How To Avoid A One-Night Stand’s Most Common Mistake

"Alexa turn my feelings off."

Picture the scene: you lock eyes with a kindred spirit across the bar, you send ’em a drink, you get chatting and they invite you back to theirs.

With the deed done, you get dressed and head home (or are sent home with a coffee the following morning). On paper, one-night stands are incredibly simple and serve to fulfil our innate human need for sexual encounters. But in reality, are they really that simple?

Because the very act of having sex is incredibly intimate, there is a high chance at least one of the two people involved will catch feelings. This can cause issues.

So what exactly should you do if you find yourself in such a situation? Is it actually possible to not catch feelings for someone after a one-night stand, or if it’s impossible, how do you best navigate the situation? DMARGE spoke to relationship expert and advisor to Channel 10’s The Bachelor, Samantha Jayne to find out.

Firstly, Samantha agrees it is possible to catch feelings for someone after such a brief interaction, “yes, absolutely, it’s called chemistry. There is something unexplainable that happens, a chemical reaction that sparks attraction: it could be a glance, pheromones, the sound of someone’s voice, it’s the x-factor, they might have particular physical attributes you’re attracted to.”

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“Some people have so much appeal that when they walk into a room they captivate the people around them. Online dating is very much based on attraction, it’s so judgemental that you literally have a few seconds to make a good impression, so that is why it’s important to be your best version of you.”

Image: Getty

“Of course when it comes to attraction strategies, some people are more of a slow burner, they need to find out the facts, weigh up the pros and cons before they allow themselves to be attracted. This tends to the be the pattern of the analytical types and overthinkers; it can also be a sign that someone is being cautious or has been burnt.”

“There is a risk factor though if you are a hopeless romantic or someone who craves attachment and attention trying to fill a void with someone else, because if you fall hard and fast, you could fall prey to a narcissist or a sociopath. They are out there!”

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“They have a way of making you feel so special, giving you so much attention and praise, that you lose a sense of reality and get caught up in the sample and mirrors. If this happens, before long you’ll notice the chaos and the push and pull that occurs. It’s best to not rush things and truly focus on compatibility and aligned values.”

What if, after your night of passion, you think “I like this person”? What would your instinctive reaction be? Would you want to see if there’s a genuine relationship to pursue, or have they made their stance clear, it was just sex. Basically, should you make your feelings known, or mutually agree it’s just a hook-up?

For Samantha, she says: “feelings are something you can’t control. Ground rules or no ground rules, unless you are a robot, then feelings may surface.”

“Even players use strategies to prevent getting close to someone, they are constantly running from person to person in the hope that no one will see them for who they are, and they remain detached. But in reality, deep down it’s the void they are trying to fill.”

“So if you’re with someone and you start to feel for them, then you’re only human. I’m a big believer in communication and being honest with yourself. You can’t set ground rules to not feeling anything, but you can set ground rules for what is to be expected in the relationship, even if it is casual.”

“So it’s important to look after yourself. If you are feeling something then communicate it rather than ghost or continue to put yourself in a vulnerable position. Just be aware that if it was meant to be casual you should not try to convince the other person to change things.”

“Let your feelings be known and be preared to do what is best for you, even if it means walking away. On the odd occasion you might be surprised to learn the feelings could be mutual…but if not, walk.”

If you do agree with one another that it’s strictly a casual thing, where the occasional “you up?” messages are sent, but further down the line feelings become involved, how do you navigate this?

Image: Manse Medical

“Honesty is the best policy,” says Samantha, “but if someone has said they only want casual then listen to them.”

“Before you even engage, think about if it’s possible for you to remain emotionally uninvolved and how that will impact you in the long run. Will it create more insecurity, anxiety or will you genuinely just love the physical connection? This is about you, what you want and if it serves you. Is it good for you?”

If you’re starting to feel like you’re going to be incapable of not catching feelings for your casual fling, are there any failsafe tips to help prevent it? Samantha suggests there are a few things you can try:

“Avoid eye contact, talking about meaningful things that bring you close, keep the time together limited and focus on the other person’s negative traits and incompatibility. Don’t put your eggs in one basket, meet other people, basically, try to avoid quality time and anything that will fulfil your love language.”

However, as great as those tips may be, Samantha believes catching feelings for a one-night stand or casual hook-up, “is inevitable.”

“The person that catches feelings is often the more vulnerable one and really should be finding someone that can give them what they deserve. Often this becomes a pattern and the negative self-talk that comes with it is ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘nobody wants anything serious with me’ etc…”

So, next time you find yourself in this dilemma, take heed of Samantha’s advice and listen to what you actually feel. Then communicate. And for the love of God, don’t go chumming or paperclipping