You can be on all of the online dating apps you want and have a good time with as many people as your heart desires without any strings attached. But it’s still important to keep certain rules and reminders in mind so that you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, including your own.
First off, what is casual dating?
Casual dating is when you choose to date as many people as you want at the same time without any expectation of getting serious or putting relationship labels on what you have with anyone. Casual relationships can be intimate, sexual, or platonic in nature. Ultimately, casual dating has whatever meaning that you put on it.
If you want to date multiple people and have casual relationships with all of them, you’ll want to keep these 10 tips in mind for successful casual dating.
1. Prioritize your sexual health
According to data from 2018 that was reported in a 2021 study published in Sexually Transmitted Diseases, people between the ages of 15 and 24 were most likely to get a sexually transmitted infection (STI). But remember that STIs can affect anyone no matter their age, location, gender, or race.
Prioritizing your sexual health and the sexual health of others is a key to being a great partner, whether your relationship is casual or not. This means that you should be using barriers like condoms during sex and getting tested on a regular basis. Especially if you’re having casual sex with more than one person, you will want to get tested after each new person that you’ve slept with to reduce the likelihood of transmitting any infections or viruses from one person to another.
2. Be open about your STI status
It’s not enough just to get tested. It’s also important for you to share your status with potential partners and ask them for their test results, too.
Before entering a sexual relationship with someone new, be sure to ask when their last STI test was and what the results were. After all, no one can grant consent if it isn’t fully informed consent, and that includes whether the person you’re about to get physical with is STI positive or not.
3. Be honest about your intentions
If that really sexy new person you just matched with on Tinder is looking for a committed relationship, then that’s totally fine. It just means that your goals don’t align, so you’re probably not going to be a good fit for each other.
Avoid wasting your time with people who want something different than you, no matter how attractive or interesting they may seem. There are plenty of folks out there looking for the same thing as you who you will be better suited to hang out with. Get out there and find them.
4. Be respectful
Just because you’re “casually dating” doesn’t mean that respect and courtesy go out the window. No emotional attachment doesn’t mean that emotions aren’t involved. You can still get hurt or hurt the people you’re hanging out with if you’re not being respectful of everyone’s feelings. Try hard to not bail on plans without fair notice (as far in advance as possible), practice being polite, and always be kind to everyone who you get the chance to date. Their emotions and time are just as valuable as yours.
5. Use a bunch of different dating apps
If you’re looking for something casual, there are many dating apps out there for people who are looking for flings with no strings attached. No matter what type of relationship you’re looking for, you can find friends with benefits or situationships on any of the most popular apps like Zoosk or more specific platforms that fit your needs like LGBTQ+ friendly dating apps like Grindr.
6. Don’t lead anyone on
Even when it’s already agreed upon that there’s no intention of a casual fling turning into something more serious, you can’t always control how you feel. A lot of times, one person tends to fall for the other person, especially if they’ve been hooking up or hanging out for a long time.
If someone else starts to catch romantic feelings, it might be a key time to remind them that you’re just looking to have fun and date around. Don’t invalidate how they feel, of course, especially if they were vulnerable enough to share that information with you. Instead, let them know that you enjoy spending time with them and (kindly) refer back to your original conversation about your intentions to say that casual dating has been your goal from the very beginning.
7. Avoid becoming possessive
One of the perks of dating many people at the same time is that you’re not tied down to anybody. But don’t forget that this means whoever you’re hanging out with isn’t tied down to you either. So try not to get possessive or let your jealous tendencies show when someone you’re seeing every now and then starts dating other people or starts to spend time with someone more often than they do with you.
8. Stay present
Don’t get too ahead of yourself. You might not want a long-term relationship right now, but things can change at any time, especially when you meet someone who you can actually see yourself with on a deeper level. On that note, do your best to keep future plans at a minimum with your partners to avoid getting into sticky situations if your ultimate plan changes.
9. Do not ghost anyone
As mentioned above, respect is a fundamental part of all relationships, including casual ones. This means that you shouldn’t ghost anyone if you’re not interested in hanging out with them any longer. According to a 2020 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ghosting can lead to feeling lonely, hopeless, and unsatisfied with life.
Whether you send a text explaining the situation or you meet up for coffee to chat in person, be sure to break up with your casual partners kindly and respectfully, rather than disappearing in thin air after dating for any period of time.
10. Have fun with it
Perhaps one of the most important rules of casual dating: have fun! That’s the whole point. Without any problems that may come along with a monogamous romantic relationship with the wrong person, you’re free to do whatever you want whenever you want. Maybe someday you’ll want a long-term committed partnership, but for now, you do you. And enjoy it while you can.
These are some of the many rules for casual dating, but they all boil down to two key factors: respect and fun. If you can be respectful and have a good time, then you’re a great fit to date multiple people at once. Are you looking for a new friend with benefits? Jump on any of the best online dating apps out there to find people to start casually dating today.