Not all single people are anxiously waiting for their next chance to get into a relationship. If you’re one of them, then you already know the benefits of keeping things casual instead. You can enjoy what you like about connecting with other people in a sexual or dating context without having to make a commitment you’re just not interested in right now.
The tough part is making sure the partners you choose are on the same page you are. Even if someone seems like the ideal casual fling or friends-with-benefits choice, they can still wind up catching feelings and wanting more. Here’s how to know whether that’s happening so you can plan your next move.
Something just feels different.
Often the first sign that your casual fling isn’t so casual anymore is the nagging feeling that things just aren’t the same. You may not be able to put your finger on exactly what’s changed, but you know it’s something. If you know it’s not you, then that means it’s them. If you haven’t been noticing any signs that they’re thinking of calling it quits, then it’s wholly possible that they’re starting to fall for you, so stay aware.
They’re trying to spend more time with you.
And not because they’re just plain hornier and looking to get laid more often. Maybe they’ve gone from texting you strictly for booty call reasons to doing it to ask you about your day. Alternatively, they could be looking to linger at your place long after you’ve done the deed and mutual satisfaction has been achieved. Whatever the case may be, you’ve had the sinking suspicion that they don’t have to be horny to want to spend time with you these days, and feelings could be the reason.
They’re making you a priority.
Booty calls and hot hookups are generally things you schedule around your main life priorities. (Think work, essential appointments, or plans with family and good friends.) Unless you’re unbearably horny, you’re unlikely to cancel real plans to hook up with your FWB or casual fling instead. If yours has been making a habit of that lately or giving you first dibs on their limited free time, it’s likely because you’re becoming important to them for more than just your ability to curl their toes between the sheets.
They’re telling other people in their life about you.
Keeping your friends-with-benefits arrangements, one-night stands, and flings separate from the rest of your relationships is one of the cardinal rules to remember when it comes to casual sex. In most cases, if close friends or family know about a casual sex partner at all, it’s in a vague, non-descript, “they’re hot” kind of way. If it’s come to your attention that members of your fling’s social circle know a ton of personal details about you, it’s because they’re talking about you a lot. Feelings are the most likely reason that would be the case.
You get the impression they’re jealous.
The whole point of keeping things casual is to avoid having to shackle yourself to one person when you’re just not ready for that. Presumably both you and your fling see and sleep with other people, so jealousy just doesn’t make sense. Has your fling been acting like their nose is out of joint lately because you’re just as interested in seeing other people as you’ve always been? Are they still seeing other people as well, or have they only been seeing you lately? They may want more and feel frustrated that you don’t.
You could swear they’ve been dropping hints lately.
Casual flings won’t necessarily come right out and say so if they’ve been catching feelings for someone, they’ve been getting busy with, especially if they’re not sure how the other person feels. They will drop little hints to see what you’ll do though. Has your fling been making seemingly casual comments about not minding the idea of being in a relationship as much as they used to? They’re likely trying to tell you they want that relationship to be with you.
So, what do you do?
If you think your casual fling is developing feelings for you, first you need to decide how you feel. Whether you’re open to the idea of a deeper relationship or not, it’s time to sit them down for a serious chat to get to the bottom of things. It’s better to do that sooner rather than later, preferably as soon as you’re sure they’re probably catching feelings.
If you don’t return their feelings, it’s best to end things. Feelings – especially the unreciprocated kind – aren’t compatible with casual sex. You’d do better to simply let the person down easy and focus on your other connections so you can both get back to being happy, satisfied, and free.