Am I Missing Out on Dating While I Focus on My Career?
How do you juggle all aspects of life?
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I'm a 26 year old lesbian who has been out in my local queer community but I have hardly dated. I'm currently living and working outside of the country, which makes me unavailable for dating.
I'm happy travelling the world and building my career. I call myself focusing on making myself happy in preparation for having a partner one day. The trouble is, I can see myself spending the next 2-5+ years abroad. I worry that I'll get so caught up in career and fun that I will lose track of time and miss the boat on my best dating years.
I sometimes feel as though maybe I'm missing out on important dating experience that will allow me to learn about myself and what I want in a partner, and when I do start I'll be at a disadvantage.
I know there technically is no "perfect time" to start seeking a partner, but I can't help wondering, am I missing anything or is dating at an older age better? Will I know when the right time to start is? How can I keep my dream of career success from crushing out my dream of finding a healthy committed relationship? Thanks a lot!
Congratulations on taking some time to focus on your career! In my opinion, it’s always a worthwhile endeavour to take time to focus on your future. It sounds like your career will flourish in the next 2-5 years and I completely support that.
At the same time, I can understand how you might be worried about “missing the boat,” on dating and finding a partner. And, while I agree that there’s never a “perfect time,” to start dating, there IS a more thoughtful way to do it: With intention.
Dating with intention means being present to the process and having a purpose. Having a purpose means being clear about what you want. If you want a long-term partner, dating will take a different form than if you want just a short-term date. Knowing your intention will allow you to say “Yes!” to the things that fit and “No” to the things that don’t.
To date with intention, try this: Create a list of attributes you’d like your future lover to possess. Sense of humor? Patience? Ambition? Brainstorm and add as many items as you can think of. Then, create your own list of attributes –what would you bring to a relationship? Notice how the two lists overlap or how they differ. These are the items that are important for you.
While you’re working on your career, I encourage you to still participate in the lesbian community. Make lesbian friends, go to gay pride parade events, or volunteer at a film festival. You will meet people who have things in common with you and this will allow you to expand your network, and may even lead to a date.
As for your concern about if “dating at an older age is better,” I will give you a tip from my practice: I’ve worked with couples at every age: old, young and in between. Some were long-term and some were short-term. Every relationship is different and every relationship teaches us something about ourselves and our partners. Early relationships are important to later relationships. The hope is that as we grow older, our relationships align with our core values and beliefs. It is not that they are better, it is that we are stronger and know more of ourselves.
I wish you much rich experiences as you spend the next few years travelling. Your intention of currently working on your career will benefit you greatly and can only enrich your dating life.
Good luck and send me a postcard!