1. You have completely opposing values and know it would be a mess if you tried to get serious. Yes, Republicans can marry Democrats, as can people of many different backgrounds, ethnicities and religious values. However, some couples (particularly starting out) decide from the get-go that their beliefs are never quite going to come close enough and that they’ll inevitably drive the other person up the wall in a relationship. Just because a couple allows it to rule out a future, doesn’t mean those two individuals aren’t entitled to sleep together/spend quality time/role play before they have a Saunders versus Cruz blow-out fight and call it quits.
2. You already know you want different things. It’s entirely possible to care for someone, know they care for you, and be aware of the fact that you just aren’t on paths that will ever intersect long enough to be together in the long term. If one of you wants kids and the other wants to move somewhere new every six months, it’s safe to say you won’t settle down together. But that doesn’t discount what you have in the present.
3. You both like the idea of dating without looking for a future spouse. There are some that would say there is no point to dating someone if you couldn’t see yourself spending a long time with that person. However, if you both mutually agree that relationship longevity isn’t the goal, do whatever the hell you want.
4. You don’t want your lives, friends and family to meet, ever. If one of you wants to flaunt your not-so-coupledness, and the other does not, you’ll run into a problem. But, if both of you are content to keep your relationship on the semi-downlow without trotting each other out in front of family, you’ll do just fine.
5. Neither one of you wants to plan around someone else right now. You both want to be open to taking a job in another city, or going on a date with someone else. You’ve been upfront about it thus far and have, in the words of Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier*, an “easy-out clause.”
* = important Drive Me Crazy reference
6. You honestly think adding the full-blown commitment element to your relationship would make one or both of you overly controlling. And, for the present, you’re just enjoying the fact that neither wants to control (or have a say) in the other person’s life. You fight less because of it, and appreciate that it’s the one drama free relationship in your life.
7. You’re not looking for a long-term commitment. And you’d know to stop when (and if) you decided that’s what you wanted.
8. There’s a time constraint, or expiration date, beyond either of your control. If you’ve discussed the circumstances and know it can’t be helped, there’s a mutual understanding that you just want to spend every waking moment with each other (relatively) before you part ways. This works when someone has an upcoming commitment in another part of the country, or the world, and you don’t want to attempt the distance because there’s no end date in sight.
9. You don’t care to be coupled off for events. In fact, you enjoy the freedom of being able to go to functions, parties, events, what have you, on your own, without having someone you need to entertain or introduce to everyone. You both prefer to meet people separately, and don’t want to take yourselves entirely off the market.