cropped gay therapy la logo

Gay Men and Dating Challenges: How to Cope with Them

Gay Men and Dating Challenges: How to Cope with Them

two men talking over coffee at a table deposit photo April 2021 1

In my work providing psychotherapy and coaching to gay men (for 31 years in 2023), it is probably a daily occurrence that I’m working with a client who is a single gay man, who is navigating being single, and managing the modern dating scene. 

It’s not easy; perhaps the most pervasive feeling that I hear expressed from these clients is frustration, because while many of them want to either be dating successfully, or even to be dating someone to the point of cultivating a long-term relationship with them, different obstacles to “relationship bliss” come up.

I hear some of the same frustrations emerge for different guys all over the world.  Here, I’d like to present some of the challenges that I hear guys face in dating (which sometimes is applicable to ongoing relationships, too, among partners or spouses).  For each one, I’d like to offer some information on what could be an “adaptive coping response”: how you could deal with each one to mitigate the negative situation.  These are in no particular order:

1. Dishonesty

One of the more common, but difficult, challenges is when people are being dishonest in dating.  They mis-represent what they do, where they are from, how much they earn, or all kinds of demographic traits, which I believe could be due to a certain social anxiety guys get, and they resort to dishonesty, or at least misleading things they say so that they “impress” their date, or avoid disclosing something that would be, to them, embarrassing to talk about. 

Another form of dishonesty is when someone you’re dating makes excuses for not being available to see you at any given time, because they’d rather spend their free time with another friend or even another person they’re dating, but they’re afraid to say so.  But, you later find out that they actually did go out that night, when they said they were staying in, or they said they were at one place, and you see an Instagram post that shows them clearly somewhere else. 

Adaptive Coping Response: When you “catch” your date in a lie, one strategy is to reassure them that you will understand if they choose to spend some of their free time away from you.  You will also understand (if you do) that maybe they’re not ready to date exclusively yet, or even to be monogamous sexually, either right then, or ever (which requires a lot of discussion on whether, or how, that kind of relationship style would work for you). 

It’s also OK to normalize that people lie simply when they feel anxious or embarrassed about telling the truth.  It’s human nature.  But you also have the right to assert a request for a general, pervasive, consistent atmosphere of being honest and candid, even if the topic requires further discussion.  I sometimes joke, in a completely honest relationship, you say, “Yes, dear, I’m afraid you actually do look fat in those jeans, and I think it would be more flattering for you to choose to wear something else, now that you’ve asked.”  I’m partially kidding when I say that, and I don’t mean to invoke “fat shaming,” but what I mean in that variation of that old saying is that maintaining an atmosphere of honesty, either in early dating or even well into a relationship, means that it has to be made OK to have the hard conversations and to focus on that the best communication is honest, even if you have to discuss, negotiate, compromise, and creatively problem-solve around what that topic is.  Denial and dishonesty just to “spare feelings” or to avoid being frank delay the inevitable, waste time, and are very efficient in how much of a source of anger and hurt they are. 

2. Lack of boundaries with parents (“apron strings”)

It’s not extremely common, but guys sometimes complain that they see evidence that the guy they are dating, while he is fully an adult, has a still somewhat enmeshed relationship with his parents.  It’s OK to be close to your Family of Origin (as too many gay men are not, because they have been rejected by homophobic parents or siblings, and there is an estrangement), and some cultures (Latinx guys, Asian guys) especially might have family dynamics where even adult children are “expected” to be close to their parents and spend considerable time with them, if they all live locally. 

But adult couple relationships require certain “ground rules” that are part of those relationship building blocks I’ve mentioned frequently before, about Commitment, Communication, and Compromise.  Part of Commitment is that you put your partner or spouse first, even above your own parents, siblings, and sometimes even children.  Dates of yours who cancel plans with you at the last minute because their mother or father “needs something” that is not really an emergency, or seeing guys who rely on their parents for housing, money, and seemingly every “adult functioning” action, can be problematic.

Guys who do this might feel guilty about gay, so they “dote” on their parents, even unconsciously.  Or they might underestimate or even infantilize their parents, and think that their “aging parents” “can’t” do anything for themselves, and they have to be there to do everything, even when their parents are not elderly people who need care (which is another topic entirely). 

Guys might feel guilty about not being gay, but just being “away” from their parents.  Psychologically and developmentally, they might not have yet mastered the Developmental psychology stage of “separation and individuation,” which is a part of puberty: becoming your own person, and recognizing that there comes a time to “leave your parents’ home” psychologically and make it on your own as an adult.  In these economic times, that’s harder to do, because new college graduates, for example, might not be able to go out and get a job that pays for even a one-bedroom apartment and other costs of living like a car, health insurance, food, utilities, etc.  But if the guy earns enough that he “could” be on his own, and yet seems “stuck” in a previous age of functional development, like a teenage boy, that guy is not going to be both emotionally and socially available to you in a way that adult domestic/romantic/sexual relationships require.  He needs to available and responsible to form an adult household with you, that’s independent on anyone else, except you for each other. 

Adaptive Coping Response: Like probably all of these, sitting your boyfriend down and talking about this can help.  Set boundaries like telling him it’s not OK to devalue time with you by dropping everything because Mama calls and he comes running.  If you’re in a more serious relationship with someone and your boyfriend is complaining that he can’t do things with you like meals, entertainment, or travel because he’s covering costs for his parents that they can reasonably afford to do themselves, tell him.  It’s OK to assert, especially the longer you’re dating or even into a domestic relationship, you expect behavior from him that puts you first.  You have to use that word “expect” very sparingly, because it can sound directive, bossy, or controlling, but it’s also about expressing your needs, and also invokes a certain time-old dynamic that successful relationships (within reason) are very clear that their loyalty is to their partner first.  TV shows like “Bewitched” or “Everybody Loves Raymond” got a lot of comedy mileage by setting up conflict between the main male character’s wife and his comedically intrusive mother-in-law, but we don’t want real life to be like that.  Like other dynamics in your relationship, it’s OK to ask for behaviors that make you feel like you’re a priority, and as marriage vows say, “excluding all other,” and this is true even in Consensual Non-Monogamous Relationships. 

3. Lack of boundaries with siblings

Similar to an enmeshment with his parents, a guy you’re dating occasionally can demonstrate poor boundaries with a sibling.  They might have a mess-up brother living with him, who’s not really a full/equal paying roommate, and your date is “carrying” him because he feels an obligation as the “big brother” or something.  Another example is if the guy you’re dating is being co-dependent with a sibling with a drug or alcohol problem, and they are enabling their sibling out of sense of family enmeshment or guilt of some kind, or a “noblesse oblige” that if they earn more, or even a lot, they are “expected” to support that sibling with the basics and beyond.  The problem is when their “support” of their sibling is not allowing their sibling to face the adult consequences of their choices and behaviors, and not only is your boyfriend sacrificing too much of himself to accommodate them, but he’s also dragging you into that dynamic with behaviors that end up affecting you, too, in unreasonable sacrifice or inconvenience.   

Adaptive Coping Response: Again, it’s not necessarily going to be the most welcome feedback, but you might have to confront your boyfriend about how, objectively, you can see some Co-Dependent dynamics, and encourage your boyfriend to trust that his sibling can handle growing to face their own consequences and getting their own outside help. In a lot of cases, that sibling is simply refusing help that is available to them in the community.  You might even encourage that he attend Al-Anon, or read some books on Co-Dependent dynamics.  If he feels – or even you feel – that you’re “sticking your nose” into family business, you can still sit back, reflect, and assert what your boundaries and limits are.  If the guy you’re dating, over time, is not really emotionally or a certain “cognitively” available to you, this might not be a feasible dating situation.  You assert your needs and discuss possible compromises, but don’t allow yourself to become a character in your boyfriend’s endless family drama. 

4. Ambivalence (approach/avoidance)

Another complaint, one of the more frequent, is when you’re dating a guy and you get ambivalence.  Maybe he asked you out, and pursued you in different ways, but then you see signs that he’s pulling back, such as not spending time with you, making dumb excuses not to be with you, or even seems checked out when you’re with him.  Then if you start to pull back yourself, he comes running and puts on the charm to keep you.  In the 60’s, Diana Ross and the Supremes had a hit song with “You Just Keep Me Hangin’ On.”  Popular songs sometimes are hits because their stories resonant with so many other people’s experiences. 

We can chalk this up to “fear of intimacy,” which is kind of cliché, or more recently we might call this Anxious/Avoidant Attachment style behavior.  You can see in this behavior from a boyfriend that he has inner conflicts:  he may not be fully out and accepting of himself, and dating you means being OK with being gay one minute, but then getting scared and pulling back the next out of “loyalty” to what is “expected” of him from his Family of Origin or his religion.  It can mean that he’s struggling with whether he wants the security and joys of a relationship, or he’s afraid somehow of “losing autonomy” if he gets too close with anyone, and he feels socially and sexually (psychologically) castrated.  Maybe he wants a relationship for himself, but he didn’t like the relationship dynamics he saw with his parents, and he wants to avoid repeating their dynamic in his own generation, especially if his parents were divorced, or there was unpleasantness like knowing one of his parents was “cheating”, or even if there was domestic violence involved.  All of these internal conflicts are probably going on for him unconsciously, but if he’s making you crazy with his on again/off again behaviors, that’s not fair to you. 

Adaptive Coping Response: You have to use good judgement about timing.  If you ask for any kind of commitment too early in dating, you come across as insecure, needy, untrusting, or controlling.  But if after a reasonable time – key word here is “reasonable” – he’s acting like it’s very early dating when it’s been months, and he keeps you on some kind of yo-yo, it’s OK to sit him down and speak your own truth about what you want. 

If you want to make your relationship more serious, tell him.  But also just say that you’re “curious” about what he feels at this stage.  If he agrees with you, you might discuss what that means: Do you date exclusively?  Do you move in together?  Do you remain non-monogamous, but discuss the ground rules for that?  Do you make plans to spend more time together, such as going on a vacation together to see what it’s like to be together 24/7 for a week?  You don’t have a right to “demand” a commitment from him, but you do have a right to ask him to clarify his feelings for you, and to confront him with examples of his on-and-off behaviors and ask for an explanation as to why he appears conflicted, and how those behaviors affect you.  You can ask for a behavioral change, but that he can approve, deny, or modify that request.  He might not be aware that he’s doing it.  He has a right to feel about you whatever he feels, but you also have a right to ask him what those feelings are, and respond accordingly. If, as the old saying goes, he’s “just not that into you,” then you can decide if you want de-emphasize or even stop spending time with him.  You act in accordance with knowing where you stand. 

5. Bad habits re. attention (phone, others)

Another behavior the guys I’ve worked with have complained about in dating is when a guy has just some behavioral bad habits.  You go on a date with him, and he’s on his phone a lot, whether he’s texting other guys, browsing Grindr or Scruff, doom-scrolling Instagram, texting his platonic buddies, or reading work emails.  Our smartphones are a new and very unwelcome, intrusive component to modern dating since they came on in the scene in about 2007, not all that long ago. 

It’s not entirely his fault: remember that all of the apps, because they sell advertising, employ people with high salaries whose sole job it is to keep you on the app for as much time as possible, so you see their advertisers’ ads. 

Your date might also have ADD, and has a certain neurological propensity for distractibility or inattentiveness, even if he’s not meaning to devalue you in a way when he’s doing behaviors that can certainly feel that way. He might be neurodivergent, or what we used to call “on the spectrum” of Autism, and his relationship to attention to others versus being self-focused might be a part of his relational presentation. 

Maybe a bad habit is smoking too much pot and you get this “stoned” version of him.  Maybe he just drinks too much, and he’s too-often buzzed.  Maybe he’s a smoker, and you don’t like that.  Maybe he has a tendency to chat up people in the environment when he’s with you, as an extrovert, where he spends time speaking with guests at other dinner tables, or counter staff, or servers, or other shoppers.  Maybe he chews tobacco or a lot of gum, and that’s a pet-peeve of yours.  Maybe he has a hygiene thing, like wiping his nose on his sleeve or not wearing clean clothes. 

Adaptive Coping Response: Dealing with a date or partner who has some truly annoying habits is a common challenge.  The key here is evaluating how much those habits affect you.  If a certain behavior, like chewing gum, is not to your taste, you might not like it, but it might not rise to the level of being a deal-breaker.  But if he’s sexting other guys on apps on a date with you, most people would consider that socially offensive and a real red flag that he doesn’t not only have a certain very basic social manners, but he also might have bad judgment or even a callous disregard, disrespect, and devaluing of you that’s kind of tone-deaf, which might mean he has a personality or value system that is just never going to be compatible with who you are, and your value system. 

Once you observe and identify his habits, you have to reflect on if, and how much, these things bother you, and again, you can make a request for behavioral change that he can approve, deny, or modify.  There might be areas for compromise, like he only smokes when he’s away from you, or he substitutes chewing tobacco (I know; what gay guy does that? Some do!) for chewing gum instead.  And, if you’re having that discussion, remember that he also, in fairness, gets to take a turn at sharing with you habits that annoy him, that maybe you didn’t even realize you had, like interrupting him or hogging the covers at night. 

6. Lack of adult independence (rides, money, taxes, etc.)

Another complaint, or at least “variable” in dating, is when your date demonstrates a lack of appreciation for just Adult Independence.  A guy you’re dating who doesn’t have a car for some mysterious reason and is always asking for rides someplace, not on your dates but for errands and outings that have nothing really to do with you and what you do together, is a red flag unless you’ve discussed why something as basic as adult transportation escapes him.  Any guy who borrows money like you’re his dad and he acts like a teenage boy living on an allowance from a parent, especially when you haven’t been dating that long, and actually that can easily be a problem, even if you have been dating a while.  A guy who reports that he’s in trouble with the IRS for not paying his taxes in recent years, and not due to some kind of financial hardship like losing a job or having a disability.  A guy who lives in a room in a boarding house or has very little space to himself, like a college student, when he is well past college age.  A guy with a lot of debt at a young age (and not just from student loans), or a guy with a bankruptcy (which can be the aftermath of losing money after a drug or alcohol problem).  A guy with a substance problem (not just casual use, but abuse that affects his life and ability to work/function).  A guy with medical issues that he can’t seem to pull himself together enough to get treated, even at a free clinic.  A guy with a messy living space, like if his mother isn’t there to clean up after him, it all just stays dirty.  Dirty dishes or trash are everywhere.  Things look dirty or poorly-maintained.  He doesn’t own certain things an adult would be expected to have in a kitchen or bathroom.  A guy who can’t keep his bills paid, or has trouble buying clothes or doing laundry or having clean towels and bed linens when you visit.

Adaptive Coping Response: If you’re an adult gay man, it’s reasonable to expect that you’re dating another peer adult gay man, who acts like one: not like someone who is well over 21 but acts like he’s 13.  That’s a developmental issue, or a maturity issue, and it’s not something in dating that (unlike some other problems) might get better with time.  You’re there to date him, not to re-parent him or coach him on how to be a grown-up.  You don’t have to date only corporate executives, professionals, or wealthy guys, but you kind of know when the guy you’re dating acts like an independent adult and has the adult skills necessary to get along in life.  If the guy you’re dating is like this, unfortunately, there isn’t much room for hope there.  That gets into a variable in dating that I call Fundamental Incompatibility, and it usually means you have to bait your hook and go back fishing for someone new, who is really more a “functional peer” in how you live.  And this goes beyond just differences in education, or culture, or income. 

7. Too much too soon

While we discussed how being checked out, or only intermittently engaged and attentive can be a problem, so can the opposite. Part of what my clients see at times is about guys who have been single for a long time, and they are lonely and want to have a relationship, like the one(s) they’ve had in their own past, or the ones they see their friends in, or the ones from others in their family who are “settled” with partners or spouses of their own.

These guys can “fall in love with love,” and are so eager just to “have a boyfriend,” that they’re seeing you as a vessel that personifies this, a figure that serves this function, and not seeing you for the individual that you are. 

These guys can also have a lack of appreciation for the time and evolution of events that it takes for a relationship to develop and “unfold” at its own natural pace over time and experiences spent together in different circumstances and settings.  They get impatient with the “early dating” phase and want to move to talking and functioning as if you’ve been together a long time, and that you’ve established a domestic relationship as a couple as a fete accompli without allowing for you to get know him, and actually vice versa.  He’s devaluing your individuality and your person-hood by not seeing you for you, but seeing you as “A Boyfriend” and a defense against being alone/single/lonely in an objectifying way.  It’s like a play or a musical; if the star is not available, the show must go on, with the understudy wearing the costumes and saying the same lines; they’ll do in a pinch.  But that’s not really “seeing” you.  A guy you’re dating who respects you will acknowledge that it takes time to get know someone, and that there is nothing wrong with that process.  A guy might be open to a more serious relationship down the line, but it’s about trusting that process that is a good enough process that it’s not to be blown-through or rushed just because he’s too impatient and eager to have the formal partner/spouse to keep up with others he might have a sense of competition with, like a married sibling or best friend. 

There’s a joke that a guy you’re dating says to you, “Oh, I love you; I love you; you’re best thing that ever happened to me,” and you say, “Oh, really? What’s my last name?”

Adaptive Coping Response: If you’re dating a guy who’s doing this, compassion goes a long way.  You can see that this is probably a product of his impatience because he’s just lonely, and that’s a powerful, negative emotion.  People can actually die from this, in a certain way.  And while it’s kind of a compliment that he’s ooooh-crazy about you, if it’s not really on solid ground, it can be hurtful, because you know it’s not true, at least not yet. 

Tell him, assert, that you want to take things slowly.  Ask him the questions that you wish he would take the time, interest, and consideration to ask you.  Let yourselves have disagreements and things that take away from this thing of “oh you’re just perfect.”  No one is, and even long-term, reasonably happy relationships are filled with little annoyances that make your partner/husband very flawed indeed, just not enough to be a relationship deal-breaker. 

Making a relationship work in the long term means that you know full well that this guy is not Mary Poppins – Practically Perfect in Every Way – but is a real-life, flesh-and-blood guy who is made up of all kinds of good, bad, and maybe just odd traits.  But you love them anyway, after all that, but it’s because you have taken the time to know all that, and trusted that process. 

You can compliment him, you can thank him for his flattering “enthusiasm,” but insist that you’re committed to letting things unfold naturally, at a pace, and if it’s meant to be, you’ll get “serious” soon enough. 

8. Cultural and language issues

I notice in my work that very often the gay male couples or polycules who see me for couples therapy or relationship coaching come from different cultural backgrounds, either ethnicity, race, religious background, or nationality, or even age or body type.  I think it’s part of that “opposites attract” thing, and that if gay men could procreate, we would make good babies because genetics loves diversity; it’s the opposite of the problems that can come from population in-breeding.  Guys who are different from us can seem exotic, mysterious, unusual, alluring, refreshing, invigorating, and captivating.  We can get fascinated with that, and horny for that. I see it a lot. 

But along with differences that make things interesting can also be conflict.  Cultural and language issues can present practical problems in how you see the world, not just as individual personalities or being from certain family dynamics, but the entire culture of origin. 

Some complaints like you have trouble understanding each other if you speak different first languages can be overcome fairly easily over time just with language proficiency.  I’ve written before another whole piece about navigating cultural differences in relationships (that’s available here.)

But some cultural differences are actually differences in values, and there can be conflict around who is “right” when it comes to how to handle a situation or deal with people.  And these things can come up in sudden, unpredictable ways that can make you feel alienated from the guy you’re dating. 

Adaptive Coping Response: Gay male couples (and all couples, really) who come from different cultural backgrounds need to honor the cultures of each other by taking the time to observe, discuss, learn, and even negotiate.  It’s part of the “cost of doing business” when you have a boyfriend from a different culture that along with the many benefits of this, you’re probably not going to be able to avoid spending a certain amount of time, in fairly frequent discussions, about the fact that there are cultural differences, and sometimes these can feel like differences in values – about interpersonal communications, money, how to eat, how to keep house, how to observe family events, how to conduct business, how to celebrate holidays, and politics. 

It involves a combination of talking and listening.  Listening to try to understand how your boyfriend thinks and feels, and trying to discern what is his individual personality, versus is what is part of the broader cultural values he was raised with.  You also get to describe and express how you think and approach things from your own cultural background, but to do it in a way that is very sensitively mindful of social ills like racism (the subtleties of clandestine white supremacy), American exceptionalism, colonialism, patriarchy, global sexism, or classism.  It involves meeting the challenge of not arguing about “who is right,” but instead seeking to understand that here is, indeed, a cultural difference, what that is, and how you can approach a topic or way of doing things (like observing the holiday season) in that you get to celebrate that diversity, not be undermined by it. 

9. Pathological jealousy borne of anxiety/abandonment/ocd

Saving “the best for last,” or perhaps both the most frequent and the most potentially destructive challenge to dating and relationships, is pathological jealousy.

Sure, anyone dating you who is invested in you is going to see you as an asset, as a source of emotional support, sexual play and fulfillment, a social companion, a domestic companion, or perhaps even a co-parent or co-worker in a joint business.  They value you, and, conversely, they would not take kindly to losing you, and they will be on their guard to prevent losing you, for any reason, or to anyone else who comes along.

There can be stressors on relationships.  Our own emotional dynamics and sexual drives can undermine our judgement and lead to affairs.  Our own emotional regulation skills – or lack thereof – can make us indulge our anger that creates or escalates conflict.  Our values concerning what’s “fair” about household chores, or how we manage money, or how we spend discretionary resources like free time outside of work, can all be sources of conflict or at least discussion.

But guys I’ve worked with have reported to me feelings of oppression, frustration, anger, resentment, anxiety, and ambivalence about their relationships, or even the guys they are more casually dating, because their boyfriend has said things that a borne of an insecure jealousy that may or may not be “justified” by your actual dishonesty or involvement with another guy.

Guys doing things like asking you to account for your time when you’re away from him in pretty vivid detail.  Asking about “who someone is” who calls or texts you, and what your current or past relationship to them is, as if to evaluate if they are a sense of threat to his relationship with you.  Agreeing to a Consensual Non-Monogamy agreement verbally, but then making sarcastic remarks or giving you the cold shoulder if he learns that you’ve actually acted on that in sex with someone else.  Speaking to you from a place of some kind of authority or control about where you can go, whom you can talk to, whom you can socialize with, or even whom you can text.

All of these things are not so much about you (assuming, of course, that you’re not actually breaking a Monogamy Agreement or doing things “in secret” that would justify your boyfriend having jealousy and that undermine your relationship!) but are more the product of the guy you’re dating over-compensating in his psychological defenses from being lied to and hurt in the past, or seeing his parents act dysfunctionally, or “hearing about how gay men are” in a cynical (and somewhat internalized homophobic way), or is the product of their own low self-esteem, insecurity about their sense of self, pervasive or generalized anxiety, aftermath of traumatic experiences that leave them suspicious or even paranoid, or even OCD that makes them “need” to control others and always have a tight grip on their environment (and others in it) or else they feel out-of-sorts, anxious, and internally chaotic.

Adaptive Coping Response: Your boyfriend’s neuroses are not your problem.  You can validate that he’s probably “trying” express affection and how he values you, but if he’s accusing you of things you’re not doing, you get to confront the injustice of that.  If you are doing the things he’s accusing you of, such as hiding or under-stating your emotional and/or sexual involvement with a “rival suitor” for your affections, then you need to own that, and discuss that, and make a decision about which guy you want to pursue a relationship with.  If your boyfriend’s jealousy is unfounded, there is only so much that you either “can” or even “should” do to “prove your innocence;” you’re not on trial for an alleged “relationship crime” with your boyfriend as cop, judge, jury, and executioner.  You have a right to expect him to take you at your word (again, as long you are, indeed, telling the truth) and discuss things rationally. 

If you feel like your boyfriend’s behavior is the product of his imagination, assumptions, insecurities, jealousies, and anxiety, then you get to confront that.  You’re not his therapist, but you can gently suggest that he see one (if he’s not already) or that you see a couples therapist together.  You can sympathize with someone who is vulnerable to jealousy because they have a history of abandonment, trauma, anxiety, or OCD, but you don’t have to take responsibility for that, or just accommodate every neurotic concern your boyfriend has; he needs to “own” his disorder(s) and learn to self-soothe in his own way, not lower his anxieties by “making” you do certain behaviors, such as “prove” where you were, or whom you were with, or “showing your phone,” or giving him your social media passwords. That’s not love, that’s control: and where there is control, that is getting awfully dangerously close to the foundations of the kind of isolation that is often a precursor to domestic violence. 

You can say to a jealous boyfriend, “What are you feeling? What are you asking me to do that would make you feel better?  What can you also do that would make you feel better, that isn’t about me?” You can offer to attend his individual therapy with him, and tell his therapist how you feel his (anxious) behavior is affecting you, even if you’re not really telling the therapist or him what to do about it; you’re just bearing witness to your own feelings. 

You can do certain troubleshooting things to mitigate this, but remember, having a boyfriend who is constantly acting out of jealousy and asking you to “accommodate” him is a form of domestic abuse.  If that doesn’t change, and instead of enjoying your relationship, you feel frustrated, defensive, resentful, burdened, or helpless, it might be time to stop seeing him. 

All of these are just examples of some of the complaints I hear from gay men navigating the dating scene, and I’m sure there are others.  Dating is not easy; it’s sometimes a wonder that gay male couples and polycules ever form at all, when you see how all the stars need to align to make it happen, and to sustain it over time. 

But if you believe in the Abundance of the Universe, and in your own worth, and in the worth of the guys who are “out there,” you can find satisfying, enjoyable, and enduring relationships.  It might not happen nearly as quickly as you want it to, but you need to trust that there are plenty of decent, wonderful gay men “out there” who would make good dates or partners for you.  I work with them all the time.  Keep putting yourself out there; give a chance to guys you might have overlooked before.  Be true to your own values, but also understand that relationships are forged over time, and no one comes “pre-packaged” to being perfect. 

KHprofpicJune2019 pink shirt

If you need help with either your current relationship situation, or finding one, or working on yourself so that you’re even ready or one, consider therapy if you’re a resident of California, where I am licensed, or coaching, if you live in other states or other countries.  Email me at, or call/text 310-339-5778.  I’d be happy to help you evaluate your situation, and identify some strategies to make it better.  After 31 years, that’s what I’m here for – and I’m not quite done, yet. 

Leave a Comment