I've been single for years, which is fine by me, mainly because I'm more interested in pursuing life goals and making progress in my field of work. However, every time my parents call me, they complain that I haven't gotten into a relationship yet (they feel like they should already have grandchildren by now), and lately not only my friends - but even members of the opposite sex that I have idle chat with on random occasions, end up asking me during conversations how comes I'm not in a relationship yet.

I'm not particularly interested in a relationship, but constantly having people pester me about it makes me wonder if it would be fine to just seek out a random partner from dating sites or whatever other meetup options are available, just to have a better answer when somebody says there's something wrong with my life because I'm still single at my age.

I feel like it would be unfair for a potential partner if I'm not really interested in them and only force myself to be with them. Sure, there's the chance that we'll end up compatible, but also a more likely chance that I'll just get bored of them and have to cut it off eventually - which might hurt them if they didn't realize that's how I felt all along.

However, obviously, if I told them right away that I'm "not really interested" and only "giving it a chance" or "doing it out of necessity" with a passive tone, they wouldn't want to be a in a relationship with me to begin with.

I don't want to lie to a different person about something like this, but I was never attracted to someone on first sight, and it would probably take me a long time of knowing someone until I can decide if I like them enough to be a long term partner or not. For the longest time, I thought maybe "one day, I'll just meet the one", but seeing as this hasn't happened for many years and nothing in my daily routine is changing, it seems like I need to take action.

Answers with examples and similar experiences would be appreciated, but just personal opinions with insight on the matter are fine too.

Just to make it clear: This question is specifically about whether it is acceptable go out with someone, knowing from the start that you're not interested in them in any way (neither romantic or sexual), just to satisfy a personal need to "not be single". This isn't about forcing someone to go out with you if they're not interested, or about tricking someone into thinking you're interested when you're not.

  • 2
    Whether or not something is ethical/acceptable isn't an interpersonal skill. It's a decision you have to make for yourself. What we can help you with is how to communicate your reasons and fears to a potential significant other... So, if you can rewrite your question based on the premise that you are doing this, and that you want to communicate your feelings clearly so as to not have any misunderstandings later on, we can help you.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Nov 5 '17 at 19:24
  • @Tinkeringbell How is it not? Knowing whether an interpersonal interaction that you're thinking about having is healthy or ethical could easily be considered an "Interpersonal skill"
    – apaul
    Nov 5 '17 at 19:32
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    You don't sound like you have a "personal need to 'not be single' ". You sound like you have a personal need to get people around you to stop making a problem out of your life choices. (Incidentally, we have answered that question before on this site.)
    – Erik
    Nov 5 '17 at 20:31
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    One simple rule of thumb will resolve a lot of issues already: be open, honest, and kind with your partner. In this case: tell a potential partner what you're going for, then they can make their own decision. Apart from that, putting up a facade seems like a suboptimal strategy, mid- to longterm.
    – G. Bach
    Nov 5 '17 at 22:18
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    People have done this all the time in the past. I think it's called marriage of convenience.
    – el.pescado
    Nov 6 '17 at 14:18

I would say that you shouldn't date someone just to be able to tell family and friends that you are. Realistically, dating someone for any reason other than genuine interest in that person, is a little messed up, unless they know up front what your intentions are.

With that out of the way, there's nothing wrong with simply deciding that you'd rather be single. It's also ok to date around a bit and try to meet someone that you actually are interested in.

Just check your motives... Are you actually interested in being in a romantic relationship or are you just doing it to get people off your back about being single?

If you're actually interested in being in a romantic relationship, it helps to make yourself available. The chances of your ideal partner just appearing at your door some day aren't great. So if you really want to meet someone, you'll need to get out of the house a little more often and make an effort.

It is perfectly alright to go on a date as a sort of trial basis. That's kind of what a date is after all... Most people tend to have some qualities that they would like a potential partner to have, and most filter who they're willing to go out on a date with, based on that criteria. To be clear, a single date doesn't usually imply a committed relationship, so it's ok to go out on a date with someone and decide whether or not this is someone who you would like to go on another date with. Usually after several dates you'll get a sense of whether you really like the person. If you do, it may be worth thinking about pursuing a more serious committed relationship.

  • The points you stated are a key part of the issue for me. Maybe I'm fine being single now, but some time later I won't be - how later would that be though? Nothing in my life is changing in this regard, I can keep going the way I am right now for many more years. It feels like no matter what, it will boil down to just having to force myself into a relationship at some point sooner or later, just to tick that checkbox on "stuff you need to do in your life".
    – Adrian
    Nov 5 '17 at 19:32
  • @Adrian there's a big difference between dating and being honestly open to having a relationship and jumping into a committed relationship under false pretenses.
    – apaul
    Nov 5 '17 at 19:34
  • @Adrian I've tried to update the answer to address the comments.
    – apaul
    Nov 5 '17 at 19:48
  • after the update, I'm upvoting your answer, because it does address an issue that I was tackling by bringing up this question. However, it still does not directly answer my question. I agree with everything you said and it's sound advice, but I'm still wondering about how to handle a situation where I find myself realizing a person I chose to spend time with is not really someone I'm interested in anymore - like, lets suppose we got past the dating phase and it went fine at first, but then faded away once we already made progress into a relationship. Should I just cut it off then?
    – Adrian
    Nov 5 '17 at 19:55
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    @Adrian It's probably best to take things slow if you're new to dating, but yes, generally when people have moved beyond simple dating and things aren't working, they break up.
    – apaul
    Nov 5 '17 at 20:01

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