direction you’re hoping for, have a discussion with your partner and end it sooner rather than later if he’s not on the same page.
In any relationship, it’s super important to check in with your partner from time to time and see how they’re feeling about things. Make sure each other’s wants, needs, and expectations are being met and, if not, find ways you can better serve each other.
Showing this level of empathy and emotional maturity in a relationship is sure to get things moving in the right direction. More so, it may even open your partner’s eyes to what a catch you really are.
If you want things to become more serious, and your partner has shown signs that they’re potentially on the same page as you are, then spend more time together.
Do this by sending your partner texts throughout the day, scheduling weekly date nights, calling them randomly throughout the week, and spending quality time together. It’s also important to make sure the effort is reciprocated.
People want what they can’t have. If you “want a guy to chase you,” don’t sit waiting around for him to call and make plans with you. Instead, carry on with your own life and have fun doing so. A man will sense your independence and is likely to be drawn in by that.
It’s important to remain respectful and kind even if your partner isn’t on the same page as you. Don’t become angry, resentful, or insulting. Instead, find a way to end things on good terms and move forward gracefully.
If you want things to progress slowly and steadily in the right direction, I don’t suggest introducing your partner to friends and family members too early on.
Introducing them to important people in your life automatically puts added pressure on the relationship. Not only will your partner feel things have become serious but outside people, too, will have the impression that things are serious.
If your partner’s not ready for this level of commitment it might scare them away and you’ll be left answering everyone’s questions.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to relationships. A casual relationship can be healthy provided there’s open and honest communication about wants, needs, and expectations from the start. Furthermore, both parties need to be on the same page and respectful of each other’s boundaries in order for the relationship to function healthily and harmoniously.
Again, there’s no general approach for this. What works for one couple who is casually dating might not work for another. My suggestion would be to go with the flow and trust whatever feels right for both of you. Keep in mind, however, that the more regularly you start seeing your partner, the more likely you are to develop strong feelings.
Yes, a casual relationship can turn into a serious one, provided both partners are on the same page. If both individuals start developing deeper feelings for each other or decide they want something more committed, a casual relationship can become a serious one.
However, I wouldn’t suggest holding onto a casual relationship in the hopes that it’ll become serious because it may never happen. If your partner isn’t on the same page, things are bound to end in heartbreak if you’re holding on, hoping for more than what he/she can give.
Based on the above, we’re able to see that, generally speaking, casual dating implies seeing someone without the added pressure of boundaries, expectations, and commitment.
Furthermore, there are many different reasons why a man would opt for such a relationship as opposed to an exclusive relationship. More often than not, these reasons have nothing to do with you and are merely a reflection of what’s going on inside of him.
That being said, casual relationships can work, provided both parties are on the same page, remain respectful, and communicate their wants, needs, and expectations from the get-go.
If you enjoyed reading this article, please give it a like and share!