When you start dating someone, there are a multitude of different expectations you could have. Some people are set on the idea of a monogamous relationship, while others prefer something a little less exclusive. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either of these preferences, but there’s a lot of pain associated with a mismatch here.
If you want “the one” and she wants a one-night-stand, things can get pretty ugly, pretty quick.
What do you do in a situation like this? Take a deep breath, and think things through.
What do you like about her?
This isn’t intended to be rude; it is meant to be a serious question. What is it about this woman that you admire so much – enough that you want to keep her all to yourself? If you can’t think of anything important, maybe you should just let her go. In this case, monogamy is your primary objective – so it’s better if you wait until someone fits with that expectation.
On the other hand, if you’ve determined that there are things that draw you to her, you’ll have to evaluate whether these things are real, or if your mind has created them as a way to latch on. (It sounds lame, but it happens sometimes.) When you have separated fantasy from reality, you can decide if these are things you wouldn’t mind sharing.
Personally, I see zero harm with keeping things casual and friendly until sex gets involved. After all, if you’re not having sex with any of these women, there’s no risk of disease, and less risk of one of you getting more attached than the other. Some people learn to share even once sex is on the table, but I know that’s not for me. You’ll have to determine for yourself whether it’s a compromise you’re willing to make.
Is she worth waiting for?
She’s not ready to put a label on it yet – so you’ll wait awhile. But are you willing to be there waiting still, if that day never comes? Some people do not like to commit or label their lives, and those who value labels highly will probably be disappointed by this type of arrangement. But the ones who refuse the labels are usually fairly accommodating. They may, eventually, give in to their partner’s requests to tidy up the formalities.
If your lady wants to keep things casual, you’ll have to decide whether you’re willing to wait around to see if she changes her mind. You’ll have to understand that there is no guarantee that her mind will change. But you should also know that her love is not any less real just because she doesn’t qualify it.
Can you handle being unofficial?
If you absolutely must have the girlfriend title on full display, this woman is not right for you. You cannot change her, and she cannot change you – so it’s not meant to be. Maybe someday things will change on their own, but for now, you two literally can’t have a relationship.
If you think you can handle a casual situation, give it a shot – many people find that they prefer this type of “relationship” since it’s less pressure. It takes the focus off of the progression that relationships are “supposed to” go through, and instead lets you focus on learning each other without giving up your own independence.
If you try it and it just isn’t for you, that’s fine too. It’s not your fault, it’s not her fault – it’s just who you are. And it’s important to realize that sometimes these things change, so try to communicate your thoughts on a regular basis. Maybe it’s not working for her anymore, either – but if you don’t talk about it, you’ll never know.