Beth, 33, Single, McKinney, TX

Curious about others experiences in dating and relationships, I posted some questions out on Facebook in early September 2017 to collect stories from a wide range of hearts and experiences in love. This is my entry:

+ If you're coupled, how did you meet?
Currently single and on a dating fast, as of yesterday as agreed to with a friend, 09/20/2017. I've mostly met people online, even waaayyyy before it was cool and still in the creepy stages because ... technology wasn't that hip or developed yet. Now, it's all the rage and what the cool kids are doing and I feel myself needing a break from dating and wanting to meet people organically, aka, IN PERSON.

+ If dating, where do you meet people? 
As mentioned above, I am feeling the pull to meet people in person, more naturally and organically than swiping right or left. But, for now, I need a break from all of it. Mostly a mental one. There are things I want to do, accomplish, build and experience to get a further grasp of who I am, what I want and need before entering into another coupleship.

+ What are your fears & concerns about dating and relationshipping? 
My fears here are not the unknown, they are repeating the known. Old patterns die hard. I don't want to push myself into the same old traps, same old emotional patterns and habits. In my adventure of a dating fast, I want to swim too far out to go back to where I've been.

+ Are you happy in your current status? Why or why not?
In short, yes, absolutely. I feel far less alone than I have in some relationships. I'm generally happier when single and think the fear of success and too much happiness & freedom has historically propelled me into relationships, to stay ... normal? Routine? What society expects? I don't have quite the articulation in place yet to match the feelings in my head, but that's the gist of it. I have so much I want to do and experience and build, ideally, in my romanticized fantasy mind, this would all happen blissfully with a partner, working towards the same goals in beautiful synchronicity and harmony. In reality, I've put a lot on hold while I chased around for "the one" and now feel slightly frustrated (with a healthy dose of understanding) with myself for putting off so much. Buying a house, building a business, traveling to certain destinations, picking up certain hobbies, etc.

+ Do you view marriage as a destination or a journey? 
Marriage is a human created, legal institution, under the cloak of religion for many. Put into place by religion as a means of control and conformity, I don't know 100% that it's for me, but also do think it might be for me. Much of me is old fashioned and appreciates old etiquette and some of me is like fuck the rules, I'm making my own path here. I'm undecided in this moment as a single person, but know when the time comes and the situations are right, if it is what we both want, it's what will be, and we will be all in it, together. Marriage and long term commitment, just like many other things, are journeys. If it's a destination, what's next after that? Life is a journey, there are ups and downs, hills and valleys, detours and beautiful experiences. Marriage, similar to a college education, is just the beginning of a very long and heightened experience. When two people are equally, deeply committed and dedicated to the growth, love and support of each other together, and as individuals, amazing things are possible. If two are working as a team, fully encouraging and genuinely actively supportive of each other's dreams, goals, intentions, habits, quirks ... the possibilities are infinite! 

+ If married, how much work does it take to maintain and happy and loving relationship with your spouse?
I'm unmarried and uncoupled currently, so cannot speak to the full extent of this question, but will answer it to my current understanding. It takes a tremendous amount of communication, humility, energy, empathy, sympathy, giving, taking, accepting, setting boundaries, setting each other up for success, asking, reading, learning, growing, writing, listening, talking, walking, understanding, supporting, thinking, feeling, supporting, encouraging, hugging, cleaning, driving and all of the other things required of living. Most people simply need to be heard. Truly heard. When is the last time you genuinely listened to someone? When is the last time someone genuinely listened to you? 
Setting ground rules, boundaries, expectations, understanding each other's limits and talking through literally everything ... taking these from Tom & Lisa Bilyeu's Relationship Theory segments ... are vitally important for laying the foundation for creating love.

+ If coupled, do you follow traditional gender norms or share responsibilities in a different manner? 
Again, not coupled currently, but will answer this based on knowing myself and history. I'm typically a blend of masculine and feminine. I can take charge, fix things, be the one in charge and take care of everyone in a nurturing and loving energy. With two women, the traditional gender norms are not what most consider traditional, but there's never been a question of who does what and who is more alpha, masculine/feminine. 

+ If single, do you go out on dates often? Why or why not, and do you want to have a different answer? 
I don't. Most dates I've gone on have turned quite quickly into relationships. I would like to go on proper dates without expectations or pretenses ...

Q: What's a lesbian take on a second date? A: A U-haul.

+ If single, what do you experience in society? Are you purposefully and happily single, or do you feel pressured to seek a partner? 
I'm purposefully and happily single, without pressure from society but pressure from myself.

+ Do you have couples you know, either personally or from afar, that are your #relationshipgoals?
Absolutely. Ellen & Portia. Channing & Jenna. Tom & Lisa Bilyeu. Oprah & Stedman. Barack & Michelle Obama. Brandi & Catherine Carlile. My Aunt Pat & Uncle Harold. David & Karen Neeley.
+ Do you believe marriage is still necessary and viable or is it an antiquated institution?
I think it's a bit overdone. It's a bit hyped up. Too easily accessible. Too easily divorceable. 

+ Does religion, family or culture play a role in your dating approach?
Not structurally. There are certain qualities I'm attracted to and definitely want to harmonize and compliment, some of these are from family history, some from cultural experience. While I'm very spiritual and not at all religious, formal religion doesn't play a part for me. The most discrimination I have ever experienced as an adult has been from Christian family members of my own, and of people I've been in relationships with. That's a whole other blog post and conversation. I will leave it as this: organized religion is not for me.    

+ What do you want from being coupled that you do not feel when single?
A companion that adds to my life, and I add to theirs. A proper partner that has staying power through the tougher days, the grit and determination of love to work through and talk through the tough stuff, with the capacity to love being a part of something bigger than herself. The power of two, which is the power of infinity in compassion, love, like, dates, activities, shared interests and passions, spending time together, building businesses and a beautiful life together, with the foundation of what we both bring to the table as individuals. A strong person to challenge me in a safe space, that is not afraid to be in any social situation, one that embraces life with open arms and a loving heart. Kindness that magnifies loving kindness. A growth mindset that exponentially creates more growth and abundance in love and wealth ... again the power of two, we can grow as individuals but growing together ... that's where shit gets good.