By Any Other Name

Starr Cochran

Since I’ve been single, I’ve been asked a couple of questions too many times.

What are you looking for?

Do you think you’ll ever get married again?

On the surface these two questions may sound similar, but I’ve come to discover they are quite different…or maybe just in my world.

The first one tends to make me go to “who” as opposed to “what” and therefore to my growing list of attributes I would like the next man in my life to possess. Now I don’t have delusions that one guy is going to check all those boxes, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?  And I use the term “man” because that’s about all I know about him at this point. When one goes beyond that there are labels involved which tend to describe a relationship. And well, I’m not sure what that means.

Which brings me to the next question.

When I was younger perhaps there were other love relationship styles than marriage. In my case hard to say though. I was raised Catholic, and I only found out that gay meant something other than happy when I was 20.

People are looking for a long-term relationship, short-term, no hook-ups, something casual…all of which sends me down a rabbit hole swirling of questions.

What is long-term? Short-term? How many hook-ups with the same person qualifies as a relationship? Does casual mean the opposite of long-term? When does casual move to the next level? Did somebody fall in love? Can one love in a casual relationship? Where does love fit in? Does love define the nature of the relationship? Its longevity? Does a relationship have to go somewhere? If so, what’s the destination? Marriage? A love contract of sorts? And then there’s monogamy and open, and lots of other configurations in between.

What I’ve learned is that a relationship is defined by the two people involved. You figure it out. And whatever you do figure out, it’ll be right for you. Don’t let anybody tell you differently. There’s no need for a label or a definition in somebody else’s dictionary.

As for me, I’ll know it when I see it. Simple, and until he walks into my life, undefinable.