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What Kind of Relationship Are You Looking For?

What Kind of Relationship Are You Looking For?

So you’re looking for a relationship. Congrats! Finding a compatible partner can lead to a lifetime of happiness, growth and fulfillment.

But not all relationships are created equal. The type of partnership you seek should align with your values, life vision and emotional needs.

So what kind of relationship are you looking for? In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain the 7 main types of relationships to empower your search for the right fit. Here they are.

Casual Dating

Casual dating is the most low-pressure type of partnership. You go on dates occasionally for fun without expectations for commitment or a shared future.

This kind of no-strings-attached dating allows you to socialize and get to know new people. You can explore your romantic options without getting intensely emotionally involved.

Casual dating is perfect for you if:

  • You recently got out of a serious relationship and want to casually re-enter dating
  • You have a busy life and only have time to date occasionally
  • You are new to dating and want to gain experience
  • You enjoy playing the field and meeting new partners

The downside of casual dating is that it often leads nowhere. The lack of communication around needs and expectations can also foster hurt feelings if one partner desires more closeness.

Friends With Benefits

As the name implies, friends with benefits are close companions who also have a sexual relationship. Typically, “FWB” partnerships start from existing friendships rather than romantic attraction from the start.

The basis of these partnerships is friendship – you enjoy spending platonic quality time together. But you’re also sexually attracted to one other, so you add physical intimacy to the mix.

Friends with benefits arrangements work well for people who:

  • Highly value their autonomy and freedom
  • Want to avoid relationship responsibilities
  • Have busy schedules and can only meet up occasionally
  • Recently got out of serious relationships and want to keep things casual
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On the flip side, FWBs rarely turn into long-term committed relationships. And if one person catches deeper feelings, ending the sexual part of the friendship can feel like another breakup.

Open Relationships

Open relationships involve partners agreeing to let each other date and hook up with other people.

What’s the point? For some couples, exploring free love in this way allows them to experience fun, variety and novelty in their sex lives. Having different partners prevents boredom and infidelity.

Open relationships typically have clear-cut ground rules around:

  • Using protection with additional partners to prevent STIs
  • Not spending the night with casual hookups
  • Discussing experiences openly and without judgment
  • Putting the core relationship first, ahead of casual partners

An open relationship may appeal to you if:

  • You think committed relationships should not have to limit physical pleasure or affection
  • You are interested in exploring ethical non-monogamy
  • You want novelty and excitement from new partners

But open relationships also pose challenges, like jealousy, hurt feelings, intense communication and strict adherence to agreements that take a lot of emotional maturity.

Short-Term Dating

Some people seek relationships that satisfy in the moment, but don’t necessarily last forever. Short-term dating is a broad category that includes:

Summer romances – Intense flings centered around shared vacations, weekends getaways or warm weather activities. These usually wrap up when the season ends.

Rebound relationships – After painful breakups, jumping into short-term partnerships can help some people process their feelings, regain confidence, and figure out what they really want from relationships.

Study abroad romances – For college students, close bonds often form over the course of studying overseas or student exchanges in different cities. But unfortunately, these relationships often struggle to outlast the academic terms.

Expired time relationships – Some couples openly acknowledge upfront their partnership has a time limit or expiration date, like certain long distance relationships, military deployments or job relocations.

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May-December relationships – Large age gaps can pose challenges in long-term compatibility. So couples with big differences often intentionally view their bonds as temporary adventures.

If you realistically know a short-term situationship is all you can handle now, communicating defined end dates prevents false expectations.

Long-Term Dating

Long-term dating typically describes partnerships that:

  • Have lasted over a year
  • Involve serious discussions about shared futures
  • May or may not lead to legal marriage

These more committed, monogamous relationships evolve by meeting each other’s families and friend groups. You essentially embed yourselves into each others day-to-day lives.

Long-term dating signals you’re very selective with partners and slower to fully intertwine lives. It shows dedication to making things last by prioritizing open communication, compromise and growth together.

Serious Dating For Marriage

Some relationship seekers date with clear intent to find a life partner. Every new person they meet gets evaluated as a prospective husband or wife.

Serious dating is about searching for someone whose visions, goals, desires and habits align for the long haul. Once you both feel fully confident you’re compatible mental, physical and emotional matches, you then transition into planning a wedding.

This intentional dating style is a good fit if having a legally married spouse and possibly kids are your ultimate relationship goals.

Platonic Life Partners

Some people seek lifelong companionship free emotional, physical or sexual expectations often placed on romantic relationships.

Platonic life partnerships involve extremely close friends making long-term commitments to stick together. It’s like having a “soul mate” minus the sexual attraction component.

You might choose a platonic partnership if:

  • You identify as asexual or aromantic
  • You have health issues making sex difficult
  • Intimacy scares you due to past trauma
  • You feel too busy with other life goals for traditional relationships
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The level of commitment in platonic partnerships can mirror typical long-term relationships. You may live together, make major life decisions together, even raise kids together depending on your agreed upon boundaries.

Which Type Is Right For You?

Only you can decide what style of relationship suits your needs and desires best right now. It often comes down to personal factors like:

  • Your age and maturity level
  • Previous relationship experiences
  • Current life circumstances
  • Faith-based beliefs on relationships
  • Physical and emotional health
  • Personal interests and hobbies
  • Long-term life visions

I challenge you to have an open, brutally honest conversation with yourself. Analyze the 7 options above. Then choose which type of relationship you are truly ready for at this stage of your journey based on self-awareness.


Q: How do you know when casual dating gets serious?

A: Casual dating typically transitions into something more serious if you: only date each other, communicate daily, integrate into each other’s lives, make future plans together, discuss exclusivity and decide to be girlfriend/boyfriend.

Q: Can casual dating turn into a relationship?

A: Yes – If both people catch feelings and decide they want commitment, exclusivity and a shared future together. But casual situationships only turn serious if that is what both partners want.

Q: What should you not do in a casual relationship?

A: In casual dating, you should avoid: expecting commitment too soon, acting possessive, demanding too much time, contacting them too excessively, feeling jealous about them dating others, assigning girlfriend/boyfriend labels prematurely.

Q: How do you end a short term relationship?

A: If you agreed upon an expiration timeframe upfront, revisit the agreement as the end nears. Offer compassion about it feeling sad. After the last date, switch to occasional friendly check-ins if you want to remain in contact, then move forward separately.



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