Not Wanting To Commit Doesn’t Make You A Bad Person, But These Things Do

They’re often looked down upon by people who are searching for a solid relationship, but most of the time, people who aren’t ready for commitment aren’t all that bad — they just enjoy their freedom. However, wanting to fly solo doesn’t give you a free pass to treat casual partners like they’re unworthy of basic compassion. It’s not a big deal if you’re not quite ready to settle down yet, but it IS a big deal if you’re doing any of these asinine things in your not-relationship:

  1. Lying about what you’re looking for. Saying that you’re not trying to get into anything more serious than a friends with benefits situation might scare away a few people, but that’s infinitely better than telling someone you’re looking for something serious when you’re actually not. Regardless of the type of relationship you’re getting involved in, both people should have clear expectations and know what the other person is looking for, even if it doesn’t turn out that way in the end.
  2. Putting someone on an emotional roller coaster. There are not enough middle fingers in the world for the type of person who does this. Telling someone you want to make things “official” with them, then backing out, then changing your mind again isn’t just confusing — it’s hurtful. Making decisions about the status of your relationship is a big deal, and you shouldn’t do it until you’re sure you know what you want.
  3. Ghosting. I get it — cutting things off with someone you’re casually seeing can be awkward at best and heartbreaking at worst. But you’re an adult, and you need to have the guts to do it the right way. Fading out of someone’s life might be easier for you, but it can really mess with the other person’s head. Ghosting is selfish and inconsiderate, and if you don’t want to commit to someone, the least you can do is end things with them properly.
  4. Employing double standards. Wait, so *I* can’t see other people, but *you* can? That’s not how this works. Avoiding a “real” relationship with someone because you aren’t ready to settle down is fine, but this isn’t a one-way street. If you want the freedom to sleep with other people, the person you’re involved with automatically gets that same freedom whether or not they choose to take advantage of it.
  5. Encouraging someone to hold out hope when there really is none. “Eventually” you’ll want to commit, you say. “Just give it another month or two,” you say. But in reality, you know that you’re never going to want anything concrete with this person. It might be an easy way to keep them around, but it’s a really crappy way to go about it.
  6. Being dishonest about seeing other people. Most people might not want to know who else their almost-partner is sleeping with, but if the question does come up, you should be honest about it. They could be worried about potential STDs or other health problems, and saying that they’re the only person you’ve been sleeping with when you’ve actually hooked up with ten other people in the past month could be putting their safety in jeopardy. Lying about something like this might keep your hookup buddy around a while longer, but it puts their health at risk in the process.
  7. Expecting relationship perks without the relationship. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you’re not willing to put forth the effort to commit to a relationship, but expect the other person to treat you like an actual significant other, you have some serious entitlement issues you need to work on. If you want all the benefits of having a loving partner, you’d better be willing to be that loving partner for someone else.
  8. Not telling the truth about why you don’t want to commit. You really don’t need some sob story about how your last fifty partners cheated on you to explain why you’re not ready to get into a relationship right now. It’s perfectly fine to tell the person you’re with that you still want to be able to date other people, or that your life is in a state of flux and you don’t want to make any major decisions right now. It might sting, yes, but it’s better than having the other person bending over backwards trying to prove how they could heal your poor broken heart when that’s not even the issue.
  9. Blaming someone for wanting more than you can give them. Just because a person wants a real relationship does not make them “clingy” or “dependent.” Just as you’re free to decide that you don’t want to date someone who wants something serious, they’re well within their rights to end things with you because the almost-relationship isn’t going anywhere. Yeah, it sucks sometimes, but that’s still not an excuse to judge them for wanting something different than you do.
  10. Treating someone like a toy instead of a human being. I don’t care if they’re not your partner —  they’re still a person with dreams and feelings, and even if you don’t intend on making them your future spouse, they deserve to be treated well. They’re not just someone to have sex with when you’re horny, nor are they a security blanket for when you just don’t want to sleep alone. At the minimum, give them the same care you would a good friend. Anything less transforms you from a free spirit into a regular a-hole.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt. She's also a TEFL/TESOL-certified ESL teacher and an equine enthusiast. Originally from Pennsylvania, she lived in Costa Rica for a while before moving to Australia. In addition to her work as a writer and editor for Bolde, she also has bylines with Little Things and regularly writes for Jiu-Jitsu Times.

You can follow Averi on Instagram @bjjaveri or on Twitter under the same handle.