Dating with a looming relocation date
September 7, 2012 9:37 PM   Subscribe

Dating within a limited time frame-- okay idea or terrible idea?

So I was dumped about three weeks ago. I am not distraught about it, it wasn't serious and would have been mutual if he hadn't been a dick about it (but... that's a whole 'nother story.) I met the guy on okcupid and had a lot of fun with the site overall-- I went on dates with half a dozen guys, had a good time on all of them and was asked on a second date in all but one case. While I wasn't interested in dating all of the guys I met, I had fun meeting all of them and each first date lasted at least 3-4 hours with good conversation. It got me out meeting new people, going to fun places, and helped me get over the OMG DATING I DON'T KNOW HOW hump that I had for a long time. And... full disclosure, it was kind of an ego boost :/

Now that I find myself newly single (and also, due to the ending of a program I was in and the ensuing departures of a lot of people I knew, somewhat friendless) it's so appealing to hop back on the site again buuttt I am planning on moving far away within the year. My timeline for leaving is potentially as early as mid-December and at the latest mid-May. (I will probably know that timeline within the next month). The plan is not set in stone (I like it here fine, I just miss being within driving distance of my family and would like to be closer to them in the long run) and I could stick around for a good job or a really amazing guy but it's not too likely.

So... is there a way to get some dates and snuggles and sex without setting myself and some unlucky boy up for inevitable heartbreak? I have proven to not be so into casual sex in the hookup-at-a-bar sense but if I feel comfortable with a guy I would be okay with doing an affectionate friends with benefits type thing (if there was an actual friendship involved). But I'm not sure how to indicate that on a dating profile without attracting super sleazy guys. And I want to be really upfront about it and not waste the time of anyone who is looking for a real relationship.

I guess I'm asking about "casual dating" but I've never totally understood what people meant when they said that in terms of how it actually works.

For what it's worth, I seem to be great at the type of relationship that appears promising in the first few months but never really takes off-- possibly a good thing for once?


-is there a way to make this work? Or would be better to take a dating hiatus? Anyone have similar experiences or insight?
-if I do get back on okc, how should I explain the situation in my profile in a way that won't be a douchebag magnet?
posted by sockypuppeteer to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would do it. What if you become friends? You might not always live in different cities, either. Best case scenario it's a really really great experience. Worst case scenario it fizzles. Ok other worse case scenario, you really like each other and it sucks to say goodbye. Well maybe it won't be goodbye! Let the quality of the relationship determine what it is. Not everyone is meant to be in our lives forever but I personally think aiming for a more casual relationship is not going to make a difference when it comes time to
move away. If someone is great you might miss them even if it's casual and on the other hand if they are not right for you, it's bittersweet but you can move on freely.
posted by kettleoffish at 10:05 PM on September 7, 2012

I've done it. So long as everyone involved knows that this is a short-term thing, it's all good. Just do what you normally do and insert your departure date in your profile as an "oh, by the way, here's what we're working with" type thing. That's the way I've done it in the past, and it worked for me. YMMV.
posted by patheral at 10:23 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

OkCupid's options to select interested in short term dating and casual sex are there as your search tools. If you don't feel like explaining your situation to everyone just search for people who are looking for what you are willing to pursue. Also, I don't think there is anything weird or out of the ordinary in just saying 'getting ready to travel later in the year' or something similar that give a clear indication you aren't looking for FOREVAH right now.

My personal experience has found selecting 'casual sex' can attract responses from people who assume that you have made a binding contract with the world at large to agree to fuck whoever approaches you, interest or compatibility be damned. These kind of people would probably still message you even if you've written you are saving yourself for marriage because they are completely tone deaf. You can just delete their messages and ignore/block. The quantity of this varies greatly depending on the city I'm in at the time. I guess each local userbase is different. If the interest you get is just too shitty from indicating and interest in 'casual sex' then just use 'short term dating'.

Your position is not particularly controversial or unique. There are lots of short term daters out there. Have fun.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 10:23 PM on September 7, 2012

I guess I'm asking about "casual dating" but I've never totally understood what people meant when they said that in terms of how it actually works.

It means you're avoiding getting too involved, so you space out seeing each other a bit, don't sleep over too often or move in or anything, don't necessarily introduce one another to too many (or any?) friends or family, be clear that it's a limited engagement and that the relationship will at some point run its course, etc. etc.

For any of a variety of reasons: seeing irreconcilable differences, not quite liking the person enough, being an introvert, being in a transition period in life where you need to remain single, passing through or leaving soon, having one or more other relationships that take up your time / commitments, merely preferring being single, being in a period of sleeping around a lot ... lots of reasons.

It's like going out and limiting yourself to one drink, so you sip at it over an evening. This does not mean it tastes bad or you avoid the nice feeling. Just don't get quite so drunk.
posted by ead at 10:28 PM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

I've also done it, a couple of times. They were some of my best relationships too, since they were short and sweet and ended while things were still good. Didn't get a chance to sour. Still sucked to part ways, of course it does. My first short relationship we tried to do long-distance indefinitely and it failed. The next two times, the guy and I agreed 'this is it' and we parted ways. We did mourn the passing of the relationship, but we both look back on our time together fondly, and consider ourselves friends still.

Pro - In this dating situation, I found it easier to be 'living in the now' in the relationship and not worried about whether it has long-term potential. It doesn't matter if that person's perfect for me, I could just enjoy them for who they are. So it broadened my horizons, and I think that benefitted me a lot in following relationships in terms of becoming more easygoing.

Con - in the last two situations, we both did our best to not let ourselves get too attached to each other, with the looming end-date. Maybe the relationship would have had long-term potential if some real commitment was demonstrated, but risking such vulnerability was too much for either one of us.
posted by lizbunny at 12:42 AM on September 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

OKCupid allows you to select "short term dating", which is a better option than "casual sex" because of the skeeze factor. And more accurate in your case!

I've successfully dated with a time limit a few times, and I find that it's best to drop that on someone around the second or third date, or before you have sex. "I just want you to know I'm planning on moving in X months and I'm not looking for anything long-term. I don't want to waste your time."

I've had guys back out at that point. I truly didn't want to waste anyone's time (mine or his) so it was fine.

I have mixed feelings about the utility of OKC for this, but bad experience and location are definitely coloring my view. I feel a more organic meeting of people is a better way to meet someone for something casual because neither person is explicitly "looking". I met my sweet summer boyf through MeetUp activities before he left for his PhD program in another city. I'm still bummed about him leaving 2 weeks ago, but knowing it was short term definitely made me more present in the relationship instead of worrying about the future.

Good luck!
posted by peacrow at 4:47 AM on September 8, 2012

Nthing short term dating on the profile. Just be up front about it and you'll be fine.

Like others, some of my best relationships were short-term dating when there was a definite time limit. Just be clear to friends and family what's going on, so they know it's not The One kind of deal.
posted by corb at 8:17 AM on September 8, 2012

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