I am a single female who enjoys sex but doesn’t happen to feel like she wants or needs a committed, intimate relationship. I have dated lots of men, and women, and we will have a great time for awhile….but eventually I feel the need to end it because I don’t feel a long term commitment there, or I just suddenly feel like it all happened too quickly. My best friend says I have an “attachment issue” and I run away from everyone. I say, if they aren’t a perfect match – and I’m very happy with casual sex and casual dating- then why hang around? I have so many friends who feel stuck in their marriages or relationships because they couldn’t say anything. I feel like the only person I know who actually “dates” people. Isn’t that what dating is for? To see if you want to keep seeing each other? Am I a “serial runner” because I don’t want to settle down?
~Unicorn Spirit, Bachelor Heart
Dear Unicorn Spirit,
I believe you have an affliction that we happen to share.
It is possible you are addicted to “NRE”.
New Relationship Energy can be a drug. It’s intoxicating. It is the current that sweeps us up into someone else’s life at lightning speed. The mania that pulls two strangers together like magnets, always longing for proximity. Now both the solution and the conundrum are contained in that very first word. NEW. NRE is a phenomenon that includes enjoyable physiological reactions to the presence of the person to whom you are bonded. Their presence, or even the memory of, can trigger a change in the heart rate, breath rate, cause sweaty palms, butterflies in the tummy, and I dare say a tingling in parts not mentioned. And we, NRE addicts, we eat that shit up. But NRE only lasts as long as the relationship is new. So. The real question is….
Are you abandoning your mates as soon as you’ve devoured all the hot, gooey NRE and then moved on to the next? Do you leave a trail of broken hearts behind you?
Are you a “serial dater” who identifies quickly when the dynamic isn’t meant for deeper relations? Something you are more apt to pick up on once the relationship settles into whatever it will become.
I happen to identify as the second (I know, convenient, right?) I admittedly swear off of commitment because I don’t really desire it. Ditto for monogamy. I figure when something that is meant to be different comes along, I will know it when I see it. So far, this fits better than anything ever has. Having said that, I have also stayed in relationships longer than I should have for fear of being the “bad guy” or abandoner.
Because I am aware of my love affair with NRE, I have to be very aware of the feelings of my partners and I am very, very upfront about this. I often advise people “Fuck me. Don’t date me. Trust me.” I am quite frank about the fact I am not looking for a life partner, nor comfortable making any big changes in my life to suit a relationship. If you can find a way to express to your partners exactly where you stand on long term relationships, then I do not believe you should feel obligated to deny yourself the pleasure of short term relationships. Tread carefully though, many a person has awakened to find this an utterly lonely existence.
Be gentle with hearts, especially your own.
Be honest with your intentions.
Do not engage in deceit or manipulation.
Respect the dynamic of your partner’s other relationships.
Full consent, full disclosure.
That’s the guide I use to keep myself in line. Honesty will get you everywhere.
Now get out there and enjoy those hot orgasms and first kisses – not necessarily in that order….