7 Things To Avoid If You Want More Than A Hookup

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Dating can feel frustrating, especially when you want a serious relationship and the people you end up with just seem to want to have some fun. If you want to stop getting stuck in hookup situations, there are a few things you may be able to do to move closer toward commitment. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have your fun — nothing wrong with just enjoying casual, consensual sex — but if you're looking for something more long-term and keep finding yourself in short-term hookups, there are a few things experts suggest can help.

"There are a couple of reasons you need to act differently when looking to be in a relationship versus hooking up," Dr. Sue Mandel, psychologist and dating coach for women, tells Bustle. "First, our intentions are different with each, and we need to be clear about it so that the signals we’re giving match what we’re wanting. Secondly, the expectations are different, and we need to pay attention to, and honor, what we really need and want."

It's important to keep in mind that there are no set rules when it comes to dating — sometimes doing things your way can lead to a relationship, and sometimes someone who was just a one night-stand ends up being your partner. However, if you're feeling like you're only meeting partners who just want to hookup when you want something more, expert opinion suggests that there are certain habits that may be getting in the way of what you're looking for.

Keep Your Feelings Bottled Up
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If you’re hoping that the laid-back nature of your relationship will turn into a deeper commitment, don't keep that a secret from the person you're hooking up with. "The lines are very blurred these days about what 'dating' is, so it could mean 'hanging out' frequently, or it might be going on actual dates," says Mandel. "If you don’t see [them] wanting more from you, it’s time to speak up."

Keep Looking In The Same Places

"If you have been frustrated by being stuck in a hookup cycle, reconsider the places and the dating apps you frequent," psychotherapist and relationship coach Linda F. Williams, MSW tells Bustle. "Some places are, and will always be, hookup central."

For example, if the bar isn't working out for you, try venturing to meet someone in a place where you'll have something in common. Are you an aspiring yogi? Chat up the person whose crow pose is on point, and ask them for tips. This way you're more likely to meet someone with qualities you share.

Get Stuck With Tunnel Vision
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Don’t get tunnel vision, and instead have fun with what you're doing. "Don’t get so focused on your long-term relationship wants that you no longer enjoy the process," says Williams. "If you know what you want, know what your deal-breakers are." And don't compromise on those dealbreakers just because you are in want of commitment.

Keep Going For Hookups When It's Not Making You Happy
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If you're in the mood for a no-strings-attached evening, than go for it! But if all you ever do is meet up late-night, and you don't end up feeling satisfied, it's time to try different ways to meet up. "There are no rules about whether a hookup can become a relationship or not — it has certainly happened," says Mandel. "But when sexual intensity is the first focus, that typically becomes 'what you do' together at the expense of more relationship-building activities, like talking, hiking, or just going to the movies. The chemistry won’t go away, and the emotional connection will allow sex to be more meaningful."

Play Games
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"Trying to keep [them] on [their] toes so [they'll] think you’re in hot demand is always a bad idea," says Mandel. "[They] will feel the pretense and your lack of sincerity." It's all part of being ready for a relationship. "That means being confident enough to allow things to unfold without trying to control them, or playing destructive games," says Mandel.

Try Persuade Someone To Do It Your Way

"Don't try to convince or change anyone," Lisa Concepcion, founder of LoveQuest Coaching, tells Bustle. "When a man isn't ready, make him a friend, (no benefits) and move on." According to Concepcion, even if we have a vision for how we want that person to be, that doesn't mean we should try to make them be that way. The time focused on an unavailable person may cause you to miss out on attracting someone ready to commit fully.

Pretend You're OK With Being Casual

It's never a good idea to say you’re cool with being casual if you actually aren’t. "Nothing throws a [person] off more than pretending to be cool with a casual, no-strings situation, and then the rules change," life coach Sarah Curnoles tells Bustle. "This makes [someone] angry, and confused, and more likely to leave the situation because it got 'complicated.' But what really happened was you pretended you were okay with one situation in hopes that you could change it to another.

At the end of the day, the path to finding a serious relationship is different for everyone. While having hookups along the way is totally fine, if you're feeling frustrated or dissatisfied by these encounters, it may be worth it to try something new.