The Evolution of "Casual Dating"

       

via Pinterest 

 

via Pinterest 

   I’ve been in a few relationships. Dysfunctional yes, but relationships all the same. Now, obviously I am not in them anymore so my perception is skewed to a certain degree, but there are some things that were, and are, undeniably satisfactory about being in a committed relationship. You always have someone to do things with, you always have someone to talk to, and of course the “I have a boyfriend” line always works when you’re trying to escape a guy you really aren’t interested in. But as the average American marriage age has reached a historic high and society has been graced with the invention of Tinder, committed relationships are becoming fewer and farther in between.

            We don’t think about “going steady” anymore when someone asks us to dinner. Instead, our modernized perception automatically wonders "how long will this last?" No one wants to commit to another person whom they just want to “casually date”. Ok, let’s define this. What the hell is casual dating? How many nights have we sat with our girlfriends eating popcorn, overanalyzing text messages, trying to distinguish what this or that means? The answer: way too many. Casual dating is essentially an unspoken agreement that, hey I like you but I might like someone else too and you can’t get upset because we aren’t official. So...we should be able to casually date as many people as we want and it should be fine, right? Wrong. With the causal dating label come other labels as well.

             Casual dating means that you are seeing someone, but you could be seeing someone else as well. But if those people fluctuate too often, or your number gets over a certain amount, you best bust out the label maker because the names will be flying. If you’re a woman that is seeing multiple men, you will definitely be viewed in a negative light. But why? Why is there such a stigma placed on who and how we can date? It all seems to come back to tradition. Older generations, and even our peers that have been taught and internalized traditional ideals, feel that casual dating shouldn’t be accepted, that you should be committed to someone or single. Now we could debate about this all day, but at the end of said day it's a personal decision, so, instead, let’s talk about the benefits of each.

            I like to think of casual dating as similar to a friendship. You two can talk and go out together (with the additional bonus of participating in PDA) but just remember they’re allowed to have other “friends” as well. On the other hand, in a committed relationship you have the standard dates and candlelight, plus emotional attachment, but we can’t forget the pressure of meeting the family. So if you’re not looking to be ridiculed by their mom on your last haircut, opt for a casual dating situation. But if you don’t want to worry wondering who your significant other is seeing tomorrow night, you’re looking for a relationship.

            The confusions of the discrepancies go on and on. Honestly, we may never know exactly the line between a relationship or a casual fling. But what we do know is that things have changed significantly over time. Commitment is a thing of the past and more people are looking for alternative options. Could this mean that people are becoming more independent and depending on themselves more rather than others? Or could this mean that we are losing our need for emotional satisfaction? Is casual dating becoming the new social norm? Whether it's good, bad, something you want, something you don't – that's for you to decide.