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As a single person on a dating app, I often get asked the question, “Are you looking for a relationship?”
I hate it.
It feels like the job interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Correct answer: Flourishing in an upper management position with this amazing company!
True answer: Living in Costa Rica, reaping the benefits of my sustainably-sourced, banana leaf sandal business, “Banandals.” Basically, anywhere but here, lady!
Okay, back to this cute guy sitting across from me at my favorite vegan restaurant, with so much potential, wanting to know if I’m looking for a partner.
I have a super strong desire for honesty on a first date, but struggle with this question because of all the forms and interpretations a “yes” or a “no” can take here. Why is this so hard?
Because he wants to know what I am expecting of him. If I answer yes, will he see me as crazy and desperate? Will I suddenly shape-shift into a pathetic hag who’ll be demanding a ring by the end of the week? If I answer no, will he think I’m just looking for a friends-with-benefits situation? I’m neither of these. I just want to enjoy this date. What do I say?
You may think that the solution to this convoluted question lies in finding an answer that fits somewhere in between those two words. When in all actuality, no matter what you want, your answer should be “No. I’m not looking for a relationship.”
Can you want a relationship, but not be looking for one? I think absolutely, hands down—yes! Not only that, but it’s the best way to go about it.
What if I told you there was a $100 bill somewhere outside lying on the ground with your name on it? That it was out there in the world like a brightly colored Easter egg, just waiting for you to find it—what would you do? Remember, this crispy Ben Franklin is yours, no one else can pick it up but you.
It’s your destiny to one day come across it. (If $100 doesn’t excite you, imagine it’s a bigger bounty.)
Are you going to stop what you are doing and go look for it? When going for a walk with a friend, will you be scanning the ground looking for your bill, not fully present? Will you stop and pick up every little thing on the ground that slightly resembles money and examine it closely just to be sure it’s not your prize? Will you go to bed each night feeling defeated because you still haven’t found it?
What’s wrong with me?
Should I get my eyes checked?
Am I going to the wrong places?
Maybe I should take a class on finding $100 bills?
This analogy is what I think of when someone asks me if I am looking for a relationship. Because no, I’m not going to be scouring the ground picking up every leaf or napkin looking for my payout. I am not looking for anything. I guess you could say I’m looking to go on dates. And look! Here I am, I found one!
I’m relaxed. I know a healthy, loving relationship is out there. It’s mine and when it’s time, I will find it.
One day, when I’m happily distracted by life, I’ll see the $100 bill out of the corner of my eye, peeking out from under a rock that I’ve passed a thousand times before. My brain will squirt some dopamine and I’ll think, “Holy shiitake mushrooms, there it is. I’ve found it.”
Everything will feel aligned and perfect, that I won’t even feel like I have to go pick it up right away. I’ll finish drinking my avocado smoothie, take a few deep breaths, express my gratitude to the universe, and walk over to it with ease and poise.
It’s immensely satisfying to find something you weren’t even looking for.
In all honesty, I’d love to find the Mork to my Mindy, the jelly to my donut, the hocus to my pocus. When I envision that hashtag-relationship-goals love, that deep, soul connection, that mind-blowing sex that keeps us in bed until Saturday afternoon, and that happily-ever-after love that just keeps getting stronger and stronger, it makes my red blood cells morph into heart shapes just at the thought of it. When I think about our YouTube channel, our travels, adopting our first dog, our philanthropic legacy…yes, I get seriously giddy, okay?
If you feel that way too, there ain’t nothing wrong with that! You dig?!
But, no let’s not go looking for it. Let’s not look for that life. Let’s live this life, the one we are in right now.
Your mate is out there. That life is out there. We’ll stumble upon it when we’re out doing anything but looking for it. When we’re laughing with friends. When we’re practicing what we love. When we’re full of gratitude and thinking, “How could my life be any better than this?”
That’s when Mr. Ben Franklin takes his place in the queue.