Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Finding "The One" -- Update

On June 24, 2009, I wrote a post entitled 'Finding "The One,"' with suggestions for gay men on how to find the right people to share their lives with. I based my information on the relationship I share with Chris, my own partner. After all, I was alone and lonely before I found him, and, now, we've been together seventeen years, in a completely monogamous and committed relationship. I figured I might have some advice that would be helpful to others.

But I forgot one very, VERY important step in the list of advice I gave.

Prior to meeting Chris and settling down into "wedded" bliss--no, Chris and I are not officially married, even though we could get married in the province of British Columbia if we wanted to--I had several "affairs" with young, gay men. Fortunately, none of them ever resulted in a long-term relationship. I say "fortunately," of course, because, had I taken up house-keeping with any one of these guys, I wouldn't have been available when the right one, Chris, came along.

In some cases, the fellows I saw had no intention of settling down with anyone. For their own reasons, they were more interested in being with a lot of different men, and indulging in physical pleasure, than in building a lasting relationship. Often, I think this had something to do with homophobia on their part, where it was easier to enjoy a short period of intense, physical passion than it was to deal with issues of self-hatred that prevented them from accepting their sexual orientation or that of someone else.

Thus, we arrive at my point. If a relationship is your goal, perhaps more than anything else, both you, and the young man you want to be with, must be extremely comfortable with being gay. Because, if either one of you is the slightest bit uncomfortable, you are not ready for a relationship.

If you hate yourself because you're gay, you will not be able to accept being with another man who is also gay. You will see in him what you hate most about yourself, and, consciously or unconsciously, you will push him away, emotionally at first, then physically, when becoming a little more serious about each other scares you from making a commitment.

When I met Chris, he was just twenty-three years old. In many respects, he was immature and still had some growing up to do. But, in one respect, he far surpassed the previous men I'd dated, many of them several or more years older than him. Chris was utterly comfortable with his homosexuality. It didn't bother him in the least that he wanted to be with a man rather than a woman. For him, connecting with another man was natural and normal and right. He had no qualms with committing beyond physically connecting.

From my perspective, the single factor that accounts for the success of our relationship over all these years is the comfort level each of us has around his sexual orientation. I think in some respects, both of us will have things to deal with for the rest of our lives related to being gay. But, when it came to connecting with each other, had one or both of us not been in a place where he could accept his homosexuality enough to give himself completely to the other person, we wouldn't be together today. In fact, we might not have made it past our first week or month together, let alone the past seventeen years.

It takes a big man to accept his homosexually. Sadly, because of the way society messes up our heads by telling us that being gay is unacceptable, many gay men never arrive at the point when they can accept themselves--so ingrained is their self-loathing--and they will never connect with other men in the ways that would be the most meaningful for them.

One of the most intimate ways we can be with other human being is through sex. But an even more intimate way is by connecting emotionally, which is one of the most compelling reasons for being in a relationship. Unfortunately, many gay men will only ever know the physical pleasure and release involved in sex. They will never know that deep and enduring love that is possible between two people, who are prepared to give themselves without reserve to each other.

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