A male friend of ours has been going through a really difficult time. When we hung out last week, he emphasised to the boyf and I how he’s steering clear of relationships and focusing on getting his life together. My ears pricked up, though, when he casually mentioned a female friend who he “hangs out” with. A bit of probing quickly revealed that she’d also recently experienced a breakup.

“So you’re ‘just’ friends?”, I asked and paused for a few seconds waiting for what I suspected was to come. He insisted yes, and then said, “Okay, well actually, she stayed over last weekend. But seriously, it was strictly as friends.” He then admitted they’d slept in the same bed and that nothing had happened. I waited a few more seconds. He then admitted they’d had a kiss and a cuddle. Hi-la-ri-ous! Drip-feeding 101!

Now let’s be real; you know how this story goes, possibly because you’ve been in this very situation yourself.

Our friend told his sleepover pal what’s been going on in his life. He claims he’s emphatically stated that he doesn’t want a relationship and absolutely can’t do one. She’s out of something pretty bad, too, and claims to be in full agreement. However, proving yet again that there’s no such thing as a ‘casual relationship’ (an oxymoron in itself), less than a week later and she was trying to make plans and angling to stay over. Yes, that would be the actions of someone behaving like a girlfriend.

Even funnier, he’s “texting” another couple of women. When I asked him why he can’t just be by himself, sort himself out, find things to do, see friends, etc., he told me that he couldn’t “manage without female attention“. Apparently, these interactions “break up the routine”.

His rationale is that he’s told her everything that’s going on in his life and how he doesn’t want a relationship. He thinks she understands the ‘terms’ and that he clearly isn’t in a position to be anything other than casual. What he hasn’t realised is that while he might have been “upfront” about not wanting more than casual, at the same time, his actions can be perceived as ‘mixed messages’. Many people still think that people who don’t want relationships either shag you and then shag off or remain alone. This is completely untrue.

The ‘passenger’ in casual relationships hopes to use their participation as ‘backdoor’ entry to a committed relationship at a later date.

For many people, having needs, expectations, and even standards from the outset is something they’re scared to risk. This is even though it’s pure lunacy because to try to be involved with someone without these is like turning up dressed as a doormat.

Acting casually wards off the threat of rejection and stretching yourself. There’s now such a fear of the vulnerability that comes with dating that it’s been watered down to the nothingness of a casual relationship. The hidden agenda is that you’ll ’embed’ yourself and upgrade later. It’s like, “I’m going to be a willing ear, easygoing, indispensable, a great lay, etc. They’ll want me around all the time.”

The ‘driver’ in casual relationships is all out for themselves, using ‘honesty’ to downgrade the other person’s expectations and standards.

Casual relationships are about having all of the fringe benefits of a relationship without the relationship.

Some would argue why [people who want a casual relationship] wouldn’t just have one-night stands instead of, in some instances, treating people like unpaid hookers, armchair psychologists, onboard entertainment, and beards. Getting so much for so little, though, feels so much better than what may feel like the soulless experience of being with somebody who doesn’t care about you and has no interest.

This is ridiculous when you think about it. Some of us need people to give a shit about us even when we don’t about them.

9 out of 10 people, when told they’re a user, will deny it. Still, when someone exploits others to get their needs met, ‘using’, even if they’ve been ‘honest’, is what it is.

We all need to be responsible for our emotional health and standards.

Fact is, there are people out there that are only too willing to hold you to a lower standard in the name of ‘fun’ and ‘keeping things light’. You have to hold yourself to a higher standard than what they have in mind for you. The hidden agenda of being casual about your needs and then upgrading later is a painful, deluded plan. If someone can get everything out of you for little or no emotional and relationship contribution from them, you’ve set the tone, and they’re cruising on easy street.

You have better things to be doing than breaking up the monotony of someone’s day or being their on-demand entertainment.

It’s not about their necessarily meaning you any harm. However, they’re so focused on what they want that it doesn’t occur to them that some of their contradictory behaviour is misleading. Also, some people overestimate their capability to cope with a casual relationship. That might be you!

My friend admitted that there are clear indicators his ‘friend’ has more than casual feelings for him and is trying the back-door route to a relationship. He should be walking away instead of dropping more hints or giving reminders while getting an ego stroke and a ‘cuddle’. Yes, she’d probably feel a bit miffed in the short term. Still, it’ll be far less painful than a few months down the road when he starts dodging her calls and texts or saying shite like,You knew my situation when we met.”

That’s not to take away from her responsibility to take care of herself, but you know what? Part of the reason why I refer to there being a ‘driver’ and a ‘passenger’ is because there’s someone driving things on their terms who knows the score. They do! Even when the ‘driver’ becomes aware that the ‘passenger’ feels and wants more, they’re too busy stuffing themselves at the all-you-can-eat-buffet to walk away.

If someone shows that they clearly have more feelings for you, then it’s obvious that you’ve not only failed to do as good a job of explaining, but that you’ve definitely overstayed your welcome. It’s time to move on.

It begs the question: If you know they want more and you can’t give more, why haven’t you left?

The answer: There’s plenty in it for you to enjoy in the meantime.

Don’t allow someone to use you as a plaything because you’ve got your own agenda of selling them in on a lower-price option now and upgrading them later. Dating is the route to a relationship. Stop taking shortcuts that sell you short.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks The No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl in my bookshop.

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites