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Commitment phobia is awesome

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Dallas Boyd
Dallas Boyd

I received the most heart-warming message that came with an assuring disclaimer:

I like you*

“Oh my!” I thought – and kept reading excitedly:

*I don’t love you. You probably don’t want to marry me and you probably won’t like me forever. I just like you. I like you like I like to see the sky. You are free to like me forever or even just until tomorrow.

My heart cockles went all warm and gooey inside but not in a silly, swooning, giggling, young-love way. I wondered if he’d been with lots of desperate, single-white-female types that made him feel the need to start off at arms-length. Or maybe he wasn’t super confident. Basically yelling a pick-up line at me through a megaphone. From across a gorge. I appreciated the caution. I tried to puff a vague, shapeless, “message received” smoke signal back at him, like an Indian in hiding. It’s meaning getting lost in translation somewhere across the distance.

Let’s all slow things right down, hold the horsies, no need to get our knickers in a twist. Or even off. Keep the knickers on... (FOR NOW.)

It seems to be a theme these days, this commitment phobia. Relationship disclaimers. Treading carefully. Trying not to get involved with losers, so that you don’t have to look back at your exes and cringe anymore. Those awful break-ups that have scarred us for life. The ones that made us have to update our Facebook security settings! And lose custody of our favourite supermarket! And wonder how it was possible that we could have been so blinded by good sex with someone we were NOT intellectually compatible with! (Hahaha) Well... we shall be made fools of no more!

The last guy I dated(?) told me often that I wasn’t his girlfriend and it was very comforting. He told anyone who would listen that I wasn't his girlfriend. (He also introduced me to his family and gave me a key to his house.) Although maybe he was just telling me what I wanted to hear, since I told him I didn’t want a boyfriend. “Right you are!”, he assured me, “this is most certainly not a relationship!”, he explained, contently snuggled next to me in bed, like a happy little spoon. No doubt wondering what I would lovingly cook him for breakfast in the morning.

This new age of commitment-phobia is awesome. If you can be subjected to pre-employment behavioural/psychological assessments and made to pee in a cup (which I usually spill) wouldn’t it be great if you could also evaluate and seek references on potential dates to find out whether they’re alright before they’re living in your pocket?

“Please review the attached document on behavioural styles and complete the questionnaire on page 7. This must be returned via email by midday. My secretary will be in touch. Thank you.”

Heh heh!

This is why we date, to audition our future partners before making a commitment. We are even allowed to say “this doesn’t work for me” without feeling guilty. Or if all else fails – run.

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