Can Casual Dating Turn Into A Relationship? (Answered)

Happy couple

Casual dating is very common in today’s fast moving world.

It’s convenient to have someone on call to spend time with and there’s no commitment.

But after a while some feelings may develop and something more serious may be considered.

Here I look at casual dating, how to make it a serious relationship, and what the possible outcome could be.

What is casual dating?

Casual dating is like normal dating but without commitment. There’s no long term relationship in mind. You may or may not call yourselves boyfriend and girlfriend depending on who’s asking. It’s all very informal.

You may enjoy hanging out with someone, but you both agree you don’t want to take it any further. It’s usually exclusive until you meet someone you want something more serious with.

It’s often used as someone to go out with and enjoy their company while you’re not seeing anyone serious. Sex is often involved at the end of the date or as a hook up when needs arise.

You sometimes hear this called “friends with benefits”. We all have needs and they can be met whether we’re in a serious relationship or not. Of course the person is someone we like very much, but we don’t see a future with them.

It’s different from casual sex and one night stands. You don’t meet up with a stranger with a view to sharing their bed at the end of the night. It’s typically someone you know very well and you both know where you stand and what’s expected.

Advantages of casual dating

These are the beneficial differences between casual dating and a relationship.

  • You have the romance and intimacy you need without the commitment of someone long term.
  • You don’t have to answer to someone about where you’re going and who you’re going with. You’re still independent, but with the benefits of being in a relationship.
  • There isn’t the risk that comes with one night stands and other sexual encounters. You know what each other likes sexually too.
  • You get to see someone you get on with and enjoy being with on dates, without having to impress them.
  • You don’t have to tell them everything and share yourself. You can reveal as little or as much of yourself as you like.
  • It’s fun and you don’t have the difficult parts a relationship. You see the best of each other.
  • You can see other people and potentially find a longer term partner at the same time.
  • It’s not just about sex when casual dating. You can get to enjoy someone’s company and get to know them.

Disadvantages of casual dating

It may be fun to meet with someone occasionally with no strings attached. But sometimes you want more.

  • The obvious is, one of you to develop feelings for the other that go beyond what’s expected.
  • It’s easy not to look for someone long term and accept that causal dating is all you need.
  • Someone will eventually get hurt if feelings get involved or if one finds someone long term.
  • You don’t really get deeply involved with the other person so there’s no real connection.
  • One party may have wanted something serious all along and accepted causal dating as that’s all they could get.
  • You could be living in fantasy land and avoiding what’s stopping you finding someone permanent.
  • Jealousy could happen if you’re not exclusive and your sexual health could be at risk.

Can you make it a serious relationship?

A lot of long term relationships begin with casual encounters. You get on with each other enough for casual dating, so it only makes sense that something serious could develop.

You know each other very well and maybe intimately too. You discover over time as feelings develop, you may both feel the same way and like to take things further.

It’s a big step you need to discuss with each other to make sure it’s the right decision to make. Things will change and your attitude to one another might too.

People can change once a commitment is there. This happy go lucky person you enjoyed being with may become demanding of your time. Conversation will become more serious as you discuss future plans.

At the end of the day you’ve got nothing to lose. If feelings are there, you may as well get it out in the open and try to make it official and serious.

Family and friends may be in for a shock, or will they? They may think it’s something you should haven done a long time ago if they see you both as a good match.

Happy couple

Considerations in making it a serious relationship

You need to consider if either of you are seeing anyone else or if anyone else thinks there’s a romantic possibility there.

Friends and family might not agree and think you’re making a bad choice. They may have preconceptions on what your partner is like or how faithful they’re likely to be.

You need to talk about your expectations when it comes to a serious relationship. You don’t need to worry about these things when you’re casual.

What do you both want and what kind of rules will you have for each other? You’re used to these things not being an issue, but things change when you commit.

You need to talk about your living situation. Moving someone’s stuff over to the others is a big upheaval. How far away will you travel to work?

It’s going to seriously affect what you have now. You might not be able to go back to casual dating if it doesn’t work out.

Do either of you really want to be with just one person? You’ll be giving up a lot of the freedom you currently enjoy.

From casual dating to serious relationship advice

Ignore what other people think. If you want to make a go of it, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Go into it with an open mind. Be prepared to see a different side to your partner. You’ll be experiencing them day to day, good and bad.

If and when you’ve made the step, keep talking about how you feel. Whether your expectations are right and if you’ve both made the right choice.

By talking it through regularly, you know where you both stand. The different dynamic may be a shock at first.

Discuss what you want the outcome of the relationship to be. Is it marriage, family or both? You may just want to be exclusively boyfriend and girlfriend for the time being.

Casual dating to serious relationship outcomes

Many long term relationships begin as casual dating. It’s often a friend you begin casually seeing. It’s only natural that things could turn out well for you both over time.

Casual dating can be just like normal dating if it’s exclusive, and it getting serious is a natural progression. No one admits they first met each other as casual daters but many do.

You develop a mutual love and respect for each other that grows. In a relationship, you discover more about one another and develop a deeper connection.

Some people are very scared of commitment and only intend to see people casually. One of those people may make you feel comfortable in getting serious with. This could change your whole outlook.

Of course there’s no guarantee of a successful outcome. Some relationships only succeed on a casual basis and taking it further doesn’t work.

Final thoughts

Casual dating can definitely turn into a serious relationship and frequently does. Many online dating and dating apps encourage casual encounters.

Some people may prefer casual relationships, but something deeper is often wanted. Feelings may develop naturally over a period of time.

It takes guts to make a change to what you have together and talk about something more serious. But if it’s what you want, then go for it. You’d always regret it if you didn’t say something.

It’s a big change to make and it will be hard to make it work like any relationship. But your foundations are good. You just need to get used to seeing each other in a different way.

You’ll be embarking on a big journey with someone you already get on with well. What the outcome will be for you both and if it will last is unknown. But that’s the joy of every romantic relationship.

Emma Taylor

I'm a relationship expert with years of experience who's given advice to hundreds of people. I hope you've found some good advice here too.

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