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 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. 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.

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