Gay men, in particular, are often labeled as being unable to develop and maintain long-lasting intimate relationships, adding yet another layer to this stigma.
This can lead to feelings of low self-worth and inferiority, a sense that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t have a boyfriend, an excessive focus and preoccupation with your discontent with being single, and sometimes a compulsive drive to find a relationship just to satisfy that nagging need (which can be a dangerous and sabotaging maneuver if one’s dating practices are conducted out of desperation rather than conscious intention).
For those who have not chosen singlehood as a lifestyle and do long to be in a relationship, this can be a painfully difficult experience. Special occasions, holidays, weddings, times of loneliness, and just witnessing other couples can be very triggering events for singles that serve to magnify their restlessness and unfulfillment with being solo. What these types of single gay men need most is a reassurance and recognition that this phase of life can be one of the most enjoyable and transformational times of their lives if they choose it to be.
This article will validate the positive values of being single and will offer some suggestions for making the most of your single life.
The Benefits of Being Single
Singlehood is the time in your life where you have the greatest degree of flexibility and freedom to do whatever you want. You can be more spontaneous, independent, selfish, and adventurous because there can be less commitments and more time to pursue the things you want to do; you can make your life into anything that you want it to be as you’re completely in “the driver’s seat.” You have the ability to enter in and out of situations with relative ease and to meet a variety of new people.
You are responsible only for yourself and can make choices and major decisions without having to take another into account or to have to answer to anyone.
You don’t have to deal with another’s annoying habits or nuances and don’t have to compromise. Other aspects of your identity (career, family, friends, etc.) can have more emphasis as there’s less competition for your focus and attentions.
More importantly, though, being single puts you in the ideal position for cultivating yourself to reach your fullest potential as an individual.
It’s an opportunity for self-exploration and investing in your own personal growth and development.
It’s an ideal time to learn what’s needed to be fully prepared for love when you find it, to experiment safely with your sexuality, and to explore different types of relationships.
It’s also fertile ground for learning about who you are and what your needs are.
( Part Two Tommorrow -- "Action Steps for Navigating Your Single Life" )
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com