our everyday life

Turning a Hook Up into a Relationship

by Anthony Oster

While many people enter casual sexual hook ups with the expectation that they will gain a fairly regular sexual partner with little-to-no strings attached, the reality is that the visceral nature of sex itself often creates a bond between two people that one or both parties may wish to explore further. Transitioning a purely sexual relationship to a dating relationship is not an impossible task, but it does require that you and your partner both be on the same page.

Understanding the Status Quo

No two relationships are identical and the same can be said for hook ups. Before approaching your partner about the possibility of starting a dating relationship, you should first examine the nature of your hook ups. Do you and your partner go out on dates, or date-like activities, or do you only contact each other when seeking sex? Have you discussed the possibility of pursuing a relationship in the past? If your previous discussions have ruled out the idea of pursuing a dating relationship, you may have to sell your partner on the idea of dating versus being purely sexual with one another.

Defining What a Relationship Is

Prior to changing your relationship, you must first define what your current relationship is and how you would like it to change. Is your current relationship purely sexual, would you prefer to engage in dates and other social engagements with your partner, or would you want take comfort in forging a commitment while refraining from dating or engaging in sexual activity with others? If you and your partner already spend time with one another in addition to your sexual meetups, then you may only need to discuss the idea of formally dating. On the other hand, if your relationship is purely sexual, you may need to talk to your partner about including date-like liaisons into your relationship if you wish it to progress into something more than sex.

Approaching Your Partner

The most effective form of communication occurs when your message is clear and directed toward the recipient. With regards to advancing your relationship, you should be up front and direct with your sexual partner and let him know that you would like to change the nature of your relationship. This may require that you identify any confounding rules of your current relationship, including any previously agreed-upon ideals that you would not pursue a dating relationship. While speaking directly to your partner may leave you open for rejection, being up front and honest will provide you with the means to make an informed decision about how to proceed with him in the future.

Life After Hook Ups

Despite the popular assumption that sexual hook ups cannot evolve into meaningful relationships, a study conducted by Anthony Paik at the University of Ohio suggested that although those engaging in casual sex relationships tend to report having less relationship satisfaction, the screening process in selecting sexual partners can weed out undesirable traits that would make someone un-datable. Forming a meaningful relationship with your sexual partner requires that you both be willing to put forth the effort and energy into the relationship that you normally expect would in any other dating context. This includes mutual respect, shared interests and generally enjoying spending time with one another, both in and out of the bedroom.

Moving On After Rejection

There is always the possibility that your partner may not want to pursue a formal dating relationship with you. Whether he does not want to be tied down, is interested in dating someone else or is happy with the current status quo of your relationship, his failure to move forward with the relationship may also impact your current sexual relationship. If he decides not to pursue a relationship with you, you should ask yourself if it is worth your time and emotional well-being to remain sexually active with him, or if it is time for you to move on.

About the Author

Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images