Even those of us who love the single life can’t help but long for a relationship every so often, and it’s not hard to understand why. People in relationships never have to worry about finding a date to take to social functions or parties. Relationships also have a way of seeming so much deeper, more meaningful, and more fulfilling than singlehood, and they can be in many ways… if you’re not in yours for the wrong reasons. The following are a few glaring examples.
1. Family Pressure
It’s natural, normal, and healthy to care about your parents and to want to see them happy. If yours are like most, they probably want to see you settled with a family of your own sooner rather than later, especially if you’re not exactly 20 anymore. However, you really need to ask yourself whether or not that’s what you want.
Since marriage equality was (and still is) such an important issue for so many people, it’s not uncommon for gay men to feel obligated to want marriage as an option for themselves and to worry there’s something wrong with them if they don’t. Contrary to popular belief though, commitment isn’t for everyone — something your family will have to learn to understand if that turns out to be the case for you.
2. Peer Pressure
OK, so maybe family pressure isn’t an issue for you personally, but what about your friends? If all of your friends are in relationships, you probably occasionally feel at least a little pressure to be in one too. Your friends don’t necessarily need to be pushing you in this regard either. Sometimes all it takes is a case of good, old-fashioned FOMO (“fear of missing out”) to get you thinking the grass is probably greener on the other side.
If you still personally like going out and hooking up, know that your friends don’t have to be into it as well for you to stick with it. FOMO works both ways, so keep in mind that your taken friends may actually be a little envious of you as well.
3. Sheer Horniness
There are definitely a lot of sexual perks that come alongside being in a relationship. For one thing, it’s nice to have unlimited access to regular sex for a change. There are also certain advantages to doing it with someone you know and trust, like the opportunity to explore together as you continue to get to know one another sexually.
Consistent sex that’s almost always a sure thing isn’t a good enough reason in and of itself to jump into a relationship though. If you’re honestly just tired of cruising the club scene in search of potential sex partners, consider meeting guys via an online interface like Grindr instead. Seeking out a no-strings-attached “friends with benefits” situation also strikes a nice common ground between being in a relationship and total singlehood.
4. Cabin Fever
If you’re not getting out as often as you’d like to due to cold winter weather or an overly hectic work schedule, it’s only natural to feel a little down. Eventually you start wondering if maybe you’re down because something’s actually missing in your life – like a relationship.
Before you rush full speed ahead into the next relationship opportunity that comes your way, make sure you don’t just need a change of pace instead. If you’ve been cooped up too long, plan a vacation or, at the very least, some downtime spent outdoors in the company of good friends. Winter blues and cabin fever are actually very real things, but there are easier ways to deal with them than by jumping into a serious commitment just to change things up.
5. Unfulfilling Social Life
Maybe you’re putting down roots in a brand-new town and have yet to really make any new friends. Maybe you’ve got plenty of friends, but you’re beginning to suspect you’re outgrowing them. Whatever the case may be for you, the lack of a strong peer group or support system can definitely make you feel lonely. It doesn’t exactly help that good queer friends can be hard to find, especially if you’ve recently moved someplace new. Under circumstances like those, a relationship can easily seem like a better (and easier) solution.
Definitely make sure that a plain lack of rewarding social interaction isn’t the problem first. Try using social media or meetup forums online to find new gay people to hang with – people that share your current interests and values. Take coworkers and neighbors up on their offers to hang out. Scope out the local night life or weekend social scene as well.
At the end of the day, while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being in a relationship, rushing into one you’re not ready for tends to cause more problems than it solves. Definitely think things through first!