Friday, November 6, 2009

Casual relationship

I found a term for a satisfying and fulfilling style of relationship that I engage in. It's called "casual relationship". I like the Wikipedia definition because it does not stress the sexual aspect.

So here's my definition, patched together from various sources and my own interpretation of it:

Casual relationship. A relationship with emotional and physical closeness, that may involve sexuality or may come close to sexual expression, when desired. There is no aspiration to long-term commitment and no expectation of exclusivity. The relationship may be part-time and does not dominate one's life and choices. It may be strong and intimate, but is intended to endure only so long as both parties wish it to. It includes mutual support, affection and enjoyment.

I read about this on the web and see biased language such as "motives for entering a casual relationship", or "because they are unwilling to commit to a full-fledged relationship" and "doesn't have time for a proper boyfriend". So I want to categorically declare that this type of relationship can be a legitimate relationship in its own right and not a transitional stage on the way to something else, or a compromise.


  1. I like this term, too. It's what C and I have ultimately decided to do, for now.

    I can *kind of* understand the hostility towards the idea of a casual relationship. Some of it is holding up that idea of the only kind of relationship that is a "real" relationship being the kind that leads to marriage, or what have you. Some of it is actually disappointment and pain from people who aren't interested in a casual relationship themselves, but are willing to do that because it's better than nothing.

    On my part, there is some hope that this will be a long-term relationship, and at first it bothered me that there was no security that it was what C wanted and was aiming for too. It still kind of bothers me sometimes, but what really is bothering me is not knowing where she hopes we will be in the future. But really... a "committed" relationship is only so as long as people can consent to sticking with it anyway. A lot of times people say they will commit to someone forever, but look at the divorce rate! It's only a false sense of security.

    I think casual relationships are actually a more realistic way of looking at relationships in a lot of circumstances!

  2. Amen. I think this describes my relationship much better than the terms we've been using. My girlfriend and I have been "together" for three years, but our professional situations keep us apart for long periods of time, during which we occasionally call each other, but don't mind if the other one goes out with someone else - or whatever. We're happy when we're together, but don't see any reason to have to be unhappy when we're apart, or to structure our entire lives around each other.
    Still, try explaining that to you mother when she asks if you're planning to propose ever.
    I was linked her from Alas!, btw.