The Real Reasons We Avoid Relationships…

Stephen Hussey

I remember talking to a television executive last year (not my usual social milieu, but hey, I was in LA at the time), and we got to talking about how more young people are choosing to avoid relationships.

“I don’t understand that,” she said. “My family come from a Jewish psychotherapy background, and for us it’s all about relationships. That’s where all the growth and learning is. To avoid relationships is to avoid life.”

I’ve thought about that a lot since.

There are no doubt benefits to being single:

  • You learn how to be independent
  • You get an identity and friendships outside of someone else
  • You learn how to make yourself happy (or hopefully you do)

These are all good things. They make you come to relationships from a position of power. But even as someone who is capable of really enjoying the single life, I understood what she meant.

I’ve had several relationships in my twenties, and I’m positive that it’s within those that I did the most maturing and emotional growth, difficult as that process could be. As a result, I can’t help but see the idea of people avoiding relationships as a matter of principle, especially if they have zero experience of them, as a very shortsighted strategy.

The ability to successfully manage a relationship, meet someone else’s needs, and communicate your own effectively, is a skill that takes work like any other. So it pays to get some practice in.

Yet, you’ve probably heard all the excuses people make for avoid relationships:

  • “My life is SO busy right now.”
  • “I want to focus on my career.”
  • “It’s a lot of effort to think about someone else – I just want to do my own thing.”

I get it. I’ve used all of these before as well. Sometimes they’ve been 100% true.

But here’s the problem: these things will always be true.

  • If you’re a Type-A, active person, you’ll always be busy.
  • If you’re ambitious and driven, you’ll always want to put time into your career.
  • If you find it hard to think about someone else’s needs…that will still be hard 10 years from now, so you may as well try it sooner rather than later.

The truth is: it’s not relationships that hold people back, it’s bad relationships.

If you find a relationship is killing your career, sucking up all your free time, or making you feel like you’re constantly giving and get nothing in return, it’s probably a sign you’ve chosen a partner whose values and needs aren’t compatible with your own.

But here’s the catch: You only learn who the right partner is by dating a few of the wrong people (unless you get super lucky on your first try), so experiencing relationships is one of the best ways to discover the qualities you REALLY want in a long-term relationship.

Enjoy Being Single, But Know Why…

Believe me, I’m the last person to suggest you go out and immediately jump into any relationship just so you can get more experience. In fact, please definitely don’t do that. There are already enough crappy marriages in the world caused by society’s insane pressure to see everyone (particularly women) coupled up as soon as possible.

What really matters are your reasons for wanting to be single or in a couple.

We all get addicted to our excuses, and a huge amount of progress comes when we realise how silly these are: e.g. “It’s not possible to have a great career and a successful relationship at the same time”, “I don’t know if the guy I want exists”, “I have no spare time”. When we let these go, it’s liberating. It frees us from our self-imposed stories and makes us open to possibilities again.

I have no dog in this fight. If you love being single, then go for it. Embrace the time for yourself, dive in, and try not to piss too many people off in the process.

Just realise WHY you’re doing it.

It’s always good now and then to look at the stories we tell ourselves in our heads, and ask the difficult question: Is this story bulls**t? Do I have a good reason for believing this? Are there people who I admire who have figured this out in spite of why I’m telling myself it can’t be done?

What excuses are still keeping you single (or making you afraid of it)? Let me know in the comments below!

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55 Replies to “The Real Reasons We Avoid Relationships…”

  • Another beautifully written piece, Stephen. I have used all of these reasons for staying out of relationships and pushing guys away. I definitely learned a lot about myself being single for a period of time. That was a really great thing I did for myself. The few relationships I was in helped me learn what I didn’t want and what I needed to improve on in myself. I think a great relationship comes down to being very secure with yourself and meeting the right person at the right time. Thank you for helping me fire my neurons and helping me really appreciate where I’m at today.

    1. So True. I enjoy reading Stephen’s articles. He gives good tips and an inner voice for that positive inputs in my head too. Just getting warmed up for the next compatible or better one Candy!

  • Why still single? Not many guys out there who can accept my life style, the way I’m thinking, and my standards.

    Plus, not many commited, charismatic and financially stable single guys left who are at the same age or elder. In my culture, guys normally looking for younger ladies and unmarried ladies at the age beyond 30 are seen as leftovers.

  • Perhaps people do not understand what a relationship is. Some might think it means friends with benefits. But I recently read a good relationship as described like this: two people who are equally independent while being mutually dependent all the while having reciprocal obligations. Summed up, it is not getting the right partner but being the right partner.

  • This is so true.
    Wanting to avoid bad or incompatible relationships allows us to try not to think of relationships, and focus on work. At least I was doing that after focusing too much on work past years and recently just ended a short one when i decided that its time I spent some time to look around me and ‘open my doors’. Sad but true relationships sometimes dont work out. It takes efforts by both parties. And after breaking down my defences when i finally get comfortable with someone and yet get knocked down after all that effort makes it hard. But i always try to tell myself, dont give up. it might take some exercise to warm up those feelings, and this one was just some warm ups for the next better one.

  • It’s not a choice to be single would love to have someone in my life, but finding someone decent that’s the hard part !! I think it’s very hard these days especially as a single mother of 2 kids working and studying … I don’t get to go out much so how are you supposed to meet someone ?
    I’ve certainly learnt what I don’t want and I won’t go with anyone just to have someone, I’m not closed off or I don’t use the excuses to not have a relationship, I get out where I can, sometimes I think it’s just pure luck !!

  • Why still single? Because the guy I want told me that he only wants sex. We’re really good friends but he only keeps having sex with as many girls as he can. I do not know what I’m gonna do with all this shit, srsly.

    1. Oh my!! If he’s having sex with other women, say Goodbye!! He is NOT the right guy for you. His actions speak louder then words. Please find a nice guy that is ready for a commitment loving relationship with you and only you. From one independent woman to another…keep your standards high. The right guy will find you in time. I’m single and focus on my friendships and family and my job.

    2. He’s not the guy for you. Stop making him the center of your world and go find someone who actually wants to be with just you. You’re chasing the dream of who you want him to be, not who he actually is, and that’s always a recipe for disaster. Take it from someone who’s been there…

  • My reasoning for not pursuing a relationship right now is that I don’t think I’m capable of having a healthy relationship right now. I moved in the last 4 months to a new state and still haven’t gotten a “life” if you will. Lacking a friendship group, I know I’d suck the life out of a man and try to get ALL of my needs by him. Let me know Stephen if you think it’s a good idea. Loved the article, thanks Stephen!

  • I think the main reason keeping my away from real relationship is affraid of getting hurt or hurting other people. Have you ever been in a relationship that didn’t break?
    Or I haven’t met the person I feel right to be with or given me enough signs to trust them. I don’t think it’s something wrong in me, just I have to keep my standards that way and not settle down with anything lower than that

  • I just would like to add to previous 2 comments with which I identify, too, that there is no more energy left in me for doing that “little” extra that Matt keeps stressing… I have been doing it for a long long time (with breaks of course;))and now, I just feel like I am powerless if stars are in no favour of me getting married… and I am fine with it… Fortunately, I was never addicted to the idea that I MUST get married (or at least have a partner, lately), or have my own biological children… I have seen and heard of too much unhappiness coming out of such ideology ;}
    Anyway, great article, Stephen! I keep reading the staff, so I could encourage other people when they come and ask me for advice or should I see them suffer too much…

  • I’m afraid of being judged poorly by men, which has happened to me. A guy told me “You look like a virgin who really wants sex.” At first I laughed because of how ridiculous it sounds, but I realized that guy is an ass and there will be a man who understands. It’s just gunna take time weeding through the bullshit. I learned from your brother that attractive people attract everyone even the assholes and gentleman are scared to talk to me based on my looks. I’ve showed gentlemen that it’s okay to talk to me and get closer.

    Thank you for the article Mr. Hussey!

  • Hi Stephen,
    thanks for this brainal!
    What held me back where expectations for a long time! I was afraid I couldn’t meet my partners needs and that I didn’t want to do it I thought I loose my freedome!
    I found that the opposite is true I was afraid of my own expectations and that no one would or could ever meet them! I thought that I wasn’t worthy of it! When I started to allow people to fulfill some of my needs and when I started to fulfill my own with full responsibility I saw that I liked it when I could do sth. for someone else that made them happy. And because I didn’t put the burdon of fulfilling my needs unconsciously on someone else I wasn’t afraid of others expectations anymore! If everyone fulfilles themselves it is such a pleasure to give and make my partner happy and I can fully appreciate and enjoy the gifts of my partner! There is nothing that feels uncomfortable anymore when I keep the responsibility for my fulfillment by myself! Even though I know it takes guts to stand behind what you need for yourself when your partner might not like it but the right person will want you to do only what you feel happy doing they won’t think in terms of they loose sth. When you’re not acting as they want you to they will respect your need and support you in your choice!
    When I am shying away from a relationship I now know it is because I don’t take enough responsibility for my own needs!
    Happy week for everyone

  • I’m in school and it takes a lot my time. Secondly I’m afraid of getting rejected and hurt because I have a physical disability and lately I’m very loving person but I’ve became kinda cold because as much love I showed people took me for granted..:(

  • Dear Stephen,

    Thank you for this article it is very interesting.

    I don’t think that I have a specific reason for staying single. I want a good and healthy relationship with a great man and In my single time I am learning things about myself that I don’t want to miss. I really enjoy myself and do all the things I want to do and grow every step of the way.

    I think there are sometimes too many reasons of not going into a relationship that we get overwhelmed and do nothing about the issues. (When I lost 10 kilos, when I am confident enough etc… ) The most important thing for me is going out and having fun, to take care about yourself, keeping in mind that somebody will appreciate all your adorable flaws :)

    Greetings from Germany

  • My reasoning for not pursuing a relationship right now is because I live with my parents. I just graduated college and have a decent career. I am saving up money for my own place eventually. Plus, I am a fairly quiet person. I don’t know if it’s just me overthinking things but I really just have no idea what to do because I really would like a relationship. I don’t know if I should try to find a girl while I live at home. I really have no idea how to find the right girl though due to lack of experience. Let me know if there is something that I should do about this. Thanks Stephen!

  • After a rushed first relationship which involved moving in with each other too soon and engagement, I have decided to join the military to better grow and become independent. I’ve had a few relationship offers, but this is my first time going out and enjoying the single life and I don’t know where I’ll be or when I’m leaving for the military. I know I’m making excuses, but I’m afraid of fighting for something so wrong again.

  • To be honest, I’m scared And I feel it’s hard for me to trust myself that I can really find a guy that is right for me.
    Every time I feel that it’s right to give it a try, and get to know a guy, there is a personal crisis in my life. I’m fired from my job, or I’m in a tense exams period of time. Or one of my parents are having surgery…
    I don’t feel like I can handle a relationship and it feel suck, because I really want one. I doubt myself a lot, and I’m in a constant feeling of fear to get hurt, and not understood.
    I wish I could be more easygoing.
    Sometimes I feel like I am a kind of burden to some guys, and they don’t want me because all of my problems so I am harsh with myself to try and be better. But I’m tired of being in this situation. I’d really like a guy want me for who I am! Someone that I can feel free to be who I really am around him.
    Right now I’m having lots of deep thoughts about myself and life, so i can do things the right way for me. Maybe I am carrying to much from the last relationships I had…
    I’d really be happy to get some tips… If you have some.
    Have a great day.

  • Just had a breakup, TODAY. Sigh. It’s hard to get back out there. I had such trust in him and I feel each time I trust a man it’s a minor miracle to find that trust again for a new man.

    But I do. I somehow do. Sigh. I like being single, because yeah, I don’t have to feel like this when it doesn’t work out. But I keep trying anyway because I know a good relationship is worth it.

  • Yeah….I’m glad I read this article. I’ve been telling myself for a while that I don’t have space or time or energy for a real relationship in my life and that I’m happy as I am right now. But what it really is is all of those bad relationship experiences weighing down. To be brutally honest, I don’t want the hassle of a really crappy relationship…ANOTHER bad one. And they’ve ALL been bad ones…and that’s what I’ve come to believe all relationships are, that they’re all not worth the effort. But at least now, I’m aware that’s why I’m avoiding one. I spose it only takes one good one to change your mind ;) Great article, thank you

  • Great article! The reason’s I have been single for almost 5 years is because I have 3 children (2 with challenging needs) and limited childcare. I do not have difficulty attracted men on nights out however chemistry is very import to me and that is not always their. Then its finding time to date and the reality that I am part of a package. I am aware I do tell myself stories which are limiting and I also have real limits. I’m a work in progress and your article has left me with lots to consider. This is a great site. Many thanks.

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