And is it right for you?
The world of modern dating is complicated. For example, what’s the difference between hanging out and hooking up? Or take the “no strings attached” relationship-what does that mean? In order to understand this type of casual connection and to see if it’s the right choice for you, you should know exactly what this kind of relationship entails. We turned to relationship experts to help us unravel the ins and outs of a “no strings attached” relationship and break down its pros and cons.
A “no strings attached” relationship is one in which there are no special conditions or restrictions for emotional or physical fidelity or support.
Fundamentally, a no strings attached relationship is one in which two people carry on a purely physical connection with one another; there’s no emotional connection between them. In other words, a no strings attached relationship implies that you’re sexually intimate, but that’s as far as your relationship goes, and you’re not committed to each other in any way.
Generally speaking, this arrangement works “when you’re in a good place with your job, social life, and personal life, and all that’s missing is sex,” says Desiree Dean, author of The Sex MANual in an interview with Women’s Health. Benefits of a “no strings attached” relationship might include:
- You’re totally uncommitted. One of the pros of having a no strings attached relationship is that while you get to enjoy a physical connection with another person, there’s no sense of obligation or commitment. Your role is not that of a partner, and rather than providing emotional guidance and support, your time together is strictly physical. “Not everyone is ready to be tied down by commitment and responsibility,” says Adina Mahalli, MSW.
- You can pursue different options. Along these lines, another positive aspect of a no strings attached relationship is that you don’t have to be monogamous. “You can keep your dating options open so that if someone else comes along who piques your interest you don’t need to hold back or feel guilty for pursuing them,” says Mahalli.
- It can be fun. Many people involved in “no strings attached” relationships enjoy the thrill and excitement of this kind of connection with someone. Specifically, you get to enjoy intimate time with another person and keep things light while avoiding the possible issues, concerns, and misunderstandings that can arise in a more serious relationship. Says Mahalli, “For these people, a relationship with no strings attached is the perfect balance of fun and intimacy.”
However, having a no strings attached relationship isn’t for everyone, as there are definitive downsides to this type of casual connection. For example:
- You may develop feelings that go unrequited. If you’re involved in a no strings attached relationship, you risk developing feelings for this other person that may not be reciprocated. “Many who have such an open relationship and are ok with it initially, have a change of heart,” says Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC and Certified Imago Relationship Therapist. And since it’s not uncommon to find that spending intimate time with someone may lead you to want a more serious commitment from them, you may be putting yourself on the path toward heartache and heartbreak by engaging in this type of casual connection.
- It may prevent you from looking elsewhere for a serious relationship. Another downside of a no strings attached relationship is that it may hinder you from pursuing something more serious with someone else. In other words, since you’re spending your time, focus, and energy on casual endeavors, you may be making yourself unavailable to someone who can provide you with a deeper and more meaningful connection. “Any time spent with the wrong one keeps you fromthe right one,” cautions professional matchmaker Susan Trombetti of Exclusive Matchmaking.