I know that my end goal is a happy, long-term relationship. The Ted Mosby comparisons from friends and family only adds insurance to that claim, but I think it’s vital that we all find out what it is we are looking for before we go looking for it.
Regardless of my long-term desires, I also know that it most likely isn’t going to fall into my lap or happen tomorrow, so, I date. Of the women I have encountered, there are some I’d like to see again, some that I wouldn’t, some that I wouldn’t want anything serious with, and one or two that I would want to see more exclusively. A lot of the experiences don’t work out after only a short period of time, leading one of my friends to believe that I’m in some kind of phase of one-night stands and/or short-term flings.
I just know what I want.
I truly feel that when I see a woman can’t or won’t give me what I’m looking for on an emotional, intellectual or personal level, I checkout. If her and I are compatible, and we fit well, but there’s no spark, it leaves me with one of two choices: I can continue to see her (and risk hurting her if it doesn’t work out); or I can end it there and throw away the possibility of a spark developing.
I’m not a “notch-on-the-belt” guy when it comes to women. I don’t think any less of one man compared to one who has slept with 15-25 different girls. Your number of sexual partners has absolutely nothing to do with what makes you a man (or woman).
If you’re a guy who’s successful in fulfilling his sole interest to sleep with a lot of different women, the only thing it proves is that you can get women into bed; nothing more.
Because of this “phase” I am in, my friend believes that I will never find what I’m looking for. He told me so. I responded that I’ve never stopped looking; this is just the current twist or turn of life’s rollercoaster.
One positive from the rat race that is dating is that I am learning from every experience, good or bad. I’m learning more about the kind of girl I want and the kind of man I am; what I need in a relationship and how hard I’m willing to fight for someone I care about; things that I can overlook and absolute deal-breakers.
I learned more from the one-night stand than I did from a four-month relationship. Not every situation you go into is going to end well and that’s a reality you have to accept, which is something I struggled with; but if you’re not learning something — anything — from a given situation, then you’re truly just wasting your time.
I try to see the good in everyone, and that’s my downfall. I have a tough time telling the difference between someone who is interested, but genuinely busy at the moment, or someone who is just trying to blow me off “nicely.”
Whether she realizes how much of an impact it made on me at the moment or not, my friend Allie told me something recently that I’m going to try and stick with me: “You need to stop thinking that everyone is a good person… but don’t change who you are.”
While that may sound a bit contradictory, I hear what she’s saying. I’m kind-hearted, hopeless romantic with — what I think is — a good personality. But there’s a way to stay that same kind-hearted, hopeless romantic while also being someone who can stop thinking that everyone has good intentions.
Am I going to meet my future wife at a bar or on Tinder? Probably not. But it is — however unlikely — possible.
Could I bump into her at the grocery store or some other quirky “we-found-each-other-when-we-weren’t-trying-to-find-each-other” rom-com scenario? Probably. But the reality is that it won’t happen like that, either.
I believe that the special kind of long-term love we seek happens for many — and will happen for me — somewhere in the middle: You’re open to dating, but maybe not actively trying to find someone in particular. Maybe you’re introduced to a friend of a friend; maybe you meet a friend of a co-worker; maybe it is your co-worker; maybe you’re two strangers who meet at the same party and hit it off.
The point is that I believe you need to put yourself out there to find someone, and, more importantly, for someone to see you. I don’t know many people who find love by just having it fall into their laps with absolutely no effort.
My GPS is still programmed for the same destination, I’m just getting there the way that works best for me. No road is ever freshly paved for the entire trip. I’ve hit speed bumps, potholes, gotten a flat tire or two, and certainly needed to re-fuel several times along the way.
Everyone’s road to love is different. Some find hidden shortcuts they didn’t know existed and some sit in cruise control most of the way. My path is different. It may not be conventional, and it may take longer for me to get to my final destination, but it’s an interesting adventure.
I’m not lost on the road to love, I’m just taking the scenic route.