Should you be casually dating a woman who wants a serious relationship? The short answer is “no,” but allow me to elaborate on that.
No, you should not be casually dating someone who wants a serious relationship with you. It is much better to be on the up-and-up when a woman wants something more serious.
In this article, I’ll discuss the signs that a woman you’re casually dating wants to be in a serious relationship with you and do’s and don’ts that come with proceeding once you come to this realization.
But first, let’s take a look at exactly what casual dating is, casual dating rules, and the signs to look for that will let you know she wants a serious relationship with you.
What Does it Mean When You’re “Casually Dating” Someone?
Casual dating is when you spend time with someone and engage in some sort of romantic activity, whether that is sexual or emotional. When you are casually dating someone, you are more than friends but you’re definitely not in a committed relationship. In fact, one of the trademarks of a casual dating relationship is that there is an understanding that there is never going to be exclusivity in the relationship; the relationship is never meant to become serious.
Casual dating isn’t intended to last long either. You’re most likely not going to be casually a woman for years. You may have sexual encounters or pick the relationship back up on and off throughout the course of a few or even several years, but this is intermittent when both of you find yourselves single but still have no intention of becoming a real couple.
If you’re casually dating, you’re not taking a woman out on a bunch of dates or wining and dining her. The two of you hang out more like friends with benefits, where you enjoy each other’s company every so often and engage in sexual activity, but that’s pretty much it.
Casual dating is different from MegaDating, which is a dating strategy that helps singles find a compatible, long-term partner. MegaDating involves going on dates with several different people at the same time in order to diffuse energy by keeping your calendar full. MegaDating also gives you tons of practice in the dating world, so that you become really good at it and have a higher chance of meeting the right woman for you.
When you are casually dating someone, it isn’t in the hopes of finding a serious relationship with that person and any dates are not done with the intention of getting to know someone in order to see whether or not there is long-term relationship potential.
Casual Dating Rules
The issue with casual dating is that things can get pretty confusing. Not only is there a potential for one of you to develop serious feelings, but a lot of misunderstandings can arise.
To make things easier and to help you avoid hurt feelings, here are some casual dating rules:
- Be upfront and honest from the beginning. Make sure that both of you understand that this is a casual relationship and that there are no commitments to making consistent plans, spending certain amounts of time together and that both of you are allowed to see other people.
- Make sure there’s an understanding that the relationship can end at any time and abruptly.
- Don’t make this a long-term thing. The longer a fling lasts, the more likely it is that feelings will develop and that things will become confusing.
- Don’t get too deep with conversations and don’t go on dates that closely resemble real dates. Split the tab always and keep things casual when going out together, if you even choose to do so.
- Make an agreement to always let the other person know if things are becoming uncomfortable or if one of you is developing feelings.
- Make an agreement to never interfere with each other’s plans or to get upset if one of you needs to flake.
- Decide what is an acceptable amount of time to see each other each month.
- Decide whether or not you are OK with hearing about other guys she has crushes on or goes on dates with and vice versa.
Signs She Wants a Serious Relationship With You
The most obvious sign here would be her telling you straight up that she wants a serious relationship with you. But if she hasn’t fully confessed her feelings, here are some other signs she wants to get serious:
- She’s introduced you to her friends.
- She wants to meet your friends. Or, if she’s already met your friends, she asks you about them.
- She’s deleted her online dating apps.
- She remembers little things you mentioned and brings them up in later conversations.
- She does nice things for you. For example, she brings you soup when you’re sick or brings you some chocolate chip cookies she made the other night because she remembered you saying how much you liked them.
- She looks longingly into your eyes and gazes at you.
- She initiates contact.
- She gets upset if you cancel plans or becomes jealous of other women in your life.
You also might simply get a gut feeling she wants something more. If you sense this, be straight up. In a kind and compassionate way, ask her if the current state of your relationship is upsetting or uncomfortable to her, or if she’s been developing stronger feelings. If she admits that she has, it’s best to cut off the casual relationship right there and then so that you avoid hurting her feelings and making things more complicated.
Check out my blog on How to Reject a Girl Who Likes You for additional insights.
Do: Be Honest With Her From the Very Beginning
If you haven’t already, make it clear to her — in the kindest way possible — that you have enjoyed casually spending time together, but you don’t want a serious relationship with her. Here are some examples of what you can say:
- “I’ve been having fun hanging out with you, but I don’t see this becoming serious. You’re awesome, but I feel like our chemistry and personalities don’t mesh in a way that would be good long-term.”
- “I’m really flattered but I’m not looking to go further in this relationship.”
- “I really like you and enjoy the time we’ve spent together, but I want to keep things casual. I’m sorry if anything I’ve done has caused any confusion or hurt you in any way.”
It’s important that you practice compassion but also let her know with 100% clarity that a serious relationship between you two is not going to happen.
Don’t: Continue to Casually Date Her
Even if she agrees that she’s fine with a casual relationship, keep in mind that she’s likely not being completely honest with you and that she’s probably not being honest with herself.
When it comes to casual dating — if one or both people don’t want it to get serious — the relationship would inevitably fizzle either way, so it’s best to make a clean break when somebody catches serious feelings.
Because she is experiencing infatuation, the thought of losing your pseudo-romantic relationship may leave her feeling like she’s going to be experiencing a withdrawal, and she might continue to date you to keep enjoying all the romantic moments she can get. Or, she may have hope that you’ll change your mind about the relationship status between you two. And by continuing to hang out with her in any sort of romantic fashion is simply going to stoke the flames of her desire.
If she tells you she’d be ok with casually dating and tries to convince you of this, say something like this:
“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable continuing to date casually because I feel like the lines have gotten too blurred. I don’t want to end up hurting your feelings, and if we keep doing the casual thing, I’ll just keep worrying that that’s what’s going to happen.”
Be compassionate but stand your ground.
Do: Keep Your Distance
If the casual relationship with her is the only type of relationship you have (i.e., you met by happenstance or on an online dating app or website, have no mutual friends etc.), it is probably for the best that you make a completely clean break. Seeing you will likely be painful for her and it’s best for both of you to go your separate ways.
If that’s the case, it’s going to be hard to avoid her completely and if she were a friend first, you likely won’t want to.
Still, you’re going to want to give her space, which is important for her and that she will need, for a while. Don’t be icy about it, but be consistent. Yes, that’s likely still going to feel awkward if you have events with mutual friends or work in the same office, but things will die down eventually. And by giving her space, you avoid the potential for drama or miscommunications.
Don’t: Think With Your Dick
Yup, I said it.
Don’t allow hormones to override your desire to do the right thing by this woman. The fact that you asked yourself whether or not you should be casually dating someone who wants a serious relationship likely means that you have a concern over hurting this woman’s feelings. That’s great — stick with that!
Just because you’re not in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you get to forego respect — respect should be a top priority in any relationship.
If you have sex with her after you realize she wants something more, she’s going to stay attached to you and it will be extremely difficult for her to move on. And if you don’t want a relationship with her, it’s best that you allow her to get over you and find someone who can be a compatible, long-term partner.
The Curveball: What if You Like Her Too?
The majority of this article is meant to address a casual dating relationship where you can’t reciprocate a woman’s feelings. But what if you develop serious feelings for her, too?
I’m tempted to say, “Well, just start dating her for real!” Obviously, it may not be that simple for you, which may be a reason you clicked on this article.
If you find yourself developing serious feelings but are hesitant to move the relationship in a more serious direction, take some time to reflect on the reasons why:
- Are you still healing from a broken heart? If so, it’s understandable that you would be scared to start something new. Take a look at my advice on ways to heal a broken heart.
- Are you afraid of being alone and fear this might be your only shot at a relationship? If that’s the case, cut the relationship off. You don’t have serious feelings, you’re settling, which is why I advise things like MegaDating to help avoid this behavior that invariably leads to an unhealthy relationship.
- Are you worried that she’s not over her ex or is she recently divorced? If she’s gotten out of a relationship and shows signs that she’s definitely not over it, you’re right to be concerned. It’s likely not a healthy time for her to get serious. But if she seems over it, you might just have to take her word for it and give dating a try. If she’s recently divorced, take a look at my advice on dating a recently divorced woman.
- Are you scared of commitment or afraid to get hurt? If there are issues from the past or other factors that are leading you to a fear of intimacy, it’s important to address that before dating someone. Talking to a therapist can be extremely beneficial and can help you know exactly when is the right time to start dating.
Regardless of the reason, be honest with her and understand that if you’re not ready to date her, you have to allow her the option to find someone who is. But if you feel ready to date her and are simply having issues navigating the right way to do so, I’m here to help.
Get Individualized Dating Help
Whether you need advice on transitioning from casual dating to a serious relationship or want some expert advice on how to crush your dating goals, I’ve got you covered.
Head over to my calendar and book a new client 1-on-1 Skype session with me today. During our 50-minute session, we will discuss how to overcome dating roadblocks and come up with an individualized action plan to help you crush your dating goals.
If you don’t want to chat, you can also check out my comprehensive online dating course. I also offered Dating Profile Services, which include full-on dating profile writing services and assessments of your current online profiles to ensure you find success.
All of these services are designed to keep you out of the friend-zone (for good!) and help you find a high-value girlfriend.