Reply To: When and how to communicate I don\'t want an LTR?
There are two questions to be answered here: 1) What is your ethical obligation to not mislead women about your intentions and 2) How to communicate to them that you aren’t interested in a committed relationship in a way most likely to keep them interested in continuing to see you. Let’s answer the second question first.
The best way to communicate your level of commitment is primarily by how often you see her and contact her. If you see her three times a week, no matter what you tell her explicitly (“I don’t want to be committed”), she will expect commitment. And in some sense you are committed. My experience is that you can see a woman once a week or less and keep things at that non-exclusive stage for some time. By seeing her less and contacting her less, you are communicating to her that you don’t want to get serious. But seeing her more often, you are communicating to her that she can get closer to you.
And that is the point of all of this. You want to commit to your level of commitment. If you start to see her more often for a few weeks, it is very, very difficult to go back to seeing her less often. If you like her enough to see her more often, then you are probably in love with this girl, even if you don’t admit it to yourself or you don’t want to get involved with her. But if you can continue to see her once a week or less, it’s much easier to stay on that border.
Explicitly telling a woman, “I don’t want a relationship” is usually not a good idea, from my experience. If you do that, she has a ‘recording’ of you in her mind saying that. Her friends will ask, “What’s up with you and foolserrand?” and she will have to tell them that there is no hope of a relationship. By not discussing it, she has that plausible deniability in her mind. Even if she isn’t interested in a committed relationship, she still doesn’t want to hear someone explicitly say, “I don’t want a serious relationship with you.” It’s just plain hurtful. Along those lines, if she asks your feelings about a relationship, I would probably just joke it off. “RE LAY SHUN… what is this thing you speak of?” But not giving her a straight answer, you’re giving her an answer.
The ethics of this approach will vary depending on who you talk to. On one hand, every relationship should start in that non-monogamous, casual way. You should see a woman casually for a while before you decide to commit to her even if you do want a relationship. So all relationships will start the same, no matter what your intention is. If you know for sure that she wants to have a serious relationship and you know for sure you don’t, then yeah, it might be unethical to plow ahead. That being said, both your feelings may change at any point, and that is difficult to predict.