It’s the classic dating situation: Two people meet. They are attracted to one another and begin to spend time together.
They continue to spend time together and become intimate.
One person makes it clear that he or she just wants to “have fun” and does not want a relationship or to get serious. As time passes, however, confusion, disagreement and possible pain about this “non-relationship” grows.
So, is it possible to just “have fun” together?
Of course it is. When two people have an agreement that they are both wanting to be casual about their interactions with one another, it can be fun and enjoyable.
This, however, is not a committed relationship.
We certainly hope that there is fun and enjoyment in love relationships and marriages, but there are also other elements that the casual dating experience does not usually include.
Let’s back up a bit…
There are many people who simply don’t want to be in a love relationship.
They may have had painful experiences in past relationships and still feel too vulnerable and wounded to jump back into another one now, or ever. They may hold beliefs that they will lose independence and a sense of control over their lives if they enter into a committed relationship.
Or, perhaps, they are clear within themselves that they do not want that kind of depth and level of involvement with another person right now.
None of these reasons are wrong.
It gets tricky, however, when a person who is not wanting to be in a relationship does want to date and possibly be sexually intimate with other people.
Upon first getting together, it might seem acceptable to the other person to just “have fun.” But attachments can happen over time. Feelings can deepen and grow.
The person who was initially okay with a non-relationship dating arrangement might find him or herself wanting more.
When both people do not want more at the same time, the fun quickly drains away leaving mainly hurt feelings and upset.
Make agreements with yourself.
We understand that when you are first getting to know another person to whom you are attracted, neither of you really knows if this will turn into a love relationship or not.
At that first date, asking the other person to make relationship commitments to you is probably not a wise idea– nor is it probably one that you would choose.
You are learning more about this person; you probably don’t want to force things or end up in a relationship with someone whom you aren’t all that excited about after all.
We encourage you to make commitments and agreements with yourself.
- What is most important to you when it comes to this dating experience?
- How would you like to be treated by this new person in your life?
- Are there particular expectations that you have of him or her?
- If the two of you are sexually intimate, what kind of agreements will you make?
While it may be unclear to you (and to your date) whether or not you want to deepen your interactions and eventually be in a committed relationship together, you can become very clear within yourself about what you want.
For example, if you truly are wanting to be in a committed relationship in the near future, be honest with yourself about that. Whether it’s this person or another, if this is what you really want, admit it to yourself.
Communicate as you go along.
Keep the lines of communication open and honest as you are in this dating and “having fun” situation. Listen to what the other person is saying and ask yourself if this is acceptable to you at this time.
After a few months, you might want more. This is why continuing to talk is so important.
Again, we aren’t suggesting that during the first weeks of dating, you corner this other person and try to get him or her to make a commitment to a relationship.
Yes, make agreements in the moment and make commitments that fit where you are.
We also recommend that if your dating partner is clearly against being in a relationship and you would like to keep that open as a future possibility, be honest.
When you say okay to no relationship, that is also an agreement.
If you are amenable to a “no relationship” agreement, be sure that you continue to check in with yourself as the two of you spend more and more time together.
Be clear about what just “having fun” means to each of you in terms of dating other people and sexual intimacy.
Dating and attracting a love relationship can be difficult to do. There are a lot of unknowns and many occasions for potential misunderstandings.
Keep the connection between you and you strong. Stay open and be honest about where you are and what you want.
Above all, trust that you can have the kind of experience and relationships that you desire.
From Erin at LoveRomanceRelationship: Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships, and how to communicate in a way that deepens your connection. Check out their work here! <==