Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What if she says "I'm not looking for a relationship"

Q: How do I adjust my approach to a woman who says she is not looking for a relationship? I am in my mid 30s and have gotten past the stage of chasing women just for one-night stands. I have come across some women that say early on in the conversation that they are not looking for a relationship. How should I interpret and respond to what they are saying?

A: There could be a couple reasons why the women you are talking to are saying this depending on the context. First things first, I will say that while a woman might say that she is not looking for a relationship, and may believe to be true about herself that can change if she meets a man that she is attracted to that lets her pursue him in a way that she doesn’t feel pressured about the relationship.

1) One possibility is that the woman feels she is getting the idea that you are looking for a relationship right now from you and/or what you are saying, is not attracted to you and is looking to disqualify herself as a way of rejecting you in a polite and non-confrontational manner. Depending on how the interaction is going you could just take this as a cue to move along or reset the frame and continue.

2) Another possibility is that she has recently gotten out of a relatively long-term relationship and has not been actively pursuing men or accepting advances from men when she normally would for some period of time, ranging from as little as a week or two, to maybe a few months. Since she does not think she is ready for a relationship, she wants to let you know that and see if you are ok with continuing the interaction.

I think this is a potentially ideal situation because you can have a friend with benefits type of situation that may turn into a relationship or it might turn into a close friendship where she introduces you to and helps you with other women.

In my experience this has often been an indicator of a woman who
1) Is not as emotionally needy and has a life that is already pretty full.
2) Is fiercely independent and prideful, might describe herself as a feminist, may have been raised by a single mother or views her mother as having been a strong woman and expects to be actively and equally involved in any relationships that she gets into.
3) May have had relationships before that started based on sex and then later became more of a relationship. She may take a little longer to completely open up on an emotional level and is comfortable with her ability to keep sex and emotional attachment separate.

So how should you respond? Simple agree with her. There are a couple different ways you can do this depending on your personality and the vibe that you have with her. You could be direct and seriously relate with her say something like, great, neither am I and just go on with the conversation. I often continue by saying something that agrees with them and demonstrates understanding or you could be funny and bust on her about talking about a relationship when you are not already going that direction. Just say something like, “I know, sometimes you are just not looking for a relationship and are already happy and your life is already full between work, friends, and hobbies. But a person’s still got needs …”

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