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…”

  • I’ve never made much time, by choice, to invest in dating. I have pretty much been single for ten years and threw myself into raising my kids having to be mom and dad. I worked crazy hours and went to college as well. I’ve attempted online dating, but get disgusted quite easily and retreat back to my comfort zone of being alone. At this point I feel set in my ways, but miss the perks of having someone.
    About two years ago, I had a very close relationship with a much younger male friend and it almost felt like we dated for two years without even knowing it. He was my best friend and time with him was so easy and fun without pressure. We have a very big age difference and he is Mormon and just got back from a two year mission. Before he left, things happened between us. There were strong feelings there, but I don’t fit into his box. I know now that is what I want in a relationship (minus religion), and afraid I won’t find that good of a fit as I never have. I am supposed to see him soon and find myself avoiding it like the plague. Just think it’s easier that way.

  • I’m scared of getting into relationship and be broken again. Yes, I embrace all my excuses. I decided to focus on my kids and my career. Yes, it’s very lonely out here, but I will take that as a consequence of my decision.

    Maybe the right one will come on the right time.

    1. My ex really broke my heart to the point I could actually feel the pain in my chest. I would have dreams where he would hug me and I would wake up and could smell his cologne as if he were there. He left me and my son unexpectedly. I never saw it coming. I found out after he left he had been running up credit cards in my name I didn’t even knew I had. Turned out he never loved me I was just a part of scheme. He is the king of manipulation. He just got a divorce and did the same to her. He doesn’t see his kids and avoids child support. He now has a girlfriend with a kid…the next victim. This man was nothing like the man I fell in love with. It’s almost like he has two personalities. He taught me to trust no one but I will never give up on finding love.

  • Most people avoid relationships because trust has been broken by their loved ones which make them difficult to find that trust in a new person. And many of us, just love to be single and live independently where they can enjoy their life in own style and manner without any interference.

  • I am just so scared, I haven’t been in a relationship for like 2 years now and that hurts me sometimes when I think about it. It also has more to do with me not being able to commit and trust guys because of my past experience with them. When my friends ask me why I’m still single I just say that I’m too picky and that’s also true, sometimes I just feel like every guy I meet is not good enough for me and that makes it impossible for me to give them a chance coz I lose interest very easily. The other reason is that I rarely attract good guys, of which I don’t know why!

    1. Hello,
      well I believe that after the first meeting you can tell if this guy has the potential to be a great man or not. there are good men outside, I have friends that I know that they have good personality, and you probably also know men that has good personality but they might be taken or not, so thinking many or most guys are not good enough is wrong. in every man or a woman there are flaws, but some are not so important flaws (for example if I was a woman, I don’t think a man that is short, don’t have much money, works in a simple job, don’t have a college degree, not organized, cleans his house only once every 4 months…) all of those are not so big flaws in my point of view, there are much more important things to look for. I advice you to make a list of non import flaws and not say a man is not good enough because he has this flow.

      I have a very good friend, he is bold, don’t have a college degree, he has a simple job, but he likes that job. he actually owns the house he lives in because he was smart enough to buy it when it was not expensive. he is a very good man, he has a good heart, and I know that. I trust him as a friend, and he is not a guy that well get into stupid fights, and I’m sure when he will find his girl he will be very loyal to her.

      so don’t loss hopes! :)

  • ‪The fear of that dreadful pain from feeling loss and mourning when it’s time to break up and that inability to get back a handle on your life again anymore, as though you’re in a vegetative state. I just can’t do it anymore..
    I know it’s not right to be thinking about the break up prior to the ‘start up’ and we tell ourselves all these things over and over but in the end, the fear of ‘that’ pain that is so intense it brings you to your knees, it wins every time. I consider myself a very strong woman who has and can handle all sorts of bullets in life, but not break ups ironically. As long as I’m single, I won’t ever feel that way again.

    1. Could not agree with you more ! Glad I’m not the only woman who felt SO HURT after a breakup! I thought I was crazy and insane !

  • Funny. I grew and matured immensely after the last bad break up. Of course I also had a new born which might have done it. ;) so yeah my excuse is that it was so wrong that everything is just more right now I’m single. And of course i burned myself, yet i am happy to be rid of him, and happy with my life right now

    Great article! It was nice to hear someone advocating relationships without making it THE reason to live.
    I learn a lot about being single by reading these things, and think about what exactly it is a want in a man. So thanks and good work ^^

  • I’ve always had a hard time opening up, and showing vulnerability with my partners. I’ve done so more and more in my past relationships. In my last relationship, i did just that, have never felt so close to a partner and although the first 5 months were amazing with both of us wanting to start a serious relationship, he went off for xmas vacation and came back totally different, saying he didn’t want anything serious. So i had to walk away from a guy i love. I’m wondering still today what happened, if i did something wrong, what i could have done differently. All i can think of is that i showed a more vulnerable side, and that that scared him?
    I struggle with starting something new, because of the pain of having love and losing it (for no apparent reason.) If i had done something massively wrong and my partner would have left me for that, that would have been easier i think.
    Love seems like such a fragile thing, that you can lose at any moment. That makes it hard to be brave, to be yourself, to give yourself the permission to not be perfect, to make mistakes, to screw up, and to try again. Love is a tough teacher!! the scariest and most painful, wrapped into the most amazing and beautiful.

  • My brother told me the other day I was staying away from a relationship because of fear, and shocked me a little, I have told myself many times I dont have time, It bores me to be on dates that look more like an enterview for a job or a check on benefits or coinsidences for a good deal (and this is true till today). But I have been thinking on that “fear” part that I never thought of, and have realized that maybe some fear used as a self securing system keeps me making big distances between guys and I. I thing you got a good point in your article and its to make me actually rethink on the core reason why I dont pursue or try on relationships. Keep the good work I like reading and hearing what you share, fun somethimes and real most of them. Blessings.

  • I’m a little shy, very independent and I don’t suffer fools gladly. Maybe I’ve gotten a little too good at going to movies, concerts and museums by myself when I don’t have a +1.
    When I haven’t been meeting anyone I’ll give myself a goal of going on x number of dates in a month or a year, the first 5 or 10 (or whatever my goal is) guy who ask me out, regardless how attracted I am to the guy. It’s been a lot of perfectly nice first dates with no spark, a couple creeps and (with online dates) a couple of good guys I never would have met if I wasn’t trying to reach my goal. Still single, still shy, but I’m taking baby steps.

  • Hum… I want to be single because I really just want to take care of myself. After a big list of things, it’s finaly time to fight for me and that’s what I have to focus on. There are a lot of things that I have to do for me. A relationship (what ever kind) it’s about giving, not just receiving. And right now, I just want to give to my self because I’ve ignored myself for too long, I thought I could do everything for everyone and I was always leaving me for later. And then I realised that I wasn’t left for later, I was leting me for Never! Now I deserve my own atention and to finaly take care of myself. I also need to learn that I can give to otheres AND to me. Only after learning to put me first, I’ll know WHEN to put me first. Only after make up to myself I want to dedicate to ‘that kind of someone’. Now it’s my turn :) <3

  • I want to meet someone but I have difficulty meeting men. I am a single mom. I have tried the online thing but can’t seem to get to the point of arranging a date. They talk a couple of days and they stop investing. I have even given them my number. They text once or twice and then they are done. Idk what else to do. I also don’t know when to bring up that I have a son. I didn’t put it on my dating profile bc I wasn’t getting a response. I don’t get it I’m a total catch. Please help Matthew!

    1. Hi Anna,
      Well you should explain why you don’t get to the point to get a date. what happens in the conversation that prevents it. usually men will try to make a date when you talk on the phone.

  • I would be really be interested in ideas/suggestions for seniors relationships. Plenty of us out there.

  • Terrible experiences such as mistreatment, abuse (emotional, verbal, physical and sexual) that leave you traumatized…

  • Hi E,
    to tell you the truth, I feel sorry for you. it gets me sad to read your posts.

    I don’t think the men on online dating are better/worse than men that are “offline” in many cases they are the same men, just you meet them in different places.

    So you tried dating how much 7 dates and you felt it is not for you? I’m a man, not so younger than you, and I had thousands of online dates, and most of them were not successful, some were nice, many I had 2nd dates, but only recently I found a girl that it is right for me, after years of trying. after years of failing, I keep on going and trying again, and again , and again.

    So I can give you my advice, never stop trying as long as you live, enjoy the failures and accept them as part of your daily live. online dating is the easiest way to try. I tried also offline, but for you as a girl in order to try the offline way you need to be more available to men, that means go out very often, for a drink, a walk, a pub, and do it few times every day so you make enough hours of you to be available to approach. you can also travel a lot for vacations, because traveling makes your more approachable because you are happy and go out more.

    If you stay in the house for many hours, you will not find your man. no man goes to apartments and knock on the doors to find love.. :)

    I hope this helps.

  • In my surrounding environment where i were raised, all man were irresponsible, and yet to advantages to other persons in which non i can rely on. I think the main reason above all is i don’t trust man.

  • Dear Stephen and Matt Hussey,

    This triggered something in me I was hoping you could address because I am unsure if you ever have before…what if your emotional baggage is a mental illness like depression or even having overcome a suicide attempt. There is so much stigma and I know you say we all have baggage but if this is a part of you (I know it shouldn’t nor does it define you) but how would you go about opening up or sharing this with someone who is particularly interested in you or cares? How do you handle this? Maybe you can do a video if able or an article. Thanks!!!!!!

    1. Dear Lisa,

      Your depression is part of you. But it’s your baggage, not his. You reveal it as you get closer, like you reveal anything that is a bit tender. And his response tells you something important about him – whether he is calm and caring or whether he can’t handle the hard stuff. If he’s the latter, he’s no good to you anyway. Better to know.
      The important thing is not to imagine you can hand over responsibility for your baggage to another person entirely. It’s always still your baggage.

  • I havent had a relationship in 18 years. Just now opening myself to date people, even if they are not my type. I wonder now if I should just enter any relationship to, you know, live this experience. Is like there are things I fear before they even occur. Prejudice, fear of making a mistake, that the guy is not the one and that I will hurt him, etc. My friends tell me to try, and I suspect I didn’t really like him as I thought, and certainly not as he likes me.

  • I’m single because I’m MGTOW and I avoid relationships because it’s dangerous for a man to get into one.

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