A long term relationship is not my current reality. While my past self might have become a recluse until making accidental contact with an only mildly suitable mate, obsessing over that person for several months and then being heartbroken when our coupling didn’t match up to the imaginary scenario I had created in my head, current me likes to do things a little differently. I have free-lationships. We do dinner, drink wine on the beach, play board games, and see other people.
I have clung on to the idea that a person was meant to be my other half because the physical side of the relationship was great, later realising we had about as much in common as a gold fish and a doughnut. Being a more prevalent dater helps me recognise who is around for a good time versus a long time. It also helps me to be less of a neurotic, touch starved crazy person, as opposed to the neurotic crazy person I am now. I get to enjoy a number of the benefits of having a significant other, while still being able to watch poorly made festive films well into the new year and starfish in bed on any given Sunday. Would I like to meet someone to navigate life with? Absolutely. But until they show up I’ll just be over here, having a good time.
The idea that we are either mentally planning our wedding or treating people as a commodity is played out. It’s cool to care about people, especially if you are seeing each other naked on a frequent basis. It’s great to check in and make sure the humans in your life are doing ok, especially if 24 hours earlier you engaged in a Ronald McDonald / Happy Meal fiend role play scenario that got a little out of hand. A good rule of thumb is to be kind to everyone, particularly the people you are doing the rumpy pumpy with. If people are going to show you themselves at their most vulnerable, it’s only right to treat them with the respect and vice versa.
Since your body is a temple, you are therefore welcome to have people worshipping it as often as you like, whilst making sure your needs are met. Incredibly, people cannot simply guess at what it is you require, prompted only by swiftly ghosting them should they get it wrong. Equally, if you have been crystal clear about what you need and it hasn’t being brought to the table, it might be time to take that person off the roster. I require a follow up message. This keeps the crazy part of my brain that tells me I’m an unloveable ogre at bay. No follow up message, no deal. You deserve the people that you date to be on your team. We can never have enough cheerleaders in life and everyone that you spend your valuable time with should want you to win.
It may seem difficult to tell someone that while they’re a wonderful person and you would like to continue seeing them, the idea of being with them forever is more frightening than all of the Saw movies combined. Possibly phrase it differently. When feelings are involved it’s best to be honest, even if it might feel a little awkward. People can assess for themselves if a situation is for them when they are fully informed, and you are not responsible for managing someone else’s feelings, provided they know the score. In my experience, the more transparency the better. Having an active dating life doesn’t make you any less of a good daughter, friend, employee, or future partner. It can make you that much better at recognising what you want, voicing your needs and at rumpy pumpy. I know you wanted to read that phrase again. You’re welcome.