Nearly two months ago, when I matched with Kanav on a dating app, I did not for a second anticipate that he was a multipotentialite. I found it endearing that his entire dating app personality was woven around his love for tacos. As a multipotentialite, it felt wholesome to see someone so committed to one thing! There was something charmingly sincere about a person with such an intense passion for Mexican street food that he had related all his descriptions of himself and his life to it.
When we first matched, my conversations with Kanav were largely slow (not over three sentences a week, each) and we didn’t have a lot in common to talk about except sports. Over time, we started exchanging sports memes and when sharing our day’s updates felt limiting on the dating app chat, we decided to exchange our respective social handles to escalate our interest in one another.
I was not prepared for what followed.
This seemingly straightforward individual, with his bizarre love for tacos, turned out to be a fellow multipotentialite. In the subsequent fortnight, over a lot of meme-sharing, I learnt that he is an erstwhile golfer, a bird-watcher, a passionate data scientist and a podcast host. In addition to being all of these, he is a self-conferred wine connoisseur and a dad to a puppy. In my decade-long experience of dating and writing on romance and relationships, I could not have anticipated this. For me to find a fellow multipotentialite was also in contrast to all my previous dating experiences. I had been accustomed to a certain sense of “oppposites attract” with the people I dated.
It hit me like a bolt of lightning when I realized I was dealing with someone very similar to me, who is wired in a familiar way. Although we do not have many specific passion projects and hobbies in common, we are alike in more ways than I’ve been with previous romantic partners. With Kanav, I find that our sense of fulfillment not only comes from sharing an affectionate bond with one another but also finding joy in supporting each other through our various interests and ambitious projects that we have both undertaken in our respective lives.
Discussing these pursuits with him makes me feel at home, since he gets what it’s like balancing multiple projects and hobbies all at once, along with day job and side gigs. I haven’t had to explain to him how and why I prioritize certain activities over others—and sometimes even over spending time with him. He gets it, and that’s how I know he’s a multipotentialite. In turn, I offer him the same comfort zone, to share where he is at with his many projects and pursuits, and I find myself cheering for him when he shares regular updates.
It is comforting to know I have found someone from this community, but it is also deeply intriguing to see what dating a multipotentialite looks like, as a fellow multipotentialite. As a serial dating geek, I have had to turn this around on myself and prod. What would it be like if someone dated “me” or others like me? How would a multipotentialite negotiate a romantic relationship with another multipod?
There is no set road map for multipotentialite dating
One of the first things you realize after you encounter a fellow multipotentialite in the dating space is that the standard rules don’t apply. You have to dissociate from common dating guidelines and relationship advice, because they cater to people with a certain—often not multipod-friendly—lifestyle.
Many dating conventions are just not designed to accommodate the passion projects of, not one but TWO, whole individuals. I can speak for most multipotentialites when I say that dedicating long hours to work and hobbies is not us trying to show disrespect or lack of interest in our relationships—it is a way of life for us. Online pop culture and relationship advice, however, doesn’t take this into account. For example, a suggestion about being in touch with your partner multiple times a day may not work for all of us. The standard rules are never right or wrong. In fact, they can completely fail if you take them at face value.
So where is a multipotentialite to go for dating tips? While I am usually a big fan of turning to reddit and Quora for relationship advice in times of distress, most of the people on those forums don’t understand the context of your life, in addition to that of your multipotentialite partner. What I do recommend is cherry picking from advice offered to see what works for you and your partner. For years, the LGBTQIA+ community as well as individuals in the ethical non-monogamy space have tried this approach of taking what works for them and building on from there towards a holistic idea of boundaries in their respective relationships. Avoiding one-size-fits-all, dogmatic approaches to life is a must for multipotentialites, especially when it comes to our boundaries and our time.
Instead of approaching dating with militancy and seeking absolute answers, look for a “vibe check” with your partner. See if they are on the same page as you in shaping what dating will look like for you two. Do you prefer spending weekends alone or together? Do you share regular updates on your projects and exchange frustration when your respective project doesn’t work the way you anticipated? Do you both even have the bandwidth to share your time and space with a partner? In my (limited) experience, dating a multipotentialite should be just as fun as willingly starting another passion project. After all, you’re both consenting to spending some of your precious time together!
Define your dating rules by setting boundaries
So, you’re a multipotentialite dating a multipotentialite. In my case, my multipotentialite date works a day job and squeezes in regular time for his hobbies and active projects. He also battles with social anxiety. When we hit five weeks of exchanging texts daily on social media without a meeting (a date?), most forums advised me to chuck my date and move on with my life. This argument is common, with the standard justification being that there are “plenty of fish in the sea” who are willingly available and ready to meet. However, common wisdom did not account for the fact that I was partially to blame for the situation, as well. I was occupied with work, hobbies, social events and passion projects.
Protecting the life you’ve built for yourself is healthy. You get to decide how (or if) another person fits into that life. If there’s one single rule of thumb for multipod-multipod dating, it is that you two set your boundaries in tandem, with what works best for you in the moment.
Forge a path that is conducive to your boo and you walking together on it. Communicating your attachment style, discussing your love language and sharing vulnerabilities are often a good starting point. You can also take time to check in with one another on the boundaries you need to set in order for your individual projects to retain their identity without having your personalities merge.
In the case of Kanav and me, we offer each other a lot of room to breathe and function as individuals. To us, it is critical to continue to exist in our respective lives as individuals. We will align parts of those lives over time, at a pace comfortable for both of us, set by us.
Balance is key
When multipotentialites date specialists, we often see our partners as our anchors. Some help us arrive at clarity, while others encourage us to dive deeper. When two multipotentialites find themselves in the same spot with the same need for fulfilling desires and passions, who gets to play the rock?
It is in finding a balance that a relationship with a fellow multipotentialite can truly thrive. While you and the partner should retain the enthusiasm for dating one another, it is equally important to retain that enthusiasm for building one another up as multipotentialites. If you choose to date a multipotentialite, you’ll have to show up at times when your partner needs to bounce ideas off of you. Conversely, you’ll be able to seek support from your partner when you are overwhelmed or have bitten more than what you can chew. In balancing your roles as anchors to each other, you and your partner can experience a lot of personal growth. As a bonus, being a helpful and supportive “putty-partner” to your bae—while balancing your own needs and priorities—might just win them over for life!
In finding a balance of supporter and supported dynamics, it is critical to maintain adequate space for yourself, and to encourage the same for your partner. Both of you enjoy varied interests and have diverse and fulfilling lives. It’s probably part of what brought you together in the first place, and you want to hold on to that.
As multipotentialites, you both need unwavering support, space and time to pursue your respective paths. Merging paths and dating a multipotentialite should mean expanding on behavior that not only fuels the best in you but also encourages your partner to do their best without overwhelming them. The key to achieving this is finding the balance between extending your wholehearted support to your partner, looking out for yourself, and allowing yourself to be held and supported by your multipotentialite partner.
Have you encountered a fellow multipotentialite in a romantic setting? How would you approach dating if you met a multipotentialite on a dating app? Share your thoughts—or make a love connection? 😉 —with the community in the comments.