I Don't Want A Relationship: Five Reasons Why People Prefer To Not Commit

Updated June 14, 2024by Regain Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.
“There can be so many pressures in society to date and it is important to think through what you really want. If you do not want a relationship, that's definitely okay. Find ways to own that even if others do not understand. What’s most important is doing what feels right for you.” - Ryan Smith, LPC, NCC

Do you or someone you know steer clear of romantic relationships entirely? In many cultures and societies, the preference for staying single is out of the norm. However, this does not mean it is wrong. There are many reasons why some people might choose to stay single and not commit to a relationship. Depending on the reason, there is usually not a cause for concern. It is not a bad thing to not want to be in a relationship, and you don’t need to give someone an explanation as to why you don’t want one. But understanding why you or someone else might feel this way can offer some clarity that may help ease your mind.

It’s okay to not want romantic commitment

What is a good reason not to commit?

If you have found yourself thinking, “I don’t want a relationship,” you may have a justified reason for your relationship preferences. 

You might find, for instance, that there are times in life where a committed relationship doesn’t make sense. For example, starting a relationship just before you move to a different state or country may not be the best idea. Another common reason why people don't want to be in a relationship and commit is that they just got out of a long-term relationship and are not ready to open up to someone else.

Additionally, some people simply do not experience romantic attraction toward others. Aromanticism is a romantic orientation in which a person does not experience romantic attraction toward people of any gender(s). Some people might only experience romantic attraction to specific gender(s), too. Romantic orientations exist on a spectrum, so the way each person experiences romantic attraction can vary and change over time.

So, are there any “bad” reasons people choose not to commit? This is clearly very subjective, but feeling uninterested in a relationship because of a lack of trust in others can be one potential red flag to watch out for. Past experiences can make some people think love just isn’t an option for them, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be true. 

Reasons why people prefer not to commit

There are some other common reasons people prefer not to commit to a romantic partner.

Remember, if you feel comfortable and happy with your life right now without a romantic partner, there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t need to get in a romantic relationship because society tells you to. If you are choosing to be single from a place of happiness, don’t feel like you must justify your decision. 

1. Not wanting to compromise wants or values

Some people see being in a relationship as something they don’t want because it may mean you can no longer live without considering the needs of someone else. 

A relationship is usually all about compromising and working together. People who are not in relationships can be more likely to do whatever they want when they want. They may only have to think about themselves and making themselves happy. In a relationship, though, you might have to adjust some of your plans or desires to include others. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to keep your freedom. It’s also okay to prefer casual relationships to serious ones. It may be true, though, that being in a relationship doesn’t have to mean you give up on the things you care about. Finding the right balance for you, even if that means staying out of committed relationships, may be the best way to move forward. 

2. Being emotionally unavailable

Much like not wanting to give up their freedom, many people do not want to give up their emotional freedom. Others may generally prefer to keep how they are feeling to themselves. But being in a relationship usually involves communicating deeply with your partner, which can be daunting or unpleasant for those who aren’t used to or interested in it. 

If you recognize some signs of emotional unavailability in you or someone you know, this could be the primary reason they don’t want a romantic relationship. While it’s okay to decide not to pursue a relationship, it might be worth unpacking why emotional unavailability seems to persist. Having healthy relationships with friends and family can still be important even if you choose to remain single.

3. Managing past trauma

Past trauma can cause people to avoid or fear commitment. Traumatic events can cause feelings of anxiety, generalized fear, and even symptoms of depression. If a traumatic event happened because of a past romantic partner, it is understandable not to want a relationship in the near future. If the trauma was severe enough, some people could experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Having PTSD can cause someone to be genuinely fearful of relationships or can bring up significant amounts of stress when getting close to someone again. In this case, it is highly recommended and encouraged to seek the services of a licensed counselor.

4. Living with insecurities and low self-esteem

Having low self-esteem may be one of the most common reasons people choose to not get in a relationship. The fear of being rejected may feel too overwhelming, and they might not want to take a chance of lowering their self-esteem even more. Sometimes, simply telling yourself you aren’t good enough or that others won’t like you can create a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. 

5. Feeling content being single

As mentioned above, some people don’t personally want to commit to another or simply don’t experience the romantic attraction that we might expect a committed relationship to have. It’s entirely possible to have committed relationships that aren’t romantic in nature, too. 

We live in a modern world that’s becoming less and less defined by traditional, heteronormative relationship norms, at least in many places. Whether it’s because you love life as a single person, don’t feel ready for a relationship, or just aren’t sure where you fall, it’s okay to feel happy as you are. If you don’t feel like you need or want a partner, you are justified in that decision.

However, if you are not happy with being single, and there are negative reasons behind not wanting to commit, it may be wise to dig a little deeper and find out why. 

Seeking professional guidance

Whether you’re single or in a relationship with someone who seems hesitant to commit, resources like online couples therapy can offer a chance to learn more about what’s going on and how to respond to it. Relationship counselors can help clients on an individual level or host sessions with multiple people to address concerns, build new skills, and get to the heart of why commitment seems to be a concern. When you speak to a professional online, you can do all this from the comfort of your home.

Many couples and individuals alike find it easier to open up and dig into the underlying causes behind their choices when speaking to a therapist online. In fact, one study noted that online distance seems to enhance the connection and trust between a client and a therapist. So, no matter why you might be wondering how you feel about commitment, speaking to a professional can likely help.

It’s okay to not want romantic commitment


Do you find yourself telling others, “I don’t want a relationship”? If so, it might be beneficial to look at the reasons behind your feelings. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to stay single or pursue a platonic relationship, if you feel like your stance on commitment stems from poor self-esteem, past trauma, or a similar factor, it might be worth it to speak to a professional. No matter what, it can be valuable to remember that how you feel now might not be how you feel forever, and there’s no pressure to pick the “right” path for your future. 

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