a different game: understanding dating, self improvement, and unicorn ranching

Lots of thoughts swirling in my mind lately,

It’s the playoff push for the NHL. It’s funny how the atmosphere changes. It changes when the game enters the playoffs.  When the games start to matter.  It should be the same thing, It’s technically the same game. Same rules, same players.  Well, slight structural changes. But, essentially, it’s the same game.  Right?

Only it’s not the same game. The pressure is different. Some players can handle that, but not all. A player can practice all they like, learn as much as they like about themselves, but at the end of the day? It’s a different game. Can’t learn whether it’s for you until you are in it.

Life isn’t the same game when you’re thinking about it, and you’re in it.

You’re supposed to stay single for, well, an appropriate amount of time. Whatever that means. So that, among other things, one can “learn about oneself.” It’s easier, supposedly, to learn about yourself outside of a relationship.

I agree– to an extent. But, honestly, sometimes you cannot tell until you’re in the game.

So I began testing the waters by experimenting with relationships.  I engaged in something I call “unicorn ranching.” A short term, negotiated relationship between myself and, usually, a couple. I learned so much from this.  I also tried early, “proper” relationships.

And the game changed.

I am not the sort that could simply “discover” myself while staying single and apart. I. needed to do it.  I’ve never been the sort of person to know something unless I did it. I understood I wanted to be a mom by putting myself in positions where I cared for children; and, especially, by being the stepmom to children. I knew I loved traveling, because I was lucky enough to have family that took me on adventures throughout my childhood. I’m not scared of newness or change, as is common, but I do feel a need to try something before I can say whether it’s something I want.

Only there was less heartbreak involved when I unicorn ranched. When I unicorn ranched, they understood I was experimenting. There was no expectations, only mutual enjoyment. They used me, yes, but I was using them, too. We both did it to explore ourselves. Which made it far more ethical than when I non consensually used others to figure out what I needed in a relationship.

Now, as someone comfortable with myself and my needs, I date as I please.

I date within and without relationships, depending on our mutual desires. If I’m seeking further experimentation, I make sure I do so in a consensual manner (I used to only do this with couples. As someone more experienced, I sometimes find other ways, but always in a consensual manner).

I am still grateful for my unicorn ranching days, though.

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