I Tried Casual Dating Even Though I Am An Emotional Girl Who Gets Attached Easily. Here’s What I Learned
There are some love stories that stand the test of time, ones that you can listen to again and again. Sometimes, I ask my grandmother how they met and how she decided to marry him. Without getting bored, she gives me the answer each time. They met through a common friend, which is relatable. But the not-so-relatable part here is that after hanging out a couple of times, he popped the question and she said yes! My grandmother tells me how smitten she was with his personality and was already crushing on him before he asked her out. That’s really cute but if they had met in today’s world, they would have been carrying tons of emotional baggage from their past relationships and decided to keep it rather “casual”.
What is “casual” in dating? I mean it’s really, really confusing. Do you keep it exclusive? What is the right amount of feelings that need to be involved to make it more than friends with benefits and less than a meaningful relationship? Don’t get me wrong; I don’t like to rush in either. In an ideal scenario, my heart wouldn’t act like a disobedient jerk and get attached even though I have instructed it not to. But then again, an ideal scenario is often just fictional.
We’ve all dated casually at some point (for some of us that point has lasted several years or entire adult life). I have too, had a taste of these almost lovers (because I was afraid of commitment at that point) and it’s all sweet while it lasts. I also have fallen for guys who were into me but not “ready for a relationship”. We all have, haven’t we? But I don’t regret any of it because I have learnt so much from these cameo connections in my life. Here are some lessons I learnt from my casual dating experience.
1) People who date casually aren’t unemotional just protective
From the outside, we look like a bunch of people who care too little. But we are the exact opposite of that. The only times I have dated casually is because I didn’t want to get hurt and that was a fear shared mutually. We are emotional and we know we invest too much. Maybe we want to test the waters with a very little involvement until we feel it’s safe to dive in. There has also been a time when I have overcome that fear but the other person couldn’t. But I don’t blame them because I know how that fear feels and heartbreak isn’t sweet.
2) Attachment is not enough
In fact, I have learnt that attachment is the most fucked up part of casual dating. Did you know that lust and love both stimulate the same section of the brain? Which is probably why, sometimes during your post-coitus cuddle you wonder if he is marriage material. Of course, you’re jolted back to reality when he doesn’t bother to text you all day, every day. So you will get attached and at that point you will have to decide whether to get committed or end this for good. Usually, it just ends, because our fears overpower the attachment. And then you wonder, if it was casual why this hurt like a real breakup does?
3) It’s not the sex but the intimacy
We think it’s uncool to admit (even to ourselves) that we crave intimacy. So we just pretend to be in it for the amazing sex. But what makes the sex amazing? It’s not the penetration. If you ask me, I can get butterflies by being held in a warm embrace and kissed all over my face, even when I know this isn’t going to last. We love that warmth, the affection, the feeling you get when you intertwine fingers or when he looks into your eyes that makes you feel you’ve bared your souls and not just bodies, to each other. That’s what we really crave.
4) It’s thrilling but it doesn’t give you peace
Okay, I am not gonna pretend here. Casual dating is thrilling AF. It keeps you on your toes and knowing that it is temporary makes you feel more excited (read horny). You’re not being taken for granted neither are you working for it. But at the end of the day, there’s just a lot of guesswork and insecurities. You don’t know how much right you have on him or if you are allowed to have any expectations. A relationship may involve a lot of work but at night you can sleep peacefully knowing he feels the same way about you and that you can ask him to pick up your laundry without feeling hesitant.
5) Yet, sometimes it heals you and you are just grateful for that
Things don’t have to last long to be amazing. I have felt more fulfilled with a casual romance than I have with my ex, as terrible as it sounds. Sometimes, it helps you deal with feeling unfulfilled and unloved from a previous relationship. If you take it for what it is, casual dating can make you feel appreciated, admired and likeable (which you absolutely are!) Because loving can hurt but loving can also heal, we know courtesy, Ed Sheeran.
6) It makes you realise what you really want romantically
The thing with casual dating is that we don’t get into it with a lot of thought; we rather follow our heart. We don’t think about whether he is settled or of the same caste or if our parents will like him. All we think about is how he makes us feel. And after that I realised the things I am looking for in a romantic partner, and why I shouldn’t compromise on these.
7) It makes you value commitment even more
After all that thrill and passion with no responsibility, you still feel a void filled with uncertainty. After dating casually, I realised that commitment may be slightly less exciting and more predictable but it makes me so secure. Having someone you can say ‘I love you’ to freely is really underrated. Commitment is not just work but it’s knowing that he likes you even in your pyjamas and that he doesn’t care about your burps and slurps. It’s knowing that you can annoy the fuck out of him and he will still love you. It’s so much better with the right person!