Different people have really different desires when it comes to dating, so getting what you want can be a challenge. My cousin and I are perfect examples of people that are on the opposite ends of a spectrum when it comes to dating interests. I am exclusively interested in non-monogamy, and at the moment I wouldn’t be interested in anyone that wanted to see me more than once a month. I simply don’t have time. I am looking for a relationship that is queer with others who share my queer values and commitment to creating an intentional relationship. She, on the other hand, decided she wanted a forever partner, someone to marry and co-parent with who shared her religious values and was invested in the institution of marriage. It probably goes without saying that we looked in different places – and as a result, we found different things. Thing is, both of us are very happy with our choice. There are so many different people in the world, and so many potential partners, the main trick to getting what you want is knowing what you want. Happily, for both of us, we do!
So, how do you figure that out for yourself? I think that is all about reflection. Reflecting on what makes you happy, what makes you sad and what your values are. It is worth starting out with the ‘why’ question. Why do you want to date? There could be a million reasons, but here are a few to get started. Think about what yours are:
- to find someone to make out with
- to find someone to flirt with
- to find someone to marry
- to find a long term partner
- to have fun
- to explore myself
- to explore different partners
- to get laid
- to find our unicorn*
- to find someone that is interested in [insert fetish]
- to make more friends
- to get to know someone intimately
- to build a community
- to be less lonely/bored
- to meet people in a new town
- because new relationship energy** is amazing
- to learn a new language/inculturate yourself in a new place
- to figure out what it is you want/need
- to get over your ex
I’ve dated for all but one of these reasons. Often more than one reason at a time, actually. But understanding for myself why I wanted to meet people and go on dates I was able to figure out how to present myself with integrity. It was a really helpful starting point for flagging to other people what I wanted from and with them – which really reduced the chances of being on different pages and hurting someone or getting hurt. It isn’t a silver bullet, but it is a fantastic starting point. So, why do you want to date?
* A unicorn is a mythical creature that doesn’t really exist. Within the poly community it is usually understood to refer to the hot bi babe who will enter an existing relationship, be equally attracted to (and sexual with) both members of an existing dyad. They will be sexually and emotionally faithful to the couple, and should their presence raise problems within the initial dyadic relationship, the unicorn will leave without creating a scene. For more information, you can follow this link.
**New relationship energy (NRE) is the giddy state that people often enter when falling in love. It is often associated with hyperfocus on the object of one’s affection as well as difficulty in concentrating on other things. Amongst other things, it can impair decision making, so most advice within the poly community is that you should avoid making big decisions when in the midst of NRE.