Not so long ago ‘falling in love’ was widely thought to be the ultimate state of bliss; no matter how rich or poor you were, how pretty or plain-looking, it was as though the state of being in love put everything right – things might not always end the way you would like to but nevertheless just the experience of loving and losing was assumed to be better than never having loved at all. Now with increasing reality of the frailty of human commitment and the plethora of social networking sites which can even hook you up with someone supposedly compatible, love has become somewhat irrelevant or even an embarrassing word to use. The term of preference now is “a relationship” which comes with all the supposedly life-fulfilling connotations of ‘love’ but is somehow hipper and more in tune with present social trends. But what if the idea of being in a relationship does not appeal to you – does that make you a social anomaly or merely someone who wishes to live their life on their own terms?
You have certain expectations
To a great extent, past experiences determine the kind of partner one is looking for and you probably have a mental list of traits and characteristics that a prospective partner must fulfill in order to be in a relationship with him/her. It is likely that your list of desirable traits in a potential partner is either detailed or so particular that it is difficult to come across potential partners who meet your relationship needs. And if you are not prepared to settle for less, there is nothing wrong in not wanting to be in a half-satisfactory relationship.
You are too busy
Again your not wanting to be in a relationship may simply be a consequence of a busy life. The fact that relationships take work is now bandied about so often that it has become a cliché but still that does not lessen its relevance. Sometimes not being in a relationship is simply the consequence of not having enough time, energy or patience to invest in a partnership. This is especially true of people who are juggling work, studies and family as a single parent or those working overtime to reach the top of their professional ladder. In order to be in a relationship, you would need to spare time meet new singles from varied backgrounds but also invest enough effort to build and nurture the relationship. And if you find that you simply cannot make time for all that now, it is alright. After all work and study opportunities come occasionally whereas a relationship can be initiated at any point of life, though with its own specificities at different age groups.
Be honest with yourself
While there are no rules how an individual should lead his/her own life, it is always better if the person is truly aware of his/her innermost social and sexual motivations. Thus it may be helpful to take out a quiet hour and sort out your feelings, values, and desires related to sexuality and relationships. For example, are you satisfied with your current social life or maybe you would like a relationship if you had more time at your disposal. Again do you enjoy variety in companions or perhaps you would like to settle down into a relationship if you met the right person. Do you wish you had a "special someone" like your friends or siblings or are you honestly happy on your own?
Clarifying these issues will help you realize whether you are using your single status to gloss over some underlying insecurity or if you are genuinely happy to be emotionally independent. For instance if it is the former, the veneer of a happy go lucky single may soon crack under stress of conflicting emotions like wanting to be in love with someone and yet scared to trust that person. On the other hand if you are truly glad to be on your own, then don’t let popular concepts of falling in love and settling down with your soul mate come in way of your personal satisfaction.
Ditto with others
It is likely that your unwillingness to be in a relationship does not preclude the idea of having casual dates and one-night stands. If so, you need to be careful that you and your occasional partner are on the same page where sex, emotional intimacy and commitment are concerned. Whether you have a friends with benefits or are a regular at the casual pick up scene, ensure that you and your partner know what to expect from each other. It can cause discomfort and hurt feelings when, after a roll in the hay, your sexy someone wants to take you out on a date and you'd rather part ways. Intimate relationships, no matter how practically you approach them, are apt to get messy. It is quite possible that while you want a mainly sexual relationship, your “friend” suddenly decides that he or she wants ‘more.’ Since there's no way to predict how your partner may feel after a hook-up, a good idea would be to try being more upfront about your intentions. For example, before things really heat up, you could say something like, "I'm not looking for a relationship, but I'd still like to have some fun together." Put into your own words, that warning gives your partner a fair heads-up about where you'd like the experience to go.
You are replaceable
At the same time, you also need to be prepared for the possibility of rejection or an abrupt end to a comfortable state of affairs. Your sex buddy might suddenly meet someone he/she wants to date seriously and thus want to opt out of the arrangement with you. Or he/she may lose interest after the novelty of the arrangement has worn off and wish to replace you with another friend-cum-sex partner. Thus before you engage on a casual relationship, ensure that you are protected from the emotional impact of such possibilities so that you do not end up feeling lonely and depressed.
At the end of the day, it is your life and you are perfectly entitled to live it according to your own values and motivations. Only be honest about your compulsions with yourself and your partners or you will find the complexities of a footloose and fancy-free life no less burdensome than those that come in a relationship.