One-night stands can be fun and totally fulfilling—the problem is when you go back for seconds, thirds, or even more. Here’s why your hookups should be strictly one-time affairs.
YOU’VE WELCOMED YOURSELF TO DATING LIMBO. So you go home with a guy you’ve just met. You hang out, you have sex, and he calls you the next night. You hang out and have sex again. He calls you again three days later. This goes on for weeks and you begin to wonder, “What is happening?” It’s more than just sex, but it’s also not quite a relationship either. If this is the case and there are no terms are on the table, you’re having a several-night stand. Awkward!
THERE’S A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. When you’re in a several-night-stand situation, it can definitely feel like a relationship. You’re seeing a guy, often regularly, and you’re getting your needs met and vice versa. It’s a mutual affair. But don’t get too comfortable with the Netflix and chill routine. You’re not boyfriend/girlfriend, so don’t think you can rely on him every Saturday night.
SAFETY CAN FALL BY THE WAYSIDE. Because several-night stands seem like the real thing, they can lull you into believing that you and your dude have eyes for only each other and can therefore also trick you into believing that what you two “share” may be exclusive. This happened to me once, and you know what stupid mistake I made? I stopped using condoms. DON’T DO THIS. You have no idea who he is sleeping with and it may not be just you.
MISCOMMUNICATION IS IMMINENT. It’s unclear who wants what, who needs what, and who thinks what. In my previous several-night-stand situation, I made the assumption that we were exclusive. It surely felt like it—we were sleeping together weekly—but towards the end, it became clear I was wrong. Never assume! If you do, you could get an STD.
THEY’RE NOT BUILT TO LAST. It’s named after the one-night stand for a reason. Like one-night stands, several-night stands are meant to end. If they weren’t, they would be called “relationships,” and we already discovered that ain’t what’s happening. My several-night stand spanned over three months. How did it end? There was no breakup—he simply disappeared. Poof. Gone. Did he owe me an explanation? He didn’t think so because we were never really dating.
YOU RISK GETTING ATTACHED. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: the effects of oxytocin are real. He could be the worst guy on the planet, but after those love hormones are released, I’ll still want to cuddle with him. This feigns a sense of intimacy that can feel real but is anything but. Because our rendezvous felt like more than just sex, I let myself bond with my several-night stand on a very personal level. There are secrets that come out in the darkness of night when the clothes are off and skin is touching skin, and relationships can start to form. I became comfortable and fully vulnerable with the human laying beside me. I started to want my guy outside of the bedroom too—for support, for fun, for life. Alas, he was never there in the first place.
THEY’RE USUALLY ONE-SIDED. Can’t lie, my several-night stand was definitely a lopsided mess. I cared way more than he did and it was pretty obvious. Did I fall in love with him? Not quite, but close. Toward the end, I did most of the initiating. He humored me sometimes with dinner and drinks, but it was really all about the sex to him. Sure, it was about the sex for me too, but over the weeks I slowly evolved into a love-sick maniac. I wanted more than he wanted to give.
THEY CAN BECOME EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTING. What’s sometimes worse than liking someone more than they like you? Pretending you don’t like them at all. When my guy got privy to my feelings, he started withdrawing and I freaked out. I ended up backpedaling and tried acting cool. I could not. I listened to Fiona Apple and cried. To his face, I could make believe that I was an impersonal sex object, but behind closed doors, I was an emotional wreck.
SOMEONE WILL GET HURT. One of you will move on before the other may be ready. I was the one-sider in my one-sided situation and I was the one to get hurt. Because there are no labels and no rules to a several-night stand, there is no girlfriend/boyfriend tag and therefore no girlfriend/boyfriend breakup etiquette. Most of my one-night stands have stopped there–one night. No discussion, no explanation. It just ends. Why should you expect any different with a several-night one? You can’t.
THEY CREATE DIFFICULT TRANSITIONS INTO REAL DATING. What is dating after a several-night stand? How can you even tell the difference between a relationship and “just sleeping together” anymore? I have a friend who can’t seem to get out of this situation. Nearly every guy she’s been with has turned into a several-night stand and she’s slowly lost sight of what “dating” actually is. Heck, I don’t know what dating is either: I’ve gotten lost in the pattern too. What does a real relationship look like? I know it has more to do with conversation than sex but I’m still unsure how to make that happen.
THEY’RE A WASTE OF TIME. Ultimately, most several-night stands prove to be a complete waste of time. I know I wasted many months on mine. If you’ve decided in the beginning that you weren’t getting into a relationship, you’re probably not going to change his mind about it, even if you change yours. (What is it with guys and commitment?) If the two of you have never talked about having a relationship, don’t plan on your several-night stand blossoming into one. For many of us, that is never gonna happen.