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Relationships and Community
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 him/her/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, 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.. 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, honestly, than whether or not someone uses tobacco right now—because you can stop smoking. You 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 high priestesses, and vice versa. A lot of heartache 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 happily 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. So 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 primary relationship or someone who is completely single right now. I promise.