How To Not Get Attached To Someone In An Almost Relationship

man and woman holding each other

You both lie in bed after sex, feeling like you’re in a French film. You’re almost tempted to smoke a cigarette, if it wasn’t so gross and probably against the building’s fire code.

He isn’t your boyfriend. That’s clear. He’s not after anything serious, and maybe neither are you. Screw it, you’re having fun.

But what if you fall for him? What if it all goes further than just a casual “almost relationship”?

If you’re really serious about having fun and living in the moment, here’s a quick few rules for how to not get attached…

First Rule: Don’t lie to yourself

woman looking worried

Some people look at the “almost-relationship” situation and immediately bristle: ugh, why would you settle for anything casual? Just leave and move on…

Personally, I’m not so judgmental.

It’s your call what kind of dating life you need in this stage of your life right now, but what’s crucial is that you don’t end up in an emotional mess because of your choice.

The truth is – “having fun”, “being casual”, “friends with benefits” – these things only work if you’re honest with yourself from the start.

Are you settling for this situation because that’s what he wants? Or are you genuinely ok having a fun time with this guy and not minding if it doesn’t go further? Are you the type of person who gets super attached after sex? Or can you go with the flow and move on if he does too?

Be clear with what you want from the start, and don’t live in hope that the situation will change later on. The relationship could stay in this place for a looong time, or at least until one of you gets bored or decides to be serious with someone else.

Second Rule: Manage your expectations

trust dial

If you’re not calling it an “official” relationship, then don’t pretend you’re in one.

Maybe it means you’re both allowed to flirt with other people. Or even to kiss other people.

And if that sounds like something that freaks you out, have the conversation about it. Know where the boundaries are. But remember: if you’re ok with a casual situation, accept that this is what it is; don’t put the same expectations on it as you would with a committed partner.

It wont work if you’re both calling it casual, but also, for example, getting jealous all the time. You have to go in with eyes open, or have a serious conversation about whether you want a relationship. But you can’t have your cake and eat it.

Third Rule: Rule out certain “relationship” activities

couple on a bench

Hanging out at his parents for the holidays, spending days on end together, daydreaming about future children you might have…

This is all way too much emotional investment, and if you do this enough, you can drift into a scenario where people are constantly asking you “what are you guys?” (even his best friends).

It’s all good to have fun and enjoy your time in a casual fling for a while, but it’s all-too-easy for it to drift into a limbo world of acting like a couple and forgetting what you agreed before it started. Don’t allow this unless you want a messy situation later on.

Final Rule: Keep your self-respect

notebook listing values

If he does things that make you feel used, or unattractive, or like you’re not good enough, then always be willing to walk away.

Just because the relationship isn’t serious, doesn’t mean you should settle for anything less than being treated with care and respect.

The most important thing in dating is to protect your self-esteem and not allow someone to shake your confidence, so do what’s best for you long-term, even if that means disappointing him in the short-term. Don’t feel the need to compromise on your values just because you’re having a good time when he’s around.


If we’re being 100% honest, the ultimate advice for how to not get attached in a casual situation is simple: don’t get into a casual relationship in the first place.

But if you are someone who is willing and able to date, have fun, go with the flow, and enjoy being casual, then just make sure you know where the boundaries are to keep things on a path where you’re both being treated with kindness and respect.

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14 Replies to “How To Not Get Attached To Someone In An Almost Relationship”

    1. Hi Gaby, considering check out Matt’s ultimate guide to transforming a relationship from casual to committed. “Keep the Guy” covers strategies to lasting commitment, the communication tools that prevent against breakups, and the keys to a thriving relationship for life. More info here: Best of luck! – Mars

  • I have realized that I can’t have sex without emotional attachment. Started a casual friends with benefits thing with a guy six months after my relationship of 8 years fell apart. Fell in love with him; until he met his girlfriend.
    He wanted to stay friends and I tried for a while, but it just hurt too much in the end.

    Still single a year later and feel like I don’t ever want to try a relationship again. I hope one day that feeling changes.

    1. It does, trust my idea. I havent been in a real relationshio yet, but I did a long distance online one for around 5 months and what a waste of time. But the feeling goes away eventually l, just find more passion in what you’re doing and most important of all, find love within yourself. Find what makes you a good partner, and what you’re looking in a partner. Then be confident, and go and enjoy. You can try to have fun but you must be honest with yourself. Everything happens for a reason, dear reader, good luck x

  • It’s easy said to just follow some advice, but the reality is always different. It happened to me and it’s been going on for almost 4 years now. I fell for him at a very early stage, though we never talked about what we want or feel. It just so happened that we became friends with benefits. For him being a musician and living in another city, our casualty was perfect. I on the other hand always hoped that maybe some day he might fall for me too and yet he got bored and barely talkes to me anymore. It hurts a lot but what can I possibly do?

  • It’s so easy to say “don’t do it” I’ve been casually seeing someone for three months now – he said no labels , yet since then for the past month he’s been the one acting like a “boyfriend”. I’ve just been casually going w the flow and I’m OK w it !

  • I wish I would have seen this a year ago. This guy I was in an “almost relationship” with told me from the start that he wasn’t looking to get in a relationship. I wasn’t going to hang out with him again after the first date because of that but he kept pursuing me. Long story short, we ended up dating for a year. Spend (almost) every weekend together, went on vacations together, bought each other gifts for holidays and birthdays. Did everything a couple does together. The only thing we didn’t do was meet each other’s parents. This “almost relationship” was more of a relationship than I’ve ever had in a REAL relationship. He was so sweet, genuine, an amazing listener, and really kind. He was really something I have never experienced before. Which made it that much harder for me not to develope serious feelings for him. Anyway, he finally told me the truth as to why he didn’t want to be in a relationship… he never got over his ex. He also told me this on Valentine’s Day!! It’s been just as hard getting over him as it would have been if he was my actual boyfriend, but knowing he still has feelings for another girl keeps me from reaching out and looking pathetic.

  • I really needed to read this. I actually sent you a DM through Instagram last week I was so upset about my situation hahahahaha
    I was seeing a guy 2-3 times a week for about two months. I really ended up liking him. But ended up getting let down too much. He ended up standing me up the day after his birthday I bought him a birthday gift and dropped it off a few days before. We had been too busy to see one another all week but I wanted him to have something to open on his special day. He was blown away by my thoughtful gift. So a few days later He messaged me about seeing one another and I was so excited. I went all day without hearing when I was to come over. He read my texts but never responded. It wasn’t until the next day he casually messaged me about being home all day doing laundry without an apology for standing me up. I took it as though he was through with seeing me. So I didn’t respond to his text. Days went by and he texted me to see how my week was going etc. I was so hurt! I waited until the next day and messaged him that I was no longer wanting to pursue anything further with him. he only responded with ok. I was gutted. I still think about it daily and not sure if I did the right thing. But surely one shouldn’t accept being stood up especially after gifting someone something for their birthday?
    Anyhow, I think you basically told me what I needed to hear. I’ve been rewatching your videos. I even read your book a second time. I’d give anything to make it to your retreat. One day I will!
    Thank you!

  • I got casual with a guy from work who also lives in another country, since the beginning he let me know he was seeing other girls, as we live in different countries with limited opportunities to see each other I didn’t mind. But due a work related situation I got the chance to spend a month with him and we practically lived together all that time, the result: I got crazy and deeply in love with the guy and he gave me the it’s complicated talk. How to get and keep the guy when it’s a casual long distance situation???

  • I don’t know what to say other than TOTALLY TRUE!! Don’t pretend you are just here for fun if what you want is a real relationship.
    Sometimes people don’t want a relationship and all they are looking for is the attention of someone that’s always constant but at the same time have the freedom of being single. Talking from experience because at some point of my life all I wanted was the attention and not the commitment.

  • Thank you. I am currently in a non relationship. Lol. Ok just sex. However he likes to talk all about himself. He only texts when he wants to hook up and rarely answers my texts. Never asks me about myself at all. No compliments from him ever. All this has left me feeling used and not important at all. This article really helped me to realize I need to walk away. My self respect is worth more then him and his good time.

  • I am in a pretty serious relationship (for 10 months now), but I am trying not to get too attached to him because I don’t think he loves me.

    He told me early in our relationship that he would never say “I love you” to me based on his past experiences. He implied that just because he didn’t say it didn’t mean he didn’t feel it, but I have been examining his actions ever since for signs that he loves me.

    He has no trouble with commitment. He has even talked about moving in with me to help me with bills, but even so, I don’t think he loves me. Last week when I was feeling very insecure about this, I brought up living together again and said, “I don’t want you to move in with me because you feel obligated. I only want you to do it if you want to live with me.” He said that he does not want to move in with me now, but maybe someday. I said, “So you see this relationship lasting a long time?” and he said, “I don’t see why not.” I said, “Because you don’t love me!” And he replied, “Is that going to be a problem?”

    We stopped the conversation at that point because, after all, he told me months ago that he would never tell me that he loved me, but I guess the answer to his question is that it is becoming a problem.

    We both really enjoy our relationship the way it is for now, but I can’t see it working long term unless his feelings towards me change. I may have screwed things up with him by having this conversation with him. Now he will never develop deeper feelings for me, right? He won’t invest in me emotionally if I stop investing in him emotionally because I didn’t feel that he was investing in me enough emotionally.

  • am getting out of a long term relationship and I am engaging in friends with benefits with someone and I want to know what are the rules of engagement. Sometimes I just want some attention but I don’t want to come off as annoying or needy. This person is perfect for what I am looking for because there is zero chance they would be someone I would actually want to be in a relationship with. I just want to know how to be friendly and get some attention and not break friends with benefits rules.

  • I just realised, that I am 3 years late. HAHAHAHA. Hi there! It is a pandemic era now, so my story is entirely about a virtual chatting, with no physical contact.

    So, I met this one adorable man from a dating app. Initially, I was just having fun in the app, using a fake name with a cartoon profile picture, till I bumped into him (the adorable man), who is only 3 years old older, with a real name and a real profile picture, and ended up chatting only with him in it. However, due to my temporary ‘playing phase’, I told him I want to delete that dating app of mine and surprisingly, we ended up chatting in another platform. And that (this) time, I used my real name, real profile picture. It was beautiful, I mean, the experience was like a good dream, where we chat as if we knew each other for years. We have same interests, well, almost in all things. We shared recipes with each other and sending photos of our cooked dishes to each other. It was, really beautiful. The interesting part is, we were not actually too far away from each other, about 300 miles(?), and actually might had bumped into each other in the past (before pandemic era).

    Even so, in our early conversation in the dating app, we made it clear that it would not be more than anything. Plus, I did mention to him that I won’t expect anything from him. So, I guess, it is fine, for both of us. We were just being casual, no exchanging numbers, and the feeling is nice.

    Anyway, I come to this article because I want to know how far am I being attached or am I being attached to that adorable man. The result is, I feel glad that I am just ‘almost’ attach to him. LOL. Overall, I love this casual relationship that I experienced in just 16 days. Will not hope for more than that or else, I am in a deep trouble.

    Thanks for reading this, whoever you are.
    And please, I know this is hard, but please love yourself first.
    I can relate how hard it is for you, because currently I am having ‘I hate myself’ phase.

    Sending virtual hugs to you who read this! Stay safe, stay have faith in yourself.

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