Dating is no longer as simple as a chance encounter in a bar with someone whose smile makes your heart melt. Nowadays it is a planned, calculated mission usually done online. It sounds sterile but it does have its benefits. The main one is that you can decide what it is you actually want and aim for that.
A dating app allows you to tell anyone interested exactly what you are looking for, yet all too often we haven’t even worked it out ourselves.
I spent two years online dating without luck. I blamed the guys I met and then I blamed the dating apps. The reality was that I was all over the place. Not only was I not ready to date but I had no idea what I wanted.
I’m not saying you have to know exactly what you are after. Being too specific (dark, eyes, drives an Audi, likes cats, cuts crusts of toast) will hamper your online dating success. But, having the basics, such as whether you want just sex or something serious, will give you a good starting point.
In this article, I use my own experience to help you work out what is right for you: Casual fling or relationship?
Casual fling vs relationship: What is right for you?
Is it just about sex?
Let’s bring it right back to basics here. Are you looking for sex only? Because if you are, that is absolutely fine.
As women, we find it hard to admit our primal need for no-strings sex. I know I did. I couldn’t even admit it to myself. Once I did and dared to share it on my profile, it got a lot easier.
Don’t feel you have to pretend you want a relationship to get sex with a random. It will make everything very confusing for both you and whoever you are talking to or sleeping with.
A casual fling can be classy
If you’re finding it hard to admit that it’s a fling you’re after, I will remind you that a casual fling can be classy. They are much classier than pretending you want something you don’t and it all ends in tears.
My experience with casual flings is that if you are brave enough to put it out there, people respect you for it. Then, when you do hook up there is a mutual understanding which makes the process enjoyable and courteous. Just two people being honest and getting a damn good shag … what could be more natural?
Where do you see yourself in two years?
Still struggling to work out whether you want a casual fling or a relationship?
Envision where you see yourself two years from now. Does the idea of being settled with a partner make you feel happy? Or does it make you claustrophobic, like you’re trapped with nowhere to run?
Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s by going through the motions of a new relationship only to run a mile when it all get’s serious.
I learned this the hard way because I genuinely thought I wanted a relationship until a guy would say something domesticated but completely innocent like “What shall we have for dinner tonight”. It was a huge turnoff and a red flag I should have seen earlier
Where do you feel most comfortable online?
Still can’t make up your mind?
You might feel confronted by the casual aspect of online dating and realise it’s not for you but you love getting to know the people who are committed to finding love, or vice versa.
Dip your toe into both worlds and see which is a better fit for you.
Are you wired for a casual fling?
Some people find it hard to have casual sex with a random. They are too shy, too inhibited, too anxious about who they are sleeping with and, the classic, they associate sex with love.
I have tried to have three friends-with-benefits relationships which ended in disaster because either I or the other person crossed the line, fell in love, and wanted to make it exclusive.
It makes scientific sense because when you have sex with someone it increases your dopamine levels and you feel a deep level of connection just like being in love.
The other reason you might not be wired for a casual fling is if you can’t bare the thought of sleeping with someone who is actively sleeping with other people. However, as long as you are practicing safe sex and it is consensual, it is a personal choice as to whether it is ok or not.
Further reading: Friends with benefits: 6 Rules to make it work.
Is the timing right for a casual fling or a relationship?
The decision you make is only for now. It can change. It took me many failed online connections to admit that I wanted sex minus the commitment.
I am embarrassed to admit that the penny finally dropped when a guy I was texting psychoanalysed me to a T. From that point on I searched online for partners who, like me, wanted safe, respectful, casual sex. But now, nearly ten years on, causal sex doesn’t interest me in the slightest, and when I next date, I will be specifically looking for a relationship.
You might have a couple of months of casual flings to get them out of your system and clear the cobwebs before looking for a commitment.
Life changes and so do your sexual and relationship needs. Go with the flow and do whatever feels right for you.