1. Don’t Let It Go Too Far
Number one rule. The longer you’re in it, the longer each side will develop feelings.
My cutoff is usually somewhere between 3-4 months. I think this generally differs with age (the older you are, the longer they can go), but the key is to be open yet direct. I for instance, travel for work way too much to develop a proper relationship. As such, I’m not looking to settle down. Generally, this tends to be respected. Or at least, accepted.
2. Don’t Make It A Bigger Deal Than It Needs To Be
You’ll generally get to know how they function within the confines of your guys’ relationship. A lot of the times, the “slow fade” is the most mature way to cut things off — “breaking up” in a relationship that wasn’t even a relationship in the first place only confuses everyone involved.
3. Try To Honor The Decision You Made
Cutting things off sounds like a good idea, until its 1am on a Saturday and you’re really regretting that decision. Much easier said than done (I think we all know from experience), but try as hard as you possibly can not to send those texts. Your morning will be a lot better.
4. Avoid/Be Mysterious About Family
Family talk and family issues is generally the first gate of many that ultimately lead to letting your guard down. Obviously there’s no need to come off like you have no soul, but it’s probably your best bet to avoid actively steering conversations in that direction.
If you’ve decided that this is merely a casual thing, definitely be as mysterious as possible when it comes to family stuff.
5. Be Unavailable For The First ‘Important’ Event
Relationships are all about being there for the other person when they need support. Again, if you’ve decided you’d rather not take things that route, this is the best precedent to set; i.e., if she wants you to come to her brother’s improv comedy show, be unavailable.
By doing this, you are entering an implicit contract — by ascribing to your own agenda, you deem it perfectly acceptable for the other person to end things.
6. Don’t Go To The DC Cherry Blossom Festival Together
Probably my favorite thing about living in DC is the annual Cherry Blossom Festival; a perfect, breathtaking highlight of spring that profiles the true beauty of our nation’s capital. The only negative (and I mean only) is that it’s probably the worst thing to do with someone you’re just trying to keep it casual with.*
*A somewhat acceptable way to get around this is to go with a group. But still, tread lightly.