While there’s plenty of fun, games and sex on offer anytime you log in to your favorite gay dating site, eventually you’re going to want something more, a relationship that provides stability and emotional support.
It’s entirely possible that you have already met the man with whom you can have that important long-term relationship. It could be a friend, co-worker, or for that matter, the trick you just showed out the door after an erotic interlude that you just can’t stop thinking about.
There are no entrenched traditions or rules that govern same-sex relationships, so there isn’t a particular social dance that you can follow, which can be both liberating and confusing. There’s no prescribed rule of who holds the door open for whom, who pays for the first date, or maintaining a facade of chastity. Those agreed-upon societal norms which govern most straight relationships mean conversely, that you don’t really know who is supposed to hold a door or pay for dates.
Comedy of manners aside, and recognizing that there are different qualities you should be looking for in a long-term partner, the men you’re dating should be given a bit more scrutiny than someone you’re just planning to have sex with.
Here are four questions to ask when deciding if he’s suitable for a meaningful relationship:
1. Is he self-aware?
We all have our foibles, but for some, self-delusion is a defining characteristic, whether it’s having a ridiculously high opinion of themselves, being a drama queen while constantly professing that they hate drama, or seeing themselves in a way that only seems to be believable to themselves. If you find yourself constantly wondering “what the hell is this guy thinking?!?” when he’s talking, regardless of how attracted you might be, he is probably not a good candidate for a long-term relationship.
2. Does he treat you with respect?
While as previously stated, there’s no rule that says he should be holding doors for you, pulling out chairs or throwing his cape over a puddle, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a gentleman. A man who is inconsiderate in the early stages of your relationship, is unlikely to improve over time – quite the opposite, actually.
3. Do you have compatible relationship expectations?
They say that opposites attract. What they don’t tell you is that all of those sparks from conflict, more often than not will eventually burn the relationship to the ground. You need not agree on every last thing, but your core values should line up. Finding out three years into a relationship that raising a family is a deal-breaker for one of you, just means that you’ve both lost three years. Life’s too short, and you need to express what your goals and aspirations are early on to find out if he shares them or is amenable to negotiating a mutually satisfactory plan that you both can live with. I’ve known people who were in a monogamous relationship, that totally wasn’t, but who were carried along by a wave of denial and lies until five years in (and countless trysts), the relationship collapsed.
4. Can the two of you communicate?
Men generally are not encouraged to talk about their feelings or emotions, but if you or your potential mate are unable to communicate effectively your wants and needs, it’s a losing proposition. If you’re always talking past each other or expecting your partner to read your mind, resentment will fester and it will only be a question of when the relationship will end, not if.
Life’s a journey. Choose your gay traveling companions well.