Relationships are like a gondola ride (go with me here). Love is the water inside the canal, meaning it keeps our relationship afloat. But gay romance is the wind and ore that pushes us forward, without it the journey will be stationary and boring. A relationship empty of romance is like a car without gasoline. It’s the fuel that drives our passion, but lately we seem to be running on empty.
Don’t you wish there was an app for romance? No amount of technology will ever be able to solve the absence of it. The only thing we can do is offer up our own experiences. With so many gadgets infecting the gay community today, I’m beginning to think that romance has become a thing of the past. In an effort to try and revive it, we ought to investigate the things that are missing. Here are few to consider:
1) Sensitivity Towards Love & Intimacy
It’s almost impossible to separate sex from intimacy because sex is innately intimate. But because intimacy is also inherent with love, we often find it easy to desensitize ourselves from love when we have too much sex. In other words, when sex becomes the only focus, we tend to forget about building an emotional foundation with our partner.
Intimacy is important for romance in general, gay or straight. But in the gay community, apps like Grindr, Scruff and BoyAhoy are always being used. Even if you don’t have a profile, you know someone that does and probably hear about it once a day. You know it’s there. Sex is becoming unimportant, even meaningless. Gay guys of this generation are used to starting out their newly out lives by experimenting on hookup apps, and by the time they meet a compatible person, unless they’ve been cautious of their feelings, they can desensitize themselves from intimacy and all its qualities.
Work from the heart before you hit the sheets. It will build a solid infrastructure beneath your romance, which keeps you balanced throughout the duration of its life.
2) Acknowledgement of Each Other’s Value
This might be something you’d think every relationship should have, but a lot of gay couples are depriving themselves from it. Sadly, much of it has to do with how we train our brains to perceive others. We all know our standards of beauty should be investigated. Our culture commands us to judge each other’s bodies. This inadvertently affects the way we look at ourselves. Our bodies become currency and we’re always selling it to someone. The currency eventually becomes a representation of our value. If it’s not up to standard, our self-worth is lessened.
Acknowledgment from our partner keeps a romance from spiraling down. When you feel appreciated for your talent, strength, brain, humor, courage, ideas, and qualities, everything else is unimportant. It’s the infrastructure that keeps you both high above the ground.
Much of what we see affects our perception on a person, but never should it become the main tool on how we value people, otherwise, love and romance will never appear. They don’t exist on an artificial foundation, but rather a genuine one. Change the way you see the world and you’ll slowly begin to see what’s beneath the outer layer. This is where love is.
3) REAL Chemistry
The countless hours of watching romantic comedies, reading novels, and seeing cute gay couples in viral photos or videos have tricked us into thinking we need love now, now, now. So many gay guys have become desperate to find a husband, especially since Marriage Equality has progressed. The result of such angst is forceful intimacy. In other words, we fake affection because of a desperate need to have a movie-type boyfriend.
If you ask any single guy if he’d rather have a supermodel boyfriend now or wait a few years to have an average-looking husband he was completely in love with, I’m sure he’d go for the latter husband. Why the rush? Not every hot guy we see on the street is going to be our soul mate. Real love and chemistry can’t be forced, but so many guys try to mimic “love” like it exists in the movies they’re ignoring what their intuition is telling them and, more often than not, they get stuck in a relationship they’re not fully committed to.
Real chemistry is the heartbeat of gay romance. Everything else is considered acting. Never feel like you need a boyfriend only because you want someone to cuddle with. Cuddle with your man because you cravehis touch. Think and feel with your gut and stop pretending you’re in a John Hughes movie. I love a good romantic comedy just as much as the next person, but the feeling you get from watching John Cusack blare music from his stereo is what you should be focusing on. Not the act itself. The second you meet a man who makes you feel the same butterflies in your stomach, that’s when you know your heart is telling you something good. Allow yourself to feel.
One word speaks a thousand messages. Take a minute to think about all your ex boyfriends. I bet within the first month of each relationship you saw a red flag. Chances are you ignored it, assuming it was just a minor gut feeling that would disappear down the road. Fast forward one, two, three years later, and you’ve become invested in a bad situation. If only you had dealt with the red flag sooner, you might have saved yourself a lot of heartache.
Honesty is the thing that keeps a relationship psychologically beneficial. It’s pointless to continue when you don’t feel any affection towards him. If you’re not looking for anything serious, you’ll only damage yourself by lying or pretending you are. If you feel like you’re being sexually deprived, don’t keep it a secret – it’ll only make you irritable and eventually unsatisfied with everything he gives. If you feel like something is missing, don’t be afraid to communicate. Whether it has to do with attention, sex, a particular circumstance, bad friends/family, etc., be an open book.
Honesty will set you free from the angst of overthinking. Keeping concerns buried inside your head will create paranoia and anxiety the likes of which will be impossible to reverse. You can’t fake romance so you might as well make it as truthful and upfront as you can.
5) Long-term Focus
I’ve seen many relationships fail within the first year because they’ve missed important non-negotiables early on. One man wants to have kids while the other doesn’t. One wants to stay in the city while the other doesn’t. One wants to travel while the other would rather stay put. Conflicts like these, though seemingly unimportant at the beginning, mean the world once the relationship ripens.
Early on, the focus is typically on feelings. It’s easy to say, “We’ll cross that bridge once we get to it,” but in this day and age, family planning, future planning, and overall life planning is crucial. You’d be surprised how much it can affect gay romance as a whole. One miner conflict will veer a healthy connection towards a different direction.
It’s important to discuss things like this, or at least have an idea of what you want. Whenever you’re single, there’s no better time to reflect on what you truly want in life. Kids? Job? Career? Goals? Location? Housing? Retirement? It might seem light years away, but much of what makes a long lasting relationship are similar life goals. When you meet a man with the same plans, gay romance is much easier to keep.
6) Practicing What We Preach
I might say I need a man who wants more from me than sex, but if all I’m doing is seeking casual encounters how the hell would I know the difference should the right guy appear? We’ve gotten so used to spouting words, needs, and dreams that we fail to put them all into practice ourselves. I’m sorry but if you don’t want your boyfriend to have a Grindr, you better make sure you delete yours. If you get jealous when your boyfriend looks at other men on the street, you better check yourself as well. Hypocrisy will either end up creating blackmail or resentment.
Never set your standard of rules so high even you can’t reach them. Balance is life’s greatest tool. We lift what we can carry, which builds more respect from others. One of Mother Nature’s rules is we attract people similar to our own character. Trust me on this, if you’re projecting to the universe that you want a nice, funny, and attractive man who’s been helping starving kids in Columbia while rescuing stray dogs for the SPCA, but you yourself could care less about any of that crap, chances are you’ll be living on a pipe dream. Be yourself with no exaggerating or hypocrisy and you’re sure to welcome the same kind of people into your life.
7) Positive Friendships
We are who are friends are. Yes, it’s sad but true. Human beings are like sponges. We soak in the energy around us so much that it inadvertently affects our psyche and perception of people and things. When you surround yourself with narcissistic, ego centric, artificial, or Debbie Downer type of personalities, you’re going to be the minority if you carry too much enthusiasm. This will undoubtedly affect your relationship over time.
It takes a courageous and knowing person to consciously make an effort of surrounding themselves with positive personalities. So many guy guys allow their friends to manipulate them into thinking negative thoughts towards their lover. Sometimes it’s not even our friends, but our boyfriend’s friends. That can be a lot harder to deal with, but should never be ignored.
There are also times when best friends feel neglected. In their mind, your boyfriend is stealing you away from them. Sometimes it’s true and other times it isn’t. Depending on the type of person they are, you should do your own investigation. It’s difficult to juggle attention between your man and your best friends, but when you have positive people in your life, it’s a cakewalk.
Above all, you need to have a mind of your own. Depending too much on him, fantasies, entitlements, or anything else will create a fake identity too hard to peel. Not that there’s anything wrong being considered a “couple” or “so-and-so’s boyfriend,” but being your own person who happens to be in a relationship with so-and-so will keep you both psychologically stable.
Having your own voice means having your own life. Romance is a shared experienced, not an invasive one. The minute anyone feels like their independence is getting taken advantage of, gay romance almost always breaks away. Knowing that someone keeps you in their life because they want to is stronger than assuming they’re stuck with you. It makes you appreciate each other more through the good and bad days.
9) Enthusiasm and Optimism
Laughter is the key to happiness. So many relationships grow tired of each other too fast, ultimately losing interest. If you’re not enthusiastic or optimistic, you might be heading down an emotionless and cynical path – both of which are the antithesis of gay romance.
I’m not saying you have to be an obnoxious Disney character 24/7, but if you look at every happy relationship, they all have share an identical outlook of positivity. It’s the thread that keeps their relationship alive and always looking to see what’s happening next. When excitement is always brewing, you will never get bored of each other. Boredom is a major sign that something may be wrong inside the relationship itself that’s worth investigating. Keep the spirits high.
Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?
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