Casual / Semi-Casual Relationship stories/experiences?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by AP_piano295, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I just got out of a highly committed 3 year long relationship and I'm looking at my first single semester of college. The relationship ended because while we loved each other we both got into this habit of being unbearably stifling. For whatever reason we sucked at maintaining our relationship and having lives outside of each other. (22(me) and 20(her) is too young to hit that point in life :rolleyes:.

    But on that note I'm trying to figure out what I'll be doing / looking for during the next few years.

    Un-surprisingly I'm not feeling inclined to immediately start looking for another highly committed relationship. At the same time I'm not really a one night stand type of guy. I did a little of that during my junior/senior years of high school and never really enjoyed the experience.

    So I guess what I'm looking for is a relationship but one with a lot more autonomy. I don't wan't to feel the need to constantly check in/ make plans/ co-ordinate vacation schedule's etc. I'm not suggesting a "just friends with benefits situation", but when a fun opportunity comes along I don't want to feel restricted by a relationship.

    I'm not really looking for advice but I wouldn't mind hearing about some of MR community's experiences in this area.

    What types of relationships "worked", what types didn't, how'd you feel about said relationships etc?
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    Ok I'll bite ... this meeting is running long anyway.

    You're going to get advice even if you didn't ask for it. ;)

    You want to date, maybe exclusively but you don't want to commit. You're young, it happens. Eventually the girl will figure out whether she too is ok with the arrangement or not. For me personally that never worked. Depending upon who it was either I did not care to give more or they did not care to give more and for me it came down to the person, nothing more.

    I think if you truly find the right person "checking in" is not an issue (and not seen as checking in) and a fun event is only made better because that other person is there.
     
  3. newuser2310 macrumors regular

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    Feb 16, 2010
    #3
    The problem with a causal relationship is someone usually ends up wanting more.

    The relationship then can be doomed if one party carries on half heatedly.

    Inevitably it doesn't normally end well.

    However My relationship has been going on for over a year, but surprisingly(to me at least) we now both love each other very much.

    :eek:
     
  4. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #4
    Sounds like you're talking about a normal, adult relationship. One 5 year one I was in was just like that. The only time we really "checked in" was on the weekends, when we were both off work. The rest of the time, we did whatever we wanted. If I came across something I thought would be fun to do together during the week, I'd mention it. Otherwise, we were pretty autonomous. It was good until the last 6 months, but that's another story.

    I do not like feeling smothered either. I like being in a relationship, but I need time and space for other friends as well.
     
  5. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 9, 2005
    #5
    Haha no worries advice is inevitable and not un-welcome.

    And I see where you coming from it's a reasonable assumption to think I'm worried about commitment and to an extent I'm sure that is the case.

    But there is a little more too it than that I'll give some personal examples:

    1)

    Finishing undergraduate degree, my ex and I did long distance for almost two years (not a very long distance but still long distance) this last year we've been close (at the same school). So we were constantly attempting to sync our schedule's for the next 4 years (graduate school) :eek:.

    We both wanted to go to the same school, graduate at the same time and this was a major source of stress. I was going to be killing myself to finish my degree and the pre-requisites for my future program (not to mention generalized tests, applications, practical experience etc.).

    So the moment we broke up I felt much more able to re-access my plan's and develop a much more practical and enjoyable schedule.

    2)

    And while many activities may be improved by your significant other being around with you this isn't always the case. I did/do a number of things which she couldn't really be a part of.

    For example I'm a high level skier with a large number of high level skiing and snowboarding friends. And my while my ex was competent at this it wasn't really her passion.

    This would have been fine but something about the way our relationship worked I always felt like I couldn't take trips with friends because of something "relationship" going on.

    I think Lee might be right in that I just need to find a relationship which isn't stifling (perhaps casual was the wrong word). But most of the people I know who've been/are in long term relationships seem to really struggle with these aspects of autonomy vs. committed.

    I don't have any personal experience with a more distant relationship, and I know very few people in relationships of that type.
     
  6. coupdetat macrumors 6502

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #6
    I think you're too old for casual relationships. They can work okay in high school, when two people really just want to explore each other's bodies and sexuality, and really aren't mature enough to appreciate love anyways. I don't think casual relationships can really exist in college though, especially not after one has experienced a long-term serious relationship. It's just not fulfilling at all.

    Date around, meet new people, but be respectful and true to your desires. If deep-down you are a relationship person, it's much smarter to surround yourself with friends and constantly meet new people until the next "perfect" person comes along.

    I've learned this lesson the hard way, over the course of years!
     
  7. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #7
    Granted it's been a few years since I was in college, but what??? I'd argue that college is the perfect time for this. ;)
     
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #8
    As would I.
     
  9. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #9
    Not too young at all. If you weren't meant to be together and that great of a couple, then it wouldn't have worked no matter your age.
    (started dating my current girlfriend at 16 and we're now 25.)
     
  10. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Chicago, Illinois
    #10
    Gotta say no to this. It depends on the person and where you are in life. I'm 44, and all I've wanted the last few years are casual encounters. There is a time and place for everything, and sometimes you just need to play the field for a while, especially after a break up. That's OK. It gives you time to process what went wrong the last time around.

    That's good. But don't ignore your friends once that person comes along.
     
  11. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    Dallas, Texas
    #11
    The challenge with "casual" or "recreational" dating is that in general we humans feel a need to define things and we look for boundaries to help forumulate these definitions. For this reason if you just "date around" then you will be under constant pressure from others who are seeking to define the status and nature of the relationship. Some if not most of this pressure will come from the people you date as they seek out ways to define or understand the relationship.

    For this reason you must be upfront and honest with people about how you feel and what you want. If these relationships are going to cross into sexual areas then it's much more important for you to be upfront and honest. Despite the sexual revolution and female equality it is still a rare woman that doesn't pair sex with feelings and attachment. I'm not saying it can't happen, but in the context of "dating" most girls associate sex as being a sign of the relationship moving to a more "serious" i.e. committed level.

    I think it's sad that people don't view dating in general as casual. It seems like it's hard to "date around" or take out multiple "interests" at a time. The stereotypical names like "player", "fear of commitment", or "not dating material" get thrown around a lot in regards to people who wish to date or go out with many people at a time.

    Look, it's your life, and there's nothing wrong with getting to know people and having fun at the same time. It's also important to note that in this process you'll learn a lot about yourself at the same time. I assume you want to eventually get back into a committed relationship. Well, I always tell people that if you want to find that "right person", then stop looking. The key is to focus on improving yourself. When you are doing everything you can to "be the right person" then it's amazing how you will draw others to you and inevitably "Mr. or Mrs. Right" is one of those people.

    So, I say just keep focusing on your goals, school, your hobbies, your friends, and whatever else you have going on and I gurantee you will meet people in that process. Go on lots of "dates" and just have some fun. When you find someone you really like then go for it, until then, be honest and "do no harm".

    Best wishes.
     
  12. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #12
    Yep, exactly on. I agree.
     
  13. AP_piano295, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2011

    AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    I wasn't implying that a long relationship was the problem. But failing to maintain a life outside of each other.

    The proper balance wasn't there, if you've got it than I'm very happy for you.

    Agreed, very well said.
     
  14. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #14
    My two cents... if you're gonna do a casual relationship, set expectations before hand. Best way to keep people from getting hurt.
     
  15. coupdetat macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Different strokes for different folks I guess. I always felt like past high school, especially after a long intimate relationship, it's difficult to return to casual relationships.
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    Just a question- are you the kind of person who hangs out with friends when not involved, but once involved, stops hanging out with them?
     
  17. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

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    Sep 21, 2009
    #17
    In rare circumstances, it's possible to have a "casual relationship" in which it is basically a friends with benefits, but committed, but with the option to leave whenever, or do something with someone else if you talk about it with the other person first.

    I had such a situation last summer, and it was amazing. It was perfect. And it sounds like exactly what you're looking for. I would approach girls cautiously, with the idea of "a fun relationship where we don't have to worry about the future or think about marriage," and tell her "I don't want you to be constrained by us, I want you to be able to have fun" (this will naturally apply to you too then), etc.

    It works best if it's someone that you've already known for a while though... that's the thing. Do you know anyone that you think could be a candidate for this?

    In any case, what I'm saying is, the most ideal and perfect manifestation of what you're seeking Does exist. It's rare to find, but it's possible, so don't give up!
     
  18. coupdetat macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Definitely not, I try to keep a balance.
     
  19. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #19
    Good for you. That's very important.
     
  20. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 9, 2005
    #20
    So it can happen :D

    I know of a few girls who might be the same place in their lives, and It makes a-lot of sense that knowing someone beforehand would increase the odds of success.

    Most of the stories I've herd from friends who attempted to have this type of relationship failed. According to them it always turned out that one of the participants was actually looking for something more serious. While pretending to be relaxed about the situation.




    Bring on the stories people :)
     
  21. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    You see I never stopped spending time with my old friends as a result of my relationship.

    The problem was that the relationship was limiting our ability to make new friends. And while that isn't necessarily a problem in every serious relationship I've generally noticed that people in serious committed relationships tend to limit each other socially.

    This would be alright if I were surrounded by a large number of close old friends. But that wasn't the case many of my old friends are dispersed across the country and I rarely see them anymore. So balance really became a problem...
     
  22. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #22
    Here's a boring one. I had a casual relationship with a girl when I worked in the bay area. We decided at the beginning that it was just for sex and for fun. After about 2 months, she started emotionally acting out at me. After x number of WTF was that fights, I stopped talking to her. 2 months after that, she ended up with a boyfriend (AKA her real needs came to the surface).

    Here's the thing... a casual relationship requires that both people know what they want. Most people have no friggin clue what they want. Usually to know what you want, you have to have a lot of relationship experience, be genuine about yourself, and be at a point in your life where you don't wanna be tied down.

    I'll add that even if it doesn't go down right, it's still fun. Just set expectations at the beginning so the girl knows what she's getting into. And qualify her as you get to know her to make sure she's not neurotic or psycho. Be nice if you have to end it. And recognize there's a chance you might actually be the one getting sprung.
     
  23. Performa636CD macrumors member

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    #23
    I agree with much of what has been said here. However, I'd like to add two things.

    First, even with full disclosure from the very beginning, it doesn't mean the person will have second thoughts about a casual type of relationship. This is because they may not know what they want or are talking about (as touched up on by Liquorpuki).

    Second, there's not only the risk of you wanting more from that person (instead of them wanting more from you), but also the guilt you could potentially feel if you have to end things and the other person doesn't want to (your partner wants more and you don't, things just aren't working out, etc.). It was in a "casual relationship" where I learned that breaking someone else's heart can hurt...a lot. And no, a "let's be honest from the beginning" talk doesn't alleviate the guilt.
     
  24. Contiguous macrumors member

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    Jul 22, 2011
    #24
    The thing is, when you sign up for a relationship, you're all signing up for a casual one to start, regardless of what you want to do in the long term. Which is why it is important, if you want to keep it casual, to communicate that at the beginning, and to continue to communicate that as time goes on (if it's still your intention). I don't think it's fair to label people as 'crazy' when all they're doing is progressing into a deeper stage than you'd care to commit to at the time. They just have different goals, that's all.

    Also, there's a lot of cultural and emotional pressure for people to be in relationships as opposed to being single, which is why people jump into them without asking themselves if it's what they want or what will be the best for them.
     
  25. (marc) macrumors 6502a

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