As I often discuss in my blog posts, millennials live in an era where they are more likely to get 3am booty calls than they are marriage proposals. The rise of online dating has allowed us to become picky, disposable and harsh to others.
Gone are the times where you need to make an effort to pursue a girl, gone are the days where a girl can play hard to get and a boy will stick around instead of moving on to his next Tinder match, and gone are the days where you can rest assured that the guy you are dating is only interested in you.
Instead, we live in a time, especially in London, where you enter into encounters with men (and women) on the assumption that you are one of many, and until either of you decides that the other is ‘enough’ or that there isn’t anyone better out there for you, it will continue to remain that way.
I realise this made sound cynical and negative, but it’s just the reality of the dating world we currently live in. Granted I am surrounded by several friends that are in happy long term relationships, but they are far and few between and the majority of which met in ‘real life’ as opposed to online.
Women are constantly faced with having to embark on casual relationships in order to keep a guy interested and hope to win him over, but the reality is, women are just not equipped for casual relationships. No matter how much we may protest the opposite to men and sceptical friends.
Here are my reasons why:
- Deep down we always think we can be the one to change a man, we believe we possess what all the tens of women before us didn’t have that couldn’t tie down the guy, so we are willing to go along with a casual relationship to test the waters and see what impact we have on them. But what we often fail to do, the more time we spend with this guy, is to keep our emotions casual too.
- Ultimately women are driven to find someone to reproduce with – it all boils down to biology and most of our actions are driven by our animal needs. So despite whatever actions/feelings/emotions/behaviours we show to a potential suitor, deep down, we just want to find a suitable mate, and a casual relationship is not a scenario that will ever provide a suitable mate.
- We need more than just to make sex feel good – generally speaking (but not all the time) sex is less enjoyable for women if they are aware that the man has no feelings towards her except for someone that he can sleep with. Nothing beats the feelings of knowing the person you are having sex with, likes you or loves you as much as you do them.
- The more time we spend with them, the more we want and expect to be involved in their life. As a woman I can totally understand why after several months of dating you would want to get to know their friends and family, but I can guarantee that unless you’ve already had the talk of being official, any mention of meeting their family will have them running for the hills.
- Following on from that, the more time we spend with them, the more likely we are to detach ourselves from other guys we are talking to or seeing in our lives and expect them to do the same. I think this is the major difference between men and women in casual dating. As women grow more attached to one person, they remove the other ‘backups’ from their life, whereas men (again generally speaking in relation to online dating) don’t tend to have the same drive. The more emotions that we develop towards them, the more jealous we become at the thought of them still dating other people and struggle with the set up of the casual relationship.
- Science – both men and women release oxytocin after sex, but women release more of it – it’s nicknamed the attachment hormone that makes us instinctively like a man more after we have slept with them, so we’re doomed from the off.
I don’t know what the solution to the problem is, I just know how I and many other young single girls in London feel when we are in casual relationships.
If any of my lovely readers has any advice or solutions for how to counter this, I would love to hear!
It’s healthy to date someone casually while assessing them for a long-term monogamous relationship potential. Both parts of a couple should be doing this. I like the saying “the cream always rises to the top.”
You’ll know sooner or later who is the best partner… and that’s when you have “the talk” and become exclusive if you both feel the same.
I find that men tend to get just as attached as women when casually dating. Sure, women become attached sooner for the reason you mentioned… but men do come around. 🙂
Interesting to hear it from a male perspective that they get more attached, perhaps they just show it differently?
I think women (in general) may expect men to react how they do in situations and when they don’t, they presume the man doesn’t care when it may not actually be the case!
Well, I’m not a guy but in my experience the guys definitely get attached in the casual arrangement.
for me – i believe with all my heart – that it is this way and has been this way since man and woman first walked the earth. Men are hunter gathers by their very natures, just as women are not. It is built into our very core. Many things have changed, but this one… not so much.
i am an almost 50 year old – have lived the most extraordinary life, travelling and living in places most people never even know exist let alone visit or live.
Although i am a girl, i have had to fend for myself since i was 14 and i suspect that has brought out another side to me -but i have always enjoyed the “casual”. And once in a while a treasure appears – some for a while and now i have found Mr F – He is for life. I fear sometimes we want men to be more like us …. and that is simply not possible. Men are from Mars and Women are truely from Venus and it is as it should be. We should tease them, flutter our delicate fans in our faces more often…
The one thing i have always fought hard not to do … is when they have left, the door is closed… or sitting on a bus going home – … not to pine -not to wonder ,,, what if and then to follow through with messages etc..
My mother’s and grandmother’s generations dated at lot – suitors knocking at the door – but of course – not often sex. Nowadays – its not that different -but the difference being is that women are judged even more harshly because we have discovered that sex is really quite a nice thing.
my advice …. date – try and keep the clothes on for a while … sometimes just not possible… and if you like them, send them teasing gentle messages – nothing heavy – just something to make them smile and think of you – nothing that they need to respond to but …. just a a silly message. and if you don’t like them … then the ball is again in your court -but be kind. – always kind.
i hope that sort of made sense – and i hope i sort of helped …. follow your heart
This is brilliant advice! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 it’s great to hear things from another perspective, I completely agree that women are treated/viewed harsher because of how we feel about sex.
I also agree that men are from mars and women are from Venus and that will never change!!
I am glad you have found your Mr. F!
sweet girl … worry not what others think … it is what is in your heart and in your actions that count …
and yes, i am rather glad about dear Mr F too – there are many many ugly old frogs out there . .. but there are also really good honourable men too. x
You are right 🙂 xx
Women enter casual relationship i believe its because they have this innate desire to be caught up in something bigger than themselves.. But there times women don’t feel caught up and so they tolerate casual relationships then to embrace it.. What do you think?
I think this is an interesting way to look at it! Not something I had considered before but it makes a lot of sense 🙂
Just like to mention it’s not necessarily easier for guys.
Also pressures from parents to get married, have a good job, prospects for the future, have a grandchild whilst also being a cassanova are common pressures for guys.
Sounds easy if you are a handsome socially accepted male, but many are not, and windup playing video games in their parents house ! Ps, that was an observation, not auto-biographical
Haha thank you for sharing! I agree it depends on the type of person you are as a male and any external pressures you may have, I’m just commenting on observation of both myself and other female friends 🙂 but grew to hear a male perspective on the topic!
I don’t know whether online dating is the problem–I think it might just be people’s expectations of relationships. As long as women (and men) are willing to settle for casual relationships, they are undermining their chances of finding something more genuine and lasting. My experience is that there are plenty of people online who are looking for someone to start a serious relationship with–it’s just a matter of weeding out the players.
I definitely agree with you, Addie North. I think it’s all based on what the person expects and is looking for. I think communication is the key. I always like to ask upfront what they guy is looking for. Casual dating? Possible serious relationship? By asking that at the get-go, it gives me a better idea of how to deal with my emotions and whether or not I want to let myself fall for him and get attached, or if I should be more cautious with my feelings and play the field more, giving other possible suitors the chance.
That’s good advice, I think being upfront is key so as not to be disappointed further down the line. I think often we don’t ask the question for fear of receiving an answer we don’t want and so delay the inevitable that it will fall apart at some point in the future!
I think there is definitely an element of people willing to settle for casual and therefore ruining their chances of finding something that is more long lasting. It’s definitely a case of weeding out the players – I often to refer to it as something akin to sifting through the sales to find a gem!
I have so many thoughts on this. I hope you don’t mind if I share my feelings? First, I sometimes like VERY casual sex. I love to have a one night stand with a sexy guy or girl, knowing I won’t ever see or hear from them again. No strings, no relationship at all, just sex. Guys have done this for ages — e.g. the famous line, “I’ll call you.” and then he doesn’t. Now it’s our turn. I make it clear from the beginning though that it’s just a one night stand. It’s fun and very liberating; If you haven’t tried it, you should. Sure being in love makes sex better, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean one night stand sex can’t be good.
Now about relationships. It’s possible to be in love and have an open relationship at first. I don’t think having silent assumptions is the way to do it though. If the L word has been spoken by both partners, then the nature of the relationship should be made clear. Ask questions if there’s any doubt: “Will we continue to have other lovers or will we be exclusive?”
I know it can be hard to ask that question because guys lie and that hurts. You can tell if they’re lying if you see their lips moving. Be sure to tell him lying is unnecessary because if he wants an open relationship at first, you’re fine with that. You just want to know. Oh yeah I forgot something. Many guys are selfish. They want you to be exclusive with them while they feel free to fool around with other girls. This is why it’s important to have The Talk. Then, if he says he wants to be exclusive and you know he’s having sex with others, DUMP HIM STRAIGHT AWAY. You don’t want a guy like that in your life. He will continue to make you unhappy.
Finally there is the question of timing. I like the magic number 7, If you’ve had sex with a guy seven times and the L word has not been mentioned or worse yet you said it to him but he didn’t say it back, it’s time to ask him how he feels about you. If he still resists, it’s time for you to move on. Go have a one night stand, maybe it will wake up your tongue tied lover, he he he.
I LOVE this comment!!! Thank you for sharing your advice, it is brilliant!
I do agree that casual sex and relationships can be fun, I was referring more to the fact that we can often kid ourselves that we are happy with this set up long term when in reality we aren’t.
You sound so free spirited its great 🙂
Some of that I totally agree with – that casual sex with both parties being on the same page is fine, that early stage relationships needn’t be totally closed – but some I’m not so sure about.
Yes, some men lie. But not all. Some women lie. But not all. In my situation I’ve been as honest as I can be about what I’m looking for, which has sometimes been painful but better to have those conversations than to lead someone on.
And 7 being the magic number before saying you love someone?! That’s a little early, isn’t it?! Having the conversation about monogamy is one thing, but expecting them to have fallen in love with you by then or them with you is a little hasty. I’d admit to being in lust, but 7 sexual encounters can happen over a remarkably short time. I’d never tell someone I loved them after a single weekend for example, no matter how steamy and fun it had been. 😉
Thank you for sharing your thoughts glen! I guess it varies from relationship to relationship and people too.
I’ve been with people that I’ve told I love them after a few weeks and others that have taken several months, it all depends on how your feel and the pace of the relationship.
I think rather than setting goal posts/deadlines it’s best to just use your emotions as your marker for when you are ready to take the next step, be it to enter into a monogamous relationship or to profess your love to one another.
I can’t do casual either. It feels strange to me and, given how I tend to throw myself into the gesture, it’s not a very good idea. I’ve tried it, but it definitely didn’t work for me. I guess I want a relationship more than plain sex? Don’t get me wrong; I am human and have physical desires, but being with someone is far more important to me than the act of sex itself. *shrugs* Maybe I’m weird? *laughs*
It’s not weird at all – I agree with you completely 🙂
Me too….It never goes to plan…If you fancied them enough in the first place, it seems better to see if feelings are mutual. The morning after can feel hollow….
The morning after can be sooo hollow! Agree that it’s better to see if the feelings are mutual!
I personally have been in casual relationships before and ended up getting attached easily while the guy seemed to be pulling away. Then the whole arrangement only ended up causing animosity between us.
At the moment, I do not believe in casual. Not judging the ones who prefer it, though. In my opinion, it’s either you seriously want to date each other or you are in it for your own selfish reasons. And many times, casual falls under selfish reasons.
Being someone who values connection and would one day want to have a family, I tend to nowadays look out for the signs of a man’s true intentions from our initial interaction. If I find one who’s talking about “being too hurt by a woman before to decide that all women are the same” or claiming that they are not seriously seeking to date or haven’t found the one yet, I can almost tell what will follow. An FWB suggestion and the likes.
My response earlier on is to refrain from any sex discussions with the said guy. I keep it on a friendly level because I don’t fancy having sex with someone, getting attached in the process then have that person remind me that they said they were not looking for something serious.
I have several guy friends at the moment and until I get one who seriously wants to date, then I can let my guard down and give it a shot. I totally agree with you Giulia that women are not designed for these casual things.
That’s a good way to go about it Lorna! there are definitely tell tale signs you can look out for from what they talk about and behave that can give you an indication of what they want from you. Sounds like you’re being very savvy about it all!
I’m a guy myself and often come onto this blog to get a woman’s perspective. I grew up with a group of very immature guys, most of them just slept with as many women as they could and seldom got into relationships. One of those guys is in his 40’s now and just got into his first long term relationship with a woman half his age. I myself am in my mid 30’s and am just realizing that’s its better to settle down in a long term relationship. Maybe media and culture is causing men in this era to take a lot longer than women to mature. On my personal blog I give men tips on how to pick up women in various circumstances, but I think men should try and get to know these women, and start a long term relationship with them; instead of just sleeping with them. I was listening to a guy a while ago tell me that he had slept with around 200 women easily (he definitely wasn’t kidding), and he said that he realized that it was just meaningless empty sex. After having these experiences he eventually did get into a relationship and is now happily married. I guess it takes men longer (from what ive seen anyway) to realize that meaningful long term relationships are the way to go. Anyway, thanks for another interesting article Julia.
LOL, I wonder how his wife feels if she knows his penis has been inside two hundred bodies other than hers.
I think she knows his past but doesn’t really mind. They have been married a number of years now with no problems.
Good to hear you come here for a female perspective, I’ll be sure to keep checking into yours for a male perspective 🙂 I do agree that it takes men longer to want meaningful relationships, I think it’s in part because they don’t really need to – they don’t have a biological clock that reminds them that they should settle down at a certain age.
Glad you liked the article! 🙂
I don’t think this is necessarily limited to ‘young’ women either Giulia – I just wrote a post on my own feelings of ‘All or nothing’ when it comes to dating. I’m at the beginning of a ‘casual’ relationship – I kind of want and need it to be casual because I’m a single mum with very little time on her hands and the guy I’m seeing is likely not the right one for me long term anyway. However I’m really struggling with my need for emotional intimacy. You’re so right about sex too – it’s always better if you know the other person likes you and truly cares for you. He told me, in not so many words, that I’m moving too fast – that’s just how I roll! 🙂
It’s hard isn’t it to find a balance between keeping it casual and having the right level of emotional and physical intimacy that we tend to crave from someone that we enter into a relationship with!
forgive me – i have a dear darling friend – He is a successful, funny, clever good looking man – He is deliciously tall and has that lovely south african accent – my knees go weak…
He is longing to find a girl that loves him for Him… but all he finds are women who …. pretend and then use him. Sounds like a whinny kinda guy – not at all… He is such a good and honourable man that he goes into these things with hope and trust – but the more he dates – the less he trusts.
He just wants to find a girl – who wants to find a boy.
Why is it all so complicated now – ah… i know why … because all protocol, etiquette and rules have gone out the window … all in the name of equality. Bring back protocols, etiquette and rules… that’s what i say – its so much more fun – trust me – i know x
That’s interesting! Where does he normally meet the women that he dates? Are they a similar age to him or younger?
I definitely agree with this, especially for younger women. I am done having kids and at 50 have realized that casual sex can be fun. I have a good friend that I have a very casual relationship with. Neither of us know why it hasn’t developed into more but we are not right long term. I love him but do not think I would want to be with him forever. I am still trying to find someone as is he. We are honest with each other, care about each other, look out for each other, have wonderful sex. Maybe I will be lucky to find someone long term but if not, I can live with what I have. I like my freedom. Casual relationships are easier now mostly because I am not looking for a dad for future children. I am past that part of my life. I also agree with Jiniellyne that a one night stand can be fun. I have had a couple in my life, one post divorce with a man 18 years my junior. It was fun.
It sounds like you have a great set up there 🙂 Exactly – I think most women are driven ultimately by their need to find a man to be a dad to their future children, whereas once that need is removed it probably makes the set up much easier/less stressful – as you are demonstrating 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the topic!
Hi. I think this whole situation is soooo tricky! I’ve been online dating for 7 years and I have to say I don’t know how to think anymore! I’ve had a lot of bad experiences but that’s just my story, I’ve heard lots of success too. I do now think though that online dating is more about sex now and we feel under pressure to perform earlier than perhaps we would like?
I feel as though the success stories are far and few between but more widely publicised because they are so rare! I think because the nature of dating apps/websites have changed, from having to share details of your likes/dislikes/hobbies to just a picture of yourself, it’s become more impersonal and immediate and I think that changes people’s attitudes to the amount of effort they then need to make with that person!
But many use fake pictures too, I’ve been caught out by that several times. Hard to keep someone’s attention I think too xx
Me too! I don’t understand why people use fake pictures or old pictures/good angles.. the minute you meet them you’re going to catch them out, it just seems like a waste of time xx
And pictures that are old!!!!
I know o can’t. I either need it to be all or nothing. There’s nothing “casual”about giving my heart to someone. Each to their own though. As long as people are honest about their intentions and me. Don’t mislead women into such relationships based on false promises.
I couldn’t agree more! I think the key is being transparent so both parties know where they stand!
I can’t find a trans partner unfortunately.
It’s tough being a woman!
It really is!
I think the key is being transparent so both
Love this article! So many good points
I loved your article so many good points!
Thank you very much 🙂
Thank you for sharing!!
I think this ties in with what I discussed on my own blog: Zero Tolerance. If a casual relationship isn’t what you want, then don’t settle for one. You’ll likely have to spend a long time single before you finally find what you want. You can’t turn a casual relationship into a serious one, because that’s just not how men’s minds work. They have to want to be serious with you from the beginning, or else it will never happen.
I very much agree! You need to know from the off what it is you are after.