Anna Pulley, @annapulley
RedEye's sex columnist
1:35 PM CST, January 30, 2013
I have a history of falling into long-term relationships, so I've taken a no-dating vow for the foreseeable future. This doesn't mean that I don't want to flirt or make out or have sex, but I don't know how to tactfully bring up my wish to stay single to new people without shutting off different ways of relating to each other. Any hints?--Not A Player
Fear not! The government stopped issuing those pesky mandatory Commitment Tests when Motel 6 patrons complained it was "getting in the way" of their adultery.
You're a rare breed, Not A Player, especially so close to Valentine's Day, and I applaud your resistance. I don't usually advocate for big speeches early on in relationships (and I'll define "relationship" as any person you spend time with whom you might end up dry-humping). There are exceptions to this no-speeches rule, but in your case, I'm going to assume you haven't been recently knocked up, incarcerated or had a hammer removed from your rectum, which makes your question easier to answer, as well as my therapy bill cheaper.
Proud-to-be-me-and-free speech or no, your desire to stay single should not interfere with how you relate to people, unless you're being really annoying about it. "Before we play Yahtzee, I just want to let you know that this isn't going anywhere. We are just two people who like to roll dice, OK?" If you are meeting people online, make sure to change your preferences to reflect your wish for non-relationships. For face-to-face interactions, or vis-a-vis as nobody says outside of grad school orgies, you might have to be more upfront with your ground rules and boundaries. A few suggestions (and these will vary depending on your resolve and/or fondness for brunch):
>> Limit your time spent with any one person.
>> If you have sex, don't spend the night. Unless you're too drunk to find your way home, the snuggling, spooning and possible breakfast the next day have the potential to tread dangerously close to relationship territory.
>> Go dutch on dates. I think both parties should share the financial burden of dates anyway, but paying your own way is a subtle assertion of your independence too.
>> Put yourself first and stay busy. Not only is this good for you in general, it also acts as a bonafide excuse for not hanging out with someone all the time.
>> Freedom talking points. If you can do so in a not-douchey way, and I am not saying it's easy, then casually throw in a sentence here and there about how much you love your freedom or how you're finally doing the things in life you couldn't do when in a relationship. Don't be half-assed about it though; it's not the American way. Our freedom is a drink best served whole-assed.
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