The following is a comment I received from a reader to a post I published here in July 2011. My comments are captured in italics.
The second comment I received from the same reader follows in a separate post titled "Response to Recent Comments, Part Two."
Comment #1, received November 25, 2013
Hi Rick. I doubt you will answer…
As I wrote to this reader, in a separate and briefer response, I answer every comment and email I receive from readers–with only a few exceptions. If you are not respectful of me and my other readers, or if you write a complimentary comment, but, when I click on your name, I’m taken to a website where you’re trying to sell something, like a hook up service, or sex toys, or what-have-you, then, no, I will not respond. And I won't publish your comment on my blog either. Be warned. Don't waste your time.
…but I actually think different. I mean I agree with you about the self-acceptance part and all, but what about those who never had problem with himself? For example, I never had issue with my own sexuality or self-identity…
If you are totally self-accepting, and you truly don’t have a problem with your sexual orientation, then I’d say you are the exception to the rule. Because, in general, most gay people, who’ve received the message their entire lives that there’s something wrong with them, just because they’re attracted to, and seek love from, someone of their own gender, are not so self-accepting. But I will take your word for it that you don’t have a problem with yourself. I would only ask that you be conscious of your internal dialogue and any instance, large or small, where you put yourself down, especially because of your sexual orientation. If you feel at all inferior to straight people because you’re gay, then you have some work to do.
...it's just that I can't seem to find a partner. I'm sure you are well aware by now, but it is actually way harder for gay men to find the right one for him - I mean WAY HARDER.
Yes, I’d agree that it may be more difficult for gay people to find the right one. I think there are several reasons for that: 1). self-acceptance issues (which I covered above); 2). a lack of safe, social places in many towns and cities, where gay people can meet each other; and 3). any other obstacle you end up putting in your way (and there are many, which I touch on below).
Some lucky ones may have a partner for many years, but I hear more than 90% of the couples who've been together for more than 5 years are in an open relationship.
I can neither dispute nor agree with your figure of 90%, although it seems a little high. I will say I’ve known some couples who are in open relationships, but I’ve also known others who are not.
Monogamous and open relationships exist for both straight and gay couples. It’s just that you may be more aware of open gay relationships because you’re gay yourself, and because of the circles you travel in.
I don’t agree with open relationships in general, for either straight or gay people, which I’ve made clear in some of my earlier posts. But to each his own. If it’s not something you want for yourself, hold to your guns and don’t cave in, should you ever find yourself at that crossroad. Better yet, before you get involved with anyone, be sure neither of you wants an open relationship, and make that a condition of your being together. Chris and I both agreed at the outset we would never accept open relationships, and we continue to be monogamous to this day, after over twenty-one years together.
I'm not going to judge that, but I just want to find someone just for me and be happy. It seems like it's impossible for me - and I've realized it's not just me, but actually most gay men are single, lonely, and not really happy.
You’ve just stated what your goal is–“to find someone just for me and be happy”–so that is what you must achieve. Anything less is not good enough.
It was my goal long before I met Chris, and it continues to be my goal. I believe that it helped me find Chris back in June 1992, and it’s helped me stay with him, in a loving, committed relationship, for all these years.
Don’t let go of your goal. It’s tough to achieve it, yes. But it’s possible. If I can do it, and other gay couples I’ve met can do it, so can you. Believe.
I think being gay is like a disability - it's a big challenge given us, mostly by birth. It's a challenge we can't really overcome while being on this earth.
I’m hearing homophobia here. I don’t think being gay is any more of a disability than being African-American is, or being a woman, or being Asian, for example. In other words, I don't consider it a disability at all.
When you attach that label to it–disability–you stigmatize not only the sexual orientation itself, but also anyone who has that sexual orientation, including yourself. Did you get that? You stigmatize yourself too. Isn’t that a form of non-self-acceptance? I think it is.
Yeah, being gay has it’s challenges, but so does everything else. As I’ve written before, being gay is being gay. At the end of the day, it’s neither good nor bad–it just is. It’s how you choose to look at it, either as a straight or gay person, that turns it into something else. You can see it negatively or positively. Whatever you choose will affect how it manifests in your life. Do you see that?
You know, accepting yourself is a basic, elementary step - at least it was for me.
Now that I’ve had my say on this subject for a bit, do you still agree with your statement above?
It was always extremely difficult, near impossible to find the right match for me. My standard is not the problem…
Are you sure about that? You would not be the first person to put all kinds of obstacles in your way when it comes to meeting other gay men and deciding if they are right for you. I did the very same thing before I met Chris, and look where it got me. I entered my thirties still very much alone and lonely, and I seriously thought I didn’t have a chance of ever meeting the right guy.
Now, I’m not saying to throw all your standards out the window and accept the next guy who walks into your life. Standards are a good thing. Standards allow you to identify what you will live with and what you won’t live with. For example, I wouldn’t be with an alcoholic, someone who takes drugs of any kind, or a smoker. These are non-negotiable, deal-breakers. If you're involved in any of these things, you're not the one for me. Moving on. But when you have some gay men saying they must be with someone who has blond hair, a buff body, or a large you-know-what, well, then they’ve taken standards too far and deserve to be alone until they figure themselves out (not to mention, get their priorities straight).
…but I seem to find a lot of straight men attractive. Also, I believe there is no issue with me, because actually many gay guys seem to fall head over heels for me. I was just never able to reciprocate to those gay guys. Yes, I believe being straight has its perks, which most gay guys don't have. We coined the term and call "gaydar" for a reason, right? I would like to think I could tell most of the time who is gay or not. Anyhow, I derailed.
I’ll comment about this in Part Two.
I think being gay is a challenge we can't overcome by ourselves.
I take this to mean you think we can't overcome the “gay challenge,” as you put it, unless we're with someone else in a loving relationship. One, I may have at one time thought being gay is a challenge, and, as a gay man, some days are certainly more interesting than others. But, overall, I don’t think being gay is a challenge anymore. And two, I don’t think we can be dependent on someone else to help us with what we perceive to be a challenge. Not to mention, being with someone else in a relationship can’t change your mind about whether or not being gay is a challenge.
What if I told you today, this very day, you can change how you look at being gay and no longer see it as a challenge? And what if I told you that, if you did that, you’d begin to live a whole other experience of being gay? Because that’s exactly what would happen. I’m not saying you would never see gay as being a challenge again. But what I am saying is, in general, your whole orientation in life would be different, because you don’t see being gay as a challenge, disability, or (as you put it in your second comment) curse. Listen, the choice is always yours. Continue to look at being gay this way, or change it. Whatever you do will set the course of your life.
Our hearts' desire will never be quenched - at least, not fully. Maybe some of us were able to, but most of us can't. Most of us just live an "okay" life - cause without that someone, how can we be truly happy??? It's just okay. No, I cannot be happy by self-exploration or whatever. I'm done with that. I don't see any other way for me to be fully content in life but to find that One.
Please see my comment in Part Two.
I am not hopeful about finding that person,
All we have is hope. When you no longer have that, what do you have? Think about it.
…and I have stopped looking - but if it is meant to be, I guess I will find that person...someday.
There’s resignation in your words, which concerns me. But, overall, I think you’re on the right track. When I really and truly stopped looking–really and truly stopping looking and saying you have are two different things–I met Chris. I’m not saying the same thing will happen to you. What I am saying is, live your life. Live it to the best of your ability, whether you’re single or coupled. Make the most of every day. Stop feeling sorry for yourself because you’re not in a relationship. Stop thinking your life is less than because you’re still single. Make the most of being single, in the way I’d expect you’d make the most of being in a relationship.
And, yes, if it’s meant to be, it will happen. I believe with all my heart there is at least one person out there for all of us. I strongly suggest you believe the same thing. But don’t wait around for it to happen. When, not if, it’s meant to happen, it will. Until then, this is your time to become the best damn human being you can. Use this opportunity to work on yourself. Be the best person you can be, first and foremost, to yourself. Because you’ll need all of that, and so much more, when the right man comes into your life.
When you are ready, it will happen. I worry it may have already happened, and you didn’t recognize it at the time. So now's your chance to open your eyes. Figure out some of the things I’ve commented on. There is a reason why you’re still single, just as there was a reason I was still single before I met Chris. Work on finding out that reason. And don’t give up until you figure it out. Otherwise, you may never get what you most want, and that would be a real shame.
Please be sure to check out Part Two in a separate post.