How to keep a casual relationship “casual”?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-20-2010
How to keep a casual relationship “casual”?
Mon, 10-07-2013 - 3:31pm

I have been seeing a woman for the past month that I met on Plenty of Fish.  If anyone is familiar with POF, they have different statuses of what you are looking for.  Long story short, both her and I had looking for “dating, but nothing serious”, and her ad self-description said she was interested in casual dating, but open to further if it happens. 

So we have been doing that, meeting up and either going out for dinner, or staying in at each other’s homes and cooking, and shortly adjourning to bed for the evening.  We don’t discuss the future, make plans for romantic dates like the movies, or anything of that sort.  We do text throughout the day and usually talk over the phone nightly. She did invite me to a Halloween party at the end of the month where we will be staying in a hotel.  I am starting to sense that feelings might be starting to develop on BOTH of our ends.  She seems to want to get together more and more often, and I will admit I am enjoying the companionship and affection, and always look forward to seeing her again.  Especially as I am getting over the breakup of my 3-year relationship back from back in April.

The thing is this… as much as I truly enjoy her company, even outside of the intimacy, I don’t see a chemistry or connection in terms of intrinsic qualities and interests.  And while I am keeping an open mind in case things do go further naturally, I still want to continue to see other people, and might end up pursuing someone else in the end.  The only problem and roadblock that has painfully been occupying my mind is that I don’t want to hurt the one I am “seeing” now, or lose a possible friendship.  I tend to be a sensitive person, and that sensitivity also falls on worrying about other’s feelings, because I know how painful it is to be heartbroken like that.

I might be putting the cart before the horse, but I’d rather be prepared and avoid any potential pain or heartache and lose someone I do care about, even if she can stay as a friend. 


Anyone have advice how to move forward?  Should I say something or talk these things over with my “casual” friend?  See if she still indeed wants to keep it casual?



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Tue, 10-08-2013 - 6:56am

'...., I don’t see a chemistry or connection in terms of intrinsic qualities and interests. '

Define. What do you mean? You are having fun in and out of the sack but something's missing? Into her but not THAT into her?

I've yet to meet a woman who, on being told that the man she's having sex with is 'not quite into her and wants to see other women', will smile cheefully and say, great, we can be friends then. Unless she too isn't all that into you and keeping you around until the real thing comes along.

The noble right kind etc etc thing would be to tell her she's not it, and you're still looking.'ll loose her. The choice is yours.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Tue, 10-08-2013 - 12:03pm

  If you got into this with out boundaries being set then perhaps neither is on the same playpage.  I had a FWB but we were not that attracted to each other.  We dated and bedded others and it went on for years.   But the first thing is to know yourself.  What do you really want.  YOu not books magazines or friends

   When I read your post it seems to me that you were following a script.  You have a friend and lover.  You feel something is missing but do not know what it is.   Go out with others bed others find out about yourself.  This journey of discovery is yours no one can do it for you.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 10-08-2013 - 1:07pm

I agree with Julia and I also think that your actions aren't typical of a "casual" relationship.  I would expect that in a casual dating relationship you would not be talking on the phone every night and texting throughout the day.  To me, those are things that you do when you are becoming more invested in a relationship.  I also think a lot of women will say they want "casual" when they really don't--I don't know whether it's to attract a man because we don't really want to come right out & say that we'd like more, or maybe they think that's what they want but then, as you said, feelings develop.  I don't think that most women are able to have a continuing sexual relationship w/ someone and keep their feelings out of it.  You said yourself that you are starting to like her more and look forward to seeing her.

I think you have to figure out whether the differences that you see now are real deal breakers.  For example, you might like golf and she doesn't play--that would not be a really great reason to break up with someone, even though you could possibly find a woman who also plays golf. I think the values part is more important.  Say one person really wants children and the other one doesn't or one person is religious and the other one isn't and maybe even thinks it's kind of dumb to be religious--those major kind of differences tend to doom a relationship and I don't know if it's that smart to get involved with someone when you know that at some point there is going to be an end.

I think if you want to continue to date others, you should back off a little on seeing her.  Nothing makes a woman madder than a guy who acts like he's in a relationship but then suddenly he is either with someone else or breaks up and his excuse is "I told you this was only casual."  I also don't think it's really going to be possible to continue to be friends with her unless it's a mutual decision to break up--if you want to break up and she doesn't, you will hurt her and she probably wont' want to be friends.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-20-2010
Thu, 10-17-2013 - 3:21pm



Ok, since my original posting last week, I ended up meeting someone new on a date this past Saturday. 

I expected it to just be dinner, but we REALLY hit it off well!  Dinner was great with awesome conversation, and visual signs of interest from her (body language, etc.).  After I paid the check, she didn’t seem like in a hurry to leave, so we walked to a nearby ice cream parlor and got ice cream, she insisted on paying and playfully pulling my hand away from my wallet.   After we finished(still with great body language/chemistry, still not in a hurry to leave), we decided to look at what was playing at a movie theatre next door.  I bought the tickets and had an hour and half to kill before the movie.  We walked to the next strip mall over and walked through some stores.  On the way, I took her hand to help her down a steep drop, and she continued to hold it as we walked along and back to the theatre.  J 

Throughout the movie, we held hands, I I rested my oher hand gently on her knee.  In the middle of the movie, there was a glitch and movie stopped. As we were waiting, we looked at each other and I went in for a kiss, which was well received!  Move came back on, we finished watching it, and I walked her to her car.  We had a FANTASTIC kiss goodnight to the point I couldn’t tell if she was sighing or moaning with pleasure. We agreed to meet up again, and now have plans to go hiking in a local park this weekend.

As you can see, this date went phenomenally, and we had great chemistry and plenty of interests in common. 

SO… I am now torn between 2 people.  One who I have got to know over the past 6 weeks as a companion and lover, and now one who could possibly turn out to be more (if only one date is enough to judge).

I’m morally confused if I should continue to pursue both at once and see what transpires.  I am still unsure as to what the end goal is of my date of the past 6 weeks, as her dating profile indicated “dating but nothing serious” when we met.  We don’t engage in anything “romantic” like movies or things like that.  Usually going over to each other’s house for dinner and a sleepover.  I do feel a stronger romantic connection with my new date, but don’t want to blow off one for the other.

Hope this makes sense.  I don’t want to come off as a player, since that’s not my goal, but after coming off a 3-year relationship that was going nowhere, I don’t want to just “settle”.

Avatar for slah54
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sun, 10-20-2013 - 9:35pm

Why not just enjoy the company of both ladies?  Get to know them both better and then decide.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

If you broke things off with the 1st woman you met and then the 2nd woman didn't work out, as things stand right now, then would you miss no. 1?  I don't think you can tell that much after 1 date and of course you are in the infatuation stage--people don't really get to know each other til later, but this is promising.  I just don't see the point of what you are doing with no. 1--when I hear "casual dating," to me that means going out to dinner, movies, bowling or whatever (I don't think movies are necessarily more romantic than doing other things).  What you are doing right now seems more like using her for sex although I can't really say that since obviously she is agreeing to have sex with you.  I just wonder if she's one of those women (and you could probably tell more by what she says) who just SAYS she wants casual dating so that she won't sound so needy, then she starts sleeping with a guy on a regular basis and romantic feelings are starting to develop.  In that case, I think it would be more fair to her to break things off with her now before she gets too far in, if you feel there is really no future.

I have one friend who has had numerous guys since I've known her (only about 1 yr) but she is one of the few women I know who can have sex with a guy right away and then dop him if things aren't working out well and then the next week just go on to the next man.  She calls it "acting like a man" but most women really can't separate their feelings from sex like she can.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-20-2010
Tue, 10-22-2013 - 4:06pm
To answer your first question, yes, if #2 and I didn't work out, I would miss the COMPANIONSHIP of #1. But as I mentioned, there is not enough of a "connection" that I feel to be successful in something long-term. To be honest, there are little things about #1 that are starting to wear on me. And yes, while I enjoy the sexual aspect, I moreso value her company as someone to hang out with and enjoy a mutual opportunity to not sit home lonely. I agree #2 is still new and there is a lot more to discover to find out who she really is, but there is going to be a point where #2 and I will become sexually intimate together, and I really do have a moral objection to sleeping with two women at once, simply out or respect for each of them. So the bottom line is, I need to figure out how to juggle #1 and 2 for a while, and if the latter does indeed work out, figure out a way to break the news to #1 in the least hurtful way as possible, with the hopes or keeping some sort of contact (NOT sexual, but friendly) down the road. Simply to have her as a friend, NOT to contact her to get back together again if #2 doesn't work out.