For some people, the idea of a casual relationships seems like an oxymoron. After all, casual implies there’s nothing – or not much – to lose, and dating is the process through which we meet “The One.” If you’re the type of person who feels this way, you’re not alone. But there are other perspectives to consider, too.

Young couple drinking coffee outside

For example, casual dating allows you to get to know more people and to have fun while enjoying the activity of dating without major commitment. You don’t have to disrupt your life if you go on a casual date, nor do you have to give up your independence. You can enjoy someone else’s company while still being career-driven. Dating casually can be quite fulfilling as you’ll see below.


Casual dating might not make sense to someone who is intent on finding their One True Love, but it’s often the right solution for a various reasons:

  • You’re too busy for a full-time relationship
  • You want more than casual sex but less than a relationship
  • You’ve just gotten out of a serious relationship
  • You plan to move or make life changes in the near future
  • You don’t spend a lot of time in one location
  • You enjoy someone’s company but realize you’re incompatible in the long run

Of course, there are other reasons why people like dating casually. And some people will never be down with these casual relationships, which is okay, too. For some people, there’s a time in their life when casual relationships make sense. Perhaps they’re younger, recently divorced or want to focus on school or work first. Eventually, they’ll come to a point where they want to pursue something more serious.

Regardless of the reason, casual relationships aren’t for everyone, however. And you have to carefully navigate them just like you would a friends with benefits of NSA sex relationship. More on that here. If you don’t think you can separate love or sex or worry about managing a busy dating schedule, then you might want to stick to traditional dating and follow our dating advice.

Otherwise, read on to learn how to make casual dating work for you!


  1. Let everyone you’re dating know that you’re not looking for anything serious right off the bat.
  2. If you’re seeing multiple people at once, let everyone know. Talk about whether your date can also see other people.
  3. Understand that some people might not be okay with casual dating, so let them go gracefully.
  4. Set boundaries for the type of communication and physical activities you’re okay with.
  5. Always use condoms when having sex. Learn how in this guide.
  6. Check for symptoms of STIs and get tested before having sex with a new partner. More on that here.
  7. Be able to separate sex from emotion.
  8. Recognize that you can feel jealousy over a partner even if you’re only dating casually or have no long-term emotions.
  9. Take time to get to know your dates. Pay attention. Just because you’re not headed for marriage doesn’t mean you should be rude.
  10. Don’t get your dates confused. Remember details about each guy.
  11. If you’re frequently dating, use a calendar – either digital or paper – to keep track of your commitments.
  12. Consider taking each date to a different venue so you’re not overlapping location and social circle, which can make one or both of you feel awkward.
  13. Determine whether you’re keeping your casual relationship a secret.
  14. Don’t talk about your other dates with the guys – unless this is something you’ve agreed upon.
  15. Keep your mind open. Don’t focus too much on a specific type of person or you may miss out on a lot of fun.
  16. Try out different types of dates. Don’t just stick to dinner and a movie. Get ideas in this post for your next casual date.
  17. Make sure you’re going out if you want to keep things casual. Movie night at your place may confuse the situation if there’s a lot of cuddling.
  18. Avoid buying each other gifts.
  19. Don’t celebrate milestones such as anniversaries of your first date or the first time you had sex.
  20. Don’t let anyone try to use casual dating against you. Slut shaming isn’t cool, and you still have feelings even if you don’t want to settle down.
  21. Refrain from comparing yourself to your coupled friends. What works for them might not work for you, and they may not be as happy as they project.
  22. Be true to yourself. Casual dating doesn’t mean you have to date everyone. Only you know if someone should get a second date!
  23. Put out the right vibes to attract attention, flirting and phone numbers from potential dates. Brush up on your flirting skills with tips from this post and this article!
  24. Remain independent and busy aside from your casual dating partners rather than playing hard to get.
  25. Remember that dates should be fun!


If you notice yourself spending unscheduled time with a casual dating partner, it might be time to reconsider your relationship. Perhaps you spend a lot more time with one person than you do everyone else you’re more casually dating. You want to introduce him to your friends, and you start envisioning a future together. But introducing him to your friends, coworkers and family – especially kids – can lead to confusing situations.

Other signs include leaving things at each other’s houses or in cars and fighting, which shouldn’t happen if there are truly no feelings involved. And if you told him things were only casual, he might not consider anything more with you, which it why you’ll need to talk about it as soon as possible. Otherwise, there could be a lot of hurt feelings. Communicate your feelings. Check out our guide to sexual communication.

Sometimes people who want casual dating are afraid of commitment and can’t be emotionally available with people, which might be okay for you if you’re also not looking for someone serious. But if you find yourself falling in love with this person – see if you’re in love with the questions from this post – you might be in for a world of heartache.

If you wind up in a “casual” relationship where you want more, the guy might use this as a way to control you because he knows you do have or are developing feelings for him. A controlling person may request that you see only him even if he’s not interesting in making things serious. Similarly, he might string you along just because he wants a relationship, even if he doesn’t want to be in one with you. Beware of people who might be emotional abusive. Signs of emotional abuse here.

While there’s typically less at risk when you’re just casually dating – you may be able to simply drift apart without any negative feelings – you may want to read this post to look for similar signs that it’s time to break up. And if your conversation about feelings means you can no longer see one another, we’ve got advice to help you get over your broken heart.

When you discuss your boundaries and expectations for casual relationships, you can successfully have a lot of fun. And while emotions can sometimes make things tricky, as happens with humans, even if you do set casual dating rules, you might be surprised how much you enjoy the world of casual dating.

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