Queers who can’t find love, and why they may not actually want to

Living single isn't just a show from the '90s, nor is it necessarily a condition that needs a cure. Here's some advice for LGBTQ lovelorn who may need to rethink the couples construct.

Q: 

When I was younger, people would find good, sane relationships, and I’d think it might be nice someday but “not now.” These days, I wonder if that kind of love will ever happen for me.

I do go out on some dates, but no matter how smart, funny and “right” they are, I just can’t imagine being with them for the rest of my life. When a relationship does last for a few weeks or months, I hate thinking about being stuck with them forever. 

I know I’m not supposed to need that to feel complete, but I want it. How do I live with the possibility that I’m not going to get it?

Dear Alone:

Some people are unable to see any relationship as temporary — rushing in to tick the “marriage” box with every person they date. Others can’t see relationships as anything but temporary — rushing out because they can’t imagine it lasting. Both are wrong, and both show an inability to live in the moment. 

Enjoy every relationship for what it is and while it lasts. 

Are you having fun with an adorable loser who can’t keep her house picked up? Date her anyway, and by all means don’t move in with each other.

Is the sex phenomenal with the loner who goes on spur-of-the-moment motorcycle treks across America without calling? Return his booty calls, and ask questions about his adventures. 

Are you drawn to that political activist who rants to crescendo? Just listen instead of dodging the emotional splash zone.

While you’re living in the moment, get to know the person beyond the surface-only checklist in your head. In most cases, you won’t know if someone is “forever it” after a date, a week or a month.

Maybe that adorable loser is also a creative genius who is so irresistible deep down that you’d gladly step over her laundry. Maybe your lone wolf wants a partner in his sidecar but is afraid to ask. Maybe McAdvocate is just as passionate in other areas that inspire you.

If you don’t hang out long enough, you’ll never know. The trick is to do it for today with zero expectations about tomorrow. The “future” will answer itself as you get to know each other in a real way. If a relationship does indeed end, and using probabilities most do, it will add to your experience, as well as your personal skillset for the next encounter. 

Q:

I’m in my 40s and have been looking for a relationship my entire adult life. I have a lot of sex, but I’d gladly give up the one-night stands for one person by my side and on my side.

Every time I pick up someone, I wonder if they would make a good date. Every time I date someone, I imagine them as a partner. I want a long-term relationship, but I can’t seem to make it work no matter how hard I try.

Dear Trying:

You’ve sent me on two trains of thought. First, maybe you love your sex life as it is, and you are  working too hard to fit into a coupling construct that doesn’t work for you. If setting yourself free of those expectations fills you with relief, you may have your answer.

If you are genuinely unhappy jumping from trick to trick, tweak your thinking to accept that.

If you do decide that you really do want a longterm relationship, remember that you don’t need someone “by your side and on your side.” It's not about just "your side." You would both need to be on each other’s side. It’s like teamwork: What would supporting the unit look like while each person supports themselves as an individual?

Also, stop trying to fit people into molds like "datable" and "marriage material." See what each relationship develops into on its own merits.

The Q is for entertainment purposes and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected].

Illustration by Brad Gibson

This column originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the latest issue, enjoy all of the past editions of The Q advice column, and look for a new issue of Q each week online and around town.