Can A Non-Relationship Relationship Ever Work?

Do you recommend the non-relationship relationship?

I’ve read nothing but bad things about this in regards to women, but I’m finding it works for me…especially if one is busy with their own life and not the jealous type. I think we are often fed what we *should* be doing instead of what works and I’m wondering if I’m crazy or just thinking outside the box.  

I am a realist. One person is not going provide all of another person’s needs. Nor am I, his. Additionally, if I’m busy, I can’t be there as much. I have found that being open about this works.  But my friends think I’m batshit crazy — at least my female friends.   

I don’t know if I’m a by-product of having grown up being raised by my father and then becoming one of the only female pro wrestlers in a male dominated business, so I became “one of the guys”, or if I’m just more mature now. I wasn’t always like this.  

And yes, I am aware that the men I see (and actually care about) see women on the side. I know what is going on and with my main guy, know of the girl…she has helped me with some things before. She is a good person and very different than I am. I can see how he, too, would appreciate the differing personalities.  

I just can’t do lying and deceit.  

In my situation, guy 1 is amazing.   Smart as anything, treats me well. I LIKE him, respect him. We have very interesting conversations. He is funny.   It’s a mental connection more than physical. But that fiery sex, affection and romance is missing that I want it.  I am tired of settling and want what I want.

I’m also selective because of what I do and am not attracted to stupid, no matter how pretty a package it’s wrapped in. This presents a challenge in regards to dating.  Since you tend to have a different take on things at times, I’d welcome your opinion.  


Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

Your email reminds me of this reader from years ago who was convinced she was an amazing partner because she understood men so well; what she didn’t recognize was that she wasn’t giving men what they needed out of a relationship.

Similarly, despite the fact that you’re clearly bright, I think you have a blind spot about your predicament.

Here’s my take:

It’s not that you’re batshit crazy.

Different strokes for different folks, you know? Just because your girlfriends would not make these choices with their lives doesn’t make you wrong for staying non-committal with men.

Also, it doesn’t matter to me how you got this way — your father, your career, your exes — all of your experience is valid and makes you who you are today. No matter what I say in the next few paragraphs doesn’t change your history and imprint.

A good marriage is a well-oiled machine that requires maintenance but not constant rebuilding.

What I find REALLY interesting about your email is this, April:

You mention how selective you are. You want a smart, interesting, funny guy who treats you well and ALSO turns you on.

Okay. Then find it.

What you’ve created here is a false binary choice — as if there are only two kinds of men: nice guys who you’re not attracted to and hot guys who are stupid.

MANY of my clients do the exact same thing, so I’m not singling you out. I am illustrating, quite logically, that the odds are in your favor for finding ONE man who actually gives you everything!

How do I know this when it’s been so hard for you to find? How can I be so blindly confident despite the fact you’ve come to the conclusion that you need multiple men to fulfill your different needs?

Here’s how: millions of other people fall in love, get married, and find one person who fulfills the vast majority of their basic needs. I don’t see why you’re any different.

If anything, you’ve got yourself a self-fulfilling prophesy here.


    • a. Your beliefs are such that no one man can fulfill you, thus no one man can fulfill you.

b. You feel like you’re a unicorn because you’re a wrestler, but I would suggest that you’re probably just a woman with a lot of masculine energy.

c. You wrote that this “non-relationship relationship” works for you, but if it were working for you, you wouldn’t have written the question at all. In general, happy people don’t engage the services of advice columnists.

d. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. I don’t think you’re insane; that’s why you’re writing me this question. You want me to challenge your way of thinking in a manner you can listen to, consider and respect. So here goes:

Fact: Happily married people know things that struggling singles don’t.

The best marriages consist of complementary partnerships where people fall easily into their roles and day-to-day friction is at a minimum. A good marriage is a well-oiled machine that requires maintenance but not constant rebuilding.

Instead of settling on looks or intelligence, how about you keep looking until you find someone who gives you enough of both.

Sounds to me like you have both an avoidant attachment style (dissecting what’s wrong with each man to avoid real intimacy) and masculine energy (detaching from sex, being blunt, direct, busy and career driven).

Your solution, therefore, is relatively simple:

Find a man just like the smart, funny, nice guy you’re dating, but make sure the attraction is a 7 out of 10. Voila! You’ve now got one of those old-fashioned, one-man/one-woman, monogamous marriages that I’ve always told you was possible.

In other words, instead of settling on looks or intelligence, how about you keep looking until you find someone who gives you enough of both.

Further reading — an oldie but a goodie: Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover — In Defense of “Marry Him: The Case of Mr. Good Enough” by Lori Gottlieb.