The Casual Relationship Thing

“I am committed to this casual relationship.” – 89% of men in America, probably

You know how these things go. You meet a charming someone and sooner or later you find yourself in that someone’s company frequently, sacred weeknights included. Time spent together is coupled with waves of texts that keep you interested because that someone is interested and you’re all having a grand ole’ time. Over text messages you share humorous commentary of your day, make topical jokes to prove your intelligence and make vague plans to see each other again. Half of the texts barely make sense thanks to autocorrect but the point is clear: something is happening between the two of you. You see each other when you can – I believe they call this dating – and hardly ever make concrete plans because hey, what’s the need? Neither party feels trapped since there hasn’t been an immediate need to define anything because everyone is on the same page. Right? Welcome to the casual relationship where everything is all rainbows and butterflies.

…until it’s not. One week you’re reveling in all the non-committal fun but the next thing you know, the other shoe drops in the form of one or all of the following situations:

The Fade Out. The texts stop. Calls become few and far between. The ever popular slow-fade or maybe the cold turkey crickets approach. Now as someone who has been both the fader and the fadee I understand there are times when you think this is acceptable and “the only way.” But come on, if honesty is the best policy isn’t it best to just be up front? It’s one thing to go on date one with someone and never text them again but it is a whole other ballgame when you’ve been strung about for weeks on end. No matter what side of the smart phone I am suddenly not texting from, I prefer some sort of parting words. However, it’s safe to assume that no text message or obligatory phone call “for closure” is going to answer the question(s) of why they’re not into it any longer, so on to the next one. All in all, if the fade out occurs then your time together has run its course.

Somebody Develops Real Feelings. It’s no secret that women are looking for commitment more often than men. Sometimes we feel like we can handle it all and not get too attached – we like our freedom just as much as the next guy! – but then your non-boyfriend does something so thoughtful your heart hurts. Someone at a party asks if the two of you are together and you watch as he mumbles and shoulder shrugs through it. You find yourself having those completely normal “what if” thoughts and realize you can’t fight the feeling anymore. Commitment hasn’t been defined but you can’t imagine being with anybody else and how could you? You’re involved.  This is the time for a “what are we doing/where is this going” conversation and please, not over text. Tell him how you feel and don’t be scared to start the conversation. If it’s right, it’s right.

The Comfortable Isn’t Exciting Anymore. One of you is over it, maybe because feelings were expressed and the outcome wasn’t so mutual. Or maybe you realized you are ready for something real, no matter how hard a real relationship may be at times. This is not a bad thing! Sure, you might feel awkward and not know how to handle the situation exactly but honesty is the best policy. You want more from a relationship. You’re ready to move on and forward in a relationship that’s going somewhere. Yes, you want to be in love (eventually) more than you want to just hang out and that is more than normal.

To come full circle and without sounding too much like an online dating service commercial, dating should be 10% awkward and 90% FUN. If you’re not looking for commitment then give the casual thing a spin – when it stops being fun, move on. Fall in love with everything you can but be Smart. Above all, be yourself. It also helps if you wear great shoes.

Featured image via ShutterStock