SINGLE AND GAY CAN BE TOUGH

SINGLE SELF-TALK

So you are single gay and you have really tried to find a hunky partner but now you have concluded it is never going to happen. It is very natural to commence the blame game and take the whole thing personally, beating your self up with thoughts like, “I am not interesting or sexy enough” or “I can pick them up but they don’t come back for more, so it must be me.”

No it is not you it is a case of pure statistics. Okay let us look at the facts. If you accept 10% of the male population is gay that excludes 90% of men. Of that 10% of gay men, half are in relationships leaving 5% and half of those do not want a relationship so that leaves 2.5%. So out of that 2.5% of the population your mission (should you decide to accept it) is to find someone that you really would like to share your life with.

MR RIGHT

Now say luck is on your side and finally there he is in his sexy underwear, appearing out of nowhere, bathed in golden sunshine on your very doorstep. (This is what normally happens – truly. I wouldn’t lie to you.) Now once you have snared that someone special please work on keeping him.

COUPLE CARE

It saddens me when gay couples split up without trying to find the answers to their relationship problems. It appears easy for some; to throw away essentially good relationships over problems that with healthy adult discussion can be worked out.

YOU ARE WANTED

Anyway back to the singles. Make sure you look after yourself mentally, as unlike heterosexual males you only have a small sample of the population to find your ideal partner. If you take not finding HIM too personally you are mentally going to bash yourself up and that is unattractive. There is someone out there that wants what you want, trust me.

HAVING POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH SELF

Looking after you means having a good relationship with you first. Get to know your loves of – music, film, theatre, books, art, work, exercise, cooking, travel, and enjoy time with family and friends. Having a positive emotional relationship with your self will make you feel better connected to the world. It will also make you more attractive to the very man you are looking for.

 

So maybe have a think about if what you are presently doing is helping you find the partner you want. Can you make life changes to improve your relationship with yourself by getting healthier, mentally and physically? Good luck and happy hunting!

STALE GAY RELATIONSHIP CURE

Couples that have been together for a long time eventually develop entrenched behaviour patterns that can make their relationship stale, boring but very safe. Two become one with every little decision, everything is compromised and resentment takes hold. That unspoken resentment can take the form of sabotaging the other later.

For instance one partner might insist on not tipping in restaurants and not paying bills until the very last moment, to save every last cent on interest. The other partner agrees to go along with this agrees but privately buys expensive lunches and clothes. Or one partner agrees to go to the other’s parents place for Sunday lunch but at the last minute develops a stomach upset and pulls out. Does this sort of sabotaging sound familiar in some way?

Couples become easily aware of this dynamic when it is pointed out and it can be very easy to correct this with some simple new skills and at the same time put some humour into it.

A WHAT TO DO EXERCISE

In week one write down what you would really like your partner to do for you. Be very specific like: take out the garbage, give you a neck massage, cook a vegetarian meal once a week, etc. Next write a list of also what you think they would like you to do for them. Keep a diary and in the second week do one thing a day what you think they would like happen. Do not show each other the list until the end of the second week.

At the end of the second week sit down and each partner tells the other what they liked that happened to them. Then swap notes and every day the third week take one thing from their list and do it for them. At the end of week 3 tell each other how it felt and have an honest feedback session.

If you don’t want to take 3 weeks to change things, write down a list of what you want the other to do for you; initiate sex, buy the fruit and vegetables, buy a sex toy, visit your sister for lunch, etc. Place your paper slips in a jar and discuss each item by listening well. Try to find a compromise or resolution for every topic.

Relationships all get in ruts of established behaviour patterns. Assumptions are easily made on what the other partner wants and expects. So reflect on what you think is the current dynamic in your relationship is and how it became established and then play this ‘pleasing the other game’.

You will be really surprised how this simple fun activity can change the whole way your relationship functions. You will find it very interesting to discover what they secretly would like you to do for them. And wouldn’t you really want to know?

 

DO WE REALLY NEED IT ALL AS GAY MEN?

DO WE REALLY NEED IT ALL AS GAY MEN?

I’m presently reading Velvet Rage, which I highly recommend for all gay men, which highlights the subject of gay shame and our constant need for validation from the world. Coming out in a straight rewarding world is difficult for most of us. Then comes the next task to prove to everyone (family, friends and colleagues) that we are worthy individuals. This need to over proof ourselves can result in us wanting it all.

We want the perfect body, the perfect boyfriend, a glamorous apartment, beautiful cars, highly acknowledged career, the right to have children (even if it means via a surrogate Indian donor), a holiday home, the best art, eating at expensive restaurants and enjoying 5 star overseas holidays.

I like all these things as well, except having children, but I don’t really need to have all these things to proof to the world that I am worthy. And that is the point raised in Velvet Rage, we can free ourselves of the need to replace shame with achievement.

For some of us the GFC gave us a chance to realize we can be more austere and still enjoy the world. Maybe the pursuit of material objects does not in the end make us happy – drive the new car for two weeks and it loses its gloss and excitement.

Let’s face it, we can enjoy the world with less and not be so hungry for recognition or possessions. Imagine a world where you did not work so hard, had less of a mortgage, rode a bike instead of driving a car, spent more time with friends, donated money to an Indian woman so she could look after her own children, volunteered to do charity work, planted some trees, took less expensive holidays, got to know the neighbours more and took stock of why our bodies need to be chipped out of stone, and expect others to as well, to be a worthy boyfriend.

 

Imagine how much more relaxing it would be to enjoy life at this level of peace. The first step to achieving, what appears to be an impossible notion, is to be conscious of what drives us to be such high achievers. Without conscious awareness we merely unconsciously replace shame with the need to have it all and prove we are successful and thereby worthy.

 

I really like the expression –“Acceptance is Home”. Accepting our authentic selves as gay men, recognizing from the core of our being this is us and it feels home, is one step closer to knocking down any walls of shame. When we knock down walls of shame we also move closer to not needing to prove to the world we are worthy.

We don’t need it all, we just have to re-evaluate our lives to see if we can do with less and we can. In doing so we create a better and more sustainable world. And at the same time make our selves much, much happier.

 

 

KEEPING SECRETS RUINS RELATIONSHIPS

KEEPING SECRETS RUINS RELATIONSHIPS

Are you tempted to check his or her phone, email or Facebook account? If you are thinking about doing it, the relationship is already in trouble. You are tempted to do this because you have strong feelings the partner is keeping secrets from you. Is it okay to check your partner’s contact platforms and what will you do with any information you find? Well what do you think, is it okay or not to check up on your partner?

Trust is one of the three most important pillars of a healthy relationship, the other two being sharing life’s personal challenges (our vulnerabilities) and having dreams about the future – for each other and as a couple. If you do look at your partner’s phone it means you have trust issues and looking means you also now have a secret to hold – or not.

Holding secrets is as damaging to the person doing it as it is to the person cheated of the truth. John and Bob have been together for 8 years and their sex life has collapsed. John spends 2 hours and the gym and Bob is suspicious about that. John has been texting people on Grindr but has not met anyone and enjoys the pure fantasy of flirting. John has coffee after the gym with someone he trains with but doesn’t want to tell Bob, as he knows he will get jealous. He has decided to keep this a secret and feels he is entitled to a private life of some sort. Bob agonizes over whether to go through John’s phone and finally does so, finding a text about meeting someone for coffee after gym. He confronts John who denies anything is going on but Bob is ready to leave the relationship.

So is John entitled to hold some secrets from Bob and is it okay for Bob to go through his phone? We all hold some secrets from the world. We don’t express our personal fears to everyone we meet but on the other hand keeping secrets keeps us apart from the ones we love. You have to be brave to be honest but in doing so respect is shown for the relationship and each other.

What if John had firstly discussed their failing sex life and how it impacts their relationship? What if John had discussed his feelings for wanting some sort of sex fantasy and the need to have different relationships with new people, like his gym buddy? What if Bob had spoken to John about his feelings of wanting to go through his phone and his suspicions about the 2 hours at the gym?

Getting it all out in the open at the beginning would not have lead to what now is a major threat to their on-going relationship – the keeping of secrets. I ask many couples to check in with each other often with a sit down and asking the question, “How is our relationship going do you think?”

 

Another way of discussing relationship questions is to have a jar in the house where you write down a topic for discussion and at a set time go over it. We all have busy lives and domestic habits so bringing up matters that need clarification can be easily swept under the carpet. The question jar can bring to a head what has been placed there for too long. It also lightens the activity of asking important questions.

So what do you think, should partners check each other phone or other contact platforms? Do they have a right to?

 

 

 

COMBATING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

NEGATIVE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES

 

In our heads we construct and maintain narratives (stories) about ourselves and other people all the time. These stories are constructed from past events, often dramatized or exaggerated over time, and then replayed continuously. They go round and round like a record. These continuous negative stories stop us seeing the truth, prevent us from growing into better people and prevent us experiencing new life.

 

For example, say a person has the narrative that they are hopeless at fixing things mechanical around the house. Their father told them they were hopeless, they tried and failed a few times in the past so now they panic if they have to even change a washer on a tap. The old narrative creates the new negative behaviour.

 

In all relationships, work and home, we create stories about people and these same narratives filter anything and everything we experience with these people.

Couples over time create narratives about their partners. They might see them as lazy, unreliable, inconsiderate or in need of challenging on every front with an argument. Sure, there were times when they were lazy, unreliable and inconsiderate but maybe there were other times when they were: loving, caring, funny, helpful and sexy. These other positive narratives don’t get a chance because all future perceptions are based on old negative stories.

 

Can I take my own experience, as I am only human? My partner plays a little rough with our dog over ball games and in the past the poor creature tore a cruciate ligament. $2500 later, 8 weeks in aftercare and I had to do all the vet stuff myself. Just the other day I come home and it has happened again, 2 years after the last incident. Immediately I think what an idiot my partner is, so irresponsible with our canine.

 

But there is another narrative. My partner loves our dog, they have great fun swimming together, and loves to walk her all the time. My partner was just trying to brighten up her day after being left for some hours. My partner is a great cook, loves people, is really kind and was devastated about the injury.

 

Changing the narrative allows you the freedom to let go of so much negative self-story telling and to start seeing life and people in a new light. Old negative story telling keeps us imprisoned in the same negative thought patterns.

 

So how hard is it to get rid of all those old negative stories in your head. Well first be aware of them. Think of someone now and then think of the narrative you have constructed. Now either throw it away or reconstruct a new narrative looking for positive elements in the story. Instantly there is a load off your shoulders as you begin to see things differently. Try it for yourself and start living afresh.

 

MANAGING ANXIETY WITH ACCEPTANCE

DEALING WITH ANXIETY BY ACCEPTANCE

Anxiety is a feeling that is common to us all and in fact we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning without feeling compelled to do something with the day ahead. But what happens if your anxiety is really high about everything all the time? Well the best thing to do it accept it and stop struggling with it. If you struggle with thoughts of anxiety you are in the loop of being anxious about your anxiety. But if you simply accept your feelings of anxiety, even though uncomfortable, you no longer enter the anxious struggle world.

I wonder if you can understand the concept that you are not your mind? In your own internal world your mind uses the language of words, images and thoughts to project onto a screen what you are experiencing. Humans can however, observe their own thoughts so if you are experiencing anxiety you can actually step back and see your mind is projecting thoughts of anxiety. The trick is not to struggle with these thoughts as if you do you are fighting anxiety thoughts.

Imagine falling into quicksand. If you laid flat you would float and stay alive. Quicksand only kills you when you struggle in it and in doing so you drown yourself. Anxiety is the same, if you observe, recognize and accept the feelings and do not struggle the anxiety feelings will lessen.

It does not matter what uncomfortable feelings you are experiencing whether it be loneliness, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or whatever, rather than struggling with these feelings accept them. Maybe laugh at these projected thoughts onto your mind screen or make the words that pop up into bright colours with a bouncing ball or make up a song about these thoughts. Doing this allows you the control to observe and defuse your thoughts as just thoughts that will pass.

So here is a trick. Imagine a struggle switch at the back of your mind. Right now it is off. You all of a sudden have feelings on anxiety say about a meeting where you have to present material. Okay you accept these feelings of anxiety. You recognize where in your body you feel these translated feelings. You see the words that pop up in your mind and make them a colour but you don’t switch the struggle switch on which is a secondary mind system.

Your primary mind system produced anxiety thoughts and feelings and you accept these but you do not allow your mind to fall into a secondary system of struggle. Once you enter the struggle world you are now struggling with the anxiety, which means being anxious about the anxiety and this is not a good place to be. How am I going here? Have I lost you?

The important thing to take away is that you are not your mind. You can observe your mind as a series of language expressions of thoughts, images, ideas that come and go to be projected onto a screen for you to observe. Don’t fight the quicksand, lie flat and float and you will survive although it is uncomfortable.

 

If you interested to read more on this subject look up ACT therapy on the Internet.