Part 1: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Truth
What the heck is "casual dating"?
Since there’s so much confusion as to what "casual dating" really means, I think it’ll be worthwhile to define it from the get go.
“Casual dating is when two individuals have a planned social encounter, with slightly romantic overtones, without entertaining the idea of a commitment or relationship as the eventual – or immediate - outcome.”
Thank you Dictionary.com! Now that we’ve got the technicalities out of the way, let’s dive right into the good, the bad and the ugly!!
1. It’s a no-pressure style of dating. There’s no obligation on either party to make any kind of commitment for the future. This leaves you and your date free to be yourselves and enjoy each other’s company.
2. You get to meet new people and get to know them better over a longer period of time. Even if there’s no chemistry between you and your date, it’s always great to expand your social circle and make new friends.
3. As you meet, date and expand your network, you’ll learn more about yourself – and fine-tune exactly what you want from a future mate along the way. And the best part: no regrets.
4. You’re not committed to the first person you go out with or tied down from the very first date. You get to know someone well first and if you both end up developing feelings for each other, no one’s stopping you from making a commitment!
5. You don’t have to worry about whether he’s The One every time you go on a date. I know it’s difficult. Fairy tales, romantic comedies and every Tamil film you’ve seen have ingrained this notion into your head since you were old enough to talk. But try to relax and enjoy the moment and see for yourself how freeing it feels not to have any expectations right from the very first date!
6. Because there’s no commitment involved, the number of individuals you date and how often is entirely up to you. Dating at your own pace gives you control over how much time you commit to your ‘love’ life. It leaves you free to pursue other interests, spend time with your friends and family, study and focus on your career; there’s no guilt factor associated with not seeing someone often enough!
1. There are no guarantees! If you’re looking to find someone to settle down with in the near future, this isn’t the right approach for you.
2. It could create a lot of awkwardness. Iif you develop feelings for the guy you’re casually dating and want to start a serious relationship and he doesn’t.
3. He could also be dating more than one person at the same time. If you want to make an impression you’ll have to try much harder to capture and keep his attention.
4. There are a lot of negative connotations within the Tamil community about casual dating. If you’re worried about what your mother’s cousin’s husband’s sister’s best friend will say about your lifestyle choices, don’t bother.
5. As a single Tamil female in your 20s or 30s there might be a lot parental pressure to get married….and fast! Try eHarmony or tamilmatrimony.com if you’re in this boat and want to oblige your parents’ request.
And the Ugly Truth:
1. Let’s get a few things cleared up. Casual dating isn’t the same as casual sex! You can follow other avenues if you simply just want to get your freak on! Sex could factor into it, but only if you want it to. Just because it’s casual, you don’t have to feel obligated to sleep with him; take it at your own pace and let your moral compass or your comfort level guide you.
2. In order to get the most out of this experience, try dating outside your immediate or even secondary social circle. The whole point of this exercise is for you to have different experiences and try something new. So make a point of dating different types of guys. Throw that list of ‘ideal qualities in a man’ you’ve had since you were 13! Keep an open mind and remember: it’s not all about the looks.
3. Ladies, if you don’t enjoy spending time with the dude you’re dating – or he’s not treating you right - don’t keep him around! A lot of women feel too shy or not confident enough to tell a guy she doesn’t want to see him anymore. Be firm, but polite and he’ll get the message. If you want to casually date on your own terms you have to learn to trust your instincts and follow through.
4. If at any point you develop feelings for him, you have to make a decision. Do you want to get into a relationship with him or is this a bad time? Is he interested in pursuing something more serious or is he afraid – or uninterested – in commitment? Learn to cut your losses. Let go and move forward!
In Part 2, we’ll tackle how to actually go about casually dating. We’ll cover everything from where to meet guys to how to be approachable so stay tuned!
In Part 3, I’ll talk about my own experience navigating my way through the dating world.