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What exactly is a casual relationship? Common questions answered.

What exactly is a casual relationship? Common questions answered.




Back in February I shared my experience on getting comfortable with long-term singlehood.

But I told a little white lie. Sort of. I mentioned that I hadn't been in an official relationship in seven years. Which is completely true. What I didn't mention is that I have been in what you would consider (or what I like to call) two casual relationships, both roughly lasting 18 months. Not only that...but I've been in a new casual relationship since March.

For the most part, when I have a casual relationship it tends not to be public knowledge. But when someone has found out I get a barrage of questions (and confused looks). Questions that I am going to answer today. Maybe you'll decide that a casual relationship is something you would like to explore. Or maybe you'll decide it sounds like the worse thing ever for you personally, but you'll go forward with a more open mind towards people who have chosen this style of dating.

So what exactly is a casual relationship? 

In a nutshell, it's somewhere between friends with benefits and a serious committed relationship.

Where exactly the line between casual relationship and serious relationship lies is up to the people involved. For me personally, I still go on cute dates, have sex, get to know the person really well, maybe even buy them a birthday present. What I don't do is introduce them to my parents, or take them to the office party, have much evidence of it on social media or - this is the important bit - plan a real future them.

Have a think, chat it out with the person you're seeing and decide what a casual relationship should look like for you.

Aren't you afraid that you'll miss out on someone real if you're messing around with someone casual for too long? 

First off, it's 2018 and we shouldn't be assuming that everyone's end game is marriage.

Secondly, this is the reason why I have limited record of my casual relationships on social media - so prospective partners don't mistake me as spoken for.

Thirdly, I identify as polyamorous and wouldn't consider a serious relationship unless the conversation of ethical non-monogamy was on the table (but more on that later).

Do you end a casual relationship after a certain amount of time or just let it run on? 

I personally let it run on for as long as both parties are happy for it to. Other people might choose to put a time limit on it from day one. It's everyone's own choice.

Aren't you just delaying an inevitable break-up? 

Since I identify as poly and I'm not overly fussed about finding myself a life partner, my current casual relationship might carry on for the rest of my life. Most people are surprised to hear that my previous two relationships lasted 18 months - but both my exes were not fussed about finding a serious relationship (though they didn't identify as poly).

But if you are someone who ultimately wants a serious monogamous relationship, you will need to accept that you'll be delaying an inevitable break-up. But if you're respectful and honest with your partner - and no one is in love - the break-up should be swift.

Do you break-up with a casual partner the same way a serious partner?

100%. My second casual relationship even bought me a break-up pizza.

Would you date or have sex with other people? 

While it is up to the individuals involved it's generally my advice that expecting commitment and monogamy from someone you're not serious with is possessive.

In both my previous casual relationships, I didn't actually sleep with anyone else but was still swiping through Tinder and went on one or two dates (that didn't lead anywhere). Both these previous relationships were slightly unhealthy in the sense that I felt a little bad about dating other people - and I recognise now that I should have had a serious conversation with them and potentially ended it if we weren't on the same page. Thankfully, in my current relationship we communicate about the other people we're seeing and get excited for each other.

Remember: if you are sleeping with multiple people it's really important to practise safe sex.

What would you do if you met someone serious?

As I mentioned earlier, I would never enter a relationship that would only ever be exclusively two people. My current casual partner feels the same way and we have already had the conversation where we've agreed that (assuming circumstances don't change) that if either of us did meet a life partner, we would continue to date and would become secondary partners.

Are you sure that you're not just a commitment-phobe? 

I had/have my reasons for not being official with any of my casual partners, and those reasons still stand. Being with them in a serious capacity didn't feel right and I don't regret letting them "get away".

Do you want a serious relationship or do you prefer casual relationships?

Sometimes I respond to this question with "none of your business" BUT if you're really interested...

...I'm not opposed to having a life partner however it's not something I actively look for. My first casual relationship was actually the least healthy relationship I've ever been in - I was aggressively set up with the person, they weren't honest for three months about only wanting something light, and I learnt more about what I didn't want more than what I did want. My second casual relationship had a few issues, but not nearly as many as the first and I was happy during the 18 months I was with them. My current casual relationship is the healthiest relationship I've been in, with a mature adult who wants the same thing as me and knows how to communicate their needs (and listen to mine).

As long as you listen to your gut, communicate with your partner, and don't string anyone along a casual relationship can be just as a fulfilling as a serious one.

If you're not hurting anyone, then you're not doing anything wrong.

P.S. I'm happy to answer any (respectful) questions! 
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morag | mo adore
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Vegan menu at Vapiano, Glasgow

Vegan menu at Vapiano, Glasgow



If there's a cuisine that boasts plenty of accidentally vegan food, it's Italian. While there's pepperoni pizza and meaty lasagnes, there's also arrabiata, pizza marinara, bruschetta and marinated olives (to name a few). So when I heard that Vapiano had added some vegan options to their menu I was slightly cynical about how exciting it would be.

If you're unfamiliar with Vapiano, it works a little differently from other restaurants. When I walked in I was greeted by a perky staff member in a pseudo-reception area who gave me my card and explained the self-service style of the place. Essentially you find a table, decide what you want from the menu and head up to the kitchen and they'll freshly prepare the dish right in front of you. Waiters came round the tables and took drinks orders. As you go, you swipe your card on a machine, which tallies everything up and you pay on the way out. It does make splitting the bill between friends a lot easier though I almost dropped my card a few times.



I did have a nosy at the menu before I visited, and it was your usual Italian-chain fare. The vegan options on the menu were:

  • Aglio e Olio
  • Arrabbiata 
  • Funghi Bolognese
  • Insalata Mista Piccola
  • Bruschetta
  • Lemon or Raspberry Sorbet 

I opted for the Funghi Bolognese, as it was the only thing that was a little different. It was also not until after I ordered that I noticed a vegan lasagne advertised in the restaurant itself (but not on the actual menu). I would have totally opted for this, as vegan lasagne is not something that is regularly available. Also...no vegan pizza despite the big pizza menu.



While you can probably sense my slight lack of disappoint at the creativity of the dishes, I was not let down by the quality. The Funghi Bolognese was flavoursome and the pasta was al dente. The chefs also have fresh herbs growing in the kitchen (there was also herb plants on the tables, but I can imagine children pouring Fanta in the soil). And while the sorbet I had for dessert was pre-packaged, it was creamy (instead of icy, which far too many sorbets are).

The drinks menu was impressive, though. There was a good selection of cocktails on the cheap, as well as a two page long wine list. If anything, I'd go back for the drinks alone.

While Vapiano certainly hadn't pushed out the boat in terms of imagination, it's not a bad effort. Would I recommend that the vegans of Glasgow rush out to try the menu? Not by any means, but it's great that another option exists of vegans trying to dine with non-vegan pals.

Have you been to Vapiano yet? What did you think of the vegan menu? 
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morag | mo adore
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Dear Vegan Nice Guys, I'll date a meat eater if I damn well please

Dear Vegan Nice Guys, I'll date a meat eater if I damn well please




We all probably know about the Nice Guy.

He's the sort of guy who is normally a pleasant person. Until a girl he fancies goes home with a dominant alpha male and he starts ranting about "girls only dating jerks" and "nice guys finish last" and "these girls ignore guys like me and then cry when the jerks they do date cheat on them". 

You know the type.

But if you're actively involved in the vegetarian/vegan community you'll have probably met this archetypes half-brother: the vegan nice guy.

The Vegan Nice Guy is the guy who believes that because he's woke on the realities of the meat industry, that vegan woman should fall at his feet. When they don't - or, god forbid, decide to date a meat eater because of female sexual agency - the hissy fit ensues.

This is where you imagine me falling off my chair from severe eye roll.

Here's just an example if what I've seen in the past:

Post after post and meme after meme saying "you're not a true vegan if you date a meat-eater". 

There was one disheartening story from a vegan male about a Tinder date with a meat-eater, where the girl mocked him. He was respectful about her but in the comments came "dude, the ratio of female to male vegans is high, you could just have your pick of vegan girls". 


There was once (many moons ago) a meme shared that said something along the lines of "Girls say there's no vegan men, but here we are". 

Plus, my personal favourite: "a vegan dating a meat-eater is like a feminist dating a misogynist". 

Oh, and this Reddit.

This is where you imagine me screaming into the void.

So Vegan Nice Guys (and people of all genders who support them) let's break it down!

Your dating priorities might not be the same as everyone elses

I have a small checklist of requirements that categorically need to be checked off before I enter a relationship. It's the big things: also doesn't want children/doesn't want any more if they are already a parent, also open to the idea of non-monogamy, stable job (or legitimate reason not to), politically/socially progressive and has their shit together. Then I have my strong preferences: doesn't smoke, geek, is also a city person, and won't roll-eye at my boyband obsession.

As far as my preferences go, vegan is a preference but not a strong one. Since going vegetarian I have only dated meat-eaters and very rarely has it been an issue. While most of my preferences listed above are built around things that did become issues in past relationships.

But that's the thing about dating preferences - they are personal. I don't force my preferences on other people. So I use as hell don't like it when others push their preferences on me.

Even if vegan is a preference, it won't be there only preference

If a vegan categorically won't date someone who eats meat that is their choice. However, it won't be the only thing they look for in a partner. So cut out the crap that vegan men should automatically get vegan girls for no other reason.

We all have gaps in our ethics

I do try and live as ethical a lifestyle as I can, but I have blind spots. I still buy my work clothes from Primark, I still prefer paper books to e-books, and I'm guilty of only focusing on social justice issues that effect me.

It's important to me that a serious romantic partner (more on that definition later!) tries to make the world a better place. But I'm not going to get uppity if their priorities are different to mine and if they have blind spots - as I'd want the same respect in return.

Not everyone is vegan for the same reasons

I went vegan for the animals - with the reduction of greenhouse gases being an added benefit. But my reasons weren't everyone's reasons - and these vegan women might be vegan for a reason that differs from yours.

There's a difference between a life partner and someone I might have a fling with

The non-negotiables and preferences I mentioned earlier are only applicable for serious relationships. If I'm just looking for a fun fling, the only real requirement is chemistry. I've had flings in the past where I don't think me being vegan even came up...

Not all women are into men

Just a reminder, y'all.
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Men, we need to talk about feminine beauty regimes (because most of you need an education)

Men, we need to talk about feminine beauty regimes (because most of you need an education)



One of the earliest discrepancies being men and women I noticed was beauty standards.

I touched upon this a little bit in my post about pop culture and the negative lessons about love that it taught me. In films we see nerds with braces and acne chasing after the picture-perfect head cheerleader. Then bitching that these beautiful chicks only fancy good-looking jocks. Can't imagine why an athletic good-looking female would prefer an athletic good-looking guy...

This movie trope plays into real life too. At school and in my adult life I've witnessed men who don't take much interest in their appearance expect any woman they date to look like a supermodel.

But that's not where it stops. We also have to put up with men complaining when women wear too much make-up. Moaning that make-up "lies", and raise their voice in anger when they realise how different a woman can look without it (because they were somehow led to believe that women are born with red glossy lips?).

Women are told to find a balance between having everything concealed but not to cake it on. That make-up is a necessity but don't take more than 10 minutes applying it. They want a natural beauty, while not realise how rare natural beauties are.

I know why these perceptions persist. The women in the media are (almost) always groomed to perfection, while men aren't always. We see a wider variety of men in the public eye: for every David Beckham, we also have a goofy comedian like James Cordon. This creates a disorientation as to how women in real life look and what constitutes as natural. The men I'm writing about might genuinely not have a clue just how much effort Hollywood starlets put into their appearance.

So men - especially those who find themselves attracted to feminine women* - let's get an education. Because some of you certainly need it.

1. You do not get to simultaneously be attracted to feminine women while mocking their beauty cabinet
A few years ago I was dating someone who I had already known me for a few years. He knew I liked lipstick, owned a beauty blog and took longer to get ready than him. But when he seen my bedroom for the first time and witnessed the floor-to-ceiling beauty cupboard? He scoffed at it and whenever I couldn't afford something snapped at me "well if you didn't spend so much money on beauty products".

I was around 23 at this point and not as well-versed in feminism as I am now. If that was to happen to me today, I'd probably tell him that if he wants to continue enjoying my soft skin that he compliments so damn often, he better not roll his eyes and my body scrub and moisturiser collection.

2. Beauty products cost a lot
A man who likes feminine women but has never lived with one, probably doesn't know how much all these products cost. A few years ago I wrote a "how much does my face cost?" post, and it came to £92.90 (you can read the post here).

Just as you shouldn't scoff at the amount of products a feminine woman owns, you shouldn't scoff at the number at the checkout till. Especially if you are attracted to women who take care of their appearance.

3. And yes, it takes a lot of time 
I get up about an hour and a half before work, which isn't too strange - but I don't wear much make-up to work.

If I am going on a night out though, I start getting ready with three hours to spare. Three hours? Well between the shower, hair removal, eyebrow taming, blow-drying, hair straightening, make-up applying, nail painting and dressing - yeah three hours adds up.

That's not to mention taking time out to dye my hair once a month.

4. Even the natural look takes a lot of work
I'm not a massive make-up wearer, but I love skin and hair care. This throws guys off. They see my barely-there face and assume they've met their unicorn: a girl who doesn't cover her face in slap because she has naturally clear skin and eyebrows that grow in a perfect arch.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

My hair colour isn't natural. I rotate between four different shampoos to get the best results. I use hair mouse daily. I use a face mask weekly. I use hair oil over night (when I know I'll be washing my hair in the morning). I get my hair trimmed on the regular. I wax my eyebrows. I shave my underarms, legs and forearms. I use an exfoliate and moisturiser on a daily basis. I also cleanse, tone and moisturise on a twice daily basis. I have a separate moisturiser for my face, hands, feet and general body. I use eye cream. And night treatment.

My natural look still involves a lot of product and time.

5. YouTube tutorials are educational
I love YouTube tutorials. Long gone are the days trying to recreate a look from a magazine without really understanding what the writer means ("the brush goes where?"). With video tutorials I can literally sit and watch another girl do her make-up to learn exactly how she got her catflick so perfect.

If you're a dude who's reading this and thinking "I'd like to learn more about what goes into a female beauty regime" then YouTube tutorials can help you too. Like a certain make-up style on a girl? You can find out how long - and how much product - it took.

6. Don't expect even the highest maintenance woman to be well-groomed at all times
I like taking care of my appearance, but I've also got a lot more going on in my life. So sometimes it slides. Sometimes I won't shave my legs. Sometimes my nails are chipped. Sometimes I leave my hair for an extra day.

If you're going to pursue a relationship with a well-groomed women, you can't expect her to look perfect all the goddam time. I've dated men (usually those who have never had a serious girlfriend) who have made comments about body hair when it has grown back in. Did you not realise women grew hair on their legs? Did you think I was naturally smooth? Or did you think I never give my skin a break from a razor?

If you can't handle me at my lazy unshaven Sunday worst, you don't deserve me at my waxed and preened Friday night best (or something like that...).

7. Even a thorough male grooming regime doesn't come close
I have dated guys right across the spectrum of male beauty regimes. From teenage boyfriends who had questionable hygiene and bad facial hair, to a guy that used an exfoliate with gold in it. I've pretty much seen the whole thing.

But even a man who puts in a lot of time and effort to his beauty regime still puts in less effort than a feminine woman. Nail polish, blow drying long hair, full body hair removal, and make-up are all elements of a female beauty regime that a man typically won't engage in.

Honestly speaking, well-groomed men do seem to understand this and they deserve credit. A well-groomed man has never mocked my beauty cabinet or complained when I did leave my legs a day longer than I'd like. Or have a I just been lucky?

8. Don't fancy women who wear make-up? STFU 
On the other side of the coin you have men who proudly claim that they don't fancy women who wear make-up - and even actively discourage women from using it.

I know that some of these men mean well. They want to free women of oppressive beauty standards (and pat themselves on the back like the male saviour that they are). We don't make our choices within a vacuum and feminine women - myself included - do need to unpack why we spend so much effort and money to look 'better'.

But when you do this you are still effectively policing a woman's body. You're telling women that they should dress in a way that please you personally. We all have a type, yes, but only jackasses push they're type on others.

9. Ask yourself why you like feminine girls
If you're a guy who puts little effort into his own appearance and is exclusively attracted to well-groomed women you should probably unpack why that is. Do you know extremely little about female beauty regimes? Can you not tell the difference between a women who has a basic beauty regime and a women who spends £100 a week? Have you never lived with a woman who owns more than two hair products? Or do you (consciously or subconsciously) still think that women should put more effort into their appearance than men?

I know well-groomed women who are attracted to the manly scruffy look, so by all means I'm not saying you should change your type. But for each of these women, I've known five scruffy men who've thrown a bitch fit when a feminine woman doesn't fancy them. So just go have a word with yourself.

10. Finally, don't assume women wear make-up for male attention
Just because a woman is dressed to the nines and perfectly coiffed doesn't mean that she is looking for male attention. Make-up is also about self-expression. How someone dresses and styles themselves gives off non-verbal queues to the world about what kind of person they are. A perfectly pressed suit and fresh make-up implies powerful business woman. A sundress implies girly. Dark lipstick and teal hair implies alternative.

Or maybe they like how red lipstick makes them feel. Or they just like having soft skin. She might already be a monogamous relationship. Or maybe it's women they want to attract.

Women aren't as obsessed with bagging a guy as you would be led to believe.



In the grand scheme of equality and feminist issues, this issue might seem trivial. But I believe that micro-aggressions add up. And this kind of thinking contributes to bad body image when men don't fucking understand that women don't look perfectly coiffed naturally. As a teenager it hurt me too, when I didn't understand why I didn't look like the women in the media as I was yet to understand that these women have make-up artists, hairdressers and fitness instructors on hand.

And men, I'm not even trying to mock you with this. Admittedly the men who need to read this probably aren't going to - but a (feminine) girl can try, can't she?

Feminine make-up wearers - what do you which straight dudes understood about make-up? 
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morag | mo adore
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