Establishing a new relationship with someone can be tricky business. Not only are you trying to portray the best version of yourself every time you see them, but you’re also trying to work out whether you like them enough to commit to them in the future, too.
But after a few months of dating, you’re sure to have made your mind up as to whether or not he’s someone you’d like to enter into a relationship with. That is until he tells you he only wants a casual relationship with you, throwing another spanner into the already complicated world of dating.
When a man tells you he wants a casual relationship, a number of different things may run through your mind. Does that mean he doesn’t like you and he’s just letting you down gently? Is he afraid of commitment? Is he seeing other people?
Whilst all of these scenarios are very real possibilities, casual relationships can mean different things to different people. Some people view a casual relationship as just friends with benefits, others see it as a way to prolong the dating stage before entering into a relationship. So if the guy you like has told you he wants to keep things casual, it can drive you crazy trying to decipher exactly what he wants from you.
Generally speaking, casual relationships can mean any of the following things to a guy, so it’s important to establish exactly where his head is at before continuing – or ending – things between the two of you.
He Just Wants Friends With Benefits
Whether he’s just got out of a serious relationship, or he’s not quite ready to settle down, a man who suggests entering into a casual relationship might just want a friends with benefits situation in order to satisfy his sexual needs without having to commit to just one woman.
If you’re happy just maintaining a sexual relationship with the man you’ve been seeing, then this might be the perfect situation for you. However, if you’re looking for a deeper, more meaningful relationship, then friends with benefits isn’t the way to go.
If the man you’ve been seeing suggests a friends with benefits situation, it’s common to feel hurt and confused. After all, if you’re really keen on progressing into a relationship with him, why isn’t that reciprocated on his part?
Many men like the idea of a friends with benefits situation because they’re getting the best of both worlds. Not only are they able to have amazing sex with a woman they like on a regular basis, but they also get to hang out with a super-cool girl that they love spending time with, all without having to commit to her or treat her like a girlfriend.
To him, it might seem like a win-win situation, but to you, it might seem like the end of the world.
One of the most common issues that arise during the course of a casual, friends with benefits relationship is that one of the couples falls for the other – without it being reciprocated. After all, if you’re spending a lot of time with someone and having mind-blowing sex with them, it’s only a matter of time before you start feeling something deeper for that person.
So before you agree to enter into a friends with benefits situation with a guy you’ve been seeing, you need to decide whether or not the arrangement will really suit you. If you’re looking for something deep and meaningful, then this arrangement definitely won’t work for you. However, if you lead a hectic life and a committed relationship is the last thing on your mind, then friends with benefits might just be perfect for you.
He’s Scared of Commitment
A man who’s afraid of commitment will do anything to avoid a real, committed relationship, so if he suggests a casual relationship, then this might just be the reason.
There are a number of different factors which can cause a man to become afraid of commitment. Whether he was cheated on in the past, doesn’t trust himself to be faithful to his partner, or has previously been in a toxic relationship – all of these factors can prevent someone from becoming emotionally invested in a relationship and avoid getting into anything serious with another woman.
The most common signs of a fear of commitment include:
- He doesn’t make plans for the future
- He doesn’t make you a priority
- He’s hot and cold with you
- He’s overly critical of you
- He dates other people
- He doesn't discuss his feelings
- He doesn’t treat you with respect
- He wants to keep your relationship casual
If the man you’ve been seeing is showing signs of commitment issues, it’s worth having a conversation about how he’s feeling. He might have suggested a casual relationship because he’s afraid of being hurt, or because he doesn’t want all the obligations which come with being in a relationship with someone.
However, you might be able to alleviate his concerns and convince him that a casual relationship isn’t the way forward and allow the two of you to work things out together – after all, a casual relationship is often the easy way out for people who are afraid of commitment.
He Only Sees Sexual Attraction
Similarly to friends with benefits, a man might suggest maintaining a casual relationship with you if he just sees sexual attraction and nothing more.
Although it might be difficult to hear, it’s common for two people to be sexually attracted to each other without feeling anything deeper. If the two of you have amazing sex, but your personalities don’t quite click, then he might be keen to keep you around but not want to commit to a relationship with you.
If you feel the same way, then a casual relationship might be the perfect scenario for you. However, if you want to work towards something more meaningful, then it might be time to look for someone who’s willing to commit.
He’s Dating Other People
It’s common for a man to suggest maintaining a casual relationship when he’s not ready to stop dating other people. Whether he’s just got out of a serious relationship, or he feels there’s something missing between the two of you, he might be keen to continue seeing you whilst trying to find the perfect woman for him.
Additionally, he might feel like he won’t be faithful to you if the two of you became exclusive, so by keeping things casual with you and dating other women, he’s getting the best of both worlds – all without hurting the woman he has feelings for.
If you feel the same way, then you might also want to continue seeing him casually whilst dating other people – after all, it means you’ve always got someone to call if you want a bit of companionship and can prevent you from jumping into a relationship with the wrong person.
However, if you’ve got strong feelings for this man, then you might feel hurt and betrayed by the fact that he wants to see other people. If this is the case, then it’s probably for the best to end the relationship there, otherwise you risk having your heart broken when he eventually finds a woman he wants to commit to.
He’s Worried About Introducing You to His Family
Another common reason a man might want to keep your relationship casual is because he’s afraid of introducing you to his family. Whether he has a difficult relationship with his parents, or he thinks you’ll look at him differently after meeting the people closest to him, introducing you to his family might be all too scary and lead him to suggest a casual relationship.
By keeping your relationship casual, he has no obligations to invite you to family events, such as weddings or birthdays, meaning he doesn’t have to introduce you to all of his nearest and dearest.
After all, introducing your other half to your family is a huge step in a relationship and is a clear sign that you’re committed to that person and see a future with them. However, if the man you’ve been seeing is reluctant to commit to you and introduce you to his family, then it’s important to find out why.
There might be a simple explanation, such as a family feud or major sibling rivalry. However, if he’s unable to explain why he doesn’t want to introduce you to his family – or simply doesn’t want to – then it might be time to end the relationship and move onto someone who’s excited to show you off to all the people he loves.
He Doesn’t Have to Check In
One of the most attractive things about casual relationships to a guy is the fact they don’t have to check in with anyone.
Whether they’re on a night out with their friends, or going on a party holiday, casual relationships come without any of the obligations of a committed relationship – meaning they can stay out all night long without having to explain themselves to anyone.
However, this is arguably one of the least attractive – and most stressful – aspects of a casual relationship to women. Even if you’ve accepted that you’re not in a committed relationship, the thought of the man you have strong feelings for going on a night out with his friends can make even the most secure woman feel nervous and insecure.
If you’re the kind of woman who’d feel jealous and insecure about your man not checking in with you for days on end, then a casual relationship probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re just as happy to go on a night out with your friends and not even send him a drunk Snapchat, then a casual relationship might well be perfect for you.
How to Make a Casual Relationship to Work
As with any relationship, it’s important to lay out any expectations before committing, otherwise you might run into some major issues later down the line. Afterall, everyone’s idea of a casual relationship is different, so it’s important to lay down some ground rules and expectations in order to remain happy in your casual relationship.
If the man you’re seeing wants to keep seeing you, but also wants to sleep with or date other women, that might not be your idea of a casual relationship. However, if you also want to see other people, then it might be the perfect scenario for you.
One of the most important things to discuss when entering into a casual relationship is where you both stand when it comes to other people. Many couples in casual relationships agree to keep things monogamous, however, it’s not uncommon for couples to also date other people whilst in a casual relationship.
If you’re looking to establish some boundaries in your casual relationship, you should discuss the following points with your other half:
- What’s your idea of a casual relationship?
- If one of us meets someone we want to commit to, can we end things amicably?
- Is our relationship a secret?
- Do you want to see other people?
- I have the following needs which need to be met, are you happy to meet them?
- Do you see us progressing into a committed relationship in the future?
- Are you happy to stay at mine/for me to stay at yours after a date?
- Can we meet each other's friends?
By establishing some basic expectations, it’ll be easier to maintain a casual relationship without getting hurt. Afterall, you don’t want to end up falling for someone who’s busy dating in order to find ‘the one’.
So if the guy you like has told you he wants to keep things casual, then it could mean any of the things above. Therefore, it’s important to have a serious, adult discussion with him in order to establish exactly where you stand in his life – now and in the future.