Let’s face it: no strings attached relationships are becoming common these days. Some people consider them supplements to a serious relationship. And other folks regard these as alternatives to any serious affair. Either way, you may have your reasons to want to engage in such a casual relationship.
The question is, do you really know what ‘no strings attached’ means? Some people unknowingly mistake this idiom for terms like ‘friends with benefits.’ No one is perfect, though, us too. Nevertheless, rest assured you’re at the right place. And in no time, you should discover the real meaning of this common phrase. Let’s jump right in.
- 1 What do they mean by no strings attached?
- 2 What’s the difference between friends with benefits and no strings attached?
- 3 Where does no strings attached come from?
- 4 Know the ins and outs before playing the game
- 4.1 1. Don’t sleep over
- 4.2 2. Know your limits
- 4.3 3. Don’t take friends for a partner
- 4.4 4. Maintain low expectations
- 4.5 5. Play it cool on social media
- 4.6 6. Don’t always say “yes”
- 4.7 7. Know when to call it quits
- 4.8 8. Your secrets are your secrets
- 4.9 9. A backup plan is a must
- 4.10 10. Keep friends and family away
- 4.11 11. Do you have some guidelines?
- 4.12 12. Protection comes first
- 4.13 13. How prepared are you?
- 5 The ugly side of a no strings attached relationship
- 5.1 1. Your social life could be at risk
- 5.2 2. No emotional attachment
- 5.3 3. You don’t own your partner
- 5.4 4. Pregnancy isn’t ruled out
- 5.5 5. Your self-esteem could be compromised
- 5.6 6. It can end without warning signals
- 5.7 7. Sexually transmitted diseases aren’t ruled out
- 5.8 8. You might lose opportunities in serious relationships
- 5.9 9. It’s not uncommon to lose respect for your partner
- 5.10 10. Your partner won’t be available always
- 6 Now the ball is in your courts
What do they mean by no strings attached?
Now, it’s time for business. ‘No strings attached’ simply means non-committal. If you’re in such an open relationship, you’re not obligated to your partner in any way. In other words, while your partner helps satisfy your sexual needs, they aren’t emotionally attached to you.
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Don’t expect, therefore, to be treated like a king or queen here. If you’re the lady, for instance, forget about any financial support. If you’re the guy, don’t fret if your partner isn’t there for you always – because they aren’t supposed to. You’re only connected via sexual favours and nothing more. You might have seen this pattern in the famous No Strings Attached movie – just saying.
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What’s the difference between friends with benefits and no strings attached?
Most people tend to confuse between the terms ‘friends with benefits’ and ‘no strings attached.’ So yes, you’re not alone. It’s true the two phrases involve some sort of non-commitment by either partner, but they don’t mean the same thing.
‘Friends with benefits,’ for instance, is used to refer to two or more friends who can satisfy each other sexually. Emotional attachment need not be present. ‘No strings attached, on the other hand, entails that some form of relationship, often casual, be formed. The partners are meant to fulfil each other’s sexual desires without emotional connection. The parties involved don’t have to be necessarily friends.
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Where does no strings attached come from?
Various terms have their origins, and ‘no strings attached’ is no exception. Well, the idiom dates back to the 18th century. Then, defective fabrics used to be identified with strings. Cords were simply attached to such cloths to confirm those were flawed – and probably needed a good look at. On the contrary, perfect fabrics, like you might have already guessed, had no ropes attached to them.
In a nut shell, a flawed cloth was marked by some strings attached to it. An impeccable fabric was denoted by no such cords tied to it. Now you know!
Know the ins and outs before playing the game
Typical of open relationships, a no strings attached relationship has rules to abide by. In order to play the game right, you need to check the right boxes. You don’t want to hook up blindly, then have yourself to blame ultimately, after probably getting your feelings hurt or something pretty similar. Here’s how to avoid all the pain.
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1. Don’t sleep over
As tempting as it might be, don’t be dumb to spend the night together. Don’t forget you’re trying to resist anything that could trigger those feelings. Sleepovers might be a breeding ground for emotional attachment, which, most likely, won’t be reciprocated by your partner. And God knows how painful that can be, just like the lyrics in the No Strings Attached song describe it. You don’t want to fall prey to it.
2. Know your limits
Let’s get real: you really aren’t dating this person but using them for sexual gains, right? It’s only fair that you stop being meddlesome. Don’t check your partner’s phone (probably for secret ‘lovers’) or demand to know who they were holding hands with. Whomever they decide to sleep or hang out with, your partner isn’t answerable to you. Not at all. Do yourself a favour and stop prying into their private affairs.
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3. Don’t take friends for a partner
As they say, you don’t vomit where you eat. Therefore, you don’t want a friend for casual sex. A friend is someone who gives a helping hand when you’ve hit rock bottom. They offer a shoulder to lean on when everyone else couldn’t. And the last thing you want to do is drag your pal into a mess. Of course, this type of relationship often results in some sort of dilemma, something you should endeavour to exclude your buddies from. Learn from the no strings attached lyrics – if you haven’t already.
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4. Maintain low expectations
Keeping your hopes high in this type of game is equally dangerous. Because you aren’t connected emotionally, chances are high your “lover” won’t be calling you daily. They might not receive your calls or respond to text messages, even. And that’s totally fine because neither party is each other’s property. Yes, this is a rule. Don’t expect any special treatments here.
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Don’t overlook the power of social media. Depending on how you use it, it could make or break you. With that said, be cautious of what you post on Twitter and Facebook. Avoid sharing intimate photos on Pinterest, too. A single mistake could land you in trouble. Of course, we all know how infamous posts can spread as fast as fire on social media, probably ruining your reputation in the process. Do your best to not get people talking.
6. Don’t always say “yes”
An open relationship could make for a no strings attached synonym. Yes, this a non-committal relationship. You’re not supposed to be available always – you aren’t obligated to. After all, you’re not sure what your partner is doing when you’re away. He’s probably “cheating on you” with someone else, or a ton of other people. And there’s nothing wrong with that; no strings are tied between the two of you. So have some “self-pride” and learn to say no when he acts like he couldn’t do without you. Because he could.
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7. Know when to call it quits
Be on the lookout for the red flags. You know what I mean? Those emotional attachments that could jeopardize the whole enchilada. Simply put, if you start developing feelings for your partner in this type of relationship, just pack your bags and leave. Hanging around calls for more trouble as your partner is unlikely to return the favour (develop feelings for you). Which is enough to send you into depression. Walking out is usually the best option if you want your sanity intact.
8. Your secrets are your secrets
More often than not, you might be tempted to open up to your partner. Don’t dare give in to such an urge, irrespective of how persistent it seems to be. The last thing you want is for your partner to know the weight of your bank account. They should have no clue of your assets, either, or even the liabilities. Your relationship is a no-connected one, and your partner could easily become a pest if they realize you’re loaded. On the other hand, they are likely to end the association prematurely should they realize you’ve got immeasurable liabilities. So whether you’re loaded or not, do yourself a favour and keep it to yourself.
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9. A backup plan is a must
It doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan. Of course, like most connections, a no strings attached relationship is not permanent. Your bed buddy could leave you when you’re least expecting it, probably to settle down with their significant other. Even if they are married already, your partner could easily dump you for someone else out there. Which is why it’s crucial that you should have a backup plan. If you can, date a few other people while you’re still in the casual hook-up. That way, you should have something to fall back to when things go south.
10. Keep friends and family away
Another important rule is to not mingle with your partner’s friends and family. Oh, come on! We all know the entire “relationship” thing is going nowhere. And you want to spare yourself the embarrassment that is often inevitable. Yes, the humiliation from friends and family when they get wind you’re “dating.” Keep your hook-up reserved as much as possible, just so you can avoid some of the frustrations that could ensue sooner or later.
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11. Do you have some guidelines?
Set clear guidelines as per what you want done (and not done) in your relationship. If, for instance, you agree you’ll be meeting once a week, or twice a month, let it be clear. Also, be transparent about the place of your meetings. Decide on a specific location that’s comfy to both of you. This is the time to stipulate the do’s and don’ts, too – such as no phone calls at night, no holding of hands in public, etc. Failure to establish these conditions could compromise your relationship one way or another.
12. Protection comes first
The last thing you want is to not use protection in this relationship. Like in an open associations, your partner is likely to fool around with someone else in your absence. And yes, it could be more than one person your partner gets involved with when you’re away. Needless to say, in order to stay safe, ensure you’re using protection whenever.
13. How prepared are you?
This is one of the most overlooked rules. Before you engage yourself in a no strings attached relationship, you need to be emotionally ready? You don’t want to get into it just because you broke up with your girlfriend/boyfriend. Or, because you’re currently nursing a recent divorce. If these reasons describe your previous relationship, the worst thing to do is jump into a non-committal relationship. If you do, it could exacerbate things. You’re unlikely to receive the kind of affection you experienced in your previous relationship here. God knows how this could affect your mental well-being, considering you’re currently hurting – from the previous relationship.
The ugly side of a no strings attached relationship
While you might engage in a casual relationship for the obvious reasons, there’s a price tag attached to it. It’s true you’ll avoid all the commitments that are present in a serious relationship – and can even date other people freely, considering you’re unanswerable to your partner, but you certainly have got a price to pay. Let’s dig in.
It’s not uncommon for casual daters to have their social life affected. Obviously, few people would want to associate themselves with friends who steal other people’s husbands or wives, or married folks who cheat on their wives in the name of a no strings attached extramarital relationship. As a result, the culprits often have a small circle of friends. Which isn’t something good, depending on how you look at it.
2. No emotional attachment
A no strings attached relationship is just what it is: a non-committal affair. There are no emotional ties. In other words, you should not develop feelings for your partner by any means. There’s a rule stating you should, in fact, call it quits when you start falling for your partner. That’s because your “lover” is unlikely to reciprocate. Yes, there’s a reason it’s called a no-feelings association: you should either leave your emotions behind or look elsewhere. Otherwise, this is not the game for you.
3. You don’t own your partner
Because you have no control over whom your partner sees or hangs out with, you can get jealous of them. Especially because you really can’t confront them. Jealousy, when not handled properly, might turn into bitterness. This then puts your emotional health at risk, sometimes getting you devastated. That’s right; it’s often difficult to accept that your “lover” isn’t your property and that you have little control over them.
4. Pregnancy isn’t ruled out
Your partner could get you pregnant – or you could get them pregnant. Just because you are in a no strings attached relation doesn’t mean you can’t conceive. It doesn’t matter if you’re using protection or not. But an accident is an accident; it could occur whenever. And this might lead to all sorts of things: unprepared parenthood, unwanted kids, abortions, etc.
5. Your self-esteem could be compromised
Very few people engage in this type of relationship without feeling guilty. More often than not, the parties involved do develop low self-esteem. Of course, what they are accustomed to calling their “partner” isn’t rightfully theirs. They wouldn’t want to be seen in public with them. They would think twice before mentioning them on social media. They would do anything to make them a secret to friends and family. Needless to say, no strings attached players usually aren’t at peace with their so-called “lover(s),” no wonder the low self-esteem that tends to ensue sooner or later.
6. It can end without warning signals
A non-committal relationship isn’t a serious relationship. It can end without any warning signals. But your partner could settle down with someone (they truly love and care for) any time, leaving you in unfathomable pain. They could dump you for another non-committal connection(s), either. Or, they could simply decide to stay single. The question is, are you prepared for it?
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7. Sexually transmitted diseases aren’t ruled out
While you might not want to hear this, there are high chances you could contract a sexually transmitted disease. Yes, you could be using protection. But how sure are you it’s 100% effective? Mishaps do happen – that rubber could well burst! In other words, you are vulnerable, especially because your partner is free to date whomever they choose.
8. You might lose opportunities in serious relationships
Truth be told. Most casual daters get so accustomed to the thing that they forget all about serious dating. Some of them are pretty comfortable that they consider serious relationships a vocabulary. A good number of them have no business when it comes to serious dating, hence, missing out on potential serious-relationship opportunities.
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9. It’s not uncommon to lose respect for your partner
The parties in a no strings attached relationship tend to lose respect for each other. The reasons are obvious: they are doing something “wrong.” Something they’re unwilling to share with the public. And the thought that they are willing to even participate in “something like this” makes them tend lose respect for each other. Still, because the first impression matters always, the perception they have about each other might never change even after they break up.
10. Your partner won’t be available always
Your partner is unlikely to be available whenever you need them. Which can be a pain. You are simply a bed buddy, remember, and your partner probably has got a bunch of you. Therefore, it’s possible that your so-called “lover” is messing up elsewhere when they aren’t with you, which is the reason they can’t be available whenever.
Now the ball is in your courts
Now that you know the no strings attached meaning and can, probably, explain it like a pro, the question still lingers: is it the thing for you? Well, the ball is in your courts. Look, people engage in this kind of relationship for different reasons, ranging from avoiding commitments to the ability to date several different people, simultaneously, without restrictions. Then again, the consequences are inevitable. The prudent thing to do, therefore, would be to weigh both sides before you get your feet wet.
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