What does it mean to be casual with the opposite sex?

29 Aug

love_relationships_250x251For everyone who loves the controversial, slightly taboo types of blogs… well, this one is for you!  As my life takes new paths, twists and turns, I find my close friends and myself on journeys that resemble the old question of optimism versus pessimism: is the cup half full or half empty?  Sometimes the pros and cons of a situation are so equivalent that it is impossible to weigh the potential outcome of your decisions. Since I thrive when I feel like I’m in control, this is a risky endeavor for me.

I believe the idea of being ‘casual’ with someone falls within this category…

As my mug of Creamery Cappuccino sits on the darkly stained teak tabletop, I glare deeply into the contents and notice that it is half full.  Or is it half empty?  The San Francisco midday sun is most unusually vibrant today, casting its warmth upon me and leaving me to ponder why I didn’t choose the iced mocha instead.  What a simple decision to make, unlike the ones we sometimes make when it comes to relationships.  Basic friendships can be complicated and intense themselves, leaving one torn between admitting that they just want to sit alone on the couch tonight, curled up with Under the Tuscan Sun repeating again and again, versus clubbing until sunrise with someone they consider to be a near and dear friend.  Relationships of the heart, or those involving intimacy, are another story entirely.  From experience I can tell you that dating is not a simple process, and marriage can be the equivalent of a day on Wall Street.  Now, suppose you add another twist to the relationship plot: CASUAL!

Now we’re talking!  Is this merely free sex with no commitment whatsoever?  Or is it one’s fear of expressing their true feelings, defining the relationship in a manner that enables them to feel comfortable and free?

A good friend once shared their thoughts on emotions, and I found it to be a simple yet fantastic concept.  The idea is that emotions themselves do not have the capacity to understand the difference between casual and long-term relationships.  One thinks they can define something or understand something in their mind for what it is; yet emotions cannot.  We are ruled constantly by emotions in our everyday lives, and decisions made under normal conditions wouldn’t necessarily be the same if they were made under emotional stress such as anger, fear or states of arousal.

So, back to that cappuccino mug… is it half full or half empty?

Someone I love dearly found herself asking this very question.  She wasn’t necessarily pondering why she was in the situation, because quite honestly she wanted to be.  She longed deeply for companionship, the kind of companionship that would lead to marriage and possibly a family.  She was dating Jerry, a guy who had everything to give yet believed he had nothing to give.  He showed his affection in small ways: caressing her tummy as they lounged in front of the TV, pampering her with dinner and city excursions, calling her pet names and holding hands as they walked down the street, and making her feel beautiful and successful in her career through frequent conversation.  So what’s the problem you ask?  Jerry didn’t want to have a long-term relationship with her, yet he wanted something.  He wanted to keep the relationship casual.  He enjoyed the countless hours of conversation, the companionship and the intimacy.  Now it was up to her… would she accept these ‘cup is half full’ pleasantries along with the no commitment strategy (cup is half empty)?

I believe she chose correctly, even though I sometimes look at life as a ‘why not’ or there is a ‘first time for everything’ attitude.  She recently spent a few days with Jerry, feeling as if she was in a Broadway musical starring herself as herself.  She enjoyed the same intense intimacy, the same stories and laughter, the same connection she had developed with Jerry from day one.  The uninhibited emotion was omnipresent; yet the pain from their breakup seemed light years away.friendship,life,love,quote,typography,visual,text-7850546a7c4c7c585b80c706b918f22a_h

Does this sound like a half empty cup?  Not really. It sounds like an OPPORTUNITY to explore your emotions and seek the company and attention of someone you care for and enjoy being around.

So, back to my original question: what does it mean to be casual with a member of the opposite sex?  Since we know that controlling our emotions is out of the question, is being casual like a roller coaster ride in complete darkness?  No certainty of what lies ahead?  But then, how is that any different from any other relationship on any other day?

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