I’ve often heard this from people – gay relationships are not possible, I don’t believe in gay relationships, I don’t think I will be able to find true love as a gay person.
But then, the problem isn’t with who we love, but how we find love.
I feel a need to write this article because when gay people keep feeling this way, we will continue to believe in this and inadvertently influence others to believe in the same way. Down the road, what future are we giving to ourselves and our younger gay people?
Finding love as a gay person is possible. If we understand what we are doing and how we are going about finding love, we will be able to find long lasting and fulfilling relationships which can last for the rest of our lives.
Jumping Into A Relationship Without Getting To Know Our Partner
The key reason why our relationships don’t last is because we tend to “jump” into a relationship. When we get to know someone, we might find him good looking and so, we might want to be with him. But have we really gotten to know him as a person? Do we know what his character is like or whether his character and values are similar to ours? We don’t. And after one or a few dates, we decide to become “boyfriends”.
Can you imagine if our gal friends tell us that they had just met a guy today and decide to go into a relationship with him? We can’t, because then we will ask her, “Don’t you want to get to know him better before you go into a relationship? What if he’s not the kind of guy you like?” Isn’t it funny that we will ask questions like this for our gal friends but not of ourselves?
There are Social Norms On How Gay People Should Form Relationships
Here is what it is – among the heterosexual community, there are social norms which you are expected to abide by. Men and women should date first before deciding whether the two of them are compatible. Before having sex with each other, they should at least believe that this relationship is something that they want to invest in. As much as social norms can entrap people into rigid ways of working, sometimes there are good reasons why these norms had formed.
In this case, these norms of dating and waiting allow you to assess for yourself whether this is someone you want to be with and whether you want to make a commitment with someone. Within the gay community, we aren’t measured by norms such as this. And thus when we meet someone, we don’t wait and we decide to have a relationship and sex, sometimes on the first date.
What is happening is that instead of getting to know someone before going into a relationship, we have combined the two processes, so that we get to know someone while in the ‘relationship’. What this means is that we don’t really know if this person is compatible with us but we enter into a ‘relationship’ anyway.
But Why Do We Want A Relationship? For Love or To Feel Complete?
Then, the question is, do we want a relationship for the sake of having one, or do we truly love that person and that’s why we want to have a relationship with him? It’s more likely the former. Then, the question is, why?
As a young gay person, for some of us, we might not know any other gay person. We feel that we are on our own. So, we might want to get to know another gay person whom we can identify with, so that we feel less alone, as a gay person. This is because, growing up as a gay person, you also want to know that there are other people like you, whom you can get support from. And when we get to meet someone, we might conflate our feelings of gratitude to find someone like us, as love. We might then want to form a relationship with him, and to ‘love’ him, even as we don’t really understand our feelings at that point. On the other hand, if someone ‘loves’ us, it also makes us feel more ‘complete’. Perhaps we have not been able to love ourselves enough yet, since we are still learning to understand ourselves, and so, we hope that if someone else can love us, it can compensate for our not fully loving ourselves yet.
Why can’t we wait then? Why can’t we take time to know someone before we decide to enter into a relationship? You see, when we are young, we are impatient and we want to be with someone now, instead of having to wait to properly get to know someone. When we are looking for someone to make us feel complete, the idea isn’t to look for someone who is ‘The One’, but someone who can satisfy our inner need to feel complete, at this moment. So, the idea isn’t to get to know someone. The idea is simply to find someone and get together, almost immediately, to fulfil that inner need as soon as we can.
As such, if that’s what we want – to look for immediate fulfilment for our inner need – what would be the most immediate characteristic that we look at when we meet someone? – whether he is good looking, because physical traits are the most identifiable traits, as compared to getting to know someone’s character or values, which will take more time to find out. And thus when someone is good looking, we decide to be attracted to them, and based on this, decide to get attached.
Do Relationships Not Work Out Because Of Incompatibility or Our Own Flaws?
Now, as mentioned, when we go into a relationship almost immediately, while we are in a relationship, we are also getting to know someone while in a relationship, and thus we’ve conflated the two processes when one should have come after the other. So, when the relationship eventually doesn’t work out, what do we think?
Many times, we believe that the relationship didn’t work out because he didn’t know how to love me, he’s not faithful, I don’t know how to love, and eventually, gay love isn’t possible. And if we go into several relationships like this, we eventually believe that gay relationships are truly not possible.
But what’s the real reason for the relationship not working out? The real reason is because we simply don’t know our partner well enough before we decide to get together. If we had gotten to know him first before going into a relationship, we would then have decided that we might not be compatible, because of our different characters or values. And if we decide not to be together, we won’t attribute this to the idea that he or we are flawed, or that gay relationships aren’t possible, but just that we are not compatible.
But if we combine the getting to know him process with being with him in a relationship, when things don’t work out, we might say, he didn’t know how to love me. But why? He might not have known how to, because if the two of you think about things differently or have values which are different, you might not be able to agree with the same future or same lives and thus gradually, feel that you don’t actually want to be with each other. So, you see, while you are in a relationship, you’ve decided that you are not compatible. Yet, because you are in a relationship, you think that you have to make it work. And so you shoulder on for another few months or perhaps years, until you decide enough is enough, it’s not working out. And by the time you decide to call off the relationship, you’ve conflated others reasons that crop up within the relationship and blame either him or yourself for not being able to be a good partner. And then, you attribute it to being gay that’s the issue.
But what’s the real issue? You guys weren’t compatible in the first place, but because you had fast tracked the process of getting to know each other by being in a relationship, you didn’t realise that and you keep making something that wasn’t supposed to work in the first place, work. And thus many issues were conflated together.
How Can We Have Fulfilling Relationships?
What then should we do? Very obviously, we need to first understand why we want a relationship with someone. Is it because we want to find ‘the feeling of love’ because of an inner need? If so, then we need to learn to deal with the inner need by ourselves first, to learn to love ourselves. When they say, you need to love yourself before you can love someone else, this is what it means.
Second, when we get to know someone, instead of “rushing” into a relationship, we could spend about a month, or two, or three, depending on how long we might take, to get to know a person first, and finding out if this is the person we want to be with, before we decide to go into a relationship with him. This way, we do not conflate the two processes together.
Third, if we still decide to go into a relationship with someone even if we do not know him enough, then we need to know that eventually, if we realise that the two of us are not compatible, we need to have the awareness to let the relationship go and acknowledge that the issue is with compatibility and not because of our flaws, or his flaws, and least because we are gay. Of course, sometimes a relationship might not work out because of our issues, such as communication or a willingness to commit. But this is another issue altogether.
Conclusion: Having Awareness and Loving Ourselves
To sum up, the issue is that we need to understand why we want to love, so that we are able to bring that awareness into our relationships. We should spend some time to get to know someone, to decide if this is someone we want to be with for the long haul. And finally, if things don’t work out, we need to have an awareness to understand why this is so, and not attribute blame to ourselves or our partner unnecessarily, and most importantly not to attribute blame to thinking that it’s because we are gay.
Whether you are gay or not, love is possible and a beautiful journey that you can take with your partner. The key is to be aware of how you conduct yourself and how you have a constant awareness of yourself, your partner and the relationship so that at every step of the way, you will know what needs to be done, and how you can continue to make it more fulfilling for yourself and your partner, without attributing problems to the wrong causes.