A few weeks ago, I came across a meme. I can’t remember the wording exactly, but it went something along the lines of ‘when they say “I’m just not looking for a relationship right now” the “with you” is like the “g” in lasagne.’ Silent, but it’s still there. Pretty brutal. Although we might be quick to send this type of meme to a friend because it’s just so relatable, we do need to address the fact that this opinion places all the blame for a failed romantic endeavour on the person who was rejected. Blaming yourself for this type of thing is extremely unhealthy.
I think most people have been in a situation where someone they were dating has turned around and said that infamous line. On the surface, it seems like the perfect get out phrase, an ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ excuse. It lets someone down gently without offering too much of an explanation. However, the meme suggests that there is something undateable about the rejectee. You wonder why someone would go to the effort of dating you when they didn’t want anything in the first place. It doesn’t really make sense. Regardless, when someone says they are not looking for a relationship, it has far more to do with them than it does with you.
There may be many reasons why someone does not want a relationship, and everyone is entitled to make that decision for themselves. The worst thing you can do is ruminate upon the many reasons why someone has used that line. Asking you not to do this is a little bit like the ‘don’t think of a white bear’ thinking experiment, yet it is important that you don’t blame yourself. There is no point in the rejectee wondering what could have happened if the situation had played out slightly differently. What if you’d met them 6 months later? What if they hadn’t just got out of a long-term relationship? What if you hadn’t replied to their messages so quickly? All of these questions are ultimately pointless. If someone cannot appreciate all that you have to offer, no amount of ‘what if’ situations are going to change that.
Another mistake that people make is trying to persuade the rejecter to change their mind. You may have heard other stories about girls or guys whose now-significant others first started out the relationship not wanting to be in one, but as we learnt from the film ‘He’s Just Not That into You’, those are not the rule, they are the exception. Never try and be with someone who has to be persuaded to want to be with you, it will only start the relationship off with an unhealthy dose of doubt. You shouldn’t have to sell yourself to someone like a sales pitch. You are not a painting up for auction: never try and convince someone else of your worth. If they were truly a valuable addition to your life, they will realise your importance without needing it explained.
Now, this next piece of advice might seem a bit odd, but in the instance when someone you have been seeing tells you they are not looking for a relationship right now, be grateful that this red flag came to fruition when it did. Finding this out means you can move on and spend your time with more appreciative people and doing more fulfilling things. Trust me, you are worth that.
However, a slightly more sinister use of this phrase is employed by the worst kind of people: those who aren’t ready to commit but also don’t have enough respect for the other person to let them go. They use the phrase as a means to bide them time and give false hope to the other person. It doesn’t seem like an outright rejection but, believe me, it is. You cannot sleep your way to a relationship, hoping that one day they will turn around and say, ‘I’m ready now.’ If you want more of a commitment from them, but they say they don’t want a relationship with you, and still they continue to see you in a romantic or sexual way, regardless of your feelings, cut them off.
Don’t ever assume that you are the issue when someone you are seeing says they are not looking for a relationship right now. That is something for them to deal with, not you.