If you have an on-again, off-again thing going through dating apps on your phone, or if you’ve been on a slew of first dates right in a row — you may be starting to think that casual dating is exhausting. Maybe you just ended yet another "casual" relationship after four months of talking to them about their job aspirations and their challenging relationship with their estranged father (just me?). Perhaps casual dating is so tiring because you’re constantly trying to figure out what you’re doing. Unlike a long-term relationship, where you’ve began to settle in, or a one night hookup that you’ll never see again — casual dating can feel like constantly walking a tightrope. On one hand, you want more than just the physical stuff, but on the other, you don’t quite want an explicitly serious or exclusive thing. TBH, I’m tired just thinking about it.
Of course, if keeping things lite (TM) lights your fire and low-key relationships give you energy, casual dating may be totally for you. Only you know what works for you, and only you know what feels right.
But if casual dating makes you tired, you may totally resonate with these five reasons.
1. Constantly putting yourself out there can get old.
From perfecting your Bumble profile to literally getting ready to go out, putting yourself out there consistently can be totally tiring. If you’ve gotten in a sort of pattern of describing where you went to school, what you’re doing now, what your hobbies are, or every other small-talk topic, it’s totally natural to feel a little burnt out on a first date or even during some flirting.
If you’ve been on a couple first dates with total losers or never heard from a cutie you gave your number to, it can feel super tiring to keep putting yourself out there after some dating duds. Of course, you’re a total catch. And if dating starts to feel like you’re trying to convince someone of how amazing you are, it’s OK to say Thank U, Next.
You have so much to offer, and the right person will see that instantly.
2. It can be hard (and scary) to be clear about your intentions.
Maybe you know you want a serious relationship, but don’t want to pressure your crush by saying that on the first date. Maybe you’re looking for something casual, but don’t want your date to get the wrong idea. Or maybe you don’t know what you’re looking for and won’t know until you find it.
Put plainly: Knowing what you want can be tricky. Knowing what you want, unapologetically expressing that to your date without making compromises, and being prepared to leave a casual relationship if your boo isn’t prepared to meet your needs can be, well, damn near impossible.
Being clear about your intentions is super important when casually dating, and can get everyone on the same page before some major heartache.
3. Sussing out who you’re dating can be, well, a lot.
Casually dating can be especially tiring if you’re seeing someone from a dating app, or otherwise have no mutual connections with. Maybe it’s super important to you that the people you date are close to their families or maybe you like to get frisky with people that really care about their school or work. If you literally know nothing about someone, it can hard to figure out what kind of person they are and if you share similar morals and ethics.
If you’re finally getting drinks with your cute coworker or are starting to be a little *more* than friends with your study buddy, you may know your date a little bit, but seeing them as someone you’re dating can take time and effort. Of course, getting to know someone can be totally sexy and fun, and meeting new people who aren’t in your circle can be a great way to explore new restaurants or parts of town you don’t venture to often.
Still, it can be totally tiring to get all dressed up just to take three trains to that tapas place you pretended you knew about, only to find out that your date doesn’t talk to their mom and hasn’t read a book since their sixth grade report on My Side Of The Mountain.
4. Knowing what the heck you’re doing or what to call your date can be *stressful.*
If you’ve been casually seeing someone for weeks or months and have never talked about whether you’re seeing other people, it can hard to know what the heck you’re doing with a casual date.
If your date is not quite your partner, but is more than just a one time hookup, knowing what title to give them, and what words to use when referring to your relationship, can be totally taxing.
Being clear about what you want can be helpful when expressing your needs to a boo. Allowing your needs and wants to change is super important as well. It’s totally natural to initially be interested in something casual, and then to want something more serious down the line. It’s also natural to want things to be casual forever. The best way to figure out what you’re doing is to talk about it — period.
5. It can feel *uncasual* to try to keep things casual.
If you and your date have amazing chemistry or if you talk about your hopes and dreams and go on fun dates, it can hard not to get a little emotionally invested. In fact, there’s some serious science behind totally vibing on your new boo, and feeling pretty connected to them.
Casual dating can mean different things to different people, and while some may see casual relationships as more physical, plenty of people like to go on nice dates and have long intimate phone calls with people they are "casual" with (ask anyone I’ve ever kissed). If you feel like your relationship is starting to evolve, it can be super exhausting to have to gauge where your date is at and how they are feeling about it.
When it starts to feel like a chore to keep things casual or that you’re kind of suppressing what you’re really thinking or needing to appear "easy breezy," dating can feel super exhausting. Again, you are a total catch, and the right person will never make you feel like you need to edit or limit yourself. If acting casual is making you tired, it’s OK to move along.
Of course, some people are totally into keepings things casual. If you like to see multiple people at once, or if you like to keep things loose, casual dating may be totally nourishing to you. No matter your romantic status or preferences, being clear with yourself and your boo(s) on your intentions can be totally helpful. You are a lighting bolt wearing blinding highlighter, and there’s no need to let dating fade any of that away.
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