What IS Casual Dating & Can It Lead to Commitment?

Name: AKwindow
Comment: I’ve been seeing this guy for the past few months and he’s made it clear to me he doesn’t have time to devote to a serious relationship because his new job takes up too much time and energy and he has no idea when that will all change, plus he’s new to the city (I know, three DEFINITE red flags for not being relationship-ready: new job, new crazy hours, new to the city). I am looking for a serious relationship, but still have fun with him. So I’m trying to date him while I continue to look for/try to date other men I like. He’s told me despite not wanting to restrict me from dating other people, he would still like to continue dating because he thinks we really “get each other”, says he knows that’s difficult to find, and thinks we have so much fun together when we do see each other. At this point we’re only seeing each other once every other week, and almost three weeks had passed before our most recent date. Is that normal? Is it even worth it to continue dating him at all then, or am I just being unrealistic expecting that people that are just casually dating could still see each other once a week?  I’m curious to know how do fellow online daters define casual dating or as Ok Cupid likes to call it, short-term dating? I think the bottom line is that I probably just can’t handle casual/ expiration date type of dating, if this is what it is.
Age: 31
City: New York
State: NY

Believe it or not, I think most people are in short-term relationships and are casually dating and just don’t know it. Casual dating is the new relationship.

I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that people who are casually dating can see each other once a week or more. In fact, I would say that that is the norm for casual daters. The thing to remember about casual dating is that is basically means that you’re seeing each other regularly or semi-regularly, sleeping together, but there is no expressed exclusivity or long term commitment. It’s more like Indefinite Dating than Casual Dating. It doesn’t really have an expiration date unless you and the person you’re seeing would like to put one on it. Which, you know, is  a huge buzz kill.

My personal experience, as well as that of many of my friends, is that casual dating isn’t always any different than long term dating or serious dating.  We take trips and go to events together and meet each other’s friends. I think people assume that casual dating is just meeting for drinks and then going home and having sex. Which it can be, and there’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of people like to place importance on the logistics of the dates, how much money is spent, how much time is spent together and what activities are involved other than sex. People comfortable with casual dating don’t really care about that stuff. It’s about the quality of the connection, not the itinerary of events involved.

Can it lead to commitment. Of course. Some people take longer than others to determine the long term compatibility of a person and relationship. Just because they don’t commit after two months doesn’t mean they won’t. That’s where communication is key. If you’re not someone who wants to wait around too long – a valid choice – then you need to be able to stand your ground and ask for what you want.You need to be crystal clear about what you’re asking for, too. You should inquire as to whether or not they see things turning serious or not with you. “I don’t know” is not a No. If someone says they can’t give it to you at that moment, you need to decide whether or not you want to give it time. A flurry of reasons like they’re busy with work or have family obligations, however, is more of a No. More often than not, the excuses as to why they can’t give more are just that. Excuses. They don’t want to give more to you. Maybe not to anyone, but definitely not to you.

The reality of your situation is this: he’s dating other people. Probably a few. You are being rotated in to his schedule. If you don’t like the idea of being one of a few and can’t get that out of your head, you should get out now. Or you can just accept the terms of the situation, detach and pursue other options. Because you undoubtedly have them. You’re just not seeing them because you’re so focused on this guy.

As for the photo attached to this post..come on. How great is that? She’s got a mouth on her. Double entendre! Because not only am I outspoken but, blowjob classes, amirite guys? AMIRITE? I was walking home from brunch and saw that window and was gobsmacked.

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17 Responses to “What IS Casual Dating & Can It Lead to Commitment?”

  1. Lourdes Says:

    That is terrible advice. AK, a man that makes up excuses is clearly not that into you. Dont waste time or energy believing he may want to be exclusive with you. Its extremely unlikely.
    If u still want to see him whenever he wants thats up to you but if you do want a committed relationship keep looking and def dont prioritize him at all.

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    • Jack Says:

      Yeah Moxie, women shouldn’t throw in the towel so easily. The lack of standards I see in women these days is pathetic. Stop sleeping with every man that you think “could be” a boyfriend. Stop wasting your time with people that don’t show you that they want you. The prospect of having a daughter in this day and age is so scary when one sees what so many women are up (especially in the major cities).

      Women will NEVER win this game of “casual dating” or rotating dates. We will continue to see questions like this because you won’t just be firm and determine not to waste your time on a guy that’s just not that into you. I know it is tough in a city like NYC where women outnumber men like 3 to 1 (And probably 30% of those men are gay), but you need to have some standards.

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      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        Ok. We’ll all stop sleeping with men so you can feel less inadequate.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 29

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  2. Lourdes Says:

    And Casual dating is not the new relationship. Thats crazy talk. If you start thinking that way you will attract that exact thing, men that wont make you first in their lives or commit to you. Thats what people with low self esteem make themselves belief. Moxie is right in saying you have options. You are 31 in NY and open to love. Stay open and it will come to you.

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  3. D'Alias Says:

    Did you meet this guy online? I ask because I think online dating often leads to sits like this. In one way, online is great cuz you meet people you otherwise never would in your daily life, thereby expanding your choices/options.

    On the other hand, these people you meet don’t naturally fall into your life. This means lots of work on both ends to change something casual into something more substantive or long term. It’s not always that they’re dating someone else. But if they cant/won’t/don’t want to put yhe timeand energy into building a “real” relationship with you, then that’s all you need to know. Real is defined for each person on their own. I don’t see a big problem with keeping his cell phone number in rotation for texts or hangin with him of you’ve got nothing else to do. But, I think it’s prob never going to go where you want it to.

    My suggestion is to make a rule for yourself: never hang out with this guy vs go out on a date with somebody new or if you have a chance to go to an even where you might meet new guys. Then, it’s not like you’re missing out on all that much.

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    • Julie Says:

      Lots of great advise here.

      Someone recently mentioned in a message board I was reading to a woman who dumped “the love of her life” because of “normal wedding jitters” 5 years ago and now wants him back. If someone offered you the most amazing job opportunity of your life, would you be “too busy to take it”? Would you be “too new to the city” to let it hold you back and want to look for other jobs while putting the employers of the amazing job on hold and telling them to go ahead and continue interviewing other candidates? What if they get frustrated or put off by your attitude and take the offer off the table, would that be ok with you?

      My feeling is that the only reason I would do the above is if I was kind of lukewarm on the job to begin with.

      Is there a chance I might eventually change my mind and decide this job opportunity is an incredible option? Sure. A small chance. Remember, this isnt just an offer any more….he has been “working this job” for several months now and he still hasnt seen how amazing it is. Might his lukewarm feelings about you change one day into seomething serious? Sure. I’ve seen it happen….but the chance is even smaller.

      No harm (if you are ok with it) to roll with it and see where it goes, but if I were a gambler, I wouldnt put money on it.

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      • Oh Really? Says:

        That’s some of the stupidest fairytale nonsense I’ve ever heard. Here’s a question for you: what makes you think you’re equivalent to an offer of the greatest job? What…you think because you’ve been dating a guy for a while that he should just bestow upon you the title of being this amazing chick that he just can’t let go of? How about you actually earn your keep and become an amazing woman? Not just in your own fairytale mind of how great you are (or in the minds of your family and friends), but how about you get that guy’s friends & family (the people who know him) to brag about how great you are. A wise man once said that men aren’t afraid of commitment…ever! If their celebrity crush came up to them on the street an demanded a commitment from them on the spot, they’d give that girl a commitment in a second (without really knowing her, if they click, if she’s crazy, etc). But you…the chick he’s been with for years…he just can’t decide. Hmm…He must not be sure you’re the right one, huh? So women, stop your whining on/off blogs. You know what you’re getting from a guy so either put up with it and shut up or just go find another guy. Either way the choice is yours and you’re responsible for the outcome of whatever you decide.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 20

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  4. Tia Truthteller Says:

    I think D’Alias hit it on the head with that last bit of advice: Don’t let this admittedly go-nowhere relationship starve new ones that might go somewhere. Casual dating sometimes leads to commitment, but NOT in cases where the guy has said it’s not anything he wants right now. You know you have no future with him. If you are okay with being in his rotation, great. If you can’t detach and date like a man, then date like a woman: Henceforth let guys know you only have sex in exclusive relationships. Lean back and see what happens next. Good Luck,

    P.S. ATWYS it is a great sign!
    Tia Truthteller

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  5. JC Says:

    Everybody must learn to prioritize the people they are dating.

    Everyone is not going to want the exact same thing you want at exactly the same moment you want it.

    However, going out with someone who’s company you enjoy, will always be better than staying at home doing nothing, waiting for Mr/Mrs Perfecto to arrive.

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  6. Yvonne Says:

    Has it really been that long since He’s Just Not That Into You was published? Cause AK needs to buy that book and read it! “He doesn’t have time to devote to a serious relationship because his new job takes up too much time and energy and he has no idea when that will all change, plus he’s new to the city.” BUT “despite not wanting to restrict me from dating other people, he would still like to continue dating because he thinks we really “get each other”, says he knows that’s difficult to find, and thinks we have so much fun together when we do see each other”, and “we’re only seeing each other once every other week, and almost three weeks had passed before our most recent date”.

    News flash: all of this is code for “you are fun for an occasional booty call while I’m looking for somebody I’ll like better”, or “until I eventually decide I’m ready to settle down”. Is it normal to go for 3 weeks between dates after you’ve been dating for several months? NO! It’s time for AK to find a man who truly values and appreciates her…and wants a real girlfriend.

    How am I so sure? I’ve been there. I’ve been the girl who dated the guy for months, in one case, years, waiting for him to “come around.” Why did I do it? As someone else mentioned, it’s a self-esteem issue. When you’re hoping for a serious relationship, it’s hard to remain casual about a guy you’re seeing for months on end and developing deeper feeling for. Save yourself the eventual agony and get out now.

    In my case, the men weren’t even dating others, just waiting to connect with their own Ms. Right. If this guy really has time to be “dating other people” (as Moxie says he is), then the whole business about NOT having time for a serious relationship is a lie. The time he’s spending seeing other people is the tell. After months of dating, a man who really likes a woman doesn’t want her to be dating others. If AK is looking for a serious relationship, then speak up and tell him this once or twice a month deal isn’t working for her. I’m betting the dude won’t put up much of a fuss if she leaves.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 3

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  7. AnnieNonymous Says:

    I don’t think the guy is necessarily seeing other women. He might be genuinely telling the truth about being busy at work. The result is the same though: AK isn’t getting the relationship she wants. If the guy is good enough to stick around for, fine. But for most women, that doesn’t solve the problem of why they want a relationship in the first place. There’s little satisfaction in having a boyfriend that you never get to see.

    The job stuff isn’t likely to change – he probably moved to the city because of his job, and his hours are what they are. My advice would be to get out before she gets more emotionally involved. I recently learned how to filter these extreme workaholic types out of my general desire for a guy with a good job. We all want someone who’s financially comfortable and is living a responsible adult lifestyle and all that, but we get blindsided by these guys with fancy, high-stress, top-tier careers and think that’s the same thing. I’d take a guy with a decent 9-to-5 before I try to date another lawyer.

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  8. JMS0958 Says:

    OMG!!! Is this guy from Taunton, MA??? He sounds exactly like the guy I was seeing. Be very carefull with this guy. He will NOT be there for you if you need him. If he cared about you he would be willing to give you what you want and need to be happy. He is using you for a dinner partner and sex. The guy I was seeing was the same way excluding the too busy to commit. The guy I was seeing was semi retired. I got a punch in the stomach when I was diagnost with breast cancer, told him on Friday and Sat morning received a text telling me how sorry he was and how he could appreciate how scared I must be, but that he could no longer continue our relationship. Think very carefully about what it is that you want and get rid of him if you want something more than a casual relationship. Be very wary!!!
    Signed
    Jaded

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  9. Yvonne Says:

    I also want to comment on the statement, “Casual dating is the new relationship”. This is not exactly true. Yes, the majority of relationships are casual, and it’s ALWAYS been that way. That’s because most relationships don’t end in LTRs or marriage, or we’d all be married to our high school sweethearts. However, most people learn to read the signs of lack of interest so as not to waste undo amounts of time, or get too hurt. Saying that this is the new normal misinterprets this.

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    • Steve Says:

      Depends how you define casual. If casual means not leading to something long term, then yes most are casual. If it means bouncing around from partner every few months or sooner, I would say that is not the new norm, at least outside internet dating. Online dating, I think promotes shorter term relationships due to greater choices of partners. Most people I know have been with the same partner for an extended period and don’t bounce around often, even if it doesn’t lead to something longer term.

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  10. Belle Vierge Says:

    My definition of casual dating is nonexclusive. Once you’re exclusive, you’re not casual, even if you’re not in a relationship yet. If the OP is looking for a relationship from this guy, then she probably needs to move on from this guy. His intentions have been clear. He’s not looking for a relationship. Not only did he give some reasonable excuses for not wanting a relationship, he also told the OP he’s fine with her dating other people. If she’s cool with that, if she’s fine just having fun and dating just because, then she should keep on seeing him. Otherwise, she needs to look elsewhere.

    I was the one not looking for a relationship when I started dating my boyfriend. I was definitely seeing other guys when we first started dating. I had every perfectly valid excuse not to pursue a relationship: I was in that city for only eleven weeks, I was moving to New York just two and a half weeks after our first date, I had just come out as bisexual two months before and wanted to date women for the first time. And yet the man who became my boyfriend was so awesome that I found really creative ways to see him during those last two and a half weeks. In comparison, I only went out with the other guys if they fit into the very limited time slots I offered. They were good, not awesome.

    It sounds like OP is good, not awesome, in this guy’s POV.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

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  11. D. Says:

    The last line of the OP’s letter pretty much sums it up. She doesn’t sound like she’s happy in the situation.

    People’s preferences in dating are not “one size fits all.” Some folks are perfectly fine casually dating multiple people. Some folks like having a person they spend a fair amount of their time with, but without an expectation of exclusivity (and some call that casual dating, where some might not — I don’t suppose the label really matters much). Other people want the traditional, exclusive relationship….and it sounds like that’s the category into which the OP falls.

    The guy in question has made it clear where he stands. He likes spending time with her, but isn’t available for an exclusive, serious relationship right now. The reasons why are irrelevant. Maybe lack of interest, maybe lack of time, maybe he’s just not at a point where he feels that way about her even if he’s interested. But the bottom line is simple: this is not going to be a serious relationship for the foreseeable future.

    Any time you encounter a situation like this, you have to pay VERY close attention to yourself and what it is you really want and are comfortable with. For example, in this case, if the OP is comfortable making this guy a “permanent Plan-B,” and won’t get more attached to him, then fine. Go ahead and date the guy while looking elsewhere. But if she’s going to be unsatisfied with that, or if she’ll end up wanting more — either from him or just in general — then pay attention to that impulse and choose accordingly. Whatever you do, do NOT go into the situation assuming that things will change in the direction you’d ideally like them to.

    That’s not to say it’s impossible that’d happen. Certainly, it might be that this guy would date the OP while seeing other people or being busy working, and over time would become more attached and want more. But it’s a lot safer to assume that things will not progress any further than they’ve gone thus far. What you see is what you’ll get. If that’s ok, then go for it. If not, walk away. Either way, though, own your choice.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Yeah, pretending you’re all detached and go-with-the-flow casual when you want something serious (or vice versa, as seemed to be the case in the “What if he’s not the best lover?” letter) – basically, lying to yourself and pretending to be or feel something you’re not/don’t – is where one gets into trouble.

      It sounds like the OP is latching onto what she thinks are little clues that the guy might want to get more serious (“He said we really get each other and have so much fun together”). She should definitely cool down her investment in him if not turn it completely off. She should definitely see other guys to focus on having her own fun rather than wondering what he’s doing, why he doesn’t want more, etc.

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