To review, when I first introduced this blog two years ago this month, my intention was to reach out to single, gay men who were on the verge of giving up hope they'd ever be in relationships. I wanted to show them if I could be in a relationship and sustain it for (at the time) nearly seventeen years, they could, too. Also, my intention was to be a resource for other gay couples, who may not have known other gay couples they could run ideas past or ask questions of.
As I learned soon enough, a blog is a living, breathing thing. In my case, I started out with one intention but ended up writing on other subjects. Among other things, I wrote about Chris's and my move back to the Lower Mainland; the details of setting up our new home in the Fraser Valley; writing and creativity, as I turned attention to fulfilling my dream to be a writer; and, later, my mid-life crisis, since turning fifty was more difficult for me than I'd anticipated.
Most of all, I used my blog as a counsellor, someone I talked to frankly about long-term and ongoing issues I had with being gay. In particular, I wrote about insecurities with my masculinity, a common problem for gay men; daily challenges gay men face; changes I'd like to see in the gay community in general and in gay men in particular; the shame of yet more young people committing suicide for being gay and bullied at school; anything that came up in the media I was concerned about; and others.
Now, if you read any of the posts I've written since the beginning of this year, you'll notice I've taken on the topic of low self-esteem in gay men, or, more precisely, gay men learning to recognize the lack of love they have for themselves, how that affects their lives in so many ways, and how to remedy it. Seems like a stretch, given the title of this blog and the fact that what I write about now seems to have little or nothing to do with gay relationships. Or does it?
If gay men now are anything like gay men twenty or so years ago (and I'm sure they are), around the time I met my partner, Chris, then one of the biggest goals in their lives is to find the right man and to settle into a long-term, committed relationship. Sure, some gay men are confirmed singles and will never settle down--hooking up with different partners central to their existence--but I'm confident most would rather love and be loved as opposed to risk growing old alone.
The problem is many gay men can't find the relationships they want. They go out to the bars, join groups, take courses, pursue hobbies, go on cruises, work-out--in short, they do a myriad of things to improve themselves and to ensure they're in the right places at the right times to increase their chances of meeting someone. But, more likely than not, all their considerable efforts still don't yield what they most want. So what are they doing wrong?
If someone had asked me years ago, when I was desperate to meet the right man, if I loved myself, if I saw the connection between loving myself and finding the love of my life, I would have stared at him with I'm sure a dumbfounded expression on my face, as if to ask, what the hell are you talking about? At the time, I thought nothing was wrong with me. I believed I was fine just as I was. The problem, as I saw it, was all the gay men I met. They were the reason I hadn't been able to find someone.
What I failed to see was I was the problem, because I had no clue about loving myself. Love myself? What's that? Thus, I made bad decisions--decisions I see now showed me to be homophobic, weak, insecure--in other words, unattractive, all manifestations of low self-esteem. I went out to the clubs on a regular basis, arguably the best place to meet a man, but do you think I had the balls to walk up to anyone and ask him to dance? Thank God I finally grew a pair the night I approached Chris.
How many Saturday nights did I stay home, staring at the Vancouver skyline from my West End apartment, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting anxiously for someone to take me away from my miserable, unhappy life? Who the hell was going to call me? It's not like all these young, eligible men were lined up to take me out and show me a good time. I was so filled with self-loathing, I repelled people instead of attracting them, as I so desperately wanted. There's no excusing my shortcomings.
My point is this: The connection the title of this post refers to is the one between loving yourself and finding a relationship. And I want every gay man who wants to be in a committed, long-term relationship--who wants to know real and true love in his life--to find exactly that. I want him to know what that is because it's truly life affirming and life transforming. My hope is I'll write something here that will resonate with you, will get you thinking your own self-esteem might just be holding you back.
First and foremost, you must understand the person in your life who most needs and deserves your love...is you. Second, if finding a relationship is important to you, then it's important to me, too. Because I know from experience there is no substitute for living your life with that special someone, enveloped by the enduring love of the one person in the world who's there for you, who's on your side. There's nothing quite like knowing the love of your life is on his way home to you at this very minute.