“Sorry, I have a boyfriend.”

I am guilty of this.

You make a new friend of the opposite gender or maybe strike up a simple conversation at a networking event or giggle with a table-mate at a wedding or reconnect via Facebook chat with an old high school friend. And they ask you for your number and if you’d like to go on a date. And you say, “Oh sorry, I have a boyfriend.”

But lately, I’m finding this statement fully loaded and bothering.

Technically, have we been saying that all that stands between us and a potential hookup is our current commitment?

IS that all that stands between us and a potential hook up?


I’ve recently upped my weekly dosage of Dan Savage as I’ve transitioned his podcasts into my workout routine background music. This has led me to pursue a bit more about his personal life, specifically, his take on monogamy; that monogamy is harder than we allude to and that our society values being with one partner over honesty, trust, communication and an established relationship.

So you know, I’m all about monogamy. I feel miffed if my guy tells me he ducked out of a night a little early because some girls were overly flirtatious. I want to be mentioned! Why didn’t he remind them about me?

But I think Savage has some valid points. It’s not too far fetched to assume that being in a relationship and being committed aren’t strongly correlated.

My friend expressed something very similar the other day when a guy wouldn’t stop texting her.  “Isn’t it clear I’m not interested?” she shared, “I told him I have a boyfriend!”

Maybe it’s not clear. Maybe that’s not enough.

Gossip, news outlets and even history share that celebrities and politicians falter into infidelity everyday. And I have witnessed plenty of people who wouldn’t care if the person they pursue has someone else at home.

So what’s the best way for me to paint a picture of an honest, trusting, communicative and also monogamous relationship? One I’d rather choose over anything else?

How you turn someone down?

  • Leave out the chance for future reconnections:  “Thank you but no, I’m not interested.” Is that rude?
  • Focus on the reason behind your relationship: “Oh sorry, I have a boyfriend who l am very in love with/ satisfied by/ consumes most of my time and thoughts.” Is all that necessary?
  • Make an active statement: “Oh sorry, I’m dating someone.” No possessives necessary?
  • Realize that 80% of the population will respond to the usual cultural norm:“Oh sorry, I have a boyfriend.” Fine?



5 thoughts on ““Sorry, I have a boyfriend.”

  1. Hmmmm. Interesting – sometimes I am surprised that men still approach me when I’m wearing my wedding ring. Maybe it’s because our culture has moved away from the standard of “everyone is faithful to their spouse.” I never thought of that before!

    I think the response kind of depends on your relationship with the person. If it’s someone you don’t know at all and have no friendship with, then a straightforward, somewhat ‘curt’ “I’m not interested, thank you” is fine. After all, it’s not like you’re going to strain your nonexistant friendship. On the other hand, if it’s a close friend (I personally have no more close straight male friends lol) a little more tact is necessary – BUT if someone was a friend, wouldn’t they know that when you say you have a BF, you mean you have a BF that you would never ever betray?

    • Nuts to think that a wedding ring will never be enough to steer someone off. Though I don’t mean to sound uptight against harmless flirtation.

      I think what irks me so much about the excuse/ expression is that I don’t ever want to be defined by my relationship status.

  2. Telling guys you have a boyfriend isn’t enough to back them off. Telling them you’re married isn’t enough, either, sometimes.

    If you want a guy to leave you alone, you have to say something more blunt, “Sorry, you’re not my type,” Then he’s going to aruge with you about what your type is and how would you know he’s not your type, blah blah.

    Or you can tell him, “I’m just not interested in you that way. I think of you more as a friend.” They hate being put in the friend zone.

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