After spending about six years in two consecutive, serious relationships, one of the first things I noticed when I got back into the dating game was how quickly and frequently my casual relationships kept fizzling out. I like to think of this phenomenon as the Millennial dating equivalent to waiting for an avocado to ripen. It's like, "No, not now. Not yet. Still not sure what we're doing here. Wow, now. This looks great! Oops, you missed it. Lost your shot. No toast (or relationship) for you."
For the most part, I've chalked this up to bad timing — either I've met a really, fun compatible person right before I have a ton of trips planned and they don't care to wait around (fair) or they're traveling for work and happen to be passing through town just long enough for me to fall for them (sounds like a movie plot but I swear this actually happens IRL). These casual relationships typically end with one of us ghosting the other, then somehow still managing to like each other's Instagram posts from time to time.
Now, I'm not necessarily looking for a serious commitment at the moment so this routine doesn't frustrate me so much as it baffles me. But, like, I get that this can feel emotionally and mentally draining after a while.
If this sounds like you, let me just say that if you're looking to change your luck where the longevity of your casual relationships is concerned, you're probably not looking for a casual relationship at all. I spoke with Kali Rogers, dating expert and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, who agrees that this is the No. 1 thing to keep in mind if you're bummed out when your casual fling fizzles out.
Rogers explain, quite perfectly, "If you're looking for casual flings, then the 'fizzling' is part of the equation. Casual inherently means being able to go in and out as you please — it's not a formal invite. So fizzling simply comes with the territory and it's nothing you need to take personally."
There's a right way to end a hookup but if every casual breakup sends you straight to Trader Joe's to buy a gallon of mint-chip ice cream and a bottle of Pinot Noir, it's not the lifestyle for you. Instead, here are three ways to regain control of your romantic relationships.
Decide What You Want Out Of Your Dating Life
Casual dating isn't necessarily the same as dating just for the heck of it. Rogers says, above all, you should be intentional about who you choose to spend your time with, which means don't go out with someone simply because they asked and you were bored.
Rogers isn't totally against dating for fun, though. She explains, "It's a great way to pass the time and up your weekly social interaction," but you should have some basic expectations from both your relationship and your partner.
It's impossible to be happy in your dating life without being honest about who you are and who you'd like to be with and no, this doesn't make you a selfish person. According to Rogers, "If you truly wanted something casual, you wouldn't care if the relationships fizzled out because you weren't looking for anything serious anyway. And in order for things not to get serious, they have to end at some point, right?" Right.
Once you've established exactly what you're hoping to get out of your next relationship, you'll need to come up with a rulebook. Think Dua Lipa's "New Rules."
Set Personal Boundaries
Like, maybe you don't reply to any, "u up?" text messages from now on or don't go on dates that start at 11 p.m.
Rogers says, "Casual flings are repeatedly marked by little to no communication throughout the week, last-minute plans, group hangs, and not intermingling with close friends or family members. So if you don't want to continue to have casual flings fizzle out, stop playing the part."
Demand more of your dates — that they be scheduled in advance, for example. I hardly think that's too much to ask. Remember, how you treat yourself is how you teach others to treat you.
Find Out What The Next Person You're Interested In Is Looking For Before Jumping In Headfirst
Ideally, you should know whether or not the person you're dating is looking for a relationship. If their relationship goals don't match your own, you probably shouldn't waste your time pursuing them.
Luckily, Rogers notes, "Most people are really clear about their expectations getting into something new. It's not uncommon for someone to say, 'I'm not looking for anything serious,' on a first date. So if you hear that phrase early on, run." Well, run if you disagree.
Chances are you'll never be able to convince them to fall in love with you if they don't want to, no matter how charming you are. It's better to believe them when they tell you (and show you) who they really are to save yourself from any heartache later on.
So, you see, it's not so much a matter of changing your luck but changing your strategy. It's true what they say — love is a battlefield. And you wouldn't go to battle without a goal and a plan, would you?
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