If you’re such a catch, why are you still single?
At dinner few months ago, friend of mine confessed that it drove him crazy when well-meaning friends and co-workers told him they had no idea why he is still available when he is such obvious husband material. It’s true; my friend is a sexy guy with a great personality and a fine job. To say that he has been frustrated by his lack of success in dating would be an understatement. Problem is, my buddy’s job keeps him busy. He’s also involved with volunteer projects with kids, and he lives near his aging parents so he can spend more time with them.
While Jack (not his real name) is a sociable guy with many friends and contacts, it could be a long time before he finds Mr. Right. While he has friends, his social circle tends to be restricted primarily to a group of men and women he’s especially comfortable with. When you take a look at it, the circle isn’t all that big.
You’ve probably heard the definition of madness as “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Yet this is exactly what many of us do. We keep living our lives the same old way and things stay pretty much the same as they always have. We are waiting for lightning to strike us.
If you would like to make some changes in your romantic life, you might start by making a list of the men you’ve dated or been in relationship with over your lifetime. Where did you meet them? Are these men similar in any way? How happy were you with your connection to them?
Jack and I sat down with a list of the guys he’s dated or been in relationship with over the years. It wasn’t long before patterns started to emerge. The guys Jack had dated were often attractive guys physically who were unavailable emotionally. The guys were often on the rebound from a recent relationship break-up. They needed someone to care for them while they licked their wounds.
Some men just prefer the single life, and good for them. Others, though, find they are so frustrated with dating they rebel at the thought of going out and looking for someone; they become homebodies. Nothing wrong with recharging your batteries. Realize, though, that home isn’t likely to be where you find someone to share your life.
Where are you investing your time? If you’re a gay man and you want to meet other gay men, are you spending time where you are likely to find them? Someone once asked a bank robber named Willie Sutton why he robbed banks. He famously replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” Are you spending your time where there is likely to be a payoff for you?
If you find that almost all of your friends know one another, consider that a clue. Staying with the investment analogy, it may be time to diversify your social portfolio. Keep your old friends, but try doing something different as well.
Lots of men find bars and clubs are great places to meet other men. Be aware, though, that if you tend to be shy, if you are a non-drinker or if you are considerably different from the demographic norm at the place you are frequenting, meeting someone there may not be easy.
After exploring your social network, it may be time to take a look inside:
- 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 yourself 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. Are you getting enough connection with others?
I have been licensed by the State of Georgia as a professional counselor for more than 25 years. My areas of specialty are relationships, intimacy, sexuality, anxiety and depression. My passion is helping people build happier lives and stronger relationships.
I know it isn’t always easy to talk about problems. My approach to counseling is nonjudgmental and compassionate. If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about working together.
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