Over the holiday break I had the chance to catch up with a best friend who I’ve known since first grade. The obvious joy about drinking wine with an ancient friend is that they know the entirety of your story, share a compatible sense of humor, and have developed similar values that make conversation effortless. The drawback (albeit a positive one) of drinking wine with an ancient friend is that they have earned the right to call you out on your shit and are fueled by alcohol to do so.
She and I are both single and navigating the mid-20’s dating scene. The hetero dating world is essentially all around (though that doesn’t necessarily make it easy); the gay dating world mostly exists on apps because we can’t safely assume someone is gay and be forward without potentially getting our faces bashed in. However, in describing my experiences on gay dating apps, I smiled at the thought of my hypocrisy: my intuition has always led me to believe I’m not going to meet someone on an app. I’ve had dreams and visions of meeting my partner in a social setting, not through a swipe.
“So why the hell are you on three dating apps?” she asked.
That night I went home and ceremoniously deleted all of them. Talk about mixed signals: the universe is telling me—as I am telling it—that face-to-face is the way it will happen for me, yet here I am spending much of my time looking for guys on a screen despite believing this isn’t the plan. This does not make sense. But my awareness of mixed signals continued when my friend asked me another question:
“If you met your husband tomorrow, would you even be ready? Like, do you even really want monogamy right now?”
I nearly spit out my Cab Sauv at the realization that I didn’t immediately know the answer. Do I even want monogamy right now? I’ve been socialized like everyone else to believe that the ultimate form of romantic connection looks like a wedding and kids. I’ve never been an advocate of the traditional route for things, but in that moment I wondered if I was more trapped in the matrix of traditional relationships than I thought. So do I want a partner, or do I think that I should want a partner? Would I be just as happy dating around in my 20s as I would be getting married?
Knowing these answers is important—and these answers are complex. For me, yes, I am ready to be in a monogamous romantic partnership. Yes, I’d like one with the right person. But am I supposed to know definitively that my next boyfriend should or should not be my husband? No, I don’t think I need to know; what matters is that I’m open to possibility. What is meant to be will surely be.
Let my drunken musings with a friend shine some light on your incongruence if you have it. Be unapologetic in knowing what you want, but be damn sure you’re asking the right questions and making the right moves to get it. The universe wants to help you, but if your goal is to fly a plane and all you have to offer is a boating license, it ain’t gonna work. Align your desires with your actions, and if it’s supposed to happen, your questions will answer themselves.