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Chronically Single: A Gay Man’s Perspective

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My longest relationship was 4 weeks long. Go ahead, say I’m too picky or that I’m too distracted at work or that I’m not emotionally available – everyone else has. It’s opinions like these that convinced me something was wrong; the longer I listened, the more I beat myself up. I felt pressure to find a boyfriend. I tried to convince myself that all these weirdoes I was dating were someone worth investigating – believe me, they weren’t.

I realized one day that all my drinking buddies had disappeared. For the longest time I thought we’d be together forever, but like all great things there comes a time when the era ends. Once it does you’re forced to find new habits and quite possibly new friends. This is the cue to pour myself another drink.

My mother always said I was a late bloomer. I know what kind of life I want for myself and a family is definitely a part of the plan, but I feel no need to rush things because I’m content with how my life is right now; and it’s not like I don’t date. Believe me, I date a lot. I’ve gone on five, six, seven dates with a guy, but at the end it fizzles out because we know the chemistry isn’t right. Why try and make something work out of false necessity?

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I’ve come to realize that being single is only a bad thing when it’s synonymous with being “alone,” and we have the power to define it as such. Loneliness can be a temporary feeling and doesn’t need to affect one’s realty. It’s fueled by a habit of only paying attention to things we lack rather than the things we have.

Each trip back home consists of the usual three questions: “When are you going to get married so we can have grandkids?” “Why can’t you date someone so we can go on double dates?” “How have you not had a serious boyfriend yet?” While it’s hard not to take it personally, questions like these pile on top of each other and create chronic patterns of self-blame: it must by my fault, I’m probably doing something wrong, no one wants me because x, y, z.

It’s not easy being the one dude in your group who’s single. For whatever reason you haven’t found a guy you’re willing to share yourself with (and the select few who were worthy either weren’t ready or didn’t want you). You start observing the guys who have boyfriends and think, “I’m better than him. Why has he found someone and I haven’t?” Again, self-blame kicks in and you’re back in a vicious cycle. But the root of the problem isn’t the fact that you’re single. It’s much deeper than that.

When we have longer-than-usual gaps between relationships, we don’t need to be “alone” if we don’t want to be. Living in big cities makes it difficult to meet new friends and find meaningful relationships, this I know for sure, but if you’re not willing to put yourself out there you are imprisoning yourself inside a box of self-made loneliness (not to mention cabin fever). You tell yourself you’re alone so the feeling creeps back in and all your energy ends up being burned by this diagnosis.

“Single” is lacking a monogamous romantic/sexual partner. It doesn’t mean you’re lacking in life, friends, love, joy, or satisfaction. If you think they’re synonymous then you are investing too much on an idealistic image of what being in a relationship is about. We all want someone to grow old with, sure, but the longer you blame yourself or associate singlehood with being lonely, the more you curse everything to hell. You’ll soon wake up and find that while you’ve been telling yourself how lonely you are, you wasted yet another opportunity to celebrate life for how it can be. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Being chronically single in the gay community isn’t hard to do. Our culture has been shaped into a never-ending singles mixer, which, in my opinion, is changing faster than we think. Most single gay guys I spoke to want to have a partner whether they admit it or not – even the dudes shaking it on the tables screaming, “F*ck men! I love being single!” We watch gay couples holding hands and secretly envy their commitment often wondering what they’re bringing to the table that we aren’t.

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