I Don’t Know What I’m Looking For, But I’ll Know When I’ve Found It

Sometimes you’re ready for a relationship. Sometimes you want something casual. And sometimes you don’t know what the hell you’re looking for. This is from my weekly podcast, “Heart of the Matter,” which you can catch on SoundCloud and iTunes for free every Monday night.
man unsure of what he wants
Joshua Earle

There have been points in my life where I wanted serious commitment — the
exclusive relationship, the cute Instagram photos, soft talks in bed that go well into the wee hours of the morning; all of the mushy stuff that heartfelt movies are made of.

There have also been points in my life where I didn’t want to so much as see a string, much less have one attached to me. Maybe that meant casually getting together once in a while; maybe it meant using each other for our bodies for the night and going our separate ways when the sun came up; whatever the arrangement was physically, the emotional aspect was simple: there was none.

And there have been points in my life, like now, when I’m not really sure what I
want. The most accurate answer would be that I’m looking for nothing, but that I’m open to anything, but most women will hear that as, “He’s a guy who just wants to get laid but won’t just come out and say it.” The truth is that if the dating game was a Venn diagram, with “commitment” being one circle and “casual” being the other, I would be floating somewhere in the overlapping area between the two.

I’ve never really believed in, “You’ll find someone when you stop looking,” despite the phrase’s popularity amongst my friends and family, because love doesn’t work that way.

No girl is going to come tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey, you’re cute and you seem like a cool person. Want to go out?” The probability this happens to women is greater, since men are more inclined to approach a woman than women will a man, but the point is that you can’t wait for things to find you. Life doesn’t work that way.

You have to put yourself out there, to some degree. Whether that means
downloading a dating application, going to a bar, or going on a blind date, you need to create opportunities in order for good things to happen. When my aunt set me up with my ex-girlfriend, I was in the middle of a dating hiatus. I didn’t go in with any expectations, but I did go in with an open mind and high hopes. I didn’t know what I was looking for the first time we met, but I knew when I found it.

It only makes sense to keep that same mindset now that I’m not entirely sure what the hell it is that I want. I’m open to a short fling, if we’re both comfortable with it, and I’m open to a serious relationship if we both feel that way; it’s probably best to go with the flow and see what happens, rather than forcing something that may not be there.

As long as I’m headed in the right direction on the road to love, I won’t get deterred just because I haven’t arrived yet.

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