March 15, 2012 | by Meghann Novinskie and Kim Rosenberg
Ups and downs of a one-night stand

One-night stands exist across the LGBT spectrum. It happens in all age brackets. Most people have had at least one; some have had many. Lots of people engage in one-night stands because they can walk away from it and not have to deal with the “consequences” of having a relationship. Sometimes it’s a rebound to fill a void in someone’s life. Others engage in one-night stands just to be impulsive – fill their needs quickly – one need at a time.  But is someone who has a few one-night stands also completely commitment phobic?

There are a lot of people who are actually “relationship minded,” but still engage in one-night stands every once in a while. For these folks, it’s usually only on a situational basis — right time, right place. For other “relationship minded” singles, many times these people are insecure because a serious relationship doesn’t exist. So the physical intimacy — regardless of how brief — momentarily fulfills the closeness that a relationship provides. You don’t necessarily need to group these individuals with the “commitment phobic” label attached; but it’s a slippery slope.

Rebound one-night stands are probably the most frequent type of one-night stands. When a relationship with significant emotional depth suddenly ends, it is common for individuals to fill that emotional void with something readily accessible — in many cases, a one-night sex fix. Others might turn to a therapist to work on moving forward; some will fill the void with alcohol or drugs. These people can’t be tagged as commitment phobic people as they will engage in one-night stands to feed their emptiness, but also want that committed relationship bond with someone again in the future, and usually can work past their issue.

So, when does having one-night stands mean you’re commitment phobic?  First, think about how you met. Did you meet while partying or when you were sober tooling around on Grindr? Do you know this person’s relationship background (i.e., does the word “relationship” even exist in this person’s description of his/her past)? Think of the follow up (or lack thereof) after you sleep together — was there a phone number exchange or was it completely anonymous? Consider your and your partners’ responses to these questions, as they may lead you to conclude (s)he’s just a one timer.

If you’re reading this article and follow our column regularly, chances are you are interested in a relationship and the dynamics that exist between two people in a relationship. Though you may engage in one-night stands, you might try to facilitate a phone number or email exchange after physical contact. Here, you were probably just acting on your physical needs. If your partner du jour hesitates or shudders at the thought of keeping in touch, (s)he is likely commitment phobic.

Another angle to consider is how you feel after a one-night stand. Do you feel ashamed? Do you swear off ever having another one after the last? Do you hide these encounters from your friends or give them the gritty details over brunch the next day? Signs that you might not be commitment phobic, but just acting on impulse, are when you tell close friends that “(s)he really is a good guy/gal”, and secretly hope that you’ll see each other again. Even if it’s something you keep to yourself, you’ve got the idea of being in a lasting relationship, but were looking for a quick fix last weekend.  Commitment phobes will downplay any type of connection; they love the challenge of “conquering” their latest one-night stand pursuit, and love the game of seduction.

Someone who’s commitment phobic or one-night stand “obsessed” typically has not had a significant exclusive relationship in his or her adult life. They rarely love structure, in general, in their lives. They will compartmentalize their life, keeping work, friends and family completely separate. Commitment phobes are less able to fully commit in other aspects of their life, as in their career, apartment and city of residence.

Again, we understand that relationships aren’t for everyone — we want to pull back the curtain on those who will potentially use you and your emotions to get you into bed. Relationship minded people should beware of these types — they exist in all age brackets, and across all genders and environments.

 

 

3 Comments
  • CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    THE PREMISE – ONE NIGHT STANDS CREATE COMMITTMENT PHOBIA – IS SILLY. PEOPLE, LET’S SAY, OVER THE AGE OF THIRTY-FIVE, WHO HAVE ONE NIGHTERS HAVE THEM BECAUSE – TO MOST PEOPLE – “COMMITTMENT” MEANS SHARING VALUES, FAMILY TIME AND MONEY. MANY HOMOSEXUALS HAVE SACRIFICED A LOT IN ORDER TO LIVE “OPEN” LIVES. ALIENATION FROM FAMILY AND THE “CHURCH” IS COMMON. WHILE PURSUING A SUBSTANTIAL RELATIONSHIP, THE OTHER PERSON IS, USUALLY, NOT READY TO MAKE THE SAME SACRIFICES YOU MADE IN ORDER TO LIVE FREELY. IN ADDITION, VIEWS ON MONEY PLAY A ROLE. MOST MALES (REGARDLESS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION) REMEMBER THEIR FATHERS TELLING THEM, “…a man is supposed to stand on his own two feet, and pull his own weight.” USING THE HOMELESS AS A GREAT EXAMPLE, MALES HAVE ALWAYS RIDICULED THOSE WHO ARE NOT FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT. SINCE IT IS DIFFICULT TO FIND A TWO-INCOME COUPLE WITH SIMILAR EARNINGS, MALE HOMOSEXUALS DO NOT WANT TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP IN WHICH THEIR PARTNERS BEG TO BORROW MONEY. SO, IT IS BETTER – ACCORDING TO MANY MALE HOMOSEXUALS – TO LIVE ALONE AND HAVE SEX WHEN NEEDED.
    THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    • You’ve set up a false dichotomy. It’s possible for two people to be financially independent despite not having “similar earnings,” and it’s possible for those two people to find each other. I know this from experience.

      • CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

        “Doctor Whom,”
        THERE ARE ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS IN ANY SITUATION. I STAND BY MY STATEMENTS. THERE ARE MALES IN THIS COUNTRY WHO ARE IN JAIL FOR NOT PAYING CHILD SUPPORT. WE LIVE IN A TIME IN WHICH SINGLE MOTHERS ARE RAISING MALES. THEREFORE, MANY YOUNG HOMOSEXUAL MALES HAVE ACQUIRED FEMALE HABITS IN REFERENCE TO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MONEY AND SEX IN A RELATIONSHIP. NO ADULT MALE IN HIS RIGHT MIND WANTS TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO ANOTHER ADULT MALE. THERE ARE MALE HOMOSEXUALS WHO RESENT PAYING FOR THEIR DATE’S (OR PARTNER’S) DINNER, MOVIE TICKET, CELL-PHONE BILL, ETC.
        THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
        CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

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