You know something bad is about to happen when the guy you’re interested in says, “I need to tell you something.” My mind always jumps to “He has a secret wife,” but that has never actually been the case. (One time, I showed up to a first date and a guy said “I need to tell you something” immediately following “Hello.” He then explained that his grandmother was dying so he might be a little down that evening. That date went better than expected.)

Aside from that, most of the time the thing the guy has to tell me is that he’s “not looking for anything serious.” The amount of time it has taken for a guy to burst my bubble ranges anywhere from the first five minutes after we’ve met to two years after we first started dating, when my boyfriend told me he wanted to be on his own for a while but started up with a tattoo artist four weeks later and got matching birds tattoos with her. I feel like all I ever hear is “I don’t want to be in a relationship.” And it’s kind of starting to piss me off.

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First of all, if you’re using that line as an easy way to break up with someone, please stop. I would much rather hear that you just didn’t feel the chemistry than to spend tearful hours wondering why you think having a girlfriend would prevent you from bungee jumping before you turn 30. Real quote: “There are so many things I want to do and I won’t do them if I’m with you.”

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If you’re using it as a warning early on, then what makes you think I even want to be in a relationship with you? The other day when a guy told me, “I’m not looking for anything serious,” we hadn’t even been on a real date, we hadn’t kissed and I didn’t know his middle name. As far as I could tell, things were not serious. I hadn’t had enough time to find out whether he had any gross hygiene habits or rage issues so how would I know if I wanted to be his girlfriend? Really it is just a little presumptuous.

Of course, I realize that in many cases the guy is just trying to manage my expectations so I don’t get hurt. I appreciate that to a certain degree but I guess don’t understand not wanting to be in a relationship. I love my independence — getting the entire bed to myself, eating whatever I want and going to a bar with friends at 11pm just because. But if he thinks I’m smart and cute and sweet (and they always say that), then why wouldn’t he just want to spend time with me as long as it’s fun? That’s mostly what a relationship is — two people having fun with some sex thrown in. To me, it sounds like some people think that relationships equal a loss of happiness when of course a good one never does, and what girl wants a bad one? Is it just the label that’s the problem?

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When a guy just declares right away that what we have isn’t going anywhere but he’d still like to date, it just sucks all the hope and anticipation and exhilaration away. I don’t know if we’ll want to be in a relationship, but finding out is kind of the fun part.