When I first returned to this land that raised me, I found myself dating exactly like I used to. I only went on heteronormative dates with men. I flirted in the same way, and then complained about the exact same things. This did not last long – I quickly gave up on dating (temporarily), complaining that things hadn’t changed, and I was just doomed to be alone – oh the travesty! (I hear a tiny violin playing for myself).
I needed to remind myself that I was not the same person – I did not want the same outcome, so why was I doing the same things? I decided to re-establish what I wanted in my potential relationships, and this is what I came up with:
- A real connection with who I am as a human. Physical attraction is important, obviously, but there’s so much more to it than that.
- Respect for my independence. I would like someone who knows when to enter my life, and when to give me space. I’m beginning to really enjoy living alone, and I want someone who understands that.
- Time given to my other relationships, separate from our own. We do not need to do everything together. You do not need to be a part of every relationship that I keep outside of you. It’s okay to love other people too.
- A solid effort to balance emotional labour. I get that this is my forte. One of my strengths is how I support people. But I would really just like someone to say “hey, what do you need tonight?”, or maybe just show up with food and a bottle of wine. Is that so hard?
- A desire for a family. Whether or not it be your blood. Or simply respect for my desire for family.
- Social awareness. And the ability to be called out, humbly.
- Awareness of boundaries and needs. And the ability to communicate both.
- Sexually aware and open. At the very least, open-minded enough to respect that it is my body, therefore I get to choose what to do with it.
After some reflection, I returned to dating. In a way that empowered me to make my own choices. And it felt so much better. I commented to my mom the other day that this is the healthiest my dating life has ever been. And I meant it.
Post-reflection, things shifted.
I recently went on a date with a human who is in an open relationship. And it was lovely. They were incredibly nervous – this being their first date since deciding to open up their relationship. This was both validating for me, and incredibly humbling. I was grateful to be a part of this experience, which allowed me to be my most honest self, and to discuss things that I wouldn’t have with dates in the past.
It was interesting to note the lack of pressure that I felt, knowing that I didn’t have to be concerned about where this would go, or how I would have to end things with this person (or them with me) if I/they weren’t feeling it. There was no real inevitability of a brutal ending, because everything was all out on the table. I really enjoyed that. It allowed me to be present, calm and take time to get to know them, in a real way.
It ratified for me why I believe in this sort of relationship. I do believe in love – all kinds of beautiful, intense, powerful love. I believe in life-long partnerships. I also believe that love and partnerships change, and the more flexible and malleable we are to this change, the better prepared we are to weather all of the storms that will come. Sometimes we need to be creative in order to maintain our everchanging relationships. As soon as we stop growing, we become complacent. And then negative energy sits in our bodies causing harm [says the dance/movement therapy student :)]
If we begin to ask ourselves – what scares us about anything other than monogamy, what do we come up with? Fear of being left. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being enough. Fear that our families with disintegrate. Fear of judgement from others. Fear that what we’ve been taught might not actually be the be all, end all.
Well, I’m here to tell you, those things happen in monogamous relationships all the time.
I’m also here to tell that living in fear, really isn’t living at all.
[Sidenote: I am not trying to “turn” anyone. Just in case you were worried. I am just here to share my experiences in a transparent and authentic way.]
I encourage you to stop, reflect, and pay attention to how you seek and form relationships.
Whether you are married, single, or everything in between, what are the things you most value in your partner(s)? How do you create authentic connections? Do you know, in your body and heart and soul, what you truly want and need? How do your relationships nourish those things?
I am on currently in Vancouver visiting some of my most beautiful, authentic and real relationships. These incredible humans have helped me realize who I am and what I want, in a both earth shattering, and subtle way. It truly can be both.
Wishing you all the most beautiful, subtle, and earth shattering shifts in your lives, and in your important relationships, this week.
xo – C