Boats Without Anchors: On Dating the Non-Committed

a sailboat out on open water, at dusk
Image by Oliver Albrecht / CC BY

“What’s to say that you won’t run off to Vegas with the first woman you meet who has potential to be a primary?” I say.

CC smiles. “Vegas is tacky, and I avoid that place.”

I nod. “Musty carpets, that’s what I remember about Vegas.”

“I’m very in the moment right now,” he says.

I smile. And I nod. I know he’s in the moment. It’s lovely. But it’s precisely what scares me.


It was the same when I first started dating Skyspook, all those years ago.

“I know you’ll get sick of me eventually, someone else will come along who can give you all the attention you deserve, but I’ll just enjoy you while you’re in my life,” I said.

Skyspook laughed. “I’ll never get sick of you, Page. There will always be room for you. ”

But I wasn’t convinced. It had been a huge leap of faith to date Skyspook in the first place.

After dating a string of unattached men who broke my heart, I’d made a rule: No single guys. Partnered only. And not just “seeing people.” But seriously committed to someone. Preferably living with them.

An anchor partner.

Because I have my commitments. I’m firmly anchored. I’m not one of those vessels you see out in the bay when there are no souls about, exploring by moonlight. Or a sailing ship on the open ocean.

I’m in the harbor. Occasionally attempting a day-long pleasure cruise. And yes, sometimes, I’m a party boat.

But I always come back to the same people and the same places. Waves hit me, throw me off balance, but I’m firmly tethered.

So it’s forever terrifying to grow attached to a boat without an anchor. One who needs to purposely haul out the rope. Tie a cleat hitch to the dock.

One who could just as easily float away from me, never to return.


It’s something that’s often hard for my monogamous friends to really understand: For me at least, it’s scarier to date people without anchor partners.


My book is out!

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory

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  1. This is really interesting to me! As an unanchored boat, I value nothing ore than a safe harbor I know has room for me. A place to return to with a dock I can rely on in the midst of a tossing storm. But, I have had so many experiences where those harbors close up shop, fill all their slots with more permanent long-standing boats, or simply go defunct in my wanderings. And so often, I am left trying to come to safe harbor where there is no space left.

    I’m always fascinated to hear pieces of what goes on on the other side of this. Insight from those who stay close to the shore and engage more consistently with the harbor.

    Thank you for sharing! This metaphor is going to stick with me.

  2. You’re welcome, Rei! It’s fascinating for me to hear the other side of it, too, so thanks for commenting. 🙂

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