Not Interested in Dating? You Have Lots of Company

Last Updated 24.03.2022
14 min read

A recent Pew Research poll reported that 50% of singles in the U.S. report they are not interested in looking for a romantic relationship. And because romantic relationships come from dating, it makes sense that those who aren't looking for them are not dating on a regular basis, if at all.

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Let's be clear here. Not being interested in dating does not mean that you don't have a sexual attraction to someone or do not seek or enjoy sex. Given the newer and much more liberated views by millennials and Gen Zer's, casual sex is perfectly normal, without the prerequisite of dating. It is totally different from what the "mental blanketing" of previous generations.

According to Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., and author of the book Singled Out, "Mental blanketing is my term for the relentless and pervasive glorifying of marriage and shaming of single people... many single people are no longer feeling that pressure from society...Even those who are feeling it are not letting it get to them." So, if you are not interested in dating, be proud that you have made the right choice for you.

Just What is Modern Dating?

In short, it's anything people want it to be. Here are all of the options that teens and adults have for "dating" experiences:

  • Traditional high school dates - proms, parties, movies

  • Group high school "dating" - couples in relationships and other singles all go out together

  • Traditional college dating - parties, bars, meals, outdoor activities - often monogamous relationships while they last

  • College modern dating, which might include multiple short-term partners and one-night stands

  • Single hetero adult dating - people may or may not be looking for a relationship or potential marriage partner.

  • Single hetero or LGBTQ+ people not looking for relationships but for hookups and short-term sexual partners.

  • Married couples, hetero or queer, who have an open marriage or partnership and date others or have threesomes

  • Single or married people, who choose to do online dating, because it is "safe," less intimate, and can be used for sexual pleasure, even though they are separated and may never hook up in person. People who are not interested in dating or a romantic relationship can choose this as an alternative to normal dating.

So, if a person is not interested in dating, they will first need to be honest about what being not interested in dating means to them. Let's take a look at the options.

Types of Non-Dating People

People who are not interested in dating or romantic relationships fall into a few categories.

They Want Sex but Nothing Else

They have what is considered normal sexual needs and desires. They worry that having a single sexual partner to meet those needs may lead to an unwanted relationship and a commitment they know is wrong for them.

And if they are "honorable" in their sexual encounters, they will explain upfront that they are not interested in dating but only the sex. If that sexual partner accepts this, then those one-night stands can happen as often as possible.

They Do Not Want Sex or a Dating Experience

Within the LGBTQ+ community, there are asexuals. These are individuals who have never and do not now have any sexual urges or needs for any other person, hetero or queer. This is not to say that they are not social beings. Most often have platonic relationships within both the hetero and LGBTQ+ communities, and they socialize as much or as little as they want. Asexuals probably have the easiest time here - they know who they are and know exactly what they don't want.

They Have Dated and Been in Romantic Relationships in the Past but Not Now

This is perhaps the most complicated situation for those who are not interested in dating. There are lots of reasons why someone who has dated and even been in a romantic relationship in the past but is not interested in dating now at all now. The "why" of this change requires some self-analysis and being honest about the reasons. Is this a temporary or permanent condition for you? You may have various reasons for your decision, but you need to identify the potential many factors involved if you are to go on with your sexual and/or relationship life secure in where you are right now.

Why People Choose Not to Date

If you fall into the first or third categories above, you have or are currently enjoying the type of sex you want. If you are now not interested in dating or getting into a romantic relationship, you will want to explore the reasons why you have no interest, if only to decide whether your current course of action may be temporary or more permanent. After all, sex and romance can be a big piece of your life now or at some point.

You Have Not Rebounded Yet

This is probably the easiest answer to not having an interest in dating. No matter what the age, a breakup that hurt is not easy to get over. But if this is your situation, you should remind yourself that taking time to just be by yourself and to "regroup" is what you need right now. Yes, these are bad experiences, but they do pass. Talk things out with a close friend who can give big support during this time. Get out socially with groups of people so you don't sit at home and have your own self-pity party.

You Have Other Priorities Right Now

You may be in a tough graduate school program; you may be in the midst of writing your Ph.D. dissertation; you may have just begun a new career position; or you may be caring for a family member who is very ill and needs your constant help. Whatever the current situation, you just have bigger priorities in your life at the moment. You are aware that your situation is temporary and that you will be interested in dating and even a relationship when your current challenges are over. You are not weird. You are just too busy. And you may even figure out how to have one-time hookups as you need, with no strings attached. In the case of women, there are always plenty of toys out there to meet their physical needs.

You Are Grieving

There is a current television commercial featuring a gay makeup artist who has lost his partner to death. He speaks about his grief and what he misses and tears up with memories of his past happiness. But he also knows that he is finally ready to find a new romantic relationship, so he will have the cosmetic procedure being advertised to make himself look younger and more attractive. if you are in the grieving process, understand that you must go through the stages of grief, if you intend to come out on the other side interested in dating and finding a new relationship. This is a healthy and normal process. Start dating again when you are ready, on your own time.

You've Had Too Many Unhappy Experiences

You may be attracting and getting into relationships with the wrong people. And you may be making the same mistakes over and over again, choosing to date the same types of toxic people. Finally, after your last break, you have decided to give up on dating altogether, vowing never to put yourself into dating and a romantic relationship that always ends badly for you. This is probably a good decision for you right now. But do not give up hope altogether. The idea that you cannot find a better partner is self-defeating. Instead, do some research or talk to a professional about why you continue to choose the wrong partner. Hetero men and women as well as all members of the LGBTQ+ community can have this problem - it's psychological. You may have to work on some personality and behavioral changes to end this pattern.

You're Tired of Rejection

Rejection can take many forms.

  • You ask someone for a date, and they turn you down

  • Marriages or long-term relationships fall apart because a partner cheats and then chooses another over you

  • You want a monogamous relationship or a marriage, and your partner has said "no"

  • You have a date or two with the same person and have an interest in more. You get rejected when you ask

All of this becomes discouraging, and over time, it can lead to low self-esteem. And this is a bad downward spiral. Each rejection lowers self-esteem more, and the person it affects retreats further from the dating "world." They are no longer interested in even making the effort. Reversing this spiral is tough. Sometimes it can help to just socialize with loyal friends who appreciate you. Sometimes successes in other areas of your life can help too. Maybe it is a promotion at work; maybe it is a weight loss goal met. These can raise self-esteem and make you interested in getting out into the dating scene again. And sometimes it can come from changes in your physical appearance, maybe through some cosmetic surgery (which is not only for women, btw). The point is this: you need to change your thinking about yourself to gain the self-confidence you need to get back out there.

You Have Been Betrayed and No Longer Trust

You were in a long-term monogamous partnership or perhaps even married. You believed you were settled for life. But that partner or spouse has cheated on you or has walked out for someone else. This is a huge betrayal. Now you don't trust others, even those who are interested in you. And you decide you are not interested in a romantic relationship that might come from dating.

Does time sometimes resolve this issue? Yeah, sometimes. And it is so okay not to want to date for a while or forever. There is a big difference between being lonely and being alone with yourself. And casual dating with no eye on a romantic relationship may be just right for you.

You Have Standards and Rules that You Will Not Compromise

Just how tough are your standards for people you date? Obviously, you don't want to date an ax murderer, and you probably should avoid narcissists, and having high standards is a good thing. But if you are not interested in dating because no one can meet them, then it's probable that you will never meet someone you can date. And that's okay too. You can still enjoy romps in bed with the knowledge that you will never actually date that individual. But if you become interested in dating and perhaps a relationship, then you will have to take a look at why your standards are so high that no one can meet them. This is a psychological issue. Perfection doesn't exist, and that includes you.

A number of years ago there was a movie titled, "Sleeping with the Enemy." Julia Roberts had married a man with such OCD and in need of so much control, that even the canned goods in the cupboard had to be organized and lined up perfectly with the labels facing front. Of course, in the movie, the husband was an evil monster who beat his wife if she disobeyed any of his rules.

Of course, you are not that monster. But you probably have some rules about who you date and even end up in a relationship with. And that's a good thing - you have the right to be picky. And once in a relationship, you may have rules that you will not compromise. One example may be, no cheating. But if you have too many rules, let's say, only squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom, then it is unlikely that you will find someone who can abide by all of them. And if such small broken "rules" really bother you, then you might give up on the whole dating thing and just enjoy casual relationships and sex. That's okay too. Dating and relationships aren't for everyone.

If you do decide that you are interested in dating at some point, then take a look at the standards and rules you have set up. Reduce those to the most important and consequential (e.g., safe sex practices, honesty, etc.) and make sure that anyone you do date understands them upfront. That's only fair. If you can't reduce them, then you are probably OCD, and that's a challenging condition to overcome.

You're Too Old for all the Drama

You've been there and done that. At your age, dating means too much drama. You just don't want to start all that up again. After all, there are all those ups and downs and conflicts when you are in a dating relationship, and putting yourself in those situations is just mentally tiring. There may also be the issue of getting it up if you are male. Fortunately, the answer to that issue is medication. Lots of older folkx are in this place. They socialize with friends of all types within the LGBTQ+ community, have lives of happiness, and just choose not to start dating again.

You've Made a Decision to Remain Celibate

This might happen at any age and for any number of reasons, obvious and not so obvious.

  • Your HIV has become full-blown AIDS, and you don't want to endanger others

  • You just have no interest in sex

  • A break in a partnership or marriage has left scars that won't heal. Sex may be fun, but you can't muster up the feelings that usually come with regular dating.

  • You just want to try celibacy for a while and focus on other parts of your life.

You are not strange for this decision. And you do not have to run off to a monastery or convent to be celibate. Instead, find others who feel the same way and enjoy platonic relationships of mutual friendship and respect.

And here's the deal: your celibacy will not necessarily be permanent. Wait and see what the future may bring about.

Do You Feel Better Now?

As Michael Puskar, licensed therapist and relationship counselor says: "If you have no interest in dating, it's important to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with you, and not everyone is obligated to be in a relationship if they don't want to be in one... Despite what others [family and friends] may try to tell you, it's possible to live a happy, fulfilling life on your own terms."

If you genuinely have no interest in dating, power to you! If you find you do, though, now or in the future, take a long look at the reasons in this article and identify what is holding you back.

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