"Systemic challenges due pose potential barriers to your dating life, they only have to have power if you allow them to do so. We are not victims; growing up gay requires significant courage, perseverance, and resilience. To survive and prosper through this means we can handle anything."
Step one requires taking back personal control and refusing to allow these dating challenges and disappointments to have emotional power over you.
* Start keeping a journal and write about your dating efforts and lessons learned to watch your evolution in progress. Make a list of all the reasons why you’re a “good catch” and why it’s important to keep your head held high when things aren’t going so well. Write about the benefits of being single and what this affords you. Refer to this when you get into “funks” as a way to keep yourself motivated and centered on the positive. When you hear a quote or motivational saying that resonates with you, add this to your journal for additional affirmation and incentive.
* Since we are only in control of ourselves and cannot change other people, avoid blaming “the system” or other gay men for the current state-of-affairs as they are.It’s much more productive to focus more on yourself and dig deep to identify any potential areas where you might be contributing to difficulties. For some ideas on where to get started with this, check out my article on “Am I Mr. Right?” and break out your journal and start writing and tackling those issues that will improve your quality-of-life.
* A recent survey I took indicated that the vast majority of gay men do not initiate conversations with gay men they find attractive, preferring instead to take the passive stance of waiting for others to approach them. Huge mistake! Imagine how many relationships could have started had these men made the first move. Make it a habit every time you go out to initiate conversations with at least one person. If this is a scary thought, take a class in public speaking or join your local Toast Masters club for practice. This very important social skill could really give your dating life that extra boost!
* Be visible in as many different venues as you can. Live your life to the max and join as many social groups, classes, volunteer activities, and events that cater to your hobbies that will get you into the mix with other gay men. If you happen to meet someone special there…bonus! Go into these situations with no expectation of outcome (and that won’t be difficult because you’re in a venue doing something you love to do!).
* If you have a personals ad, make sure you have a captivating headline that draws attention and make sure your personal requirements for a partner and relationship are sprinkled throughout the content to screen appropriate candidates better. Heck, could even start your own gay singles support group or recreation club in your own community. All it takes is some creativity and imagination!
* Alone we can’t change unhealthy scripts in the gay community, but one person at a time and banding together can create a shift in eradicating stereotypes, objectification, and creating value in relationships and intimacy. Is there anything that you’re willing to do to make that impact?
Being single has its pros and cons just like anything else. The trick is to make the most of this time of your life and to view it as an opportunity rather than a liability and explore different ways you can bring more meaning and purpose to your life rather than defining success around having a boyfriend.
When that time comes, it will make the experience that much more rewarding and fulfilling.It absolutely can make you go stark-raving-mad when that guy doesn’t call you back when he says he will or if it doesn’t seem like you’ll ever meet a guy who wants more than just sex. The point is to acknowledge these feelings, but then redirect yourself and re-frame this by recognizing the disguised blessing in these happenings–this void may actually be preparing you for when the right time does come and has just freed you from missing out on such a potential opportunity.
By taking control of your dating life and living a rich and enjoyable lifestyle, you’ll have the power to cope with dating woes and view them from a more positive perspective.
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
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. https://thegaylovecoach.com