MSP Sex Q&A: How Do I Keep This Relationship Casual and No Strings Attached?

Question:
Ok…so we all know that relationships are and can be confusing but here is the situation.  I am currently seeing somebody and she has made it clear through conversations that i have overheard with her friends (I was not spying or anything, we were all in the car together) that we are not exclusive.  This is great and I don’t mind this at all however the past couple of times that I have been with her it has become clear that she is attempting to take this relationship to the next level.  I’m just not sure how to approach this situation as I do not want this to become a long term or involved relationship, I just want to keep it as a now strings attached type of deal. Also she has what I feel to be an attractive friend who she does not think is attractive, but that is a different story.

Answer:
Yes, relationships can indeed be confusing… they’re tricky little suckers. Especially when relationship partners don’t talk to one another and only rely on hearsay… as in this situation. If you do not want to take your relationship to “the next level” (what is this, Pac Man?) then you might want to talk to her about this in what’s sometimes called a Relationship Defining Conversation (RDC). Even if you don’t want to call it a RDC, if you want clarity you need to go for it. Try a “so we should probably talk about where this is and isn’t going” conversation. Whatever you want to call it, in the wide words of Nike, Just Do It.

Sometimes people are afraid to say “this isn’t going anywhere” to their partner because they worry that their partner will stop putting out, to put it blunty. Well, you’re an adult and you’re having sex and so you need to be responsible for her feelings and for what you’ve got going on here. I’m not saying you’re afraid of losing access to her vagina, but for some reason – fear? laziness? shyness? uncertainty about how to say it? – you have thus far chosen not to be extremely clear with her. And if I am wrong, and you have been EXTREMELY clear to her (e.g., “this isn’t going anywhere; I don’t want a relationship with you; I do want a non-exclusive hook up situation with you; and no, my feelings may never change for you”) but she is just refusing to believe you and you sense that she still wants to take it to the next level, then you may need to be the responsible party here and end things before she gets in any deeper.

As for your other story, do say more. :)

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.