Gay Advice: When The In Love Feeling is Gone


Reader’s Question: The first year with my boyfriend was amazing.  We connected so well. Now, in year two, I feel like he takes me for granted, and I do the same to him. I have to admit that this has happened to me before. What can I do to stay contented in relationships when the “in love” stage of the relationship starts to wears off?

Dear Max,
The beginning of a relationship, during the “in love” stage, is delicious. We feel euphoric. We enter into the intoxicating feeling that we are “at one” with another person. However, according to long-range studies, the romantic obsession stage only lasts an average of about two years.
Then what? 
The first romantic stage happens by instinct. The second, longer stage of relationships takes some effort. When you and your partner move into the reality that you are two different people, you are going to need additional fuel to sustain the closeness over the years. 
There are five major food groups for relationships. If you know which of the five your partner wants the most, you can focus on giving him food that best nourishes him. And once you know your own favorite food you can ask for it often.

Dr. Gary Chapman calls these five food groups The 5 Love Languages in his very popular book of that title. Here they are. Which is your primary dialect?

1. Words of Affirmation. Some of us especially need to hear that we are good, attractive, funny, kind or loveable.
2. Quality Time. This is when your partner has your focused attention. In quality time, there are no electronic screens present.
3. Receiving Gifts. For some people, visual symbols of love mean the most. This doesn’t mean diamonds and furs, but can take the form of love notes, token surprises, and thoughtfully conceived homemade gifts.
4. Acts of Service. These are actions like making dinner, dealing with the landlord, or doing the laundry.
5. Physical Touch. This includes sex, but can also be hugs, cuddling, back scratches, or holding hands.

What If I Don’t Know My Language?
If you are trying to figure out your primary “love language,” Chapman suggests you ask yourself one of these questions:
1. What have I most often requested of him?
2. What does he do—or not do—that hurts me the most deeply? The opposite of that could be your love language.
3. How do I regularly express my love? You may offer what you, yourself most need.

It’s Efficient
If you don’t know your partner’s primary love language, you could be spending a lot of energy giving him something that doesn’t have much impact. If his love language is physical touch and you put a lot of time into creating thoughtful gifts, you still might not be giving him what he needs. 
With less energy expended on your part you could be stroking his head while you watch the dog sleep, and it could be a much more powerful way to express your love.

Is This The Whole Answer?
So if I figure out his favorite love language and give it to him regularly, can I be assured of a successful long term relationship?
Um, no.
While Chapman’s book makes it seem like that’s all we’ll need, I believe there’s a little more to it.  (Easy answers sell a lot of books, but they don’t usually work out so well in real life.)
However, customized expressions of love, plus good communication skills, are a powerful combination that can get a couple through a lifetime of trials.

What are good communication skills?  If you can talk about a difficult subject with him and end up feeling closer afterwards, rather than farther away, then you already have very good communication skills. 
If you can’t do that yet, there is always time to learn. I admit to being biased, but couples counseling is a great place to learn it.

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

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Save Yourself: How to Deal with Highly Negative People

Highly negative people prevent us from making positive changes in our life. Having to face negative people on a daily basis can be downright exhausting. They’ve trained themselves to close their minds off from possibilities and choosing to focus on the lack of them. Over time these self-constraints pile up to create personal enslavement, which affects everyone around them.

I’ve been there, we all have: those days where everything you do seems to be wrong and never ends up getting you where you want to go. But eventually, something happens that gives us a glimmer of hope. We hold onto that hope for dear life, hoping it will grow. Much to our surprise, it usually does—this is because we unconsciously had been relishing in positivity in spite of ourselves.
Hope is everything, and it is the balm for negativity. Life gives us sh*t and we can’t help; most of it is out of our control anyway. But hope is the thing that fuels our faith. Without it we might as well just give up, for what is there to live for?

In the gay community especially, negativity can run a muck with or without our permission. As men, we live off it. Everyone wants to be the pack leader so putting us in a room full of gay guys could be dangerous.
Negativity is a tool one might take advantage of eventually. When a man sees you down and out on yourself, it can be a solid reminder of his security: he’s not as bad as you, which gives him self-esteem; and self-esteem is so valuable these days that he won’t want to let it go, so he’ll find opportunities to make you feel even more negative. It becomes a power struggle.
But it can work the other way too. A negative friend reminds you of your own insecurities, day in and day out. Every time you’re in the same room, he or she will deflate you, turning your emotions into putty.

The only way to handle negativity in your life is to combat it with positive reinforcements. It’s easy to become comfortable with a regime of “putting up with it” just for the sake of maintaining peace, but that’s bullsh*t. If you value yourself at all, it’s time to limit the excuses and start widening your range of possibilities.
Here’s a piece of advice: the reason why you feel guilty or ashamed isn’t because people make you, but it’s because you’ve done something to another person (or to yourself). You aren’t judged by how people treat you, but by how you treat people. Chances are, you’ve fought negativity with negativity, henceforth jump-starting an evil pattern. You’ve stooped to their level—never again!

When a negative dart is thrown your way, dodge it. Nourish it with love. Never fight anger with anger, sadness with sadness, shame with shame. You will only create space for all those things to enter. Focus on what you’re delivering, not them.
Every emotion you feel inside exists because you’ve put it there. You can be treated like sh*t most of the time, but only if you let them get to you, let them convince you they’re right, will the darkness win.
You are all you need. Period. No one else matters. It doesn’t matter how much negativity your friend tries to wash over you so long as you stop inviting it in; instead, observe it. Allow yourself to step back, observe, and tell yourself, “Wow. That was really negative. I see it now.”

What others say about you doesn’t change anything. You are what you are, and you can change only when you want. You’re the master of your own universe. Everything you feel about yourself started as an idea implanted from another. It’s time to stop bowing down to negativity as if it were your ruler. Let it slide on by. Free yourself.

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

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Gay Dating Advice: What to Do When He Doesn’t Call You Back

You know the scenario. You go out on a first date with that incredible guy who seems like he meets all your criteria for good boyfriend material and you both seemingly had a great time.
You maybe even got a kiss and exchanged lots of flirtatious banter that raised your hopes that maybe it was “true blue” this time. But then he falls off the face of the earth despite his claims he’d call you back for a second date.
There is nothing more frustrating, right? What happened to integrity?
Worse yet, now you can’t get the injustice off your mind, ruminating about what went wrong and why he isn’t returning your phone calls or emails, and it’s making you feel crazed and depressed.
I hear from lots of forlorn men who have experienced this all-too-common situation that is unfortunately a part of dating who can’t seem to shake their disappointment.

What’s a guy to do?
While we can never truly know for sure why someone doesn’t call back after what appeared to be a great first date, some of the more common hypotheses include:
  • He wasn’t really into you and didn’t have the courage to be honest about how he felt.
  • He was really only interested in sex.
If he didn’t get it, he didn’t want to waste time going through a courtship and moved on to find someone more willing to “put out” more quickly.
If he did get it, he got what he wanted and is moving on to the next conquest.
  • Something changed in his life situation (job, health or family issues, a stressor of some kind, etc.) that altered his plans for dating being a priority in his life and he didn’t have the courtesy to inform you of this.
In a perfect world, men would be assertive and upfront about their intentions, but this is an aspect of dating we don’t have any control over.
Our energies will be better spent if channeled in more productive outlets to cope with these letdowns when they happen.

“It doesn’t serve you to allow this guy so
much ‘real-estate space’ in your mind.”

1. Self-soothe.
You’ve got to find a way to self-soothe and stabilize those nerves and reduce the physiological symptoms you’re experiencing from your anxiety and distress.
You can decrease those stress endorphins through exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques, etc.

2. Write a letter.
Write him a letter you DO NOT SEND that expresses all your anger and hurt at how he treated you, and then destroy it to ritualize your “letting go” and moving on.
This letter is for your therapeutic benefit only.

3. Get out of your head.
Engage in meaningful, productive activities that feed your sense of purpose and that will make you feel good about yourself.
This will help get you “out of your head” as you make a positive impact in another arena.

4. Continue dating.
Continue your dating quest after you’ve fully grieved your disappointment and sense of loss so your feelings of being jaded don’t get projected on to every new guy you meet.

5. Basic dating truths.
Develop some affirmations that reinforce some basic truths about dating:
  • “I deserve to be with someone who has integrity and who is enthusiastic about exploring a possible connection with me.”
  • “He did me a favor by not calling back.”
  • “This behavior screams volumes about his character and this does not match my personal requirements for a partner.”
  • “I will not emotionally invest myself in a dating relationship until I’ve had time to really get to know the guy and consistently observe his behavior in a wide range of situations to ensure he’s compatible with me.”
Create a variety of different affirmations that are believable to you that you can repeat on a daily basis so they can become internalized.
You’ll also want to pull these out during those challenging times when your mind goes back to fixating on the man who wronged you to give yourself a healthy reality check.
You will get through this! Just remember it doesn’t serve you to allow this guy so much “real-estate space” in your mind.
It’s not deserved and it holds you back from your potential. You’ll be great!

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

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The Unspoken Truth About Casual Sex

I know I don’t have to tell you that gay men enjoy sex, honey. But so does everyone else – it’s called being human. One thing that separates us from the rest of society, unfortunately, is our experience with casual sex. It’s become a stereotype we often try to fight against (even though behind closed doors we might be Grinding away), but there’s a hidden truth that most of us might fail to see: casual sex is not for everybody.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be out in the clubs or on Grindr looking for your next hookup in order to be a successful gay man. When I was in my early twenties, trust me, I had a hell of a lot of fun. But today it seems like more and more young men are getting pressured into having casual sex simply because their friends are doing it. This cannot be healthy.
What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. Just because your roommate is totally comfortable having casual gay sex doesn’t mean you will be. It’s become hard for people to say, “I’m not good at casual sex.” For whatever reason, we feel like everyone will assume we’re needy, we’re easily attached, or we’re emotionally unstable if we can’t bring ourselves to having casual encounters. Well, I say, screw them all!

Casual gay sex isn’t a requirement for gay men. It’s not some phase you “have to” go through nor is it detrimental for your overall mental health in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of guys who go through a two-year phase – having a lot of sex almost as soon as they come out as a means to rid themselves of all the built up suppression. That’s fine too, but not everyone needs to experiment as much as their bestie (who’s set the bar pretty high).
I have to admit, I used to be a judgmental creep when it came to stuff like this. Because I was so promiscuous in my early twenties, I thought everyone ought to be. It wasn’t until ‘t one of my good friends had just come out and immediately got involved in a long-term relationship that I started to question myself. I naively thought he was damaging his future because he hadn’t gotten all the “men” out of his system yet (like I was in the process of doing). Well, in the end he got the last laugh because he and his partner have been going strong for nearly ten years.

The Balance of Love and Casual Gay Sex

We all exist on different spectrums. Some like sex, others love sex, and others really love sex. But a high sex drive says nothing for one’s capability to actually have it. That’s up to the person, and others are perfectly fine with taking it slow. Why is this a bad thing?
Younger guys of this generation have expressed such anxiety over the idea of casual sex. Once their relationship ends, they’re left in a rut: “Should I explore more?”, “Should I start having more sex?”, “I’ve never done it before, how do I begin?”, “I feel like I need to do it…” Trust me, I’ve seen these guys firsthand and it’s pretty pathetic. At the same time, it’s not their fault. We as a culture have somehow brainwashed each other into thinking that everyone needs to be like us. If they’re not okay with something that makes us comfortable, then they’re the ones who are wrong. When you’re surrounded by a bunch of guys who are comfortable with having casual sex (and you’re not), it’s just a matter of time before you start to wonder if something’s wrong with your lack of experience.
If you’ve read my blogs, you’d know I’m not shy when it comes to sex. I don’t have a problem with casual encounters whatsoever, but at the same time, I also have a thick emotional skin. I’m a straight shooter and have always taken pride in being very much in control, but that doesn’t mean my best friend is the same way. We’re all different.

If you’re not comfortable with casual gay sex, you’re not alone. You don’t need to do what your friends tell you to do. Stop listening to people tell you that you need to experiment more, have more sex, or drop your trousers at the first hot guy you see. Unless you want to do it, there’s no reason why you ought to. Trust me when I say that having sex is the least of your problems. When you fail to listen to your gut, your instinct, and your soul, that’s when you run into irreversible problems. Don’t let it get to that point, honey. You can’t afford the therapy.

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

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How to Feel Beautiful and Boost Confidence

In order to be special, you must first feel special…

When I was a kid, my mother would tell me I was the cutest kid in the choir. She was my mother so I had no reason not to believe her. I carried her confidence with me throughout my adolescence until I became old enough to physically compare myself to my peers. Though I felt beautiful on the inside (thanks to mom), the world convinced me I was less than adequate.
One day I was eating lunch in the cafeteria when I heard someone across the table say, “Why are you eating so much junk? You have enough pimples as it is.” At the time I didn’t know what to make of it. I told my grandmother about it who wisely said, “Our beauty is judged in how much we make others feel special.”
In order to be special, we must first feel special. It’s much easier to call someone else more beautiful than us because it’s difficult to see ourselves subjectively. Who are we to call ourselves beautiful? After all, shouldn’t it be up to the world to decide that? It seems that nowadays people are scared to be beautiful because everyone might think they’re vain, or self-righteous, or egotistical. But the truth of the matter is beauty has nothing to do with the physical and everything with how we make people feel.
What is beauty? All my life I’ve been afraid to ask. I know it’s desired, envied, and holds the secrets of our most dyer needs, but at the end of the day it has nothing to do with us as an individual. It’s a tactic used to sell product and turn us (the fearers) into consumers. It starts from an early age. If we have pimples, we’ll never grab the attention of a boy; if we don’t look our best, we’ll never be taken seriously; if we don’t go to the gym, we’ll never get laid; if we don’t fix our physical flaws, we’ll never be looked at with desire. So of course we’ll buy that facial cream, hair product, gym membership, fragrance, or credit card…

I look in the mirror every morning and pretend to see anything else but my reflection. Then I start nitpicking the details – my hairline is receding, my teeth aren’t as straight as I’d like, my skin isn’t the clearest, my tummy could use some work, and I’ve yet to find a “right” angle. It’s a morning routine I take to work, friends, family, and the strangers I meet throughout the day. It’s the construct on which I build my esteem, and it creates an assumption of how other people perceive me.
The idea of beauty was constructed to insight fear. Eventually, that fear is turned into a money making conglomerate. We use it to feel better about ourselves, as a scale to judge others, and as a way to create an accurate interpretation of our worth.

Basing beauty on physical characteristics isn’t an intuitive choice, but an intellectual one. The world’s standard of beauty has changed over the decades, and whatever body type is “in” at the time is going to be the one most envied. Despite the continuous marketing of it all, one rule has remained the same: Beauty is felt rather than seen.
Society is trained to go with the flow of whichever fad we’re in. Looking at a picture of a man, it’s easy to say one is more attractive than the other simply because he matches a type. But I’ve met tons of guys who are my ideal type that have disappointed me in other ways, which instantly made them less attractive in my eyes.

Can beauty be made at the gym or doctor’s office, or can it be learned through spreading compassion and love? Let me give you an example. Let’s say I give you two pictures of two different men and I ask you to rate the most beautiful. One man looks like a supermodel, yet never smiles and looks a bit intimidating. The other is pretty average yet still attractive and loves to smile, pose with his dog and little nephew, and works in the nonprofit world. You might be tempted to choose the supermodel because we’re wired to believe it’s the right answer. But deep down, our conscience knows that true beauty lies beyond the physical. It’s the “aww” moment you have when you see a man kiss his dog. It’s the butterfly feeling you get when a guy says, “I think you’re incredible.” It’s the freedom of knowing that your man has your back no matter what.
We are the judges of beauty. What I think is beautiful might not be what you think is, and that’s okay. He doesn’t need to have a dog, work in the nonprofit world or be good with kids (those are just my own assessments). While there is a standard of what we think is beautiful, my point is it’s always been a social construct. It’s like the stock market. It goes up and down and changes every single day. Investing your life according to a standard of beauty is pointless because it’s always going to be short-lived.

Physical beauty is judgment. Though it’s main purpose is to make us feel special, it’s become the strongest tool in creating a hierarchy within our community. Because it is judgment, we often think it’s pointless to call our own shots. But no matter how many times we try and mold ourselves around a prototype, our level of beauty is always going to be equivalent to the amount of beauty we give. Making people feel happy makes us happy. Spreading joy makes us joyful. Making others feel beautiful will always make us feel beautiful. It’s how the universe works. Do you think your beautiful? Try looking at how your friends feel and be the judge yourself.

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

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Easy Ways to Enhance and Deepen Your Relationship

Our relationships grow deeper and more fulfilling when we have the ability to express ourselves and to listen more deeply to our partner. Intimacy requires us to become vulnerable to one another. For men, that sometimes seems contrary to everything they’ve learned about how to lead life. The paradox is: we actually become safer when we disarm and open ourselves to our beloved, because he is more likely to disarm and open himself.

Communicating in ways that enhance intimacy requires us to try something new. Let’s try an exercise to deepen your ability to communicate with your partner. Pick a time during the week when you and your partner can both commit to being present with one another, face to face, without distractions. (Turn off the television. If the phone rings, let the answering machine pick it up.) There is no rush……

Start by relaxing for a moment. Maybe it has been a long day. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Relax. Notice what is going on inside of you. Notice sensations. What are you feeling? Remember that many emotions are a combination of one or more of sad, mad, glad and scared. Are you feeling sad about anything? Angry? Excited, eager or happy? Anxious or scared?

Open your eyes. Decide which of you will share first. The partner who goes first has 5 minutes to talk about what he is feeling without interruption. The listening partner does just one thing – listen. (Don’t confuse listening with eagerly waiting your turn to speak! Give this man your undivided attention.) If you are listening and you are not sure of what your partner is saying, ask him if he could please clarify a bit. Do not give interpretations of what he seems to be feeling, or why he might be feeling something. Just listen.
At the end of 5 minutes, the partner who has listened tells the speaking partner what he heard him speak about his feelings. Again, don’t interpret; the goal is just to make certain that you heard him correctly. The goal is to restate you partner’s feelings without just parroting them back to him. The speaking partner may respond, “Yes, that’s what I was feeling all right.” Or he may respond with “No, I was actually feeling more…” If he restates the feelings, the listening partner will again tell him what he heard. This goes on until the partner who has spoken is satisfied that he’s been heard accurately. Then switch the listening and speaking roles so that the other partner has 5 minutes to speak about his feelings.

This can feel a bit awkward at first, like learning new dance steps. Notice if there are places you get stuck. When you were speaking, did you tell your partner the truth about what you were feeling? If you held something back, why do you think you might have done that? If you had trouble as the listener identifying your partner’s feelings, was it that he wasn’t being clear, or did you find yourself getting distracted by the “internal conversation” inside your own head or heart? Did you find yourself getting defensive and wanting to argue instead of simply listen?

Doing this every week for three months will pay you big dividends in learning more about expressing yourself and listening to the other. You’ll find yourself drawing closer to your partner. Good for you!

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

Join a gay dating site where you can meet single guys from any town or city. Rely instead on Gay Dating Solutions to do the work for you!
Don’t get fooled by FREE offers made by other sites. Gay Dating Solutions is offering a free 6 month promotion ABSOLUTELY no strings, request for credit card numbers, etc…it is the only site that is truly free to join!

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10 Tips on Handling Your Office Crush

Like most 9 to 5 people, I’ve had multiple crushes on coworkers. There’s no shame in it, but there’s always a time when you should ask yourself if it’s a good idea. Personally I think it’s hot to fantasize about what your cubicle mate is wearing underneath his suit. It keeps the day from becoming even more boring than it already is.

There are plenty of office romances that happen every year, but for gay guys it can be a different story. We often don’t know whether to act on it or keep it on the down-low. After all, not all people are as they seem. Here are a few tips I’ve gathered over the years which I’m sure will help you in your office ventures:
#1) Show him the real you, rather than the “work” you. Point out the things you have in common and never hold back when discussing family, hobbies and goals. Don’t rely solely on work-related issues – this will make him think your relationship is strictly professional and nothing else. Show him your sense of humor and don’t ignore a blatant opportunity to flirt whenever it presents itself. Over time the relationship will morph into a chain of friendly banter that might lead to something more.

#2) The rules change slightly if he’s your boss. If he’s your supervisor or any kind of authority, you may want to rethink starting a flirtatious relationship which may affect your reputation in the company. The same goes with that of someone working under you as well. There’s nothing wrong with having a crush on your boss, but you must always consider the long term effects. Test the waters with small hints first and allow him to make the first move.
Smile, laugh and hold eye contact longer than usual. Watch him walk away and be sure he feels you watching him, in a non-creepy way of course. Don’t be too aggressive with it, but let it happen organically. Everything is in your ball park at this point and you can stop the flirting anytime you choose. Never be the one to make the first move. That must always be up to him. That way, your conscience will be clear should anything arise from the relationship. Don’t let him think you’re flirting with him. He might be straight after all.

#3) Listen to what he says rather than what is said by your coworkers. Don’t rely on gossip to sway your point of view about what you or he feels about the other. We all know how quickly word gets around an office or work environment when it’s believed two people like each other, and because you’re two guys it will be under the microscope even more. Base your ideas on him on his actions and never what your coworkers say. It will be way less exhausting.

#4) Figure out if he’s professional or something “else”. We all have a professional mask when at work. Most of the time our smiles are only somewhat real since we’re trying to make the best impression impossible with our coworkers. That being said, it’s easy to confuse a professional attitude with a flirtatious attitude. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought a guy was flirting with me when in truth he was just being charming. Take a bit to gather your thoughts and truly understand what his perspective of you is. Try not to confuse them.

#5) Bring up gay topics on the sly. Not only will this allow you to see where he lies on the gay friendly spectrum, but it gives you an opportunity to see if he’s gay or straight. That is, if you don’t already know. Anti-discrimination laws are nonexistent in the majority of the states in America so being “out” at work is a no-no for many LGBT men. Letting someone know that you’re gay without actually saying it might make him feel more open and available to discuss issues. Do it discreetly and not in a dominating finger-pointing way. You never know what might happen.

#6) Accidental body contact will always trigger his imagination. Bumping into him in the hall or rubbing shoulders while making copies in the copy room will set off certain light bulbs. Of course, you don’t want him to think your sexually harassing him, which is why things like this need to be done carefully. No matter what happens, you’ll get an answer from the way he responds to you. Use it to your benefit.

#7) Break room appearances. Figure out when his lunch is and try to sneak into the break room just to make an appearance. Don’t stick around for too long, at least until you get to know each other. Enter on a high note and leave on an even higher one. The impression is the first step in getting to know him. Let him think, “Who is that guy? Where’s his desk? What does he do here?” Eventually he’ll start to ask your coworkers these questions the more he sees and is impressed by you. The rest will happen naturally.

#8) Help him when he needs it. Trust me, he’ll start to notice how helpful, reliable, trusting, and smart you are. Not to mention it gives you both an excellent opportunity to start conversation and build an idea around each other. These small moments will create a seed that can flourish into something more if you play your cards right. All good things come from small conversations and it’s all about making yourself available.

#9) Grooming is kind of important at the beginning both from you and him. Notice if he upgrades his outfit and walks by your desk to be sure you notice. It might mean he’s trying to get your attention. On the same note, if you want him to notice you immediately, a drastic change in appearance will always trigger his attention. Whether it’s in the hair, wardrobe, cologne, skin or whatever, make it stick out. This will bring him in peripherally and once he’s there, he’ll notice everything else.

#10) Look at the eyes & feet. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. You can tell a lot about a man’s feelings by looking at his eyes and feet. When they’re pointing at you, it’s an unconscious sign that he’s interested in, or targeting, you. Same with the eyes. If someone isn’t attracted to you, he has no reason to look at you. Don’t get self-conscious if you catch him staring and looking away as soon as you make eye contact. Chances are, he didn’t want you to know he was watching you. We’re hunters and we enjoy the act of hunting. Enjoy it but read the signs before you jump to conclusions. If he’s totally fixated on you it’s clear he has no qualms in letting you know you’re his prey.

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Be Yourself: 3 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd

Standing out from a crowd requires more than just a fancy outfit or a loud set of vocal cords. It’s about being memorable, inspiring and above all, original.
The world today has turned into an attention competition. Everyone wants to be the most popular, athletic, handsome, or talented, but it’s this eagerness to prove ourselves which ultimately becomes our biggest setback. Instead of letting our power resonate inside, we give it the world to judge. Sooner or later we forget what it’s like to think for ourselves.

#1) Never Lie To Yourself
Make a decision right now that you will never, ever, lie to yourself. Betrayal of one’s self is worse than the betrayal of family, friends and anything else you care about in your life because it affects your happiness and overall psyche. There’s no worse a feeling.
By lying to yourself about who you are, over time it will overshadow your true identity. Eventually the person you become is completely unauthentic, leaving you in a pool of anxiety and fear of being looked at as a “fraud.” Life is too short for pretend, instead, embrace the things you feel. Relish in the fact that you have different views than others. Never feel the pressure of conformity simply because you’re afraid of being different.
There are plenty of people in the world who try to get ahead by bragging, exaggerating, and in some cases flat out lying about their accomplishments in an effort to get attention. If you want to stand out in a crowd, you must counteract them. People remember humility and honesty over pride and lies. Always.

#2) Be Truly Original
Being original means staying authentic to your tastes – not trying desperately to be different to make a point. There are plenty of people out there who wear shocking clothes that look amazing, but, it’s a total mismatch to who they really are. People can smell fakes from a mile away.
No matter what you do in your life, if it’s true to you, it’s always going to be original. The idea that “standing out” means being the loudest, most shocking, or craziest person in the room is totally wrong. Let your personality be the seed for all external things in your life, otherwise you will base these things on society’s judgment.

#3) Class Goes A Long Way
When you stay true to your word, are kindhearted, and allow people to feel the love you have inside, there is no possibility of being forgotten. “Class” is more than just looking a part, it’s sharing the experience with everyone else. Listening, acknowledging other people’s efforts, and showing enthusiasm are attributes many people in today’s world lack. By becoming a prime example of these, you will not only inspire others to do the same, but you will always be remembered as the person who was most genuine. Kindness is always going to make you memorable.

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Top 10 Characteristics of Gay Power Couples

So what makes a healthy and lasting long-term gay relationship successful? Our society certainly doesn’t make it easy for us as gay men to date and mate with all the homophobia and discrimination that exists. Though this is slowly starting to change in many parts of the world, man-to-man love continues to be stigmatized and this backdrop of cultural oppression and hatred can put a strain on a gay couple’s budding relationship that many heterosexual pairs may take for granted. As a gay community, we lack adequate and visible positive role models of gay couples that provide hope for lasting relationship success. As men, we’ve been conditioned to define our masculinity in rigid and narrow ways as part of the socialization process growing up and this can create conflict when pairing up two individuals of the same gender looking for intimacy and emotional connection. And then we have our own layers of discrimination and pressure in our own gay community that at times can leave gay couples feeling unsupported and uninspired to achieve relationship longevity in the one place they thought they’d be safe—among their own.

While the odds do seem to be stacked against us in the fight for the dream of claiming our rightful husband with the accompanying house, white picket fence, and prideful rainbow flag securely attached to the front porch, they don’t have to be obstacles to our success. Having to face so much adversity has actually enabled many of us to be quite resilient in the face of stress and makes us good candidates for partnerships with the right focus and determination. There are many gay men in long-term relationships who can vouch for their fulfillment of this dream and speak of happiness and bliss in their coupled status. But what are the ingredients that make a healthy gay relationship?

Characteristics of Successful Gay Couples

There is no specific blueprint or formula for how to maintain a lasting and successful relationship. One of the beauties of being gay is that we can create our own definitions of what constitutes an ideal relationship for ourselves as we are not hampered down by restrictive gender roles and norms like our heterosexual counterparts. Each couple develops their own unique partnership that works for them. That being said, there are some universal qualities that can promote a more solid and functional relationship over the long haul for partners seeking long-term connection and happiness.

Successful gay couples can exhibit some of the following…

1. They share compatible interests and philosophies of life.
It’s important that partners have similar interests and hobbies to share in common to build experiences with together, but it’s also essential to have some differences as well to complement each other. This helps to keep the mystery and intrigue alive in the relationship that exists with contrast. Who wants to have an exact replica of themselves that they interact with on a daily basis?! Boring! What is absolutely critical, however, is that both partners will have a smoother and more fulfilling relationship if they share comparable value systems. This forms the foundation of what the couple believes in and is the diving board from which they co-create a vision for their future together as a united front and alliance for life.
2. They openly communicate with each other and stay engaged in each other’s lives.
This involves direct and honest dialogue about the mundane aspects of life to the serious thoughts and feelings that get triggered as a part of relationship dynamics. The partners create a climate in their home where each feels safe and comfortable sharing vulnerable aspects of themselves with each other and are attuned to each other’s needs. Listening skills are primed and each feels like an active participant in the relationship. Issues are not swept under the rug and are dealt with immediately in an assertive and caring way.
3. They manage conflict productively.
Healthy gay couples recognize that conflict is an inevitable and normal part of a relationship, seeing these “rough spots” as opportunities for growth and positive change in their partnership. They deal with their anger in constructive ways, avoid hurtful comments and assigning of blame, and take the time to understand and validate each other’s points of views before initiating collaborative problem-solving to try and reach a win/win solution. They are open to compromise and sacrifice and always keep a teamwork stance in negotiating their differences.
4. They have a balanced lifestyle comprised of both individual and couple identities.
In relationships it’s important to have time devoted to nourishing the relationship and also to focus on individual interests and pursuits. Too much “couple identity” causes both partners to feel suffocated. Too much “individual identity” creates a feeling of being disconnected and living as roommates. Striking a positive balance of both brings in just enough freshness and vitality to the relationship where boundaries are strong and healthy. Each partner feels supported by the other for striving for their own personal growth and goals without feeling threatened because the relationship vision is also being attended to simultaneously.
5. They have fun with life and try not to take things so seriously.
Life can be stressful, so why add to the tension with a hardened demeanor? Successful couples are those that are playful with each other, enjoy a humorous banter between the two of them, and feel energized by such things as tickling, cracking jokes, pulling pranks on each other, and being perverted with each other. All things are done in a loving way and this approach to their interactivity creates an atmosphere of laughter and celebration for being in each other’s lives.
6. They enjoy a sensual and sexual camaraderie that helps them to meet their erotic potential.
The happiest couples tend to report enjoying nonsexual affection in their daily lives through spontaneous touch, verbal strokes, holding hands, cuddling, and massage. They also understand the importance of maintaining a passionate sexual connection through regular pleasuring sessions and keeping their erotic lives energetic and enjoyable. Even for those couples in “open relationships”, the sexual relationship with their partner remains an important component of intimacy for them and they find ways to meet each other’s needs, even when one isn’t necessarily in the mood.
7. They have a supportive network of family and friends who honor their relationship
Having the backing and encouragement of loved ones can be a great impetus for reinforcing a gay couple’s commitment. Surrounding themselves with positive and affirming people can be a great boost.
8. They are comfortable with their sexuality and not afraid to show it.
Sexual identity struggles and internalized homophobia can really drag a relationship down unless both men tend to be in the same boat with their levels of outness. Confident and successful gay couples are comfortable being in relationship with each other no matter the setting or public domain. Whether it’s trying out a mattress at the local bedding store or attending a social function in a mixed-orientation crowd, these couples feel secure enough in their identities and relationship to combat any potential homophobia they may face by proudly being themselves. Being able to be free and uninhibited is a truly liberating feeling for a gay couple.
9. They possess the following in their partnership: trust, commitment, honesty, openness, flexibility, loyalty, dedication and devotion, quality time, sensitivity, nonjudgmental attitudes, loving and unafraid to express their feelings and passionate side, etc.
These are obvious hallmark characteristics that typify a healthy relationship, but gay men in particular are vulnerable to power struggles, competition, and issues surrounding intimacy and closeness due to male socialization in their man-to-man relationships. Successful couples are aware of these pitfalls and work hard to embrace a holistic masculinity that counters the stereotypes they’ve been engrained with.
10. They place a high premium on their lives together and are focused on not taking each other for granted.
Successful gay couples realize that the busyness of life can very easily put their relationship on the back shelf, but they don’t let it! They ensure that they devote quality time together, schedule special “date nights” with each other, and are attentive to each other’s needs. They make sure they are diligently working toward their shared relationship vision, validate their partner in the ways he likes it most, and make sure to show through words and actions how much they appreciate their guy being in their lives.

So how did you and your partner do? These are only some of the qualities that comprise a healthy gay relationship and it’s up to you and your man to define the parameters of what that would look and feel like for your unique relationship. Use these tips as a springboard to discuss how things are going in your relationship to gauge your strengths and areas for growth and craft an action plan to make things even better between the two of you.

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How to Differentiate Between Love and Friendship

Question: I have been out of the dating scene for 10 years after having been in a long-term relationship for that length and it has since ended. I find it difficult being back on the singles’ market. I currently find myself in a strange situation; I have met a guy through the Internet. On our “first date”, I set the context of our encounter by saying that I thought from having left a long-term relationship that it was important for me to be friends and to be interdependent rather than codependent as was my previous experience. So now seven weeks have passed, we’ve been on a number of dates, but haven’t kissed. I am waiting for him to make a move. I’m fearful and I don’t want to ruin anything if it is meant to be a friendship, although I would like more. How long is too long to know someone before “stepping things up” and how do you decipher whether it’s a friendship or if there’s potential for a relationship?

– Daniel

Dear Daniel:
Yes, it can be quite a difficult challenge when transitioning back into the dating scene after having been in a long-term relationship for the length that you were involved in. Feeling rusty and out of practice, it can be overwhelming navigating through those waters again, particularly with the difficulties inherent in finding compatible matches. Not only this, you’re likely still going through a grieving process over the loss of your 10-year relationship even though you initiated the breakup. So my first bit of advice to you is to relax and breathe! There’s no rush and it’s a process you have to go through. Becoming preoccupied with the dating challenges will only serve to frustrate you and create more angst and desperation that could sabotage your efforts to find healthy dating partners.

Being new to the scene again and wanting “to do it right the first time around” is commendable and it sounds like you’ve done your homework by realizing the importance of pacing and taking things slow. There does need to be a balance with this, however, otherwise many men will perceive a lack of interest if the signals aren’t expressed that you’re interested. This new guy you’re dating sounds like someone you’re intrigued with and would like to see developing into more than “just friends.” While going slow is important, you want to beware of over-thinking it and communicating it too much to the guy you’re seeing. My concern is that it’s possible your guy may have interpreted your statement on the first date of being friends and interdependent as a barrier you put up towards getting close.
Try to be mindful of ways you may be projecting your past relationship mistakes onto new dating encounters. It’s important in the early stages of dating that you make the contacts light and gradually build in more self-disclosure as you screen the person to determine their suitability; this way, your disclosures match the level of intimacy that’s developed in your progressive meetings with your new dating partner. It’s possible your statements may have come across as “too heavy” and your guy may have interpreted what you said in such a way that now your relationship with him is defined as purely a friendship because that may be what he thought you were surmising. After two months with no movement, that may be the case. But don’t fret, my friend! All is not lost! It’s also very possible that he, too, shares your interest, but is waiting for you to make the first move because of what you said and he’s letting you be in control of the pacing since you expressed the need initially.

If you’re truly interested in cultivating a relationship beyond friendship with him, then the only way to accomplish this is for you to take the lead and directly express your interest and desires either verbally or through a kiss or some other affectionate gesture that breaks away from the purely “friendship behaviors” that have been exhibited thus far. Only you can decide if that’s what’s right for you; but if you do choose to let him know how you truly feel, I’d do it quickly! Don’t let anymore time pass by! The more time that the two of you invest in each other functioning as you are now, the more your relationship will be defined as “just friends” because any romantic chemistry that existed will diminish over time and he will only view you through the lens of being a pal.

It’s not easy taking the initiative and putting yourself in a position of risk. You will need to decide if he matches your personal requirements for a partner thus far and if the benefits of making your feelings known outweigh the potential costs of making yourself vulnerable. And when you’re dating, let things evolve naturally and address the issues as they come. It’s important to have boundaries, but try to avoid setting them up so high that there’s no way to let a relationship grow. Being friends and having separate identities are extremely important for the health of a partnership, so you’re right on for identifying these values as prime for you. But rather than “throwing it all out on the table” within the first few dates by communicating that, perhaps just pace the speed of how things are going by expressing your needs and feelings as they come in the various situations you’ll find yourself in. Your guy will get the hint. For example, if you’ve gone out on a few dates with someone and he starts giving you hints that he wants to have sex, you could say something like, “I really like you a lot, but I’d like to take things a little slower and get to know each other better first. I’m really attracted to you though, just please be patient.” Hone your flirting skills, pay attention to body language and eye contact, and assess the guys’ responsiveness to you as clues to a dating partners’ interest. And even when going slow, it’s still important to throw signals of attraction and interest to keep the fires burning and to keep each other validated.

I wish you luck with this! What do you really want from this guy…a friend or a potential boyfriend? Whatever you decide, go for it and address any fears that may be holding you back. Be the chooser, be assertive! And no matter what happens, the one thing that won’t change is that a friendship has already been established and that’s one more person to add to your support network. My fingers are crossed for you!

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