It goes without saying that singlehood is a different experience for everyone. Some gay men hate being single and are pretty much counting the days until they have a new reason not to hate Valentine’s Day anymore. Others love being single, equating it with absolute freedom and limitless fun. However, it’s even more common to go back and forth between the two.
Gay relationships naturally come attached to their own unique dynamics, but one thing remains pretty true for gay men in general. Whether or not you’re loving the single life, you don’t want to miss out on the potential it’s bringing to the table right now. The following are just a few of the most important things every gay man should know if he’s currently single and dating.
1. When someone really likes you, you’ll know it.
Gay men spend a lot of time and energy trying to read other men in an attempt to figure out whether or not they’re interested. Most of them never quite realize that they’re making things way too hard for themselves.
When a guy is really into you, it’s almost impossible not to know it. He calls you and he texts you. He spends time on your Instagram or Facebook going through all your photos or “liking” your posts. And he makes it clear that he wants to be part of your life in whatever capacity the two of you have agreed on. He doesn’t ignore you or act like he couldn’t care less whether the two of you stay in contact.
2. Never completely trust a first impression.
All human beings, gay men included, want to put their best possible foot forward when interacting with someone new. We all do it whether we’re aware of it or not. We spend more time than we normally would on our appearance. And we slightly alter our mannerisms, speech patterns, and opinions with a mind to make a better impression as well.
Even so, we tend to assume we’re the only one doing it and that the other person is being completely genuine. They’re not. Nobody is everything they’ll try to get you to think they are at first, so take every first impression with a grain of salt.
3. You’re not alone in your singlehood.
It’s easy to think you’re the only single gay man in the world when you’re surrounded by friends, family members, or co-workers that are happily paired off. Even if you like being single for the most part, you can’t help but wonder what they apparently know that you don’t.
Let us assure you that you’re hardly alone. Not only are there plenty of other single people out there, but more of them than ever are staying single by choice. Hookup culture, open relationships, and other non-monogamous lifestyle choices are becoming increasingly socially acceptable. Plenty of people want to take advantage of that. (It’s also probably worth noting that a lot of your taken friends sometimes envy you your singlehood as well!)
4. Being in a gay relationship isn’t proof that you’re worth more.
If you really like the idea of being in a relationship for what it is, more power to you. However, a lot of gay guys assume that not being in a relationship means they’re worth less and that’s hardly the case.
Being a single gay man doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It doesn’t mean no one will ever be interested in you for more than just sex either. You’re worthy of everything life has to offer a given person. Plenty of those things can easily be experienced as a single gay man, so why not relax and enjoy the ride while you still can.
5. You should always, always trust your gut.
If your mother always stressed the importance of always trusting your instincts when you were growing up, congratulations. You’ve got one smart mom. Learning how to not only listen to but trust your gut is pretty much the most important thing you could ever learn to do in life.
The fact of the matter is it’s always going to be possible for someone to break your heart, make you fall in love, or get you thinking maybe this time’s the real deal. Be careful of that, because hearts can always be wrong or misguided. Your gut never is. Listen to your gut. If it says a given person or situation isn’t something you want to mess around with, pay attention.
6. You really do teach people how to treat you.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably noticed that your romantic connections with men of interest tend to follow patterns. If you’re not always the person that’s treated like a doormat, you’re the one put up on a pedestal or the guy that gets treated like an object before being kicked to the curb, right?
We’re definitely not excusing other people’s bad behavior or implying it’s ever okay to treat another person badly, but it’s important to recognize that you’re the common denominator in all your relationships. What’s more, how you handle yourself when it comes to your interpersonal relationships eventually dictates how society at large treats you too. Make sure you’re sending the message that you’re worthwhile, you’re confident, and you expect to be treated like it.
7. A gay relationship won’t solve your problems.
Straight people aren’t the only ones that tend to place more value on the state of being in a relationship than it really deserves. Gay guys definitely do it too and understandable so. Even when life’s good, it’s rough.
We all get caught up in how much our responsibilities can weigh on us. We’ve got rent to pay, careers to figure out, and family relationships to maintain. We’re figuring out what we want to do with the rest of our lives as well. Sometimes single gay men get to thinking a relationship would somehow make all their problems go away only to be disappointed when they’re wrong. Keep that in mind before you commit yourself to someone just for the sake of not being single anymore.
8. Great sex and great emotional connection are two different things.
Yes, sex is important. However, it shouldn’t be your sole reason for jumping into a relationship. Relationships based only on sex may seem like heaven for a while, but even the best sex can eventually start to get boring. If you don’t have anything in common outside of the bedroom, that’s when the relationship will get boring as well.
As touched on above, this is a pretty good time to be alive if you want to call all the shots when it comes to your love life. You don’t need an emotional connection or a commitment in order to enjoy all the earth-shattering sex you can handle and vice versa. Your love life and your sex life can be anything you want to make them. You also have the right to change your mind as far as what you want whenever you feel like it.
9. You’re not the only one with a past.
Even if you’re one of the rare few that’s led a relatively quiet gay dating life, you still have a past. You’re a gay man, after all. You’ve gone through tough times that maybe left you a little worse for wear. You’ve had your heart broken or been disappointed, probably well more than once. And you’ve most likely done things you’re probably not that proud of. You’ve definitely acquired your share of baggage as a result. You’re also not the only one.
Whether you’re ultimately interested in being in a relationship or not, everyone else can say all those same things. No, you shouldn’t put up with anyone’s excuses for bad behavior, but you should also give people the benefit of the doubt when you can and try not to judge them too harshly. If you’re one of the lucky ones that has come out of your challenges better than you were before, that’s awesome and you should be proud of that. Just understand that a lot of people are still figuring things out.
10. Being single and being alone are also two different things.
True loneliness has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a single gay man. There are thousands of gay men out there that feel incredibly alone despite the fact that they’ve been in long-term relationships for years. Feeling alone is about not feeling like you’re connected or in synch with anyone else.
Even if you’re single, it’s unlikely that you’re actually alone. You’ve got friends, you’ve got family, and you’ve got everyone else in between. You also have the freedom to go out and connect with anyone else you like in whatever way you choose whenever you want. The single periods in a person’s life are also the periods where they’re free to test their limits and have all the guilt-free fun they can handle. Why not make the most of it?