Can Someone You Casually Date Become Your Official Partner? 6 People Tell Their Story

Perhaps you've witnessed it firsthand — either with friends or fictional characters in your favorite rom-com: Something that starts out as a one-night stand or friends with benefits arrangement takes a serious turn. So, can someone you casually date become your official partner? It seems that indeed, this is possible. But how does this happen? Does there have to be an official conversation at any particular point, or can things just evolve naturally without explicitly talking about it?

In a 2010 study by The Kinsey Institute, which asked 515 college-age people why they went into a hookup, 50 percent of women and 52 percent of men admitted that they were hoping it would trigger a long-term relationship. So clearly, just because someone seems to be looking for something strictly casual doesn’t mean that they aren’t secretly crossing their fingers for it to turn into something more. And fortunately, there are many cases in which a hookup buddy can lead to a happy ending. In fact, a 2010 study conducted at The University Of Iowa found that people who start by hooking up can build just as rewarding long-term relationships as those who take it slow and establish a connection before having sex. How reassuring is that?

But just in case you need further proof that it’s totally possible for your hookup buddy to become your bae, here are a handful of casual-turned-serious relationship success stories.

The (More Than) One Night Stand

Studio Firma/Stocksy
Freshman year of college, at a party drunk as f*ck, I end up taking home a boy... who happens to be a senior in high school visiting for accepted students weekend. Anyway, we have sex, he leaves, the school year ends a month later.
He ends up attending my college, we reconnect and stay friends with benefits all throughout college, and now, five years later, are in a pretty committed (but open) LDR. Thought it would end when I graduated, but it just kept going — we see each other one or twice a year, and we don't see it ending any time soon.

PoopPoopPotatoes

The Sneaky Feels

Studio Firma/Stocksy
My girlfriend and I started off as f*ck buddies but that didn't work. We caught the feels and we have been together a year so far!

thebeasts99

The Rebound-Turned-Relationship

Lumina/Stocksy
Met a girl at school after a nasty breakup, I wasn’t looking for a relationship... maybe a friendship. Learned she had a nasty breakup also, and she wasn’t looking for anything serious. Maybe fun. But that’s about it.
We hung out, watching movies in her car. Listening to music and watching just about every movie/TV show I had on DVD. We figured we could just use another friend with benefits, but things got serious.
Years later, we are still married. Bane of my existence. My chiefest of calamities. The love of my life.

___Silhouette___

The Longest Hookup

Leah Flores/Stocksy
I initially thought my SO was just great for a casual hookup. Six years in, a house and a daughter later, it's the longest and best casual hookup ever and I hope it doesn't ever end.

Mist3rTryHard

The Slow Burn

Igor Madjinca/Stocksy
The sex was really good — so good that we became FWBs.
Over time, we just started realizing that we clicked in other ways outside the bedroom. We agreed on a lot of things, we had a lot of interests in common. We started hanging out more and more, and next thing I knew she was inviting me to her cousin’s wedding, and I was bringing her around my buddies.
One day, I grew some balls and asked her if she’d be down to make things exclusive, and luckily, she was on board. We’ve been together ever since.

— Cole, 30

The Agreement

Lauren Naefe/Stocksy
We were both seeing other people when we first started dating, and we were upfront about that. I was definitely into him, but in no rush to have a serious relationship, and neither was he. Then, I realized that I was starting to catch some feelings because I was starting to get super jealous thinking about him seeing other girls, so I stopped hooking up with him to protect myself.
A few weeks later he called me out for ghosting him, and I admitted that I was freaked out because I was starting to develop feelings. There was a pause, and then he goes: “And how do you know you’re the only one?” We cooked dinner at his apartment that night. I said, “I’m not really interested in seeing other people anymore, are you?” And fortunately for me, he wasn’t. We’ve been dating for two and a half years now.

— Kristen, 28

So, there you have it. Just because something starts off casual doesn’t mean it can’t grow into a meaningful, long-lasting relationship. And what do all of these stories have in common? In each situation, the people involved were able to bravely acknowledge their feelings. Not every one of these situations can turn into a serious relationship, of course, but as long as you stay honest with yourself and your hookup buddy, you’re one step closer to finding happiness — whether it’s with your current hookup buddy or not.