Non-Committal Relationships: Do They Work?

 By Nina Atwood

Dear SinglesCoach: I’ve been going out with a guy for seven months. We agreed in the beginning that it’s going to be a non-committal thing and just enjoy each other’s company whenever we get the chance. I am starting to fall hard for this guy and I yearn for a solid relationship where love is actually expressed by words and actions. We get along very well and we are perfect for each other in so many ways. I wanted to end it but it’s hard because I keep hoping that we’ll end up together, someday. Should I let it go and let fate take its course? Or, should I just make the most of it now and see how it goes? – Ann

Dear Ann: Let’s cut to the chase. Non-committal = no growth, no love, no possibility for an empowering future, no guts, no glory, no stability, no emotional security, no clarity on who you are together, no clarity on values or life direction, and ultimately, no peace of mind and heart. Non-committal = using each other for sex and companionship, and that’s about it. This kind of relationship has never worked and never will, except for a select group of people: the emotionally dead, the uncaring, and the actively addictive; in short,those who live only for self-gratification.

Get real, Ann. There is no good outcome here. Even if you wait and hope, the best you’ll get is a marriage based on guilt and obligation because the guy didn’t have the guts to own up to the fact that he doesn’t love you. Meanwhile, your self-esteem goes down, down, down. You’re cheating yourself of the incrediblejoy you might havewith a devoted guy who adores you. Why would you choose this overthat?

Take stock, Ann. Look at your self-esteem today. Do you value yourself as a woman? Do you believe that you deserve to be cherished by a good man? If not, start there. Fix that. Get help. It’s not too late to change your life path in a completely new direction. When you get clear with yourself that you’re not going to settle for anything less than a full-blown, loving, committed relationship, you’re ready to communicate.

Tell the truth. The worst thing you can do is spend intimate time with someone without putting the truth on the table; that’s a relationship built on a charade. You’re pretending to be this hip chick who can float along with a guy with no commitment. I don’t know what he’s pretending to be, but the bottom line is that you don’t really know if you’re perfect for each other. No couple knows what they have until they can be emotionally intimate: telling the truth about how you feel and what you want out of life and out of a relationship.

Once you both put the truth on the table, the opportunity for something new shows up. Choose an empowering path: a gentle parting of the ways because you realize you don’t want the same things; OR, make a real commitment with an eye toward marriage.

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  • 1. Ann  |  March 26th, 2007 at 6:58 am

    First of all I want to say thank you for responding to my email. Reading all that gave me a double reality check with what’s been going on.. Yes I do deserve tobe treated better and also to treat myself with some worth. Just the other day it dawnedon me that I am not happy anymore being in a non-committal relationship withthat certain person because it doesn’t give me that sense of love or security that I yearn for. He may be perfect but only at times when we’re together, but when we’re not… he’s no where to be found. I started to realize that I want to be with someone who will love me unconditonally, someone who can make me smile even when he’s not around… in short, having someone who I can call “my boyfriend” not just someone who I end up saying “we’re just friends” or “it’s complicated”. It took me a while to realize that I deserve something more than what’s happening between me and this guy… maybe I was so blinded to the fact that he’s too good to be true. I need to love myself more and I will. I deserve someone who will love me and treat me with so much love and respect. Everything will be different from now on. Thank you so much for your advice. 🙂

  • 2. Walter Rifkin  |  March 30th, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    In your post at you wrote:

    The truth is that almost all of us want a relationship with someone special. The exception to this is the true loner – a person whose ability to connect with others is so limited that theres little possibility of it happening.

    Then, in your post at you wrote:

    This kind of relationship [non-committal] has never worked and never will, except for a select group of people: the emotionally dead, the uncaring, and the actively addictive; in short, those who live only for self-gratification.

    Are there true loners? People who won’t ever connect permanently with anyone? How should they date? Should they date? Could you comment more on this?



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