Gone are the days of the “Third Date Rule”.
With conflicting schedules, work commitments and so on, putting the time and effort into a relationship isn’t always a priority – or necessary. As a result, the “no-strings-attached hook-up” is becoming increasingly popular.
But, like our favourite T.V couple McDreamy and Meredith, sometimes casual sex can turn into something more. While it may not lead to Post-It nuptials, sometimes a relationship can unexpectedly develop out of your casual liaisons.
So what happens when you find yourself accidentally in a relationship?
First thing’s first, ask yourself: do you really want a relationship? It must have started as something casual for a reason. Just because you’ve enjoyed some fun times doesn’t mean you’re obligated to make it anything more. If you find yourself progressively putting in time for dinner dates and coffee that are cluttering your calendar, have that “talk”. Remind him gently that it’s more of a casual thing. However…if you find yourself accidentally dating and like it, well, next you need to set some ground rules.
Nothing’s worse than assuming it’s moved on to the next level only to see him out with another casual buddy the next week. Make sure you directly tackle the subject to avoid embarrassment. Simply asking, “are we exclusive?” can help establish whether you are free to see other people. For your dignity – and sexual health – it’s better to know.
Then, like any relationship, you have to start to the beginning. Only in this case, it means going back to the beginning, a.k.a., put hook-ups on hiatus. Go out for coffee, to a movie or a show, have dinner and get to know each other. You clearly have the intimacy part down to a tee, so remove the complication of sex from the equation to see if there’s more to your connection than physicality.
The chemistry in a relationship will be different compared to the dynamic you had as inclusive partners. Being in a commitment means having to do things like take an interest in his bad day, meeting his friends…stuff being casual generally exempts you from. You may find that once the games are aside and challenges arise that you don’t have the patience, or that you’re not compatible as a couple.
Just like casual sex and/or dating, you need to be in a relationship for the right reasons. Turning your fun-friend into a steady because you hear the ol’ biological clock ticking or see other friends settling down leads to trouble. If you’re a Carrie, let your fling evolve into something more naturally. Or, if you’re a Samantha, enjoy it for a while before swiftly moving on! Do what feels right for your connection with him, not what you think you should be doing.
Times have changed – and there’s nothing wrong with having a casual partner as opposed to a long-term love. Don’t feel pressured to make it something serious. But if you find yourself falling for your fun-buddy, as is the case with everything, communication is key.
Preferably not with Post-It notes.