No-strings-attached relationships really are the best of both worlds when you’re just not ready for anything serious. You get to enjoy plenty of amazing sex, often with a pleasant dose of enjoyable companionship to go with it, but without the commitment and obligation that comes along with something more traditional. No-strings-attached relationships are great ways to experiment a little with your sexuality as well.
In other words, there’s so much to love about keeping things casual that it’s easy to see why you’d prefer to go that route. What’s not as easy is making sure your casual connection actually stays that way. Here are a few tips for keeping your no-strings-attached relationships from inadvertently evolving into more for either party involved.
Keeping It Real
Even if you’re only into casual flings and hookups right now, it’s important to be honest with yourself, as well as with the other person. Start with them. Have you made it absolutely clear beyond the shadow of any doubt that this is just a casual thing? Make sure they know what they can and can’t expect from you.
You’ll want to be really honest with yourself as well. Some people play it tough on the outside and absolutely convince themselves that they’re immune to catching feelings for a casual hookup partner only to be proven wrong in the end. Make sure you’re doing the no-strings-attached thing because it’s really right for you and not because you’re trying to prove something to yourself.
Seeing Other People
One of the best ways to make sure casual relationships stay casual is to keep them from becoming exclusive, even accidentally. If you’re only seeing and sleeping with this one person, it’s all too easy for one or both of you to eventually get more attached to your relationship than you really want to be.
Actively keep your options open and encourage the other person to do the same. Date around. Take advantage of fun opportunities to hook up with other people. Log on to Tinder or Mixxxer once in a while and pass a little of your free time chatting up someone cute just for the fun of it. Be open and honest with everyone, your FWB included, that you’re seeing other people as well.
Setting Strict Boundaries
Making sure both you and the other person are aware that what you’re doing is just for fun is one thing, but it’s not enough to simply say that and call it a day. Successful no-strings-attached relationships that are fulfilling for both people involved thrive on boundaries. If you haven’t already done so, it’s officially time to sit down with that other person and set some ground rules. It’s the best way to keep everyone in their lane and prevent hurt feelings at any point down the line. What boundaries the two of you set are up to you, but common rules that work for many people include:
- No spending the night.
- No dates or get-togethers during the day.
- No relationship-esque reasons for meeting up (e.g. going to weddings or work functions).
- No gifts, cards, flowers, or romantic gestures of any kind.
In other words, you want to steer very clear of anything that could be misconstrued as romantic by either of you or anyone else.
Prioritizing Your Own Needs
When you’re doing the no-strings-attached thing, it’s important to understand that there’s a big difference between being a jerk and simply making your own needs a priority. Casual sex is supposed to be about scratching that all too familiar itch once in a while and calling it a day… for both of you. It’s not about keeping the other person happy.
Yes, you can (and should) be considerate and courteous toward your FWB. However, you shouldn’t be doing anything just to make them happy or putting their needs ahead of your own on any level. They’re in your life so you can both get laid on the regular. Choices like cancelling plans to see them or doing them little favors shouldn’t be part of the equation whatsoever.
Compartmentalizing Your Life
Last but definitely not least, it’s best to keep a no-strings-attached connection completely separate from the rest of your life. Don’t introduce them to your friends, your coworkers, or your family. In fact, it’s probably best if you don’t talk about them to any of those people either. There’s really no reason to if this really is just a casual sex thing.
Avoid talking to your casual fling partner on a friendly basis as well. This isn’t someone you should be chatting to nightly about how your day went or approaching because you need a shoulder to lean on. Ideally, communication should be limited to making or finalizing plans to get together.
At the end of the day, keeping a casual relationship from becoming something more is largely about setting boundaries and sticking to them. How do you manage this when it comes to your hookups?