Finding Love, Being Love

Some top­ics seem to come up in cycles. For what­ev­er rea­son, I’ll run into a half dozen peo­ple in com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent cir­cles with­in a week who are all ask­ing the same ques­tions or deal­ing with the same issues. One of those seems to be “How do I find love?” Whether expressed as “How do I find them?” or “How do you meet poly part­ners” it’s real­ly about find­ing love. And too often, peo­ple in polyamorous cir­cles look at that ques­tion as if it were some­how very dif­fer­ent than the same ques­tion asked by a monoamorous per­son. From where I stand, it isn’t.

Stop look­ing. Seri­ous­ly. Stop it.

When you’re active­ly look­ing, you’re needy. Need­i­ness will attract some kinds of peo­ple, but they aren’t the ones you want to be involved with. The rest of us are scared off by the neediness.

Just be. Be your­self and be hap­py with your­self. Don’t put off what­ev­er it is you need or want to do to be hap­py and healthy. If you want to improve your edu­ca­tion, do it. If you want a bet­ter job, go for it. Think you’d be hap­pi­er in Alas­ka? Move there. Be your hap­py, healthy, whole self, and you’re some­one that oth­ers want to be around—a per­son some­one else will find much eas­i­er to love.

At the same time, know what you want in a part­ner or part­ners and why. What kind of rela­tion­ship do you want? Do you want a per­son to be a friend, a lover, a pri­ma­ry part­ner, an occa­sion­al play­mate? What kind of per­son do you want to be involved with—what are your stan­dards? Why? What are your bound­aries? How much space is there in your life for anoth­er person?

If you’re shop­ping for a wed­ding dress, it’s a waste of time to get dis­tract­ed by the dis­play at Fred­er­ick­’s of Hol­ly­wood (are they even still around?). If you want some­thing casu­al, you know the bridal store has noth­ing at all for you. But you have to know what you’re look­ing for, or you’re going to be wan­der­ing around lost for quite a while and sub­ject to far more impulse pur­chas­es that don’t even suit you than you would be otherwise.

Few peo­ple have a prob­lem say­ing “I don’t date smok­ers.” How many will sim­ply say, “I don’t want kids, and don’t want to get involved with any­one who has or wants them?” Why? That’s a much big­ger dif­fer­ence than whether or not some­one uses tobac­co right now. They can stop smok­ing. They can’t stop being a par­ent, and it’s unrea­son­able to ask some­one who tru­ly wants chil­dren to change that.

If you know you want an exclu­sive rela­tion­ship, don’t get involved with some­one who is polyamorous. If you know you’re polyamorous, don’t get involved with adamant­ly monoamorous peo­ple. Devout con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians don’t have much of a future with Wic­can priest­esses, and vice ver­sa. Many heartaches can be avoid­ed by know­ing what you want and need, ask­ing for it, and wait­ing for it.

Don’t set­tle. Don’t take some­thing not quite right just to have some­body there, because that’s going to get in the way of being tru­ly avail­able for some­one and some­thing that is right.

While you’re hap­py being your­self, going out and doing what­ev­er it is you want to do, be open to meet­ing oth­er hap­py peo­ple. You will not meet any­body if you’re social­ly inert—you have to inter­act with some­one, some­how. Prefer­ably a vari­ety of peo­ple. Inter­act with peo­ple whose com­pa­ny you enjoy, doing things you enjoy in com­mon. Be will­ing to devel­op friend­ships. Some of those friend­ships may become more. Don’t assume, don’t be look­ing again—just be open. Friend­ships are valu­able in and of them­selves. Be avail­able with­out being needy.

That works whether you’re polyamorous or monoamorous, some­one already involved in a com­mit­ted rela­tion­ship or some­one who is com­plete­ly sin­gle right now. I promise.

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