Ask Chelsea: Dear Non-Boyfriend

by May 3, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]


Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Dear Chelsea

I have been dating a girl for almost three months. Right off the bat she said she just wanted to date and wasn’t interested in a relationship. I understood where she was coming from, and it didn’t bother me since I wasn’t really looking for anything myself. Since then it’s starting to feel like a relationship, but she refuses to call it one. Why is she putting up such a barrier and what should I do about it?

Sincerely,  Non-boyfriend

Dear Non-boyfriend,

A number of reasons could exist as to why she does not want to call your “dating” a relationship. She could have had a serious relationship in the past that traumatized her, emotionally; she might believe that calling it a relationship would scare you away if you too have given the impression that you aren’t really looking for one; she might value her independence and feel that committing to you would give that up.

Have you tried asking her?

I could make suppositions all day long to explain her reasons for acting as such — you will not get the true answer until you ask her. The key is not to phrase it in the form of an accusation, i.e. “why are you putting up such a barrier,” or “why don’t you want a relationship.” Rather, ask her this: “I get the sense that there’s a reason you don’t want a relationship, do you want to talk about it?” and “Is there anything I can do to make this more comfortable for you?”

Maybe understanding her past and, likewise, sharing yours can bring you two together in a way that breaks down that barrier. Show her that you understand and sympathize with her limitations, and that you’re willing to accommodate to them.

Oftentimes it can be easy to think that your behavior has influenced another’s treatment towards you. Most of the time, though, you have absolutely nothing to do with it. Everyone carries their own baggage through life that can be as complex as a difficult childhood experience or as simple as a tough day at work. Understanding this and listening to that person when they need you, especially when it comes to your significant other, will both increase your patience for a person and bring you two together.

Maybe it’s starting to feel like a relationship — well, then let it be what it is and enjoy it. Who cares about the definition? If you end up wanting more and become interested in having a relationship, it sounds like you’ll need to be the one to ask for it. And who knows? Maybe she says she doesn’t want a relationship because she’s waiting for you to make the first move.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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