A relationship tailor-made for me.
"It’s much easier to call it a never-ending search for the ideal partner than to honestly face the uncomfortable truth— we’re genuinely conflicted about being in a relationship, or we have misguided beliefs about how relationships work, or we’re happier alone." - Ken Blackman
In the spanning 35 years of my life, I have been in monogamous relationships for a total of 3.5 years.
That means that I've been single 90% of my life.
I used to weirdly be ashamed of this. It was something I hid while I went out into the dating scene because that's what I thought I was supposed to do. I was purposely ambiguous about my relationship history when people asked, and pretended relationships that were mostly connection and sex were actually conventional relationships to feel better about myself and avoid judgment from others.
My family grew deeply concerned for me as I came home holiday after holiday single, with no love life and no tugged heart-strings to speak of. My mom actually innocently asked my sister if I was a lesbian once (that I know about), and upon hearing the news of my breakup with my Danish ex-boyfriend, seemed more worried about it than I was.
For a long time I thought there must be an elusive thing I was missing. Like, some relationship gene that didn't get passed down to me. I looked at it like this failure in my life, and all the while, I was not actually taking active measures to date.
I hate dating.
The idea of a conventional wedding is totally unappealing to me (though I LOVE attending them!).
The idea of a conventional relationship is too.
This notion that relationship requires compromise never ever landed with me. I simply cannot opt in to that.
And recently, it occurred to me that even the idea of a radically unconventional relationship would barely scratch the surface of the sort of connection I'm actually looking to create in partnership.
On top of that, when I look around at my life, not only am I the happiest I've literally ever been in my entire life, but I'm practically drowning in the sort of connection we all dream of having. I'm so deeply connected to some of my friends that we actually don't need to converse much, because we've reached mind-reading status. It's the fucking bomb.
When words become play because the connection underneath is so deeply felt, that's when you know you're onto something next-level.
One could argue that I already have exactly what I'm looking for.
And yet I still can occasionally be heard saying I want a relationship. Ken was writing this article and telling me about it, and before I even read it I was pretty nailed.
Because I don't actually have a word for what I want.
Because it doesn't exist yet.
Because I'm the one who has to create it.
But one thing I do know is that it doesn't involve dating. It also doesn't involve a white dress, or "settling down," not to say there is anything wrong with any of those things.
For me, for the 'relationship' I'm preparing for, it involves being fully met AND sharing myself fully. From the starting gate. The rest of the details are inconsequential. And as loose as this may sound, this is something I want to cultivate with EVERYONE, not just with one person. I feel like I'd be robbing the world of something unique and powerful if I restricted what I have to share with the world to only one person.
The prerequisite to this is knowing myself fully.
And so that's the work I continue doing, and will always continue doing, no matter who comes in and out of my life, and no matter how long they stay. And it delights me every step of the way. Because the relationship I have with myself is significantly more important to me than anything else.
In the meantime, I don't feel incomplete, or lonely, or like I'm missing something. I feel totally - sometimes even overwhelmingly - whole. And from that vantage point, I find I rarely am asked why I'm single. Because clearly I'm happy here.
NB: My coach Alexandra summed it up well yesterday when she said: "You're the type of woman who invites her lover to meet her on a last-minute trip to the opposite side of the globe, and instead of just saying 'Yes' he responds with 'Sounds great. I have a friend there who has a boat and I'll pick you up at the airport." and I can't help but love her more than I ever thought was possible for seeing me in this specific spot.