Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. That moment when you think you're seeing someone exclusively, only to have them tell you they’re just in the mood for “casual dating” right now. What’s worse is when they go on to reveal they’re also seeing other people. Sometimes this agreement is mutual but for the most part, it’s not. So what then? The most important thing when deciding whether you want to go further with a relaxed relationship is your comfort level. Just as everyone is attracted to different people, everyone has different levels of security when it comes to setting clear boundaries (or not) with the person (or people) they’re seeing. Take a ride on the roller coaster of casual dating with us as we explore the pros and cons of casual dating.
Read on for the pros and cons of dating with no strings attached.
Pro: You Get To Meet a Lot of People
When you start to see a lot of potential suitors, you automatically start learning what you’re looking for in a partner (you get to see what’s “out there”). It’s possible that you’ll meet people on dates who you see in more of a platonic way and end up as friends. Trust us, expanding your social circle is always a good thing.
Pro: You Can Put Yourself First
Whether you’ve been in a serious relationship for a while or you just need a little “me” time, casual dating allows you to have companionship but still be a little bit selfish. For example: When the person (or one of the people) you’re seeing wants to do something, but you’d rather see your friends, you have no obligation since they’re not (officially) your significant other. You can also spend more time doing the things you want to do and plan dates that work with your (Netflix) schedule.
Pro: You Don't Deal With the Serious Stuff
Coping with a sick or cranky partner or having to listen about a bad day at work is not part of the arrangement. You get some of the perks of dating without any of the heavy stuff, but let’s be honest, that isn’t always a good thing. Which brings us to the following…
Con: You Don't Have a Go-To Person
You know when you have a wedding to go to or you’re stuck in bed with the flu? It’s time to call your friends because you don’t have an S.O. who’s there through thick and thin. As much as responsibility can be a pain (or a bit daunting) in relationships, it’s also one of the perks. When you’re just casual with someone, you’re not able to lean on them, and you have to fend for yourself when things go awry. "When both partners truly need each other in complementary ways, invest in each other's well-being, and de-prioritize alternatives, satisfaction and commitment are more likely to result," says Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.D.
Con: You're Not Being Challenged
We’ve already discussed how being in a romantic relationship can challenge you—mentally, physically, and even spiritually. Having a partner often makes you want to become a better version of yourself. When you’re not with someone, there’s no one inspiring you to reach your goals.
Con: There's No Expectation of Loyalty
One of the best parts of being in a relationship is loyalty—someone always has your back. When things are casual, there’s no real obligation for that person to follow through. They are also more likely to leave you on a moment’s notice because you never defined anything in the first place.