There are plenty of reasons people might feel trapped with someone, including the pressure of what others expect of them, the fear of being single, and the ever-present possibility of ending up alone. That’s why expressions like “ball and chain” and getting “tied down” are part of our vocabulary. But I don’t ever intend to stay with someone because I have no choice — a relationship shouldn’t be a prison sentence.
- I want a partnership. Living in the middle of a constant power struggle doesn’t sound like something that would make me happy. I don’t want to feel like my significant other is in charge of everything — I want us to be in it together. Saying I’m “tied down” makes it seem like my relationship is some kind of BDSM fantasy where one person always has the upper hand. If you’re into that… cool. But it’s not for me.
- No one is forcing me to be in a relationship. If I’m with someone, it’s because I want to be, not because I think I have no choice. I’ve spent enough time single to know that it isn’t the end of the world, so if my options are rolling solo or being with someone I feel trapped with, I’d much rather be single, no question.
- Leaving is always an option. Being tied down implies I can’t get up and leave whenever I want. I’m stuck there until someone else decides I can go. But that’s not how a healthy relationship works. It takes two people to make things work and if I’m not happy, I’ll either commit to working on things or just leave.
- Not every relationship is meant to last forever. I’m not saying I can easily go in and out of relationships without ever getting attached, but at the same time, I don’t expect every guy I date to be The One. There’s a point where you know whether there’s long-term potential or not, and I usually try not to tie myself to a sinking ship. I’m not afraid of commitment per se, I’m just not interested in committing to every guy that comes along.
- I still need my independence. I have no intention of ever becoming one-half of a couple. I’m still my own person whether I’m in a relationship or not. I need to be free to spend time with friends, pursue the career I want and live my life, so no guy that tries to take away my independence will last long with me.
- I wouldn’t want to be with someone who felt trapped either. If my boyfriend was referring to being in a relationship with me as being “tied down,” I wouldn’t be too impressed. I’m not here to force anyone to be with me, so if it’s that awful for him, he’s free to GTFO. Let’s just respect each other enough to believe we’re together because we want to be, not because we have to be.
- I can be in a relationship and be free at the same time. Being in a relationship doesn’t have to mean having fewer options, being held back or losing my freedom. The right person for me will encourage me to have my own life and he’ll have his own too. We’ll decide together to be monogamous (or not), and we’ll build a relationship that works for us — not one that fits into society’s idea of perfect.
- My relationship should make my life better, not worse. If a relationship feels like a burden or something I have no control over, that’s going to cause problems. I want to enjoy spending time with the person I’m with, not feel like every second I spend with them is an obligation. There will always be rough times, but in the end, the good should outweigh the bad.
- There’s more to life than long-term relationships. Sure, I’d like to find someone to build something real with at some point, but I have plenty of other stuff going on in life and I certainly don’t need some guy to lock me down in order to feel like I’m living a fulfilling and accomplished life. That’s outdated thinking and I refuse to buy into it.