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"Casual" vs. "serious" relationships


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Old 14th May 2010, 12:39 AM   #1
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"Casual" vs. "serious" relationships

what are the defining differences, in your mind, between casual and serious relationships?

can a casual relationship become serious? if not, then what is meant by "taking it slow"?

i know what i think, which is that many people, especially here, are too eager to get too serious too soon! there is almost a stigma attached to being in a non-serious relationship on ls, with all the he's just not that into you crap behind it. in my opinion relationships SHOULD be casual until you really get to know the other person.

in my mind, serious = operates as one unit. i question the judgement of anyone willing to jump into that straight away.
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Old 14th May 2010, 12:56 AM   #2
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Problems arise when people consciously pigeonhole their relationships with such a label early on. Virtually all relationships are casual for the initial weeks or months. But nonetheless, the reason there's a stigma to "casual" relationships is that, when labeled as such, it is usually used as a euphemism for FWB/F*** buddy situations, which a lot of people find is a bad thing from experience. I'm not saying a casual relationship without a horrible ending is impossible, just that more often than not, one or both people involved in such a casual arrangement end up getting their feelings hurt because their intentions were not identical from the get-go. Casual relationships aren't inherently a bad thing, and I've been in that situation a few times myself, but when push comes to shove, the two people involved in one of these are just using each other for sexual/ego gratification.

So to answer your first question: Yes. Pretty much every romantic relationship starts off as casual, and they often progress to being serious. As for "taking it slow," that's a phrase that usually means no good for a relationship. The more you try to label or consciously restrict your interactions with those with whom you have a connection, the more something is bound to go awry. Go with the flow. Where's the fun in consciously dictating how fast your relationship progresses?

Last edited by TheBigQuestion; 14th May 2010 at 12:58 AM..
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Old 14th May 2010, 1:04 AM   #3
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big... you didnt really answer my question, unless equating casual with fwb was your answer (in which case, please define fwb).

what DEFINES a casual relationship? what are the clues you are in one, vs. fwb, vs. "serious"?

i totally agree pigeonholing is stupid btw.
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Old 14th May 2010, 1:07 AM   #4
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serious- you say you love each other, you consult with the other person your daily plans, they've met your family multiple times/you bring them to family events, all of your friends know you're dating.

casual- friends know you as the persons current hookup, you don't communicate everyday, no mention to the family, no i love yous. doesn't mean sex is involved, either.
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Old 14th May 2010, 1:16 AM   #5
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big... you didnt really answer my question, unless equating casual with fwb was your answer (in which case, please define fwb).

what DEFINES a casual relationship? what are the clues you are in one, vs. fwb, vs. "serious"?

i totally agree pigeonholing is stupid btw.
Casual is either a friend-with-benefits type situation, or it's the early stages of a more serious romantic relationships. FWB's sometimes, but not often, turn serious. That's how I define casual. Friends-with-benefits/sex buddies are either friendships (usually not all that deep or serious) that occasionally (or frequently) involve some degree of sexual activity, or it's absolutely strictly non-Platonic.

Serious relationships are exclusive, dedicated, and generally very loving, where the primary motivating factors are not sex or ego gratification.
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Old 4th June 2010, 2:00 PM   #6
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so what about the relationship in which i love you, miss you is said, they talk daily, friends know you are dating ... both have kids ... the guy doesn't want to bring his daughter around, but is content to see the woman with and without her child ... also hasn't introduced her to his elderly mother ... yet he has met the girl's family. He claims he doesn't want to "force" his child into anything ... says they are "serious" ... is he in denial and just not ready? both are in their 40s.
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Old 4th June 2010, 2:03 PM   #7
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so what about the relationship in which i love you, miss you is said, they talk daily, friends know you are dating ... both have kids ... the guy doesn't want to bring his daughter around, but is content to see the woman with and without her child ... also hasn't introduced her to his elderly mother ... yet he has met the girl's family. He claims he doesn't want to "force" his child into anything ... says they are "serious" ... is he in denial and just not ready? both are in their 40s.
Its an in between relationship. Either she's taking it much more seriously than he has, or he's just very careful and taking things very slowly and may come around in the future.

The is the part where an old fashioned conversation is needed.
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Old 4th June 2010, 2:07 PM   #8
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Broadly speaking, the relationship is "casual" if the man gets to define its parameters, and "serious" is the woman gets to define them. For most women, a committed, LTR is the best of all possible worlds. For men, FWB is the best of all possible worlds.

Are there exceptions to this? Sure, absolutely. But more often than not, this is how it breaks down.
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Old 4th June 2010, 2:43 PM   #9
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what are the defining differences, in your mind, between casual and serious relationships?
A serious relationship is an exclusive relationship where both partners are a priority for each other.

Also, for me personally, a serious relationship is one that has to move towards a common goal. In my case, I want to get married and have a family.

Taking it slow in a casual relationship where there is no such purpose, where the relationship only matters in the here and now, is not for me.
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Old 4th June 2010, 3:09 PM   #10
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what are the defining differences, in your mind, between casual and serious relationships?
Accountability to the partner. If you feel that you don't owe your partner anything (planning, explanation, affection) then it's purely casual.
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Old 5th June 2010, 4:45 AM   #11
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For me, the biggest difference between a casual and serious relationship is the difference between here and now/future commitment and priority level. If you don't see a future with the person and they aren't a higher priority than friends, then it is a casual relationship to me. To me, if you are not at all exclusive with the person of just a hook-up that is casual dating/fwb territory. So:

Fwb/casual dating - no commitments
Casual relationship - commitment in the here/now
Serious relationship - Commitment in the future or at least see a future
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Old 5th June 2010, 7:06 AM   #12
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Broadly speaking, the relationship is "casual" if the man gets to define its parameters, and "serious" is the woman gets to define them. For most women, a committed, LTR is the best of all possible worlds. For men, FWB is the best of all possible worlds.

Are there exceptions to this? Sure, absolutely. But more often than not, this is how it breaks down.
There is almost a universal classification I have heard from the party girl set. It's either "serious" or "not serious". never casual.

These women are friends of friends, family members ect & their always looking for the bigger better deal.

Every few months their with a new guy.
Whether the old guy dumped them because they are complete flakes or the new guy was just shinier I don't know.

Basically not-serious = dating someone for the hell of it just so you can call it dating instead of FWB.
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Old 5th June 2010, 12:31 PM   #13
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I am in the beginning stages of a relationship. I know that I am taking it slow and let him know that I take things slow to actually get to know a person and see what the possibilities might be. I am hoping this turns into a LTR, but he is very hard to read and I am not sure what his intentions are. We have talked that we are both only going to see each other. We have been going out for about 6 weeks and we have not had sex and will not until STD testing has occurred. There are other sexual activities going on and he has told me he isn't just interested in sex. He isn't real open with emotions and that makes it hard to know where he stands. I am not in love with him, but I do care for him and I have let him know that I am not into casual sex, hence not into casual relationships and that I am not interested in being one of many or one of two people a man is seeing. I don't want to push anything or ask him at this stage what exactly he is looking for between us...I think it is too soon to do that. We have great physical chemistry and even though we aren't having sex...we both really love the physical relationship we do have. Anywho, just don't know if I should let myself get emotionally tied to him w/o knowing where he stands, atm. Last time we talked, he mentioned about when I meet his brother...I am guessing he figures we might have a future.
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