My hunt for Prince Charming on gay dating apps is in full swing but I think I may have overcommitted…How many conversations can I have at once across Grindr, Chappy, Match, Hinge and Tinder?
My hunt for Prince Charming on gay dating apps is in full swing but I think I may have overcommitted…How many conversations can I have at once across Grindr, Chappy, Match, Hinge and Tinder?
I’m terrified of being single but it’s not for the reasons that you may think. I’m not afraid of becoming the gay caricature of the old lady, surrounded by her cats, mainly because I’m allergic to cats but also because I’m not one to think too far into the future. It’s not that I’m afraid that my soulmate is not out there (although it’s taking him a bloody long time to materialise if he is) but rather that I may be enjoying my own company too much in the meantime. You see, my biggest fear is not that I won’t find a partner or my soulmate but that I’ll be just as happy if I don’t.
I’ve noticed how some of my friends always seem to jump from relationship to relationship, easily finding a new partner with whom they become instantly infatuated. I on the other hand find it particularly difficult to forge such relationships. While some people need the security that a relationships brings to their life, I’m content being alone. I refer to myself as a ‘social loner’ – a person who enjoys socialising, spending time with friends and making news friends but who is just as happy, perhaps even happier, being alone. As I become older and engrained in my routines and habits, which have rarely had to accommodate someone else, I worry that it may become difficult for me to adapt if and when a serious someone comes into my life. Will my morning, perfectly-timed schedule be interrupted by someone else’s schedule? What if I don’t feel like talking after a long day at work? Or going out with his friends? Or being in someone else’s company? What if I want to be alone?
Although it may sound arrogant, most of the time I can provide for myself everything that I need to be happy. As such, there hasn’t been a real drive to find a partner and therefore I don’t think I have made a particular effort to look. From friends, to work, to spirituality and community, I have created for myself the things that I need to keep me satisfied. What about sex you ask? Well I can find that too, although I’ve learnt from experience that sometimes it’s easier and less complicated to satisfy one’s self in this department. It all stems from my belief that we are whole as we are and that there is no need to wait to find our ‘other half’ before we can feel wholeness. This is one of the most dangerous myths of our time, that we need someone else to save us or we will never be saved. As homosexuality has become more accepted we have adopted the dangerous heterosexual ideology that to be truly happy we need to find a monogamous partner that will be with us happily ever after. What if we never find that partner though? Does that mean we cannot live happy and fulfilling lives? While I think it’s beautiful to be in a loving relationship and I certainly wouldn’t mind it for myself, I don’t think we need to be miserable in the meantime.
My Facebook newsfeed is often full of gay guys lamenting themselves for being single or congratulating each other when their relationship status changes. I’ve always been confused by the latter as if being in a relationship is some sort of achievement that needs to be acknowledged. I think that this comes out of the fear of loneliness which is particularly strong amongst gay men as we have often felt ostracised because of our sexuality. Perhaps this explains why so many of us are desperate to be in a relationship? It could also explain why there is a constant need for many gay men to broadcast their relationships to the world? The over-the-top uploads and updates might just be a desperate way for us to show the world and each other that we are loved and wanted. Or perhaps it may be because we do indeed love that person so much that we want to shout it from the rooftops. The cynic in me says that it’s the former.
Why listen to me though? All of this is just the rambling of someone who has never been in a serious relationship. Sure I have had flings and dated lots of men and even been in what some might consider the early stages of a relationships but still none of these have been worth the Facebook update. Now that I am older and more aware of the passage of time, I’m worried not about being alone forever but rather that I’ll be just as happy if I were.
Maybe I should buy a cat just in case…
Image by Malc Stone
We are told that in order to be happy we need to “love ourselves”, to discover the joy within and to build our self-esteem but nobody really tells us how. In this personal post, guest writer Joshua Vaughn shares his story about depression, losing his self-love while in a relationship and then the five steps he took to find that love again.
Life as a gay guy can often be a battle, we don’t have it easy. Let’s admit it. I mean, lets really admit it. You can say that us gays have the same opportunity as our straight counterparts – and yes that is true, we do, possibly even more. But do you think many straight guys have ever had to reveal news about themselves that could potentially result in exclusion from social circles, family or their community? Have straight guys ever had to cover up who they really were in fear of punishment, abuse and rejection?
Moving beyond coming out and self-discovery, let’s look at the gay dating world. How many times has your attention been driven to the topless six pack Grindr profiles? Or how many times have you had to describe yourself as ‘masc’ in order to be accepted by another?
Yes, life for everyone is tough, but as gays, it is a little more complex.
For a large chunk of our lives we have had to cover up who we are. Once we come out, we go on to label ourselves to fit in, to impress others and to feel loved, but really all we truly need to do is to love ourselves a little bit more.
Loving yourself is a constant habit, it takes work. I have recently come out of a relationship where by the end, I was a completely different person. Walking into the relationship I was confident, I knew who I was, I was witty, charming and an all-round social butterfly. Towards the end of the relationship, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and constantly in fear of losing my significant other. I was a hermit who lacked energy and on some afternoons I was completely bed ridden. It is safe to say I was a completely different person. People would automatically assume that it was my significant other’s influence that made me become a total different person, but it wasn’t him at all. It was me.
I accept full responsibility. Why? Because I forgot to love myself. I was so invested in the relationship, I put him before me. My needs and wants fell by the wayside. I became secondary and as a result I suffered immensely. Slowly but surely my mental illness got the best of me. I let the relationship dictate my happiness (relationships are add-on’s, not a core feature in life!) I needed to learn how to love myself again, and I needed to do it fast!
After hundreds of Google searches, kindle downloads, self-help blogs, talks with good friends and professionals, I came up with a plan to become the best version of me. I won’t go into the importance of loving yourself, there are plenty of articles on Google that cater to that, but what many articles don’t address is the actual practice of loving yourself. And that’s what it is. It is a practice that needs to be included into your daily routine so that it becomes a habit.
Now this may not apply to everyone, however I would recommend that you simply try it out for a week or so, you really have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain.
At this point, I can say confidently that I am better than my old self, I am now the best version of myself. People have noticed and commented. I am excited about life again. I am excited to explore and roam. Sure I have off days when I feel like I have lost my footing. When this happens, I acknowledge that I feel this way and am mindful of my thoughts but I use the steps above to get back on that path.
Remember, only you can make yourself feel loved and happy, it’s no one else’s job.
Have you had a similar experience? Have you had to learn how to love yourself again? Comment below!
Image by Sylvain Norget
This article was originally written by The Modern Gay for Match.com
“What’s your type of guy”, she asks. “I don’t really have a type” I respond “but I would probably say that he’s of Mediterranean decent, 6-foot-3, 80kgs, long dark-brown hair, bronzed skin, light eyes, Roman nose, sumptuous lips, slim build with a light covering of body hair and a scattering of tattoos. He’s thirty-two years old, most probably university educated, successful in business, speaks several languages, dresses like a GQ model and has the wit of Russell Brand coupled with the boyish charisma of Harry Styles”. As it turns out, I certainly do have a type.
“What was your last boyfriend like” she inquires further. “English decent, short blonde hair, 5-foot-10, smooth body, 20-years-old, with the style of a surfer and the wit of a doorknob” I reply. As it turns out, my ideal type of guy and the guys I actually date are completely incongruent. Why is this the case? Why is it that our ideal type and our actual type are often entirely different? Can we do anything to bring the two into alignment? This is something with which I have been struggling of late, compounded by the big “three-zero” which looms on the horizon.
What began as a creep towards the age of thirty has now turned into a full-blown gallop and as I approach the next milestone in my life I become increasingly anxious about the type of men that I find myself dating. When I was in my early 20s and dating guys similar in age to me it was fun and carefree. It didn’t matter much to me what their long term goals and aspirations were or even if they had any. Nor was it of much concern whether or not they were the type of people I would be happy to introduce to my parents or friends. Now that I’m in my late 20s and still find myself attracted to those same guys, the things that never seemed to bother me back then have now become of greater importance. Yes he’s pretty but what else does he have to offer? Yes he is full of youthful energy and always up for a good time but does he think that Palestine is a new fragrance by Kim Kardashian? Yes he’s great in bed but would… To continue reading click here.
Image by Mariano Vivanco
There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life. This type of guy is an essential partner who can make the arduous journey through life that that little bit more pleasant. He will be there to console you during your breakups, dance with you to cheesy diva music on a night out and offer you advice from a completely unique perspective. He is the type of guy that you can talk to about things you can’t with your other guy friends and although you may say, “I love you” to each other, it is a very different type of love. There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life and that is a straight male best friend.
It takes a straight man with special qualities to bestfriend a gay guy. The first quality required is an unwavering comfort in his own heterosexuality. Whether he’s sharing a bed with you on holiday in order to save money or dancing on a podium next to you with his shirt off, doing things that are perceived to be gay does not faze a straight guy who is comfortable in his own sexuality. He will feel comfortable walking down the street with his girlfriend hand-in-hand while you walk next to him with your boyfriend hand-in-hand. He’ll hug and kiss you hello and tell you that he misses you when he hasn’t seen you in a while. He will easily blend into a social situation where he’s the only straight guy, not flinching when your gay friends are being overly flirtatious or affectionate and he’ll relish the fact that you introduce him as your “token straight friend”. For him, being around gay guys is not a threat to his masculinity. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even faze him at all.
A straight best friend doesn’t see sexuality as a defining aspect of your friendship. You are not his “gay best friend” and he is not your “straight best friend”, you are just mates. This is the second essential quality. While some straight girls excitingly seek a gay best friend as some sort of glitzy, novelty accessory, your best mate loves you for so much more than your sexuality. You share similar values and similar tastes in music, sports, humor, books and fashion. Together you can talk about similar experiences in love, relationships, heartache and it doesn’t matter that those experiences are between different genders. Some of these guys may have been your best friends from a time before puberty, when your sexuality was still dormant while others you may have only met after you came out. In both cases your different sexual preferences were never a factor on which your friendship was forged.
Much like with any other friendship, the most important quality that a straight man must possess in order to bestfriend a gay guy is loyalty. It is loyalty that ensures the longevity of any friendship, it is loyalty that helps a relationship survive the ups and downs of life and it is loyalty that binds male friends as brothers. Loyal friends are those who will be there when the club lights are turned on and when the music stops playing. It is during times of personal crisis such as health scares, deaths and depression that a loyal straight friend truly displays his mateship.
Having a straight man as a best friend also provides balance to one’s life. They provide a sounding board on which you can bounce ideas, problems and concerns and receive advice back from a different viewpoint. Often if we spend too much time within our own community, surrounded only by other gay guys we can become caught up in the drama of daily gay life. Having a neutral, outside party with whom we can confer is important for ensuring not only variety but also one’s own sanity. A straight male best friend is also a reminder that in a world where we have been judged, teased and chastised largely by other straight males, there are those in our midst who love, support and care for us regardless of our sexuality.
Image by Olaf Blecker
Is who you date a reflection of who you are?
A friend of mine once admitted that he was sexually aroused by the sight of himself naked in the mirror. Instead of other forms of visual stimulation, he openly admitted that when it came to special “alone” time, his own reflection was enough to do the job. There are two things you need to know about this friend: 1. he’s extremely handsome by most people’s standards and 2. he makes Narcissus look like Mother Theresa. I’ve watched the string of boyfriends that have come and gone through his life and although they’ve been of different ages and nationalities, they’ve all had one thing in common – they look identical to him. This made me think about boyfriends and whether or not one’s boyfriend is a reflection of one’s self.
Have you noticed those cute gay couples who look like they could be brothers or father and son for the matter? Sure, some may argue that couples begin to look and act similar over time, much like dogs and their owners but I would suggest that who you choose to date is in fact a reflection of yourself. The short-buff-gym-dude dates other short-buff-gym-dudes much like the narcissistic model dates other narcissistic models or the blondes date blondes etc. So then what does it mean if you’re like me and you date people who are polar opposites? Is this the reflection of subconscious self-love issues? Maybe. But I would choose to think that it is because you are attracted to people who have qualities that complement your own (whether physical or not).
I’m not assuming that everyone who is attracted to someone of a similar aesthetic or nature is narcissistic, I’m simply discussing extreme examples of the phenomena and trying to draw conclusions. From a more positive perspective, dating someone who looks like you may be a sign that you are comfortable with your inner self. A few years ago I broke up with a boyfriend because he liked things about me that I hated about myself so clearly there was something wrong with him. Now I realise that you can’t truly be open to love if you haven’t accepted yourself, although this realisation hasn’t changed the types of men I date.
There are obviously other factors involved in the subconscious attraction process (like LOA – Read Here) but it’s much easier to look at the superficial reasons so I would love to hear your feedback on the observation that who you date is indeed a reflection of yourself.
Photo Credit: Patriota Twins by Rick Day for FantasticMag
One of the best things about having a boyfriend is choosing not use condoms. I’ve heard from friends of mine that they choose not to use condoms with their boyfriends after a certain period of time dating. They rationalise that they’ve been together for long enough that they can trust their partner but this is a grave mistake. A large portion of newly diagnosed HIV cases are the result of a person contracting the virus from a partner who did not know that they were HIV positive. You cannot assume that your partner is negative simply based on the period of time that you’ve been dating. He may not be aware of his own status.
When and if you decide to stop using condoms in your relationship it’s important to follow the Four T’s: Talk, Test, Test, Trust. This is the safest approach to ensuring you look after your health and the health of your partner.
I have copied the following information from the ACON website (an Australian health organisation established to promote sexual health for the gay community) as they explain the Four T’s best.
Some HIV negative men in ongoing relationships with other HIV negative men choose to have anal sex with each other without using condoms. At best this decision can help make the sex they have special, at worst it can increase the risk of either or both partners contracting HIV.
Choosing not to use condoms with a regular partner is a major decision. It’s not only a decision about the type of sex you have together, it’s a decision about how much responsibility for your sexual wellbeing you’re prepared to hand over to your partner. By choosing to have sex without condoms within your relationship you are saying to each other ‘I trust you with my health and safety’.
THE FOUR T’S
Step One – Talk
To safely stop using condoms within your relationship you need to be able to talk openly and honestly with each other about why you want to do it, what the potential benefits and risks might be, the ground rules for sex inside and outside the relationship and how you’ll deal with any problems that may arise.
If you come to an understanding with each other on all of these issues and still want to ditch the condoms you should then move on to Step #2.
Step Two – Test
Step 2 is for both of you to have an HIV test. You can do this together or separately. If you’re going to have anal sex without a condom you should both be totally sure you are HIV negative and aren’t going to put each other at risk.
If the tests for both of you come back negative, you should still continue to use condoms for 3 months before moving on to Step #3.
Step Three – Test
Step #3 is to get a second HIV test. If neither of you have had unsafe sex throughout the three-month period then the second test will confirm that both of you are HIV negative.
If this is the case and you still want to stop using condoms with each other you can then move on to Step #4.
Step Four – Trust
Step #4 is to negotiate a clear agreement for sex with each other and other people outside the relationship (if that’s what you’ve decided) as well as guidelines for dealing with any problems that might arise. Once these have been made clear you can then trust that you and your partner will stick by them.
If the two of you decide to stop using condoms for anal sex with each other remember it depends upon open and honest communication. The discussions you have about condoms and sex can help you understand each other better and build a stronger relationship
Photo Credit: “Viva Las Vegas” by Matthias Vriens McGrath
How have you negotiated safe-sex with your partner?