Why It’s Okay To Date Someone You Don’t Have Strong Feelings For

I don’t have much experience in dating, or even in love for that matter, but I do know quite a bit about having vague four-month relationships with people you don’t have strong feelings for. I’m like the certified expert of vague relationships. I speak at colleges and to girls crying on the kitchen floor all the time. Before I moved to New York, I didn’t have much experience and I certainly didn’t know what I wanted in a dude. So what did I do? I sampled! I dated people just for the hell of it. Why not? And through those relationships, I began to get a clearer idea of what I wanted. That’s why no matter how bad a relationship actually ended up being, I still felt thankful for it. Because by dating someone who was completely wrong for me, I got closer to discovering who was right for me. Plus, it’s fun! Just because I knew things weren’t going to last forever, doesn’t mean I didn’t have amazing moments with these people. There was tenderness, there were genuine feelings. There just wasn’t “FOREVER” stitched across their forehead.

I learned so much about myself from dating. I was challenged and put out of my comfort zone. I was taught how to compromise and how to deal with different personalities. It was exciting, scary, and foreign. That’s how it feels every time you meet someone new though, right? Even if the sparks aren’t flying, it’s still an adventure. New bodies to explore, new quirks to navigate. You learn a lot about people by just being with them, by just lying in bed and watching the television with their head on your chest.

Not all relationships have to go somewhere. For awhile, I think it’s good for people to just date for the sake of dating. The only thing you have to be wary of is a pesky thing called FEELINGS. As I mentioned before, there were genuine feelings between me and these guys, and it sometimes made for a difficult ending. When you date casually, you have to be aware of the fact that it might not always stay that way. People often like to pretend that they don’t have hearts or brains and get into casual relationships thinking they can handle it. But a few months down the line, humanity rears its ugly head and we find ourselves getting upset over things we swore never to get upset about. When you enter loose relationships, just make sure to always be realistic. Not being honest with yourself is the fastest way to book a room in advance at Heartbreak Hotel.

It’s funny that I’m saying all of this now because for the past year, I’ve actually decided to stop casual dating. I can no longer get into relationships with someone knowing they’re not going to last. I don’t have the time or energy to invest like I did in college. But if you haven’t done it yet, you should! Take my Casual Dating pants. They don’t fit me anymore but they might look great on you! TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • http://www.gaurano.com Jonathan Gaurano

    Why not just sleep around? Like who says you have to date?

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      That doesn’t require you to get to know anything about them except what they look like without pants on. Unless you’re drunk, in which case that’s not required either.

      • http://www.gaurano.com Jonathan Gaurano

        I have a rule. One cannot have intercourse while drunk, or if the person is drunk, or in anyway – intoxicated. It’s horrible thing to do because it shows you have no game. 

    • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

      Sleeping around is cool, but sometimes it’s nice to have, like, a temporary relationship situation.  Getting people to fuck you just lets you know you’re not a monster on the outside, getting people to hang out with you lets you know you’re not a monster on the inside.  Validation, homes

      • http://www.gaurano.com Jonathan Gaurano

        Who says that you can’t know someone before you sleep around? But I love the simile 

      • http://twitter.com/bonkersmonkers Monica Remmers

        Yeah, I hear you (or I think I do). Sleeping around with friends in an open, casual way is honestly amazing. I’ve recently made a temporary move to a new city (and country), so I no longer have that physically available network of wonderful people. So that’s why I’ve started dating casually.

      • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

        I’ve seen what people are willing to sleep with, so I wouldn’t take that as any form of validation.

  • http://twitter.com/sodelightful rachel

    thanks for summing up 2011 for me, ryan =) 

    i think i’ve got it almost hammered out right…

  • Anonymous


  • http://twitter.com/eltigrillo Daniel Alvarenga

    This is exactly where I am right now!  Ryan gets me. #gayboysoftheworldunite

  • Diana Salier

    I think it just gets sticky when one person is casual and inevitably the other one isn’t.

  • Charu Atre

    Very aptly written indeed.

  • Kim

    First of all, Ryan, you read my mind as usual. I’ve been thinking I’d like this type of relationship explored on TC so I can relate and not feel so confused, yet temporarily fulfilled. Herein lies my dilemma: the “casual” relationship is great…. but its been 7 months. I know it won’t last forever, there’s no mention of love, we enjoy each other but it’s not super deep… however,  there’s also no reason to end things. He’s sweet, cute, and thoughtful. The sex is amazing. There are feelings, but I know I’m not in danger of having my heart crushed if/when things end.

    So how DOES this end? When does it end? I almost wish one of us would move away so it could happen naturally. I’m still not ready or looking for something deeper (admission: he’s a 7-month rebound), but what to dooooooo…?? Keep waiting?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

      #HonestyHour. Also, I just went through the same bit Kim, and it ended like this: he stopped responding to my texts and phone calls. I think about 8 or 9 months in of casually seeing each other once or twice a month when I came back from living 7 hours away turned into something more real, and once he realized it could never really be fulfilled and didn’t know how to stop it from developing… he ended it by disappearing. So I would say just be cautious and honest. If you don’t see it going anywhere, you better make damn sure he doesn’t either. I don’t think a conversation about it would be inappropriate. I wish you great luck :)

  • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

    i’m 17 but i think i get too attached to things.
    i’d probably do it more out of guilt.
    i’m also look to the future too much.
    all i can think is, what is the point of any of this if i’ll be at college next year?
    i guess it’s bad to not live in the moment once in a while.

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