If you’ve been dating in Singapore for some time, you’ll know how hard it can get sometimes. The rise of social media and dating apps like Tinder has brought with it the rise of casual dating and hookup culture. And casual dating, depending on who you ask, is either the dating norm according to millennials, an easy way to meet new people and make new friends, or harmful to romance and marriage prospects. So which is it? We break down what casual dating is exactly and how you can better navigate the modern dating world.
What exactly is casual dating?
Casual dating means dating without an explicit long-term commitment and is usually nonexclusive. This means you might both be seeing other people at the same time, in similarly nonexclusive relationships.
It usually involves the following:
- You experience some degree of emotional attachment to the person you’re seeing that makes you want to see them again.
- You feel a desire to maintain a relationship with this person, which may or may not be romantic.
- You haven’t yet had an explicit conversation about moving into a serious, long-term relationship with the labels “partner”, “girlfriend” or “boyfriend”.
This could, for example, be a person you’re still getting to know, whom you’ve been seeing once every week for coffee dates at pet-friendly cafes and outdoor hikes. It may not eventually lead to a long-term romantic relationship – who knows? – but you’re both exploring new possibilities and enjoying your time together.
Not every casual relationship will lead to a committed relationship, but there is potential to build chemistry over time and learn about the kind of relationship you want.
How casual dating can help you to date better
It might seem counterintuitive for a dating agency to advocate for casual dating, which some have blamed for the death of love and romance, but at Table For Two, we take a different tack to modern love.
It’s not that romance is dying, but that millennials have found a new approach to finding love that lasts.
Casual dating is about holding out on commitment until you get to know the other person well and learn about what you want and don’t want in a serious relationship. It’s less about recklessness which we’ve been led to believe than it is about treading carefully and not settling.
In truth, the positive aspects of casual dating – taking it slow to ensure compatibility – are not very different from Table For Two’s ethos of putting ‘social’ first.
Here’s what casual dating can help you to do:
Discover your relationship needs
Everyone has different ways of communicating love, and it’s no different in a relationship. For most people, they might not be attuned to the ways in which they show or expect care, or even know how to articulate them.
Consider Dr Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages”, which are acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, and physical touch. For example, do you enjoy cooking a special meal for your loved one? Or do you feel most loved when you’re spending time together? Having such self-awareness in a casual dating relationship gives you the opportunity to identify each other’s love language and to recognise the importance of communicating your needs.
Learn to accept and express intimacy
Real intimacy demands honesty, vulnerability and emotional transparency. It can be intimidating and overwhelming especially if you’d never been in an intimate relationship. Emotional intimacy can be experienced when some degree of trust has been established between individuals and they feel safe to let their guard down gradually. It’d be unrealistic to expect emotional intimacy with someone you’ve just met or are getting to know.
Building a deeper emotional connection in a serious relationship takes time and patience. By keeping things casual at the start, you can use the time to consider if this connection has the potential to be nurtured into something more serious. It could also simply be a friendship or nothing at all, but at least you have the time to decide.
Enjoy new experiences without worrying about finding “The One”
To know what type of relationship you’re most suited to, you’ll be well served to first understand yourself. One of the best ways towards self-discovery is to have new experiences. We can only learn more about ourselves when we interact with and relate to others in different situations.
Through Table For Two’s intimate group experiences, you’ll get to meet new people who share your interests without the pressure of having to date seriously. Having a vibrant social and dating life lets you expand your social circle and keeps you open to new possibilities.
Time to get out there and discover new places and activities!
Tips for casual dating in Singapore
Sure, being in a casual dating relationship is all about keeping things light. But should you be open about the fact that you’re seeing other people? Is it ok to ghost? Here are a few tips on how to practise good dating etiquette so you can be sure the person you’re seeing is on the same page as you – even if it’s casual.
Respect each other’s boundaries
Discuss your boundaries at the start of your relationship or as they come up over the course of your relationship and honour them. For example, if you both want to see other people at the same time, you might prefer for your date to avoid mentioning the other dates he’s been on. Your boundaries are unique and personal to you, and your date should respect them.
As with every relationship – whether it’s a casual, serious or even open relationship – it’s best to be upfront about what you’re looking for. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, that’s perfectly valid and worth communicating too. This way, you can figure out if you’re both on the same page immediately.
Casual dating doesn’t mean having no strings attached when it comes to making plans. When you make plans with the person you’re seeing, do so because you want to continue seeing them. If other plans crop up or if you decide not to see them anymore, let them know, even if it’s just a simple text message.
In any healthy relationship, including a casual relationship, it’s always important to have individual experiences outside of your relationship. Spending quality “me” time helps to reinvigorate your sense of self and can offer a boost for your mental health and emotional wellness. Carve out time to check in with yourself by taking a walk or journaling.
What if casual dating is still not for me?
So you’ve been on a casual date but it’s still not for you. On your date, you prefer to delve deep into conversation and find out quickly if the other person is right for you in the long run. Don’t worry, that’s perfectly ok too. In fact, some people might find it sexy that you know what you want. You just have to find someone who feels that way about your heart’s desires.
One easy way to meet new people who share your interests and values is through Table For Two’s dating services. Our matches are handpicked just for you based on your core values, what characteristics you find attractive, and other essential aspects of compatibility. This way, you’ll save time and enjoy peace of mind knowing that the people you’re meeting are as serious as you are about connecting more deeply.
But if you’d like to give casual dating a shot, it can become a great way to develop your relationships over time and test compatibility before making a firmer commitment. As long as you’re upfront about what you’re looking for, casual dating can be an early step towards the type of long-term partnership you want. The rest, as they say, is history.
All images from Unsplash unless otherwise stated.