One of my students recently reached out to me with the following problem.
I took a Love Systems bootcamp 3 months ago, and have been going out regularly since then. A month ago I met an awesome girl and finally after two dates and a few weeks of texting we hooked up last week. Things were going well but I felt like I had to let her know that I like her, but I don’t want a relationship right now.
She didn’t take it well, and now I think she might be mad at me. I haven’t heard from her all week. What should I do? – Andre from Vancouver
First, let me say congratulations for being honest. You like being single, and you don’t want to hurt this woman’s feelings, so you were straight up with her about your intentions. That shows integrity.
But you also screwed up. “I don’t want a relationship right now” is a phrase that has caused a lot of conflicts and breakups, and it’s a lousy way to frame a casual relationship. Let me explain.
The problem with this phrase is that “relationship” means different things to different people.
Depending on the context, it could mean;
- “I just want a one night stand, and I don’t want to call you in the morning.”
- “I don’t want to be your GF/BF, I just want something casual (but affectionate).”
- “You’re giving me needy vibes like you want to be my BF, and it’s turning me off – please change.”
- “I don’t like you and I don’t want to hook up with you.”
Most of the time when a guy says this to women he means “I like you but I don’t want to be a full-service boyfriend that you call all the time.” And sometimes it means “I want to be able to date other women.”
There are plenty of women who are cool with casual relationships, and plenty who are ok with open relationships. But even women who are into open relationships react badly when a guy says “I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”
That’s because to a woman “I don’t want a relationship right now” usually means “After we have sex, I’m going to ask you to leave and I don’t want to ever see you again.”
That’s why this phrase is a game killer. It’s the ambiguity around the world relationship.
If you want to be picky and technical about it, you have a relationship with everyone you interact with more than once. I have a relationship with the girls at the coffee shop, my hairdresser, I even have a relationship with my blog readers. It’s not a serious romantic relationship, but it’s a relationship.
And that’s why “I don’t want a relationship right now” sometimes comes across as “get lost” to women.
The other problem with “I don’t want a relationship right now” is that is usually isn’t true. After all, if you met The Girl of Your Dreams, would you not be open to a relationship? Most guys would say yes.
So what do you say when you don’t want a relationship?
The first thing you need to do is be clear and specific about what you want. So think about it – what would your perfect relationship be like? What would make you want to keep seeing this person? If you can visualize it, and describe it, you can share it with the person you’re interested in and make it work.
So, instead of saying “I don’t want a relationship right now”, you might say;
I’m not looking for anything serious right now. Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re awesome and I like hanging out with you, I just really enjoy my freedom.
“I’m not looking for something serious” is a much better way to frame a casual relationship. Also, make sure you make her feel desired.
What do you do if you already screwed up?
I replied to Andre privately in email, but the advice is the same for everyone who is in a similar situation.
Get in touch with her and let her know what you actually want.
Let her know you like her, and that when you said you weren’t looking for a relationship it wasn’t because you weren’t interested in her at all. Be honest. If you actually had chemistry, and she feels the same way you do, then you have an excellent chance of getting things back together again.
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