With casual dating, boundaries are extremely important. When a guy knows you are OK with casual, he will hold you to that agreement and treat you as such. Just because you want to be casual or are sex- positive does not mean you are willing or want to have sex with any man who asks. It gets complicated in the app world where he feels OK to ask any personal questions and demand nudes. Before you download Tinder, think through a few points and see if it makes sense to try casual. In the podcast, “U Up?” (“How to have casual hookups without feeling disrespected”), Jared and Jordana bring up this question of how not to be disrespected and how the definition of casual is different for everyone.
Decide what you are willing to do from the start….
You might have just gotten out of a relationship or felt you never had a “ho phase.” Unfortunately, if you don’t know where to draw the line, you will be swatting men away like dirty flies. Decide from the start what a casual phase actually means to you. Are you fine with virtual sexy fun, or is it more like just innocent flirting with a guy in the line at a coffee shop? Decide what you are comfortable with and not OK with. You can even write down a boundaries list for quick reference. It’s best to know the limits before you are pressed in the moment.
Do you get attached to men easily?….
Some women should not do casual. If you catch feelings very easily, it might not be in your best interest to try casual. It’s perfectly fine to want a boyfriend. You aren’t “too much” to want to be taken seriously.
Putting a label on everything won’t be helpful….
You don’t have to put a label on every interaction. Most guys will ask what you are looking for. He wants a verbal contract where he can sleep with you and then ghost. If you get on a megaphone and scream that you are looking for casual, chances are it will attract the worst type of men. Your actions can be casual and that’s enough. Be as vague as possible, saying things like, “I am just seeing if I connect with anyone,” “I am just looking for dates,” “I will have to see if there is a spark to know what I want.”
You aren’t required to do a casual phase….
It’s totally up to you if it suits your lifestyle. You don’t have to force a square peg in a round hole if it doesn’t come to you naturally.
You want to see what’s out there….
If this is truly your goal, then try casual. You might not have any clue what your taste or type is. Maybe you got married at 22 and have only been with one man for ten years. It’s good to get a sampling of men and personalities to collect data. It’s OK to just date for fun and practice flirting. It does not mean you have to be an unpaid escort.
Is it serving you?….
With any form of dating you need to check in every once in a while and decide if it’s serving you. If you end up stressed and heartbroken after every date, then that’s something to pay attention to. With any form of dating there will be ups and downs. Yet, if your gut is telling you it’s not right, then listen to that. You can’t be half in and half out, starting with casual, then getting furious when it doesn’t result in commitment.
Sometimes a casual phase is exactly what the doctor ordered. It could be a summer thing, for college, or you just moved to a new city. Do commitments happen through casual?….sure!…Yet, more often they do not and it can feel like chasing down a dog with a broken leash. I have been the most heartbroken out of not catching a guy at the right stage and wanting the situation to change. On the positive side, it can feel liberating to be casual. You will experience freedom of choice and not getting entangled with one guy. You can see the type of man who suits your needs and desires. Just remember to hold your boundaries close and check in to see if you are still enjoying the ride.