We enter casual relationships to avoid all the drama that comes with committed relationships, but that doesn’t mean that there’s never any hiccups in them.
Casual relationships are supposed to be fun and exciting, they are supposed to make you feel better and take the edge off, but sometimes people develop feelings, they become jealous and possessive. Other times, the relationship is too casual for one person, they feel like they’re being taken advantage of.
This is when problems start in casual relationships.
Trying to Assert Dominance Can Ruin a Fun Casual Fling
Power struggles are the most common issue in casual relationships. You might be thinking that power struggles are reserved only for long-term relationships, after the honeymoon period ends, when kids come into play and financial matters need to be taken care of.
But we experience power struggles every day, in every social situation, be it personal or professional. It’s in our nature to have a leader and a follower in every relationship.
This dominant/submissive relationship can work for some, but more often than not, we want to challenge the person in power. We want to take over the reins and be the one in charge.
Those who have the power in the relationship often don’t even see the issue, and it is the “powerless” who are having a bad time, who seem to start changing everything. They become power-driven, start being aggressive and demeaning.
For a casual relationship, this means that the relationship is no longer fun, it doesn’t make you feel better, it’s not exciting.
It All Comes down to Sex and Common Courtesy
In casual relationships, the power struggle is mostly about sex. Who gets to booty call whom? Whose schedule do you always have to follow? Who says when, where, and how long you’ll have sex? Is this no-strings-attached agreement fun only for one person?
If you want your casual relationship to work and to always be enjoyable, there are things you can do to avoid these power struggles.
Make Sure You’re Emotionally Ready for a Casual Relationship
Before you even start a casual relationship, the number one question you should ask yourself is if you’re mature enough for casual sex, because the thing is, casual sex is not for everyone.
If you’re entering this agreement just because it’s all that’s available, and you actually want to have a more emotional connection, you want all the strings attached, this can leave you feeling powerless and hurt.
For some people, it’s difficult to distinguish sex from romance, and while it’s true that many casual relationships do develop into something much more, many others simply don’t.
And when you’re expecting your partner to develop feelings for you, but they don’t, you’ll feel like you’re in a position without power. And that’s when your power struggles begin.
Make Sure You’re Both Having Sex for the Right Reasons
Not because you want to have revenge on your cheating boyfriend, or you want to feel better after your girlfriend dumped you.
Definitely not if you have a crush on your friend, and you are hoping your friends-with-benefits arrangement will magically blossom into a full-on romantic movie. Hook up with someone because that’s what you want to do. You want to get physical and don’t want any drama.
If you enter this arrangement without being emotionally ready for it, you’ll start trying to control your partner.
You’ll try to be a bigger part of their life, and feel rejected when they don’t let you in. You will start to feel ashamed of what you’re doing, you’ll feel guilty, and you’ll take it all out on your casual partner.
It’s also a good idea to check with your partner to see if they’re emotionally ready, too. It takes two to tango, and if you’re noticing some power struggles in your casual hookup, it’s best to talk it out rather than point fingers at who’s to blame.
Choose the Right Partner
Power struggles can arise in casual relationships if you choose the wrong partner as well. Hooking up with a close friend is the worst thing you could do. Not only will you have issues in the bedroom, but they will also transfer to other social situations that you have to attend together.
It’s also much more difficult to keep your feelings in check when you add sex to your friendship. Everything becomes much more confusing and frustrating, so sex with a friend is something to be avoided.
In casual relationships, it’s best to keep your expectations low. You won’t feel like you’re being used, and you won’t have the need to dominate the relationship. If you notice you’re developing feelings, it’s best to just end the relationship and go on your merry way.
You Need to Determine What You’re Comfortable with
It may sound like making a business deal when you talk about the dos and don’ts of your casual relationship with your partner, but knowing what you are comfortable with is what makes things easier for everyone involved.
If everyone’s on the same page about what’s acceptable, and what’s not, the power dynamic in the relationship is going to be more equal, and there’ll be fewer surprises and problems down the line.
So, be upfront about what you want and don’t want in your casual relationship. What is a casual relationship for you, and what is a serious one? Where do you draw the line?
Start with setting the boundaries for simple things first. Is it cool to spend the night at each other’s place? Our advice would be no.
Talk About Whether You Want to Be Exclusive
There’s no need for you to spend the morning together, thinking what you’ll eat for breakfast while you sip your morning coffee. You can make exceptions sometimes, if it’s very late at night, and you’re both exhausted from the mind-blowing sex you had, but don’t make it a habit.
It’s important to talk about being exclusive (or not), as well. Exclusivity is not only for committed relationships, it is often very important for many people who are involved in casual relationships.
Whether it’s because of health concerns, or just for drama management, they want to be exclusive with their sexual partner, and that’s fine. The best thing about having a fuck buddy is that you can call them any time, and they’ll be available.
When you’re not exclusive, it can lead to tension because you can’t be available to everyone all the time. And sex can then become a tool for showing who has the power in the relationship. If you withhold sex, they lose power, and if you do have sex, they gain power.
It just makes things so much more complicated than they need to be.
Come up with “the Rules of Engagement” Right Upfront
Set boundaries on what you should do if you start seeing someone else more seriously. Should you stop the relationship or not? Should others know about your hookup? There’s a lot of things to talk about when you start seeing someone just for sex.
It’s also very important to learn how to say “no”. For example, if you don’t want to do anal, say it. No one is forcing you to do the things you don’t like, and this relationship is for your pleasure, so say no. And listen when they say no to you.
If you do accept to do something you didn’t really want to, don’t hold that as a leverage over them. Don’t try to use that to force them to do something they don’t want. These relationships are all about having fun and experimenting, but don’t cross the lines that have been set.
Understand the Meaning of “Casual” in Casual Relationships
Casual means not serious or careful, it means only partly interested, and many of us mistake that for being uncaring towards our partners. The hookup culture is seen as completely emotionally detached and animalistic because of people’s attitude towards it, not because of the sex.
People distinguish casual relationships from the serious ones by acting like they don’t care at all, and by behaving like jerks when they’re in them.
At first glance it almost makes sense, because you don’t want to be possessive and needy in your casual relationship. But this is your best way of ruining a good deal.
Open Communication Is Essential
There’s a lot of taboo about communication in casual relationships, and the lack of communication leaves room for everyone to behave like dicks. This is why many people feel miserable and violated after a hookup, and that whole “chill” part of the relationship just becomes a real piece of work.
Even if the relationship is equally meaningless to the both of you, when one person acts inconsiderately towards another, it creates frustration, and is the cause of power struggles.
It can make both of you feel like you’re trapped in a horrible situation, and makes you want to manipulate the other person physically and emotionally.
So even if you’re just casually seeing someone, it’s important to talk about how you feel about your arrangement, and to communicate freely. Communication is what makes the sex better, and when you’re not really emotionally invested, it can actually be easier to open up and say what’s on your mind.
You can own your emotions without instantly falling in love, and without risking the other person falling in love with you. It’ll allow you to more easily express what you’re comfortable with doing, and it’ll be easier to agree on the boundaries of your relationship, and really set them.
Be Honest About Your Fantasies and Kinks
Good communication is essential to maintain a nice and healthy casual hookup. Now, hookups are just for sex, so you don’t want that communication to revolve around your childhood trauma, or your dreams for the future, but talking about what you want from your partner is absolutely necessary.
First things first, talk about sex. It could be awkward starting that conversation, but the more open you are, and the more often you talk about sex with your partner, the easier it all gets. You want this relationship to be beneficial to the both of you, and communicating your desires, and listening to theirs, is the key to this.
This is your time to experiment, learn new positions, try something you always wanted, but were too afraid to in your serious relationships. You should also listen to your partner’s desires, they might even suggest something exciting and new, so you could learn a thing or two from them, and stay on top of your game.
Keeping things casual allows you to have your wildest fantasies come true without any feelings of shame. You can get kinky, naughty, and it’s the time to explore yourself. It’s your time to be selfish about your pleasure, but being selfish is very different from being disrespectful.
Show Your Partner Respect and Ask for It in Return
Showing respect to your partner is the absolute best way to avoid power struggles in your casual relationships.
Now, many people seem to think that “no strings” in a relationship means “no respect”. They just have sex with the person, then kick them to the curb. This lack of respect is what keeps most women, for example, from entering a casual relationship.
One of the most typical mistakes people make in casual relationships is that they believe keeping their emotional distance means they have to behave like an asshole to their partner.
Learn that there’s a difference between sexual exploitation and casual sex. While there’s not much trust or emotion involved in casual hookups, know that in order to make this relationship work, you have to show respect for one another. Treat each other like normal human beings, not just sex toys.
Showing some consideration to your sexual partner doesn’t make your relationship serious all of a sudden. It makes your relationship enjoyable for both parties, and feeling respected allows you to relax and have better sex.
Power struggles can be a real issue if you don’t handle them correctly. You can do your best to avoid them, but they can still arise when you least suspect it. Your best line of defense is communication and respect. In the end, if something is too much for you to handle, you can easily just say goodbye to your casual relationship, and move on.