How To Deal With Someone Acting Like Your Partner Without Committing To A Relationship

Relationships are a two-person job, and this makes everything tricky. Your feelings and actions suddenly affect someone else, and theirs are unexpectedly in your way. It can be frustrating, and we get it. It's dangerous territory, and nobody is ever really prepared.


What happens when you're in a pseudo-relationship? When they act like your partner but never really commit to the title? When this occurs, it's easy to lose faith not only in relationships and people but also in love. You'll feel manipulated, disrespected, betrayed, and used. So, if you find yourself in this sticky situation, this is the ultimate guide for you.

Understanding your partner's motives, communicating your needs, setting boundaries, recognizing your truth, reflecting on your partner's actions, and finally deciding whether to stay or leave guarantees a healthy way of processing a situationship. It's a rough sketch to help you navigate the relationship maze and move accordingly.

Understanding their motives

There is no easy way to say this, but if your partner is not committing to a relationship, they probably have a different motive. The best way to understand their intention is to ask them point-blank. But, the chances of a manipulator saying they are trying to exploit you is slim to none. So, you'll most likely have to try and figure out their motives from their actions. Remember that actions do speak louder than words.


If they are doing romantic things for you but never really introduce you to their friends as the "girlfriend" or "boyfriend," we have an indecisive person in our midst. If this is the case, they are probably using you for relationship privileges, such as intimacy and companionship, without committing to the relationship.

Another motive that is quite common among the "non-committers" is using you for financial gain. So, if someone puts on the act of a lovey-dovey partner right before asking you for the greenbacks, say goodbye to the possibility of a committed relationship with them.

Once you understand their motives, you can deal with their commitment issues.

Communicating your needs

Communication is key when it comes to relationships. The sooner you understand that your partner can't read your mind, the better for your partnership. So, unless you're willing to communicate your feelings and how your partner's actions make you feel, you won't see any progress. If someone you want to commit to sends you mixed signals or you wish for this person to devote themself to you, you should tell them. Or else they will believe you are happy with how things are. 


The next time they act or do things that romantic partners do, but refuse to make the relationship exclusive, address it then and there. Remember to use "I" sentences instead of "you" to avoid sounding accusatory when confronting them. Make sure you tell them how their actions make you feel, and include your expectations for your relationship with them. For example, you can say, "I don't understand where we stand or what we mean to each other, please help me comprehend how you feel about committing to me and this relationship."

Setting boundaries

When dealing with situationships, it's important to set boundaries. Especially if you've identified their ulterior motives. For example, if they are using you for financial gain, for physical intimacy, or as a free therapy session, it's essential to outline some boundaries as soon as possible. Giving ultimatums is never pleasant, but if the mixed signals are taking a toll on your mental health, setting boundaries is a form of much-needed self-care.


Setting boundaries can look different when dealing with someone unwilling to commit to you. The boundaries can mean both physical and mental distancing. Physically distancing yourself can look like saying no to plans with them. And mental distancing can take the form of not giving them control over your thoughts.

If you want your relationship with them to change, communicate these boundaries and your reasons for them. They will change their ways if they genuinely want to commit to you. And, if there is a transformation in their behavior, you can lower the mental and physical barricades.

Understanding what you want

Understanding what you want and feel in a complicated situation involving another person is important. We advise you to take a moment to reflect on your emotions.

Try to answer questions such as: How does this person make me feel? How would I feel if they really did commit to me? Is this person worth the mixed signals? What do I want from them? Take your time answering these questions and try your best to comprehend what you are looking for in an ideal partner.


If you want your situationship to bloom into a functioning relationship, try your best to make it work by communicating the changes you want to see. But if the only thing you want your situationship to do is to sink to the bottom of the ocean, make a clean exit. It all depends on what you want, and it's okay to be selfish in these circumstances.

Reflecting on the past

If you are big on forgiveness, dealing with situations that aren't necessarily in your favor can be tough. But when it comes to people sending us mixed signals, the best thing to do is to reflect on their actions and identify a pattern of behavior. Once a pattern is established, forgiving or not is up to you.


Reflecting on this person's past behavior will equip you with the knowledge that'll help you better understand their motives, feelings towards you, and whether they are a good course.

If you have tried communicating your needs, how they make you feel, and what you expect from them, but they have failed you repeatedly, it's high time you let them go. By exposing their actions, you are not bringing up the past; you are simply establishing a pattern of behavior. And remember that it is not your duty to "fix" them, so if they are unwilling to change, it is not your fault or job.

Making the big decision

Should you stay, or should you go? If you are looking for commitment and if they are looking for other things, and if there is no meeting of the minds, the big decision should come easy to you. But it's definitely easier said than done.


People decide to stay with incompatible people for numerous reasons; some are too insecure to leave, some have attachment issues, and some are hopelessly in love. So, making the big decision is very tricky when dealing with situationships. And we know this sounds cliche, but the best way to go about it is to write down a list of pros and cons and be as objective about it as possible. And let the facts decide for you.

Dealing with someone who engages you in a way a romantic partner does, without actually committing to you or making your relationship exclusive, can be challenging, and deciding to stay or leave can be even more difficult. But, at the end of the day, relationships are about following your gut instinct and doing what makes you happy.