Thoughts on casual dating without getting into a serious relationship?
February 14, 2013 8:20 PM   Subscribe

I was wondering what is considered leading someone on. I'm looking for sexual intimacy with a woman. Usually involves private dating and only the two of us knowing about it. Is it misleading to hangout with them in groups and meet each others friends, even though I don't want to enter the serious boyfriend girlfriend stage. I just gernaly enjoy spending time with someone and going on dates. So basically, have you and any casual dating experiences I can get ideas from.
posted by mrfawcet to Human Relations (12 answers total)
If you tell them explicitly that you aren't looking for a girlfriend/boyfriend situation, you are not leading them on. (If it's obvious that's what they want even after you told them that, you should probably end it.)

If you don't tell them and hang out with their friends and family, then yah, that's leading them on.
posted by Dynex at 8:30 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

As long as you are honest and upfront and come to a mutual agreement about what is acceptable, I think it's perfectly fine.

If you say what you are looking for from the start and don't give out misleading or mixed signals then it's not leading someone on.

I'm sure there are women who want the same thing as you, so go for it.
posted by Youremyworld at 8:31 PM on February 14, 2013

Just be clear with the woman you're seeing from the start that there's no chance of it becoming a committed relationship. And if it starts becoming apparent that there's stronger feelings on one end, cut the relationship off as cleanly and clearly as possible (don't continue sexual intimacy with someone who is falling for you!). Basically just don't be ambiguous--that's where it becomes 'leading someone on', and it'll hurt the other person really badly (hello, personal experience!).
posted by Papagayo at 8:35 PM on February 14, 2013

The thing is, after you've met someone's friends/family, it opens them up to the inevitable questions from these people about who you are, relationship status etc. It's still not misleading as long as you've had an explicit conversation with them so they know where they stand, and after that it's up to them to decide if they want to introduce you to the people in their life. But I have to say, if I was sleeping with someone who claimed to only want something casual, then expected to be included in my social circle and hang with my gang, I'd be a little confused.
posted by Jubey at 8:49 PM on February 14, 2013 [8 favorites]

Be very up-front from the start and remind her as you go along. Be sure you don't create a situation that is boyfriend/girlfriend in every way except for name (and commitment); that's getting into very dicey and potentially unfair territory. There are women out there who want what you want. Find them.
posted by quince at 9:19 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

I agree with Jubey.. I'd never agree to bring someone I was only casually dating to hang out with my friends or family under normal circumstances, so I'd be wary of hanging out in groups, for sure.

just be clear what you want, stay clear with what you want, and try to stay aware of everyone's feelings.
posted by euphoria066 at 10:54 PM on February 14, 2013

Be as clear as possible as early as possible. "I am not interested in any sort of boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, and that is not going to change. I enjoy spending time with you, but if your goal is a long-term relationship, you should move on now." After that, keep an eye out for any hints that your partner is interested in more. It almost never works out well when one person wants commitment and the other is just having fun.

And I agree that you should be careful about bringing your date along to friends' hangouts. You can do it, but sparingly. Either people will misinterpret your relationship as serious, or people will know you're casual and be more hesitant to welcome her into the fold - especially if you have a history of bringing non-serious dates to gatherings. It's rather awkward to have a friend's new date tag along when everyone in the group knows they'll never see him or her again. It's extra awkward if the date has zilch in common with the friend group. It's SUPER extra awkward if the friend often has bad breakups, and we suspect this person will be referred to as "that crazy person I used to date" in two months. Remember, you're the one dating them, not your friends or family.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:56 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Were I you, I'd just engage a professional for the "Girlfriend Experience".

I'm skeptical about your motives. You want someone to be intimate with you, to hang out in their friend groups, and vice versa, but you don't want them to develop feelings for you, or for the situation to become serious.

So many people will agree to date you, thinking, "Well, I'm into casual," and then, though the mechanics of sex and togetherness and sharing experiences, will have a change of heart. Then they've got feelings and you have issues.

How long do you think a casual dating relationship will last? Months, years?

No matter how honest you are up front, in the end your relationship will end with someone getting hurt. The only thing the honesty does is allow you to say, "I never lied to you."

Why is it that you don't want a serious boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, when you seem to want the trappings of one?

That's the $64,000 question.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:47 AM on February 15, 2013 [8 favorites]

As with your previous relationship question, it would be helpful for you to really define what you mean by a 'serious' vs a 'casual' relationship. Because again, it sounds as though you want many of the benefits and intimacies of a committed relationship without having to fulfill the reciprocality or social obligations that are often parcelled together with it. Usually, more intimacy means more entwinement and commitment. It would be worthwhile to fully spell out—for us, for yourself, for future partners—what you want, what you're trying to avoid, and why you're avoiding or wanting those things.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:23 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't tell if you WANT to meet the friends of your casual fuckbuddies? Or if the people you're trying to keep casual are asking you to meet their friends and you don't know how to interpret that.

I would never bring a casual dude to hang with my friends; my friends would feel uncomfortable, I would assume the guy would be uncomfortable. Nobody wants to know 'bout my sex life, and it's rude to inject it into a situation. So if you want a sex-only kind of deal, no feelings, you are my sex life, not my social life. Make sense?

If a guy started insisting he meet my friends, or asking me to come along with him on group outings, I'd assume he wanted to become part of my whole life, not just my sex life. This is in fact what hurt the worst about my last "relationship" (which he felt, but never mentioned, was just fuckbuddies), is that he introduced me to his whole friend circle, as if I were important to him.

Not all people are like me, but I'm a pretty "average" kind of lady, and nobody's ever thought these particular boundaries were nuts on my part.
posted by like_a_friend at 9:04 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'm with the commenters above: you need to define exactly what you mean by a casual relationship, and then ask yourself what your partner would be getting out of this relationship. How important do you expect to be to this person? How important do you expect this person to be to you? Would you expect this person to help comfort you if you had a distressing experience; would you expect that you would want to do the same for them?

You can't expect her to bring her along to your friends and lie about dating you. And yes, representing you as her "just a friend" when she's sleeping with you is a lie. The way to keep your relationship "only the two of us knowing about it" is to not interact with her other friends; every other way causes hurt feelings and drama.
posted by KathrynT at 10:20 AM on February 15, 2013

Be crystal clear about your intentions, and err on the side of meeting fewer people in your partner's life. Not necessarily none, but commensurate with your emotional involvement.
posted by ead at 3:24 PM on February 15, 2013

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