Until I’m Married, I Consider Myself Totally Single

I used to flaunt the fact that I had a boyfriend like a trophy in a major competition but not anymore. These days, I tell people that I’m single and accept date offers even when I have someone who might be considered a “boyfriend” in the eyes of the world because I consider myself single until married. Here’s why my attitude changed and why I’m not sorry for it.

  1. When I was loyal to guys, I never received the level of commitment I wanted. I decided it wasn’t worth it. When I was monogamous with men, they never wanted to take things to the next step. I was always the placeholder girl and eventually, that made something in me snap. Maybe it’s because most guys I meet don’t seem to be interested in marrying me but love the perks of dating me. Frankly, I’m fed up with giving all of myself away on the hopes that this one will be the one to actually lock things down.
  2. Guys tend to be nicer to me when they realize that they’re not the only one in the picture. Maybe it’s the competition aspect or the fact that they know I have other options, but I can’t help but notice that men are kinder to me now than they were when I gave a damn about loyalty. It’s sad that it had to come to this, but hey, what can you do? If this is what it takes for men to learn some manners then so be it.
  3. Remaining a free agent lowered my tolerance for bad behavior. Losing the “girlfriend” title makes it so much easier to tell a guy to kick rocks. It’s easy to recover when you have four or five other dudes courting you after you drop one of the crappy ones. Moreover, when you stop using terms like “girlfriend” or “fiancee,” you also stop seeing as much potential in that relationship. You don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time with him or that you’d be losing “potential for something more”—this way of thinking forces you to realize that there wasn’t anything there to begin with.
  4. Refusing to fully commit to one man also allows me to weigh the pros and cons of each. One of the biggest issues I used to have was that I never really left men who were terrible to me, primarily because I’d forget what a normal, healthy relationship looked like. When you’re dating multiple men, you can easily see what behavior’s out of line and make a decision to stay or bail based on that.
  5. I’m not cheating—the men I’m with know that the only way for me to be exclusive is with a ring. I didn’t like the traditional rules of the game so I changed the rules. If men don’t want to play by rules or if they’re stupid enough to pressure me to play by theirs, I simply drop them. After all, it’s hard to believe that a man will commit considering how badly they’ve treated my loyalty in the past.
  6. As bad as it sounds, I do take a lot of solace in knowing there are others who would kill to have me be loyal to them. There’s a reason side pieces are so popular among men—it’s comforting to know that you’re desired by more than one person. It’s calming to know that you have “backups” and that, in a way, you’re the one who controls the relationship now.
  7. Since I’ve started dating this way, I’ve also noticed that I’m not a doormat for guys anymore. I’m no longer trying to show my value to a man by cooking him dinners, sleeping with him, or doing similar things as a way to convince them I’m worth a ring. Doing that for a handful of men is way too tiring. Frankly, if they can’t be smart enough to see all the love and affection I have to give, I don’t want to be with them.
  8. I’ve gotten the feeling that being non-monogamous makes men value your status more. When they know that you’ll date other men, they can’t help but realize that you have a life outside of them. Whether they want to admit it or not, that takes pressure off of them and also makes you seem just a smidge unattainable. Guys like the challenge and will often treat you with priority because of it.
  9. I’m single until married partly because I’ve had a lot of abusive relationships in the past. Abusive relationships change you as a person. I lost my faith in love and in men, so why would I trust they’d treat me right if I was loyal to them? I can’t do it anymore. I can’t believe men when they tell me that they’ll be loyal to me, commit to me “later,” or that they won’t hit me. Dating multiple men until I see proof of marital commitment is a safeguard for me.
  10. All in all, I think that the right guy (if there IS one) will marry me regardless of this rule. And if there’s not, well, at least I won’t have my heart broken again. That’s one good thing.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.