When someone says they don’t want to be in a relationship, what they mean is that they don’t want to be in a relationship with you. We tell people this white lie because it’s easier than saying “I like you enough to hang out and have sex, but not enough to emotionally invest in you.” We think to tell someone the raw truth would be cruel, even though the lie, in a lot of ways, is much more cruel.
The truth is, when we meet someone we are crazy about, we will try to make it work regardless of what is going on in our lives. It doesn’t matter if you meet during a one night stand, or date for several months before having sex – if two people click and want each other, it will happen. Besides, who wants to be with someone who is wishy-washy over you to begin with? I’m not saying you have to be head over heels immediately, but if someone isn’t passionate about you, they aren’t going to wake up one day suddenly burning for you.
If you want respect and emotional commitment from the person you are seeing, ask for it. If they don’t give it to you, leave. It’s not possible to “ruin” a relationship by having “the talk.” If someone is freaked out just talking about commitment, what makes you think they will be good at practicing it? Anyone worth their salt will want you even more; because nothing is sexier than a person who knows what they want and isn’t afraid to ask for it, and willing to walk away when they don’t get it.
The problem is that more often than not, we only hear what we want to, filtering out anything that doesn’t fit.
There is a saying that goes: when somebody tells you who they are, believe them. When I look back on all of the “almost” relationships I’ve had, the other person was clear (whether it was directly in their words or in their actions) about what they wanted. But I didn’t listen, because I wanted more and I wanted them to want more. We all want to believe we are irresistible, and it is hard to accept that someone might spend time with us, be intimate with us, and not fall madly in love with us.
When you like someone and they do not like you back with the same intensity, we view it as a personal failure, which we shouldn’t. The majority of your romantic entanglements will not work out. It’s possible to really be into someone, sometimes even love someone, and not be able to have a relationship because of compatibility issues. That’s what makes being in a relationship special to begin with; finding someone who you not only desire deeply but is compatible with you.
Why someone rejected being in a relationship with you doesn’t matter, because there is someone out there who will fall for you based on the exact same quality someone else rejected you for.
I know all of this is easier said than done. That sometimes it’s easier to be with someone even if it’s not in the way we want because it feels better than being alone. But remember that every moment you spend trying to chase a relationship with someone who doesn’t want one with you is time that could be spent meeting someone who does. That by not asking for what you want, you are just prolonging something that isn’t going to work out anyway. That the damage settling for less does to your self-esteem is far greater than heartbreak of rejection. When a someone says they don’t want to be in a relationship, they mean a relationship with you, and that’s okay.
Find someone who does.