I can't think of a single friend who has ever told me, "I'm looking for a relationship right now.” Yet, at some point in their college careers, all of my friends have have told or been told the phrase, "I'm not looking for a relationship right now."
I'm interested in why people use this same line to ditch their casual hookups once they start to resemble committed relationships. I can't be the only one who's been driven absolutely crazy by this little phrase.
These nine words can be analyzed three ways, and they all suck. Luckily, there's a solution to avoid this pathetic excuse that defers commitment, and you can do so in a way that isn't hurtful
1. “I am not looking for a relationship right now.”
Do I go around looking for a relationship like I'm Dora The Explorer? Absolutely not. But, if I met my soulmate tomorrow, would I ever tell him, “I'm sorry. I know we're the perfect match, but I'm just not searching for a relationship right now?” Absolutely not.
2. “I am not looking for a relationship right now.”
Well, I'm looking for all sorts of things. I'm looking for a job, an A in my logic class and my other sock that got lost in the laundry machine sometime last week. But, what's wrong with this interpretation of the phrase is that it knocks out our friendships and connections in general.
If it is truly a relationship we don't want, then we wouldn't be open to new friendships or any new people entering our lives. We certainly don't want to avoid current friends, potential friendships or connections just because it's a relationship in general we feel incapable of engaging in.
3. “I am not looking for a relationship right now.”
"As soon as I have my finances in order, when I'm exactly 27 years old and I've saved X amount of money, then the next person who enters into my life will be the one.”
I don't want to be the poor soul who enters in at the “right time” because then, I'm just filling a spot you've had planned out your whole life. There's nothing special about me that makes you like me for me; I just rolled through at the right time. That's not the kind of relationship I want.
The solution? In a sex and relationships class I'm taking right now, we have an assignment where we must take someone out on a date whom we are romantically interested in.
If we decide we aren't interested in the person after the first date, but the person wants to go out with us again, we have to say, “It has been really nice to get to know you, and I had a good time. But, I think I just don't feel this 'clicking' or heading in a romantic direction.”
There you go. Props to my brilliant professor who came up with a simple line that solves the “closure” problem in a hookup. It's concise, it's honest and it doesn't attack the other person's character. But, it's not so slick and smooth that it slides you right out of the picture, either. It allows you to own up to how you feel in an honest way, without being brutal or deceptive.
I mention that this also solves the closure problem in a hookup. Though I might always wonder what exactly it is about me that made you not feel the same romantic connection, at least I know it wasn't ever going to get there. If you tell me you aren't looking for a relationship right now, then I'm always left to wonder if it could have ever gotten there.
Was the timing simply off? Are you not emotionally ready for a relationship? No, I'm just not the right person for you. And that's totally OK. Thanks for being honest.