I Don’t Want a Relationship: Truth or Dare?

 By Nina Atwood

“I don’t really want a relationship at this point in my life,” Ashley declared firmly. “I’m happy with my career and my friends. I just re-decorated my house and it’s perfect. I’m not even sure I have time for a serious relationship.” Like many singles, Ashley really believes what she’s saying. But as soon as the words leave her mouth, it’s as if the universe takes it on like a dare.

The truth is that almost all of us want a relationship with someone special. What we don’t want is another bad relationship, another life drama that sucks our energy, or another break-up [although there’s always that risk]. The exception to this is the true loner – a person whose ability to connect with others is so limited that there’s little possibility of it happening.

The universe seems to take on the dare of a declaration of no relationship. Perhaps in saying it, we let it go. No longer needing a relationship so desperately, we have more emotional freedom to choose wisely. Maybe in letting it go, we allow more space for a relationship to come into our lives. By finding fulfillment in other areas of life – friends, career, hobbies, nesting – we are less needy and thus more attractive.

However it happens, the dare of “I don’t want a relationship” almost always leads to exactly that. When I hear people say these words, I start counting. I figure in six months or less that person will be happily engaged.

Entry Filed under: Personal Growth,Relationships


  • 1. Will  |  May 21st, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Great angle. I think you hit the nail on the head by saying that people are being dishonest with themselves when they say they do not need a relationship, but is it always because they were previously hurt in another relationship? Sometimes I think people are just not finding the right partner in life and eventually realise that their search is fruitless and refuse to accept something less than what they require, i.e. they come to terms with the possibility that the person they wish to have a relationship with is either not going to be easily found or else even if found would not want them. Lack of hope accounts for many people giving up, as well as having bad experiences. What do you think?

  • 2. Nina Atwood  |  May 21st, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Yes – loss of hope often leads to giving up on relationships. That loss of hope is usually the result of intense disappointment in life – whether through love relationships or perhaps family relationships or even friendships. One of our most critical life tasks is learning how to recover from disappointment – intense loss and let down; unfulfilled expectations, etc. I think I’ll make this a future blog topic!

  • 3. Maria  |  July 28th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I really don’t agree with the above. Genuine friendships, close and secure relationships with family mean that one can feel emotionally secure. I believe that respectful casual relationships are possible and that it has nothing to do with being scared of getting hurt, lack or inability to commit or even bad past relationships. Some people truly don’t need a serious relationship. It really confuses me when people say that everyone needs and wants a relationship, it’s beyond me.

  • 4. Nicole  |  July 29th, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    I agree with Maria. I have had a few serious relationships (as well as some not so serious) and been proposed to twice. For a while I believed I did not want to get married because I was so young and have so much more I want to accomplish in life. But now I realize that I just have no desire to get married. I also have no desire to be in a relationship. I have been without a relationship for over 4 years now, and I have never been happier. I love my independence and have wonderful family and friends. I have everything I want. Later down the road I would like to have kids, but I don’t need a husband or even a man to do that. I could go the route of Angelina Jolie and adopt children. I did not have terrible relationships and did not lose hope. I just prefer being single, and that’s just fabulous. Don’t be so quick to assume that everyone is like you. Embrace diversity. Live and let live.

  • 5. Nina Atwood  |  July 30th, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Maria and Nicole: thank you for sharing your perspective – I commend you for finding the peace of mind and heart that comes from inner security and being comfortable in your own skin. I truly believe that when we find happiness all on our own, we are in the best possible place to attract a truly wonderful, emotionally secure person into our lives with whom to share the bounty. When this happens is on God’s time, not ours, so who knows?

    I also believe that when we declare “I don’t want a relationship,” the universe (God) responds to fulfill that declaration, unless there is another desire buried underneath that declaration. If “I don’t want a relationship” is the deep down truth for you, the door is closed to relationship. If on the other hand, the declared statement is a reflection of having achieved joy in life on your own and not a defense based on past pain, but underneath you really would welcome a good relationship, the Universe will respond to that. This is the case I’m referring to above – when people declare they don’t want a relationship and shortly thereafter they meet someone wonderful. The Universe has responded to the truth.

    Are there people who truly don’t want a relationship? Absolutely. But that is rare. The far more likely scenario is that underneath it all, MOST, not all, of us would welcome a relationship with a kindred spirit – a person who adds more to an already full life. Being open to that is in my view an openness to life itself – unpredictable and astonishing in its capacity for bringing to us a depth of heart and spiritual growth. If you are open to the abundance of life and love available (and it is unlimited), then you may want to change your declaration to something like this: “I love my life – my friends, family, career, and interests – nothing is missing. I don’t need a relationship to feel complete. And, I am open to the possibility of meeting someone with whom to share the bounty of my life, someone who is also happy on his/her own, a soul mate to love and be loved by. I am open to that experience coming into my life if it is in my highest and greatest good.”

  • 6. Mick  |  September 8th, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Not me.

    Amazing as it may sound, I honestly don’t want a relationship. Because I can’t think of what for…

    I mean, I’ve had several of them, because I thought I wanted them. But then I realized I really don’t and never did anyway, I just went after them because that was what you’re expected to do.

    I realized in retrospect as I mulled over why things went the way they did and I felt the way I did about it, that I didn’t really enjoy them even when things where going well, because I don’t want people around me all the time. Because I hated some of their friends, because I hated having to do things at times I didn’t want to just for the relationships sake, because I didn’t enjoy the intimacy as much as I felt I should with any of them. Because I’m not good with emotional stuff and don’t feel I should be, because its just not me.

    And probably also because I’m a raging misanthrope whom is easily annoyed or aggravated with most people. Sure, I like and even love a few of them. Even though most of them can be chopped up into soylent green for all I care. But even the ones I love, I just don’t want around me all the time. I need alone time, and I need a lot of it. Else I get frustrated and cranky. I’m not a bad person, I do my best to be there for those rare people I consider loved ones. But I need my me time.

    So for me the whole ‘I don’t want a relationship’ thing doesn’t so much come from bad ones, but more from the realization I was never happy in any of mine. And I had several with widely different people.

    So when it comes to the notion of me being ‘happily engaged six months later’ I laugh. If the universe considers that a dare, then I counter dare the universe to put some money on it. I bet it absolutely cannot turn me ‘happily engaged’ in six months, no matter what it does or who it throws my way. Because the way I see it, it couldn’t even do so in six YEARS.

    I seriously openly dare the universe to try and set me up for engagement in six months. If it can, well I don’t really know what the universe would want if they win, but whatever it is, they got it really. And if they can’t, they gotta make me come into a million bucks somehow instead.

    Hear that universe? I DARE ya! Bwaha! Its September as I write this… You know what… March next year, or a million bucks for me! What do you say universe? Me, I think you lack the spine for something like this universe. You aren’t universe enough for the challenge.

    But if you are, hey II could always use a million bucks!

  • 7. Mary  |  October 7th, 2008 at 10:07 am

    It’s funny. I recently declared to myself, my friends, my parents, and probably strangers on the street, that I don’t want a relationship. I’ve always had dreams of my own, a deep fire inside myself to complete things I feel compelled to accomplish, and relationships throw me off course. Those I’ve had I’ve never been fully invested in the person, no matter how wonderful they were and how grateful I should’ve been, and I could watch TV or ride a bike as easy as I could be intimate with them. It was never anything special, just expected because of the age and place I was at in my life and because my friends were all getting married and having children.

    Interestingly enough, when I firmly decided I don’t want another relationship to drain my energy and keep me from the things I feel passionate about, it’s as if the Universe decided to test me. In the past weeks, I’ve had 3 men blatantly make their interest in me known. That’s coming from a 3 year dry spell. One of them, I was moderately interested in and have been begun dating. I like him alright, we have myriad things in common and our humor connects seamlessly, but again, when we’re intimate, it’s nice but nothing I can’t do without. I *know* it takes time to develop feelings, I’ve been told this a million times, but how long do you wait for that to happen before you’re in a relationship you could toss away tomorrow, and the other person is knee-deep in feeling something one-sided? When does the entire thing become a big fat lie because you were caving to everyone else’s expectations of what a relationship should be? I don’t want that. I don’t want to settle for something, because it doesn’t make me feel secure. It makes me feel like a liar, a caged animal, a stifled shell of what I really want to be. And that’s free to pursue what I feel I’ve been placed on this earth to do. Unless God punches me with the relationship stick himself, I really don’t think I’ll feel otherwise. My test didn’t prove the Universe knew better than me, it proved I should follow my own intuitions, and quit letting others’ opinions decide my life and make me miserable.

  • 8. Nina Atwood  |  October 8th, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Dear Mary: Inauthentic relationships drain your life and your energy. Love should flow naturally and easily, when it’s right for both people. Forcing feelings doesn’t work. I would rather you chose a life without a partner, fulfilling your life purpose, than a life bogged down with a relationship that is empty at the core.

    Good relationships don’t keep you from who you’re meant to be. I’m not sure of the root cause of your dissatisfaction in relationships. Do you choose men for whom your feelings are lukewarm, then fulfill your own prophecy that “relationships throw me off course” as you struggle to bond?

    Do you try too hard to love someone you don’t love? Do you choose men who are controlling, who feel threatened by your personal growth? Or do they feel threatened because you’re not invested in the relationship, setting them up to feel insecure? Men tend to become controlling when insecure.

    Do you have trouble bonding in general? Is it a lifelong pattern that you don’t get too attached to anyone? These are all questions to ask yourself if it’s important to you to self-examine in this area.

    The bottom line is this: to yourself be true. If you want to find a soul mate, envision it, intend it, and stop settling for anything less than that. You’ll attract a different kind of man. If you would rather fly solo, stop dating. The world is full of men who want to capture a reluctant woman’s heart, but it’s bad for them and it’s bad for you to get caught in that dynamic.

  • 9. catty  |  October 28th, 2008 at 10:38 am

    The men who I get excited about also scare me and i don’t want to be scared or insecure in a relatoinship. The ones that are safer I cant’ be bothered with..I’d rather be single. I don’t know if I want a relationship, in fact I don’t really think I do, but part of me wants to want one because I can see that people get alot out of it. I don’t like being itimate..it makes me feel weak , i would like someone to share humour with but i don’t need a relationship for that… i wish i knew whether i wanted one or not because then i’d know whether to look for one. the longest relationship I’ve had is 6 months ..so i guess i don’t know really what it’s like to have a lasting one.

  • 10. Rebecca  |  February 28th, 2011 at 1:22 am

    We all need relationships because we all need another human being to validate our existence. We are nothing without another human being around, looks like.



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