This piece will not resonate with everyone. For some, it may seem like a justification for sleeping around; justification for allowing yourself to indulge in short-term hits of dopamine to satisfy the most basic, primal sexual desires. But for others, this may offer the supportive voice that is desperately needed in a time when you may be feeling alone inside of your mind as you try to parse through the purpose and expectations of dating.
Dating casually can be extremely exciting and enjoyable.
If done correctly, dating casually can be awesome. You’ll feel butterflies before a first date. You’ll meet some incredibly inspiring people that will change your life, your values, and your perspectives. With any luck, maybe you’ll inspire some of them too. You’ll make memories with people whom you may never see again. You’ll learn that there isn’t any defined way to have great sex. You’ll feel desire and you’ll be desired.
Having these experiences before committing for the long haul is important in today’s dating scene, one that is characterized by an abundance of opportunity, the next suitable match only a swipe away. Dating casually is important because you’ll learn about yourself; you’ll gain a deeper insight into your sexuality, what qualities you find attractive, how comfortable you are with kinks, how loud a person can chew without you wanting to get up and leave. With a larger sample size, you can discover the type of person you want to be with, beyond the necessary tenets that every relationship requires, like honesty, respect, and humor.
You’re building a large repository of data to help you determine the type of person you’re looking for in the future. When you are ready to commit, you can analyze your previous partners to find the data points that truly matter to you, the not-so-obvious factors that are individualized to you, and only you.
And when you find that person, the one that is perfect for you, you’ll know to appreciate them. You’ll know that they are the needle in a haystack, a rare breed that mustn’t be taken for granted.
I found myself in a long-term relationship before I was ready.
We had plans to travel the world together, move in, possibly get engaged. However, I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to realize that I wasn’t ready for lasting commitment; I thought that my hesitations to fully commit to her in the same way that she was prepared to commit to me were rooted in financial instability, still being in school, uncertainty about the future… everything except for the simple fact that I wasn’t ready.
Part of me knew that I wasn’t ready. I felt like there was so much more to experience in the realms of dating; she was only the second person that I had seriously dated. In a sense, I felt trapped, but not confined to a dreary, life-draining cage. I felt happy, I felt loved, and I loved her right back, but I still felt a yearn for freedom; the freedom to meet new people, create memories, and expose myself to a wider range of experiences. It was extremely selfish of me; it was difficult for me to reconcile the strong feelings that I felt towards her with my lack of preparedness for a relationship. We broke up.
I wasn’t ready and maybe you aren’t either.
Maybe you feel the same as I did. If you do, don’t commit to anyone; don’t make someone fall in love with you only for you to leave them afterward.
Instead, have those experiences first; date casually. Meet new people, go on awesome dates, take them to an amusement park and scream together as you approach a loop-the-loop, laugh at their silly, immature jokes, crack a few of your own, stay up late talking to each other about anything and everything, have mind-blowing sex, watch a garbage movie on Prime Video because all your friends are already using your shared Netflix account.
And then, when you’re ready, fall in love with someone, committing to them in your entirety because you know that they are one of a kind, a class above the rest.