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Well, it finally happened—after three months of a hot queer summer, chilly queer fall has arrived and cooled things down. Though beach weather, outdoor festivals, and a steady stream of turn-ups are at an end, some of the best parts of our summer fun remain: the relationships formed while living our best black lives. For a lot of us, these relationships are casual, a vibey combination of friendship and the sexiest, coolest parts of a romantic connection (commitment not included). With cuffing season in full swing, the slowdown of the party scene, colder nights, and less motivation to seek out new prospects make turning a no-strings-attached connection into a serious one look extra good. It makes sense, after all—if you're getting great sex, warm cuddles, sweet kisses, and pleasant company from a trustworthy, reliable person, why not lock it down? Well, for some, it's not the right time for a serious relationship. For others, they love the friends-with-benefits perks but don't see long-term potential in their partners. Even if you just simply don't want to without a specific reason, your desires are valid. The complex part here is turning those desires into actions, and keeping the relationship confusion-free. So how do you do it? How do you keep your light, low-maintenance relationship what it is, with the pressures of cuffing season looming?
Make your intentions known: Let ‘em know you want to remain casual clearly and directly, so that there’s no confusion about what you are doing together. If you don’t, that gray area can lead to uncertainty and room to question whether things should be more serious than you want.
Keep certain "romantic" behaviors off limits: Set boundaries on things that might cross into more serious territory. If that means not going on dates, not spending the night, keeping your relationship off social media, no cuddling after sex, or anything you feel is too intimate, that's ok. Draw whatever lines you need to, and keep those lines straight so there’s no ambiguity about how you feel.
Don't let the pressure get to you: I get it—the thanksgiving turkey is smelling good, ‘This Christmas’ is on BET, and couples around you are boo’d up like Ella Mai left and right. But if you truly don’t want to be tied down, resist the urge to nest! This time of year is worthwhile even as a satisfied single, so enjoy those warm and fuzzy feelings without waking up married with a U-HAUL outside.
I know it’s tempting to turn a cuddle into a couple, and with temperatures soon dropping into polar bear territory, folks are more likely to attach to that warm embrace and comfort that'll heat them into spring. But trust me, just because the leaves fall doesn't mean you have to! Casual relationships are perfectly healthy and worthwhile year-round, as long as the communication is open and everyone involved wants the same thing. Stay true to what you want and know that the time of year doesn’t determine what kind of relationships you are allowed to have.
Written By: Eden Carswell (@locs_on_the_rocks, IG)