Picture this (adopts Sophia from Golden Girls voice): You’re attracted to someone. You think they’re funny, clever, witty, they embody all of the physical qualities that you like, and seem to share a few of your common interests and possess a similar outlook. After a date or few, you sleep together and feel like there’s an amazing ‘connection’. Over the coming weeks and months you notice a pattern – after loads of calls/texts/emails and off the chains sex initially, it’s slipped into a territory where you don’t really know where you stand. But you’re still sleeping together.
One night, lying there in the afterglow of another good ‘seeing to’, you tentatively ask what the score is, or mention a forthcoming event that you’d like them to come to with you. You want to progress things and there is a niggling concern that they’re using you for sex, although you really don’t want to see it this way. Every time these thoughts creep in, you remind yourself of when you were laughing a few weeks ago, or when you they talked about stuff they’d like to do with you (but have made no moves to), or when they said that they really enjoy your company. You reason that it’s pretty obvious that you’re crazy about them, so surely they wouldn’t be stringing you along?
You’re also in the Justifying Zone, that slippery slope many people go to where they look for reasons to justify their initial emotional and sexual investment instead of saying “I’m out.” Trust me when I say, you can have sex with someone and it not mean that you’re destined to be together forever and ever.
After posing the question, the atmosphere changes. They pull themselves onto their side and look at you. “I’m having a really good time you know, but let’s not ruin things. Let’s just go with the flow.” You suddenly feel exposed and vulnerable. “What do you mean?” you ask hesitantly. “Well…I just don’t want you to get all serious on me, because being honest with you, I’m not really looking for a relationship right now… Is that OK?” Er, well no it’s not OK but what the hell are you supposed to say when you’re lying there naked in a room that reeks of sex?
As I type these words, more than a few people out there are having sex with someone who they have more than a casual interest in, who is not interested in a relationship or isn’t even that interested in them.
In an ideal world, you’d like to think that shagging each other and even buffering it with hanging out, dinners, and some contact, would be an automatic precursor to a relationship…but they’re not.
If someone is having sex with you and they’re not interested or they don’t want to have a relationship, it’s because in their mind it’s a casual relationship. They may overvalue what they bring to the table and assume that because they’re having a good time, that you’ll be just oh so grateful to have them break you off a piece.
It is actually pretty ridiculous that someone who for instance, would have the cheek to tell you that they’re not interested in you, would see fit to exchange bodily fluids and ask you to engage in all sorts of sexual acts, when they could just skip on down the road to someone who they were interested in and leave you to put your time, energy and er, your bodily fluids elsewhere.
Unfortunately, there’s actually more than a few people out there who like the idea of sleeping with someone who seems crazy about them and believes that the relationship is going somewhere – like an effed up power trip. It can also allow them to be uninhibited because they feel like they can let their real sexual self hang out because they don’t care. They feel like they have no responsibilities and you’re just this sexual plaything, which can be pretty damn degrading.
On the whole not wanting a relationship but still sleeping with you and even hanging out and appearing to be dating you, this can be a serious mind eff. It looks like a relationship and in your mind, feels like a relationship, but it has the hallmarks, not the landmarks of a relationship (commitment, progression, balance, intimacy, and consistency, plus shared values, love, care, trust, and respect), so it’s actually casual .
While some are upfront, others don’t say anything until they really have to, which is normally around the time when you’re wanting things to progress or looking for some clarification. They might kid themselves and insist that they initially genuinely wanted a relationship, but at some point, they changed their mind and they didn’t give you a heads up, removing the opportunity for you to decide what you do or don’t want to participate in. It’s also a case of why endanger the good time…and why create conflict, so they say nothing. Experience has also taught me that people who claim to ‘change their mind’ and say nothing, weren’t genuinely in the market for something more.
To be fair though, I receive thousands of emails each year from readers who are told all manner of variations of “I don’t want a relationship” or “I’m unavailable” or “I’m not interested/a jackass”…and they ignore it. Why? Because they focus on the action and think “Well we’re having sex, they still text me, and we have so much fun together so obviously they do want a relationship.” No they don’t – actions and words must match. No match, no relationship.
So many people ask me “Why are they still having sex with me then?”
‘Having’ is like implying like you have nothing to do with it. Like you’re helpless to a shag machine and that you don’t have any say in what does and doesn’t happen and like you don’t need to read any hints because there’s nudity involved.
You should be asking “Why are we still sleeping together if they have shown or communicated their disinterest or have shown or communicated that they don’t want the relationship that I’ve said that I want?”
Answer this question and you can start stripping the illusions out of this involvement and take action that gives you back your power.
Some people will chance their arm and if they can get it, they’ll take it. It’s not cute, it’s not cool, and it’s actually disrespectful, but it is all the more reason why you shouldn’t use sexual involvement as a barometer for the relationship you want or what you feel someone’s feelings are. It also doesn’t matter if you want more; if they don’t and you continue to sleep with them, they assume you are on their terms.
Not only are sexual organs poor judges of character, but sex should never be used as a basis for working out what the hell is going on in your relationship – if you’re defaulting to sex, it’s because it’s lacking on other fronts.
It’s very difficult to gauge someone’s true character and intent immediately – time and experience demonstrates this. I’d avoid ‘negotiating’ with sex because there are some people that would sell their mama or at least sell you a big dream and a fake persona to get you into bed.
If you’re the type of person that values your sexual interactions and struggles with the discovery phase and sleeping together, slow yourself down and don’t have sex until you can manage the two. But once you discover that someone’s interest isn’t mutual and that they don’t want the relationship you want, it’s time to pull your pants up and flush them out of your life. Persisting will leave you feeling devalued – something you can be spared from if you don’t let your ego or libido blind you.
Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.
Image credit: Orphelia SXC