A Married Woman Interviews A Casual Dater And Now Feels Enlightened

Lauren and I have been best friends for almost 5 years. We met in college and just clicked. We’ve gone on road trips together, vented about whatever was bothering us at any hour of the day, and shared a Coke addiction (Coke, not Pepsi). We’ve shared classes, colds, and embarrassing moments together; however, while Lauren and I do have a lot in common, there’s one thing that we’ve always approached differently: dating.

Throughout college, I dated very rarely. At the start of my senior year, I met the man who would one day become my husband. We “talked” for a few weeks, started dating, proclaimed our relationship status on Facebook, spent every night together, moved in together post-graduation in a new city, got engaged, and got married. While many of my closest friends are on the same “relationship track” as myself, Lauren has always chosen a different path on the opposite end of the relationship spectrum as the self-proclaimed “perpetually single friend.”

I’ve never understood or experienced the world of dating apps, one-night stands or fast-paced dating… until today. Now, I’ll interview her to get to the nitty-gritty of the casual dating life — no questions off-limits and no answer too honest.

Firstly, what is casual dating?

It’s different for different people. I wouldn’t necessarily call what I’m doing casual dating. I don’t go on many dates, it’s more a preemptive for having sex. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. Some of them are real dates, sex isn’t always implied.

What’s the appeal?

We can phrase it casual dating, because I don’t have a better phrase. I feel more in control and I don’t feel like I’m compromising any parts of myself, because I’ve felt like I’ve been doing that in past relationships. I just like being single, I like the freedom. I can have sex with three people in a week and nobody cares — or nobody knows. There’s no claim on me.

Why do you think that casual dating is the best course for you?

It’s the best fit for me because I don’t know where I want to be in the next year, or what kind of job I’ll have. I have places I want to be and things I want to do, and I feel like having to think about it in a serious relationship would hold me back. One of my biggest fears is being stuck, and I don’t want some guy to make me feel stuck. I don’t want to have to think about anyone but myself right now.

Do you see this as a long-term relationship track for you?

I don’t have a mental end-date, it’s just until I find someone that I want to be with in a relationship and it works out that way. If I find someone I want to be serious/exclusive with, that would be the end-point. I’m not going into it looking for something serious or permanent, but I feel like it’s always on my mind. I have a lot of friends who are in serious relationships — you’re married, I have several friends who are close to getting engaged. The segment of the population that I see the most are in relationships, so I don’t know about an end-date, but I feel like there’s pressure to have one. But I’m not going to get into a relationship that I don’t want to be in because I feel pressured.
Does everyone on Tinder look for casual dating?

Oh my god, no, there are people on Tinder who are looking for something serious. There are people who put [in their bio] that they’re looking for something serious, which I don’t understand. It’s a shallow app, you’re judging on appearance and swiping in seconds. Going in looking for something serious is a little ridiculous because nobody’s judging you based on your personality. It’s a superficial dating bio. The guys who say that they want something serious, I just think they’re a**holes — if they wanted something serious, then why are you on Tinder? It’s not meant for that.

How long does it take for you to meet someone on an app to the point that you actually meet them in person?

It depends; it can take anywhere from a week to three weeks. The longer the wait to meet up, the less likely it is to happen. You lose interest, the conversation flames out, you realize that you’re not actually into each other. But I have had guys who want to meet up with them on the same night, but I refuse to do that because I don’t want to get murdered. One guy actually got mad because I didn’t want to meet up on the same night. I don’t do the random/one-night stand thing anymore.

How often would you say you actually meet up with people that you met on an app (weekly/monthly, etc.).

For a new person, average is probably about once a month. I get bored of the apps really easily, and then there are some guys that you never meet up with. Tinder specifically — I’ve met up with five people since August. With Bumble, I think I’ve met up with more. And there’s ghosting…

What’s casual dating like post-college?

It’s harder post-college. I’ve always like older guys — not super old, but older than me. I’m in a new city and I’m not really approachable in bars because… people are scared of me, which I kind of like. I use the same apps, but my age limit is different. I actually started using Bumble fairly recently and I’m running out of clever things to say. One in ten actually respond. I’m not super social and I don’t know how to get involved and meet people and I’m not here in school, which is how I meet people. I don’t have a job that has anyone my age. I go to happy hour with my coworkers, but half of them have kids and/or are in their thirties. And they’re basically all in relationships. How the hell do you meet people?

How do you view me/my lifestyle?

I don’t know. It’s very domestic, but I think it’s hard for me to imagine being married right now. I respect you and your decision, but I don’t think I’ve found anybody that I want to marry and I am not ready to be married. So forming a full opinion on your lifestyle wouldn’t be fair, because I can’t fully relate. I’m mildly jealous that you have someone that you can always rely on, but it’s weird for me to think about. I couldn’t imagine being married. I’m so glad that you are married, but it’s also a weird thing to adjust to because I knew you when we were two single girls. I’ve never been in a super serious relationship either so I have no real point of reference.

How do you view you/your lifestyle?

I think it’s very freeing, I enjoy it. I’m enjoying being single because from my opinion, it’s an experience that everyone should have — being single and not worrying about what people think. When I visit family, I’m constantly asked about my relationship and I say “I’m just dating.” Not looking for anything serious, and the fact that I’d have to bring a boy home and have him meet my family and have to explain my family to him is really difficult. Letting people in and having to expose my vulnerability and issues to have a solid relationship is really difficult for me. It takes me a long time to have the hard conversations in a relationship, but it’s also like…“you’re annoying me, so bye.” Sometimes I wish I had something more, but it’s happening and I don’t have any plans to actively change it right now. I honestly have no idea where I’m going to be in August — I could be anywhere, which is kinda fun. I could literally do anything.

 

Kelly Morrison Menk

Kelly Morrison Menk

When not writing, Kelly works as a communications associate at a nonprofit in Washington, DC. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Mary Washington and Master's in Communication from George Mason University. She firmly believes that running daily allows her to continue her serious Coca-Cola addiction without repercussions (no, Pepsi is not the same). When she's not working or fighting horrible DC traffic, you can find her sleeping, eating or attempting to train her two pups.
Kelly Morrison Menk
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