They spend the night at your house, go out to the movies with you, and even cook you breakfast once. Hell, you’ve met their friends before, too! And while all signs point to the fact they want to be in a relationship with you, they’ve told you they don’t want anything serious.

So why the mixed signals?

The thing is: regardless of what you both label what’s going on between you two, it’s a relationship. Relationships come in all shapes and sizes; even my local barista and I have a relationship.

It’s the labeling part that has you both hung up. The person you’re dating acts like your partner but doesn’t want to be called it. This begs the question: why? Let’s talk about it.

They want the fun without all the serious stuff.

Let’s face it: having someone to be your plus one to weddings and snuggle with while you binge Netflix is nice. Wouldn’t it be great to have all of that, minus compromising, serious talks, and any sort of argument? For people wanting a relationship, we’re willing to take it all. But for people who don’t want to commit, this kind of set-up is their ideal situation.

They don’t want to be tied down.

It’s a harsh reality that sometimes, someone wants the option of making out with a stranger at the bar without technically “cheating.” Or maybe they have this idea of their ideal partner in their head and want to be available if said person comes along.

They’re terrified of commitment.

There are many reasons people are scared of commitment. They might fear emotional intimacy because they didn’t have a healthy relationship with their parents growing up. Maybe they’ve been cheated on in the past and find it hard to trust people. Either way, a fear of commitment could have someone holding you at arm’s distance.

Convenience.

Finding someone who is OK with acting like they’re in a relationship, sans the actual label, isn’t easy. The fact you’re going along with things is very convenient for them. Why stop something that’s working so well for them?

They’re simply not looking for commitment.

Not everyone wants a serious, committed relationship; some people thrive in open relationships or polyamorous ones. It’d be silly to assume we all want the same things. So while neither of you is wrong for wanting what you want, it’s also a sign you’re just not a good match.

You’re not drawing a boundary.

At the end of the day, someone acts like your partner because you allow them to. If a serious relationship is what you want, you need to express that to them. If they’re against an actual relationship, create a boundary, and move on. Eventually, you’ll find someone who will love to be your partner.

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