What Is Casual Dating and Is It Right for You?


Last Updated: May 1, 2024

Dating Tips

Modern-day dating comes with a vocabulary of its own, and one of the most confusing phrases to figure out is casual dating. What is casual dating and how is it defined? Is it a healthy way of putting yourself out there? Or is it always going to end up in an unsatisfying situationship?

Let’s take a closer look at casual dating so that you can decide whether it’s right for you!

What is casual dating?

Casual dating refers to a type of relationship that may have romantic or sexual components but does not have the emotional intimacy of a fully committed relationship.

There are a few reasons why a relationship may be considered casual:

  • You don’t know each other very well, yet. Sometimes, casual dating can refer to the getting-to-know-you phase of a relationship.
  • One or both of you have decided to keep things casual. Some people are only interested in casual dating, and as long as they communicate their intentions, that’s perfectly fine.
  • You’re engaged in a type of non-traditional dating style, such as sugaring or ethical non-monogamy. Some alternative forms of dating benefit from emotional distance. For instance, a person in a polyamorous relationship may want to casually date people outside of the couple while maintaining emotional intimacy only with their main partner.

What are the benefits of casual dating?


Like with any style of dating, casual dating can be great for certain types of people. Here are a few of the benefits that draw people to casual dating:

  • It allows you to meet a variety of different people. Casual dating is free and open, allowing you to get to know people and explore what you want in a partner.
  • You may be too busy to maintain a more involved relationship. Relationships take time and emotional effort, which not all of us have at every stage of our lives. If you’re interested in focusing on your career or personal growth, casual dating can be a good addition to your life instead of overtaking it.
  • You are healing from something in the past and not ready to engage in a relationship. It’s emotionally mature to realize that you may not be ready to be a committed partner to someone else right now.
  • You tend to jump into things too quickly and are trying to take things slow. Many of us were raised with the pressure to get married and have kids, which can lead to rushing into relationships we’re not ready for. Casual dating allows you to gently pump the breaks and take things slow.

What are the drawbacks of this style of dating?

And, just like with any style of dating, casual dating can have its drawbacks too. Here are some reasons why people may feel burnt out by casual dating:

· Meeting new people can feel overwhelming. Casual dating can mean setting up dates with new people frequently. And if small talk isn’t your thing, this can feel tiring.

· You may find yourself missing the emotional connection of a committed relationship. Casual dating tends to have certain emotional boundaries, whether they’re stated or not. For instance, you might not feel comfortable calling someone you’re casually dating when you feel down and need someone to talk to. Additionally, this person may not be there for you when one of your family members is in the hospital or you have an emergency.

· It may not align with your desires to find a spouse or start a family. If you’re ready to find your life partner to start a family with, casual dating might feel like a step in the wrong direction. While casual dating can sometimes lead to marriage, you might find yourself spending time with people who aren’t interested in the same future as you are.

· If you don’t have a strong sense of self-esteem, you may find this type of dating difficult. While casual dating can be liberating and fun, it can also take a mental health toll on those who struggle with self-esteem. Casual sex in particular has been linked to anxiety and depression for certain individuals, so it’s important to work on your mental health before engaging in casual dating.

What is casual dating compared to a situationship?

Basically, the difference here is in the perspective. Casual dating, on the one hand, is a value-neutral term. As we’ve discussed so far, there are many valid reasons why someone might pursue casual dating. The pros, of course, should always be weighed with the potential cons so that you can decide whether casual dating is right for you.

Situationship, on the other hand, has a negative connotation. It typically refers to a type of casual dating relationship in which one person wants to pursue an emotional bond while the other wants to keep things as they are. The person who is more emotionally invested may struggle with feelings of inadequacy and confusion as to why their partner doesn’t want a more traditional romantic relationship.

Best practices for a positive casual dating experience


If you think you might want to pursue casual dating, there are a few things you can do to ensure success, such as:

  • Focusing on your own independence and well-being. The best way to enjoy casual dating is to see it as a supplement to your own happiness rather than the source. By dedicating time to your hobbies, career, friends, and mental health, you’ll be better able to enjoy time with casual partners.
  • Being honest about your desires. As we’ve mentioned, there are a few reasons why people pursue casual dating. So, it’s important to talk about what you’re looking for. Whether you’re interested in keeping things casual long-term or you want to find someone to marry, be honest about what you want so that you don’t waste time with someone who has different expectations.
  • Set up some guidelines. Even in casual relationships, boundaries are an important way to avoid disappointment. Some of the topics you should discuss with a partner is how much contact you’ll have between dates, whether you’ll date each other exclusively, and what level of emotional intimacy you’re comfortable with.
  • Check in with yourself, often. After a couple of months, you might realize that your fun casual dating has landed you in a situationship that you’d like to clarify. Or, you might find that you and your partner are becoming more emotionally invested than you expected. It’s important to stay present with your emotions so that you can fully enjoy your casual relationship, or make any necessary changes.

What is casual dating to you?

Casual dating is a style of relationship that is amazing for some people. But, it’s important to be thoughtful about how you approach it. After reading this article, we hope you feel better equipped to define casual dating for yourself so that you can decide whether it’s something you want to try out.

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