What should I do to ease my doubts?

I feel that I am not a conservative person, but one thing I can not accept is about hook-up culture: about casual sex and one night stands. I often feel very lonely, because I am afraid I can‘t find the same kind of person like me.But it doesn't mean I don't wanna make friends with other people.) I just feel doubt that I can easily find a similar person who don't have casual sex experience like me to be a lover/soul mate, What should I do to ease my doubts? Thanks.
Andrew Gurza replies:

Dear Anonymous,

When I first got your question in my inbox, I was really excited to write a response, because I have felt the same as you at different times in my life. As a disabled teenager, the idea of having an anonymous hook-up felt weird, inappropriate, and simply didn’t feel like “the right thing to do.” I remember imagining myself turning down those types of advances, and how I would never, ever do something like that...ever. I was in search of a more traditional monogamous relationship, and I secretly looked down on those who engaged with hook-up culture. I wanted something “real” and I was going to hold out until I had a husband, a picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a dog to call my own. That was my dream. I strongly believed as a disabled youth that I had to follow the right path; that, and that the only loving relationship was built on monogamous grounds. I wanted to be “just like everyone else.”

Well, that dream I had as a queer, disabled teenager still has yet to come true. I am now 34 years old, and I haven’t yet had a “real relationship.” To be completely honest with you, I have never even had a second date.

So, I totally understand when you say that you feel lonely, and you worry you won’t find a person who feels the way you do about relationships and marriage. The feeling of wanting someone who shares in our values and our wants and dreams is very strong, and when we see these idealistic images of relationships portrayed to us through television and the media, we can often wonder: “Will I ever have that?” Trust me when I tell you, I have fallen asleep with that question still unanswered many, many nights.

Now, I could write and tell you that you may find that person, and that if you just hold out enough hope there is someone out there for everyone, but I don’t want to do that to you. The truth is, you may not find someone who holds the exact same values that you have, and you may also not come across someone who hasn’t engaged in casual sex or “hook-up culture.” And, you know what? That’s okay.

I have never had a long-term relationship, BUT…I have had some incredible connections with intimate partners that I have spent time with. Whether it was just a one-night stand, or even a little bit longer, each of those moments have been extremely special to me and valuable. Through non-traditional relationships, I have learned so much about myself, my sexuality, my boundaries, and — in my case — my disabled body. I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t like in relationships, and what my body is able to do or not do. These types of relationships have been some of the best, most important relationships in my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world (okay, okay, I know how cheesy that might sound, but it’s true)!

One of the greatest things about non-traditional relationships is what I have learned about consent — that has been so, so important. I have learned that a monogamous relationship isn’t something that I am after. My experiences have allowed me to let that go — and have agency over my relationships — as they are right now, however they might look, and there is something extremely freeing about that fact.

I also think that if you meet someone who has experience with non-traditional relationships or “hook-up culture,” you might learn some things about yourself and relationships that you may not have had the opportunity to consider before. It could be a really eye-opening experience that you might really benefit from.

Look, friend: as you gain more experiences, meet more people, and as life changes, it might very well be that your goals and desires change. Mine certainly did! In your letter you asked, “What can I do to ease my doubts?” I would ask you to look inside and ask yourself, where does this need for a specific relationship model came from? Consider why that is important to you; does it offer a sense of security? Is a traditional relationship a reflection of family values that have been passed down to you? Or is it something else entirely that brings this want in your life?

Lastly, I would say, let yourself be open to many different experiences. I wouldn’t want you to put a boundary in front of all the possible relationships that could impact and shape who you are.

I hope this helps!

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