Differences in Casual Dating & Committed Dating

Pledging your love to each other is a commitment.
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You've gone out on a handful of dates, he calls or texts you almost daily and the two of you are getting along better than you ever could have imagined. That said, you haven't had "the talk" and aren't exactly sure where you stand with him. Knowing the difference between casual and committed dating can help you to better judge your relationship and understand where it is headed.

1 Promises, Promises

The prime difference between casual and committed dating is a promise. A committed relationship always includes a concrete decision to stay together, according to the article "Love and Romance" on the TeensHealth website. When you're casually dating there's no promise to stick together or stay exclusive. On the other hand, making a verbal commitment to each other means deciding that the two of you will remain faithful through thick and thin.

2 Attraction Issues

Casual dating typically happens in the beginning of a relationship. Unlike a committed relationship -- which is built on closeness and a common bond -- a casual dating situation may stem from an attraction alone. Although it's very possible, and preferable, to remain attracted to your partner during a committed relationship, the physical infatuation may make up a larger part of casual dating. Even though the chemistry of initial attraction feels intense, it doesn't make a true commitment.

3 Building Trust

After a few dates with the cute girl from chem class, do you trust her? It's possible, but it isn't likely that your trust is built on anything that you've seen. While you're getting to know someone, you're still in the process of developing one of the key elements of a committed relationship: Trust. This doesn't mean that you should act suspicious. Instead, keep an open mind and know that trust doesn't magically appear. As she proves herself to you -- and you do the same for her -- you can move into a truly committed relationship.

4 Walking Away

Even though the first two dates seemed to go well, he never called for a third. When you're casually dating there's often no need or expectation of formally ending it if things don't work out. While it is polite to give the other person a call and say, "Hey, I just don't think we're right for each other," you don't need to officially break up during a casual dating situation. But if you have an actual commitment from him, walking away in a casual manner isn't acceptable.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.