In today’s society there seems to be a lot of debate over what is or isn’t a committed or casual relationship. The definitions can be completely different depending upon whom you ask and what their understanding of his or her current relationship is. Just a few decades ago committed relationships were thought of as those with long-term potential possibly leading to marriage, but today it seems more people are considering themselves in casual relationships than committed.
It’s also important to realize that we are talking about relationships, not just hooking up with a person you met at a club for a one-night stand. Friends with benefits would be closer to what we are speaking about than just hooking up. To have some manner of a relationship usually involves a certain physical or emotional connection but doesn’t necessarily carry with it any pledge of commitment or exclusivity.
We have just used the word “exclusivity” in a discussion about relationships, but does a committed relationship automatically denote an exclusive relationship? In today’s society many people consider exclusive to mean just having the physical end of the relationship with one person. If that is so, does committed mean that the emotional part of the relationship is exclusive but the physical may not be? Sex, or actually what happens after sex seems to be what really changes the classifications between casual and committed relationships.
Casual relationships are not platonic relationships either, as an intimacy without a deeper emotional bond is basically sex for the sake of sex with little regard for anything beyond that aspect of being together. There is no demand on time or emotions and any expectations are kept to a minimum. Just a reminder that casual sex can be thought of as no expectations of any kind and a repeat performance is neither required nor expected. We are talking about relationships. Casual relationships or “Friends With Benefits” are in fact relationships and there is some expectation of mutual support beyond the bedroom for some period of time, but one can be in several of these types of relationships simultaneously.
A committed relationship brings with it some mutually agreed upon code of conduct. It may involve physical or emotional exclusivity, as it’s a commitment between two people to be equally restricted in some fashion for the foreseeable future. Stability is a key concept in this type of relationship along with mutual respect.
It may seem that in the modern world the fear of commitment seems to push more people towards the casual relationship allowing them to leave their options open to other possibilities. Sometimes people are hoping for the bigger and better deal such as the richer man or the better looking woman, but what it really comes down to is overcoming the fear of missing out on something. Most who are in casual relationships are committed to one another in some fashion. Imagine that you claim you are in such a relationship and your partner is out on a date with someone else, how would that make you feel? Casual relationships aren’t really beating out committed ones; it’s more like those involved are too fearful to admit they are in one.