“Why you bother me when you don’t want me?”
As I continue to creep towards the age of 30 + 3, I am realizing more and more the importance that I not only invest in myself, but in my relationships. That means relationships with associates, with my friends, with my family, and those in whom I am romantically interested. Unfortunately, my experience with dating in the queer community hasn’t been all roses and unicorns, and much more like a “chasing greener grass” scenario or, even worse, meeting folks who are not really looking for shit at all.
I’m convinced that most people out here are dating because they are bored or looking for something to fill the lonely time and using the hearts of others to do so. There are too many fine ass people in both the hetero and queer community for so many of us to be single, but so many of us seem to be “looking for a LTR.” If I had a dollar for every time I had someone looking for a long-term relationship but really wanted a hookup I’d be in Forbes magazine, but I digress.
Now before y’all jump off the ledge, yes, you can easily be hooking up AND also interested in long-term relationships. Most of us are sexual beings so we most definitely have sexual needs. But when that’s all you are doing, despite the words you are saying and typing, we might just have a problem, and the only folk getting hurt are those being strung along by your words that aren’t quite matching your actions.
In a study done by me, with folks I consider friends, I’ve asked the question “Why do you date?” It is almost hard for them to come up with an answer. One would think that the logical answer is to find a partner or companion. Or that you are looking towards marriage, and kids, and family life. But often that is not the answer I’ve heard. In fact, it’s the least of what I have heard from most. I’ve heard more people tell me they are dating “just to date” than anything else—which makes me wonder if the person they are “dating” knows that. So, I’ve asked, and many times the other person is not aware of the non-intentional partner.
I’m convinced that most people are dating because it’s the normal thing to do as an adult. Despite us in the queer community not being “the norm,” we often assimilate to the things that other communities do, even though they aren’t really working all too well for them (Have y’all seen the divorce rate in the US? Whew, chile, the ghetto). And even in the hetero community, we have seen enough Maury to know that folks are just getting engaged to be engaged while still engaged with they side chicks. But, again, I digress.
It is important that we actually figure out why we are dating when we have no real intentions of wanting more from people. I can say that in the past, I was guilty of this, especially during my twenties. Dating was the thing I thought I was supposed to be doing, so I did it — even if I didn’t really want to be in contact with the person like that. Text relationships (y’all know what I’m talking about — when you text everyday but never meet) were also used to fill the void. The problem was I thought the void was an absence of another person when it really was the absence of myself. The absence of understanding what I was looking for that time vs. what I thought I was supposed to be doing.
The voids I thought were because of a need for companionship became filled with following my purpose. Doing more philanthropy, activism, and, of course, writing. Writing fills up a lot of my free time, as does traveling for work on behalf of my community. Time has become my most important commodity. Knowing that I don’t have much of it, it makes me much more intentional in how I use it and most importantly, Who I wish to share my time with romantically.
I also think we don’t take enough time to realize that our generation, both hetero and queer, can be the blueprint for so many things outside of traditional marriage and monogamy. We see so many different types of relationships that are flourishing and can work for others, but we are too afraid to step outside the norm and actually get into something that may work for us. We also don’t accept that many of us are going to be single, and that some of us are fighting against it. Even though innately we really don’t want to be with anyone in that way. And we just aren’t open enough to accept that.
I now go into dating with intentions and I make my intentions clear. I’m honest and up front about what support for me looks like now, and how my schedule is tough so I can be tough to be with, but I will make time for those who I want. It doesn’t always work out, but at the very least I do my best to not leave my potential dating partner in the dark about where I am. So, folks, if you aren’t dating with the intention of something, be up front about that or better yet, just don’t date.