Woman's hands holding a cell phone and texting, which could be part of a casual dating affair.

The Casual Dating Affair

The “Casual Dating Affair” is one that evolves slowly. It sneaks up on you. Perhaps this has happened to you. You’re only going out for drinks, or for lunch, or for an occasional “business” dinner, with a friend or colleague. You’ve had a few of these get-togethers.

This kind of casual relationship begins to turn into something more. You find yourself attracted to this person, you enjoy their company, you want to spend more time together. You text after dinner to say thanks. You send a snappy meme. Then they send you a selfie.

Woman's hands holding a cell phone and texting, which could be part of a casual dating affair.

You avoid telling your wife or husband about the drinks, and then you lie about the dinners, blaming the late nights on business. Communication between you and this “casual friend” escalates, and you seek more opportunities to be with your “friend.” You convince yourself there’s nothing going on. Then, before you realize it, you are in a relationship.

What Turns the Friendship into an Affair?

Quite often, it’s the secret-keeping itself that turns the relationship from a friendship into an affair. Lying to cover up the meetings that up until then had been casual turn your get-togethers into something more, giving them meaning and a new energy. From there, it’s only a matter of time before the drinks and dinners become sexual liaisons. The casual dating affair transforms into a sexual affair, and then you’re in too deep to stop.

If you are in an affair or find yourself heading for one, think carefully about what you want to do.  It may help to contact a therapist who is familiar with treating infidelity and works with couples to move you into a new and more sustainable version of the monogamy that works for you.


Tammy Nelson, PhD, is the author of the new book, When You’re the One Who Cheats; Ten Things You Need to Know – available 2/11/19 from Amazon.com.

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