Today’s schedules are hectic. People are more career-driven with a need for higher credentials, including graduate or doctorate degrees. That means individuals are juggling full-time work alongside school, leaving little time for long-term or serious partnerships.
When a relationship looks like it’s heading that way or someone eventually develops feelings, their mate looks for ways to end a casual dating relationship instead.
Many partners prefer a “friends with benefits” or companionship with sexual intimacy but no commitment. Exclusivity can equate to demanding when a schedule is already packed and stressful, while casualness can serve in a fulfilling albeit light and fun capacity.
What does casual dating relationship mean for the parties involved
A casual dating relationship is a “friends with benefits” scenario where you see each other, enjoy sex, and have no exclusivity or commitment.
The partnership can serve illustrative purposes initially, but once feelings start to develop, it’s vital to know the other person’s stance on monogamy upfront.
That means setting boundaries and determining intentions early on, so there are no surprises when it comes time to end a casual relationship. Find out the consequences of the psychological well-being of young adults from casual sexual experiences with these studies.
When describing what casual dating is, that can vary from mate to mate. The idea is to set that intention upfront.
Casual for one couple could imply a serious setup for someone else, like perhaps staying overnight throughout the week, meeting close friends, even going out.
In a general context, these mates will have a partnership of sorts, but there is minimal communication relating to the relationship.
The individuals will rarely discuss their emotions or feelings, nor will they elude any expectations for the future.
There are no expressions of “I love you.” The idea is to have a good time generally accompanied by sex. Most people enjoy the freedom from commitment.
There are no demands on time or obligations. It’s a way to explore who you are and learn what you might be looking for in a mate. It could be key in helping you to find the person meant for you eventually.
In attempting to define casual for each couple, it will ultimately come down to their intention.
Gain insight on casual dating with explanations on the concept on this related video:
When is the right time to end a casual relationship
In reality, there’s never a specific right time for ending a casual relationship or any relationship. It’s merely a matter of when it feels it’s come to that point.
If you don’t want the partnership to get serious, you shouldn’t allow it to go longer than maybe three months.
When you realize “I don’t want a casual relationship,” perhaps you recognize you prefer exclusivity. Maybe you want more commitment with this mate.
You can either communicate that to the person or end the partnership since you know they’re not on that same page.
Vice versa can be true also. Maybe your mate wants to invite you to meet their parents, and you find that a bit stifling since this is supposed to be a casual couplehood.
You can either have the conversation to continue to see each other in the same lighthearted way or figure out how to end a casual relationship to avoid it developing any further.
When it becomes apparent your partner in this scenario is getting more serious, and that’s not your intention, ending a relationship is the wisest thing to do.
While you’re not genuinely in a relationship per se, you do see each other and have sex, so there is a kind of partnership, or at least perhaps a friendship, that needs to be addressed if you’re intention is to no longer engage in any way with this person.
Follow this research indicating that people with a preference for casual sex still desire intimacy.
That can leave many people unsure how to end a casual dating relationship. The suggestion is that you have an obligation towards decency according to casual dating break-up etiquette. Some suggestions:
1. Be true to your feelings
The way you feel with the person means a lot. If this is someone you want to pursue on a level other than a casual dating level, it’s essential to consider whether they might be open to a serious relationship.
If not, it might be best to end a casual dating relationship and move on to someone who might be ready for something more.
The relationship is casual. That means ending the casual dating relationship should be relatively straightforward with no need to lie or sugarcoat; it should be comfortable to discuss with your mate. Speak in an honest, open way, albeit kind and respectful.
3. Speak face-to-face
Respectful also means that you speak face-to-face even though many would like to avoid that option instead of ending a casual relationship by text.
Where would an adult get their sample texts to end a casual relationship – a teenage social site since that’s something a preteen would do, not an adult that calls this person a friend.
Enjoy a coffee at a cafe and have a grown-up conversation. If this is a person who was involved mutually, they’ll be accepting of the circumstances.
When you end a casual dating relationship, that means there can be no more sex either. Whether you enjoyed a great sex life or not, that’s a primary component of a casual dating relationship.
If you don’t want to end the sex, there’s no point stopping the partnership. To finish things, you need to stop the sex – playing games is unfair.
6. Caring is a normal part of a break-up
It’s natural to feel a sense of guilt or even anxiety when considering how to finish a casual relationship. You care for this person, or you wouldn’t have developed a friendship complete with having mutual sex.
Experiencing emotions is normal when there’s a loss. These need to be felt so you can each move forward healthfully.
7. Social media
Social media shouldn’t be a component of the partnership when it’s in full swing, nor should it be part of the end of a casual dating relationship. Casual implies “off-the-record.” Splattering photos over social media of the two of you together is inappropriate. It speaks seriously.
You also want to avoid stalking your ex-mate’s posts when you break up. It’s not the best way to end a casual relationship. It sends mixed messages indicating you’re still holding on.
If you weren’t friends before casually dating and you’re now facing when to end a casual relationship, it’s wise to avoid requesting friendship. It will feel like an obligation to both of you.
That’s something you were each trying to avoid when you signed on for a casual partnership. It’s better to cut ties altogether.
9. Don’t ask for reasons
If you’re not the one making a move to end a casual dating relationship but on the receiving end, try to avoid asking for reasons for ending the partnership.
There was never a commitment. The idea was to come and go with no real future. Formulating reasons will merely add a complication that you will likely dwell on. These aren’t genuinely necessary to come to the point of closure.
10. Ensure your safety
When you end a casual dating relationship, make sure to do so in a public location, driving separately. That way, you know that you’re protected if there is a reaction for which you might not otherwise be prepared.
The individual could be more attached than you realize, preferring that the partnership continues only with the anticipation that it becomes more serious.
The person might have carried that hope all along, but you never recognized these feelings. In this situation, a suggestion for individual counseling is wise to help the ex move on.
The basis for a casual dating relationship is intention. While neither person comes into the partnership desiring a commitment, setting upfront intentions and boundaries is better. Doing so prevents the potential for surprises for everyone when and if an ending comes to the union.
When you end a casual dating relationship, make sure to do so with optimum honesty and kindness. While the couplehood didn’t have the same emotions as a committed partnership, each of you deserves a respectful, straightforward ending.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.