As society becomes more and more sexually liberated, no strings attached or NSA relationship are increasing in popularity. You might be wondering what this means for you if you enter into an NSA relationship.
No Strings Means No Commitment
Think of strings like heartstrings. No Strings Attached relationships are casual, and there's a mutual understanding that the bond is built over physical interactions rather than romantic or emotional ones. Basically: it's just sex. There's no commitment involved.
Some people might refer to an NSA relationship as one where people don't - or aren't supposed to - catch feelings.
That doesn't necessarily mean that people in NSA relationships don't care about each other. In any healthy relationship especially physical ones, the mutual respect and care for one another's' well-being are essential. Not catching feelings just means that both people aren't trying to fall in love or cultivate a long-term, serious relationship.
Some people would advise avoiding NSA relationships at all costs. They might say that once sex is involved, feelings are bound to pop up. But that's not always the case.
NSA Relationships Look Different for Everybody
Relationships, in general, look different for everyone. People have different physical and emotional needs and wants. And they fill those desires in different ways. Don't go into an NSA relationship assuming what the other person wants, you should talk to them about it.
For example, how do you (and your partner) feel about doing things together such as:
- Going out on dates
- Spending time in public
- Showing PDA (public displays of affection)
- Running errands together
- Meeting each other's friends or family
- Giving each other words of affirmation or compliments
- Giving gifts and buying things for each other
- Sleeping over each other's homes
- Watching TV together
- Sleeping with other people
- Talking on the phone
For some couples, these activities don't make or break the definition of an NSA relationship. Casually dating and sleeping together is fulfilling for both people, even when there is an understanding that it won't go any further. Accepting an expiration date on the relationship doesn't mean that you can't form an emotional connection.
For other couples, maintaining a truly NSA relationship means there should be no emotional connection whatsoever. Exclusivity is out of the question. The only time you talk over the phone is to give a booty call. If you or your partner are seeing other people using condoms is a must to protect everyone.
There is no right way to have a no strings attached relationship. Figure out what works for you and talk to your partner about it. If it's not a good match, don't worry. There are plenty of horny people out there to hook up with.
Never Assume You're on the Same Page
Not being on the same page about where you stand in a relationship spells trouble for everyone. As mentioned, NSA relationships look different for everyone. You and your new partner's expectations probably aren't the same, and if you make assumptions, you'll make an ass out of both of you.
As you navigate a new NSA relationship, things might change. If you start to feel differently or want different things, bring it up immediately. It could be something about the whole relationship in general, or it could be something as small as PDA or how often you see each other. Waiting will do you no good.
Catching Feelings in a Casual Relationship: What to Do
You've probably experienced this before: you have a plan, and it doesn't work out.
But this doesn't always happen, and more often than not, the feelings are one-sided. If one person catches feelings, the other person expecting a casual relationship could be caught off guard. These feelings might cross the other person's boundaries or they could be receptive to them.
Once this happens, change needs to happen too. A conversation needs to be had. You'll never know how the other person feels unless you ask.
It's Important to Set Clear Terms and Hard Boundaries
Some people in NSA relationships have hard boundaries: they are sure that they're not ready for a serious relationship. Maybe they're highly focused on school or work. They don't have the time. Or they've just gotten out of a long-term relationship and are still recovering. Whatever the case may be, these boundaries must be respected.
The most important part of any relationship - including no strings attached relationships - is communication. If hard boundaries are set, it could help both people avoid a negative parting experience.
Setting clear expectations early on will enable both people in an NSA relationship to know what the other wants or needs.
Remember, to be honest with someone else, you first have to be honest with yourself. What do you want out of an NSA relationship? What are you comfortable (and not comfortable) doing?