[ continued from yesterday ]
Connecting with others is good for us and is one way we nurture ourselves." In my last column, I suggested you take stock of where you are in your social life. Good questions to explore include:
How available are you?
Do you really want a boyfriend?
Or are you perfectly happy as an independent guy and just moaning about wanting a date because everyone else seems to be doing so?
Are you emotionally accessible?
Are you ready for the sort of openness intimacy requires of us?
What about your schedule – are you always working, or are you involved in a hundred different causes and projects?
How diversified is your social portfolio?
Do you hang out with the same people virtually all the time?
Human beings are creatures of habit. Often these habits are not fully conscious. Notice your patterns. Do you meet men mostly in the same places? Does your dating experience typically follow a predictable path? Some men start like a house on fire, later losing interest. Others find they put a "death grip" on their boyfriend lest he run away – and usually guaranteeing that he does. What are your patterns?
What kind of men do you find yourself attracted to? Maybe you are only interested in men who are 10 years younger than you, or you only find buffed gym rats appealing – even though you haven't been to the gym in 6 months yourself. If you're finding it hard to meet men who match your standards and you wouldn't consider dating someone your own age or with a body like yours, it is time to take a look in the mirror and find out what is going on.
Are you constantly on the rebound, bouncing from one short-term relationship to another? If so, you might want to look at whether you are comfortable simply being alone sometimes. If you are looking for men to fill a space inside of you that only you can fill, you are likely to be unsuccessful in relationships.
Where do you spend most of your free time? What are your social patterns and habits? Working long hours may be fine for your career, but it can play havoc on your social life. Doing volunteer work or socializing primarily with non-gay folks is fine, but you may want to think about spending time with other gay men as well if your goal is a romantic relationship.
How often do you get out of the house or apartment? Consider a change of social patterns to bring your self into greater contact with potential partners. Instead of always having coffee alone at home, think about hanging out at the local coffee bar. Going grocery shopping once a week may be time-efficient, but making trips every couple of days to gay-friendly supermarkets may lead to more interesting melon-squeezing!
What would your friends say about you if someone asked them to describe you? Are you approachable or intimidating, friendly or aloof? Would they tell you that your eagerness comes across as being so needy that you may be scaring off men who might be interested in you?
Human beings are social creatures. Connecting with others is good for us and is one way we nurture ourselves. Have fun!
John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. - www.bodymindsoul.org.