So I know I’ve vaguely referenced “it” in my earlier blog post, but I haven’t actually spelled out what it is that I’m looking for while dating. However, before I go into what I think “it” means, let me first give you a better idea of who I am.
First of all, I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as outgoing (friendly, yes, but that varies depending on my mood). Despite this, I’ve been told that I possess a quality that puts other people at ease which makes them feel comfortable opening up and to be themselves. Now I’m not sure what exactly it is about me that makes others feel that way, but it could be because I see myself as an open book. I have nothing to hide and regret very little, so I can be pretty forthcoming once I warm up to someone (again depending on my mood, we all have those anti-social days, don’t judge me). It’s the same while dating. The way I see it, I need to be my most authentic and genuine self while dating. It means putting myself out there in all my quirky, talk-to-much, know-it-all glory. If I’m busy pretending to be someone else for the sake of impressing someone, then I’m going to have a hard time keeping the act up if things progress. I’ve come to realize that anyone can pretend to be someone else for a few hours. I can pretend to be a natural born sous chef whipping up meals on a dime, when in reality I probably ordered take-out. I can pretend to be the most patient/ understanding/ laid-back person by telling you “its okay, you can leave date night early to go hang out with the boys, it’s no biggie,” when in reality I’m thinking ‘leave early and I will actually cut you in your sleep.’ If we can’t be our raw genuine selves with whomever we’re involved with, then what’s the point? Especially if the ultimate goal is to find a long-term commitment. Managing other people’s expectations and perception of you is all good and well until you’re living together and you can’t hide your true character anymore. Can’t hide the emotions, the insecurities, the pet peeves, or the weird habits you have like twerking to the countdown on the microwave while your 1-minute rice cooks. All this to say, I don’t hold back in my dating life (or in my regular life for that matter); what you see is what you get. I’m very frank. If I like someone, I want to spend time with them. I hate playing mind games, hating the power plays, hate beating around the bush. Ask me what I want and I will tell you.
“So what do you want?”
I want a best friend. A partner in crime. An equal. I want someone I can connect with on a such a deep emotional, intellectual, and spiritual level that the physical becomes a bonus. I want someone who is going to be my best friend before anything else (in other words before life gets in the way, because it inevitably will). The physical aspect isn’t everything – it’s important, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not everything. Relationships come with an endless amount of intimacy in various forms, but I don’t want physical intimacy to be the only thing that binds us. I want my partner to walk through life side by side with me. I don’t want someone who is going to raise me up on a pedestal to worship me and make “taking care” of me as their sole purpose of existence, because I’m a strong, independent person capable of doing that on my own. In essence, I don’t want someone who is going to become consumed with my life, just like I don’t want to be consumed into theirs. I also don’t want someone who will walk ahead of me, being the alpha male always in charge, making decisions without me and expecting me to dote on him hand and foot. I want someone who is also strong and independent, who sees me as a formidable equal and ally who would be a great addition to his life.
“But doesn’t being a relationship undermine the independence? How can you still be independent while in a relationship?”
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you will or should lose you own independence. In fact I believe that maintaining an independent identity while in a relationship is necessary for a healthy relationship. Like I said, I don’t want to lose myself in another person and wouldn’t want someone else to lose themselves in me. That being said, I’m not saying that I want to always live my own life without having to answer to someone, obviously there are things that should and need to be shared. But if I want to have a girls’ night I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it, just like I wouldn’t want him to feel guilty if he wants a boys’ night. Similarly, just because we go to parties together doesn’t mean I want us to be attached at the hip. I’m a social person (most of the time), I like talking to people and like moving from group to group. I don’t want to turn around and see him sulking in a corner, or observing me and becoming increasingly jealous, or have him refuse to come along to events altogether. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you need to be dependent on each other. Being dependable and being dependent are two very different things. I want someone who is dependable, reliable, honest, forthcoming, communicative, open, and willing. I want someone who is willing to swim upstream Shit Creek with me when things get rough. I don’t want someone who is only ever going to send words of encouragement from the sidelines because he’s afraid to get dirty, or someone who’s only ever going to pull me out to swim for me, and definitely not someone who is going ignore the fact that Shit Creek even exists. Life gets rough. One could even argue that the whole point of life is to suffer and endure. Being in relationship often means you endure things together, but occasionally there are things you need to do alone. You will have your own personal battles you need to fight, same as your partner. Your partner should be someone who is willing to endure it with you, but also allow you the time and space to fight alone. They shouldn’t be responsible for fighting your battles for you. They should not take a completely hands off approach. Sometimes all you really need is support, someone to jump into Shit Creek to swim alongside you, and someone to embody the security and comfort of knowing that you are not alone.
The way I see it, if you’re best friends with your partner before anything else, it makes your bond that much stronger. Your bond will go so much further than whatever suffering you’re currently enduring that it will help you get through it, and stop you from throwing in the towel at the first sign of things going bad. I want someone who has a sense of humour, who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, who can keep me grounded and centered, and someone who motivates me to be the best version of myself. I want banter, laughs, vulnerability, security, honesty, support, freedom, independence, partnership, teamwork, passion, an equal, a partner in crime, a best friend.
That shouldn’t be too hard, right?