The topic of “hooking up” is a very charged topic for people that can touch on sensitive topics such as a person’s past experiences, feelings, and even pain. When the issue was posted on the Gay Couples Institute’s Facebook page, it garnered over 100 responses in 24 hours and continues to engage people.
Let me tell you a story about Lisa, Herman, and Gabriel…
Lisa explains that sex for her is easier to act on while having a more intimate experience with someone, can take time, trust and hopefully respect. This is more of an emotional investment on her Lisa, and she’s not always in the proper headspace to take the time to get to know someone else. Sometimes she just wants a quick encounter to satisfy her needs, and then move on without any extra energy expended.
Is there anything wrong with this approach? Not necessarily; it depends on her goals.
Herman says being a gay man seems to sabotage things when he wants an emotional bond with someone. Guys using apps for online dating do not seem to be as “emotionally available.” In Herman’s mind, hookups are fine for a while, but he wants to know how can he get to the next level and have a deeper relationship with someone. It’d be nice if someone cared about him enough to ask how he is doing, what he dreams about his life are or even asked him out on a simple date.
True emotional bonds can seem far and few between in this online dating world. And honestly, Herman is wondering what he’d even do if “The One” actually showed up.
What Do I Do While Waiting for the One?
Herman asked me, “What should I be doing while I’m waiting for the right person?”
This is a good question.
To answer this, I thought of some brief words of wisdom my Dad mentioned one day while I was complaining about a relationship issue. He said, “Sam, relationships are about allowing.”
What Dad was trying to say is that you want to be able to “allow” multiple people to show up in your life, who might be “the one” for you.
Relationships are about allowing others to present themselves in your world, and this is an opportunity for you to bring new experiences to someone else’s world. Whether you are in a relationship or single, there are always opportunities to work on connecting deeper as well as your communication and connection skills with other people.
The world can expand to endless possibilities when you open up your social sphere to more people and relationships.
Boxed into Ideas of the One
To take this one step further, it’s important to realize that it’s not about finding the perfect person. Instead, we look for the person we meet to have as many of our desired characteristics for “The One” that we would like to share our lives with. It is just like when you make a list for grocery shopping. It is important to make sure you get everything you want so you will not have to shop a second time.
You also want to make your list for yourself of what you want your future partner to be like and hopefully, you can check off as many boxes as possible when you are dating a new person.
Instead of Herman looking for someone who is the perfect representation for what “the one” seems like for him, it’s about allowing someone to show up to see how many boxes that person might check off.
Maybe they have many positive traits bringing them to 89% of the boxes for his perfect mate.
The remaining parts are what make up the mystery and discovery on how best to grow together.
Instead of requiring perfection, Herman can look for someone who meets most of what he is looking for and is someone he wants to grow with.
What If I Think I Found the One?
Gabriel admits he might have found the one, and is panicking at the idea of screwing things up.
Things don’t have to be this complicated.
Guys like Gabriel want to put their best foot forward when they meet an awesome partner. The problem is that he’s focused on the wrong things.
Gabriel is judging himself based on the outcome (securing a relationship and being loved).
For most men and women, this is out of their control, and totally self-defeating.
Gabriel walks away from each encounter wondering what the other person thought of him and possibly even feeling judged.
Rejection is part of dating, but Gabriel is not helping himself out by turning up the pressure of worrying about what other people think of him.
You see, after working with hundreds of gay and lesbian individuals and couples in our clinics, we’ve discovered that the trick to dating is taking the pressure off of yourself.
How do you do that?
By loving yourself first…. and then attracting the right person to you, not being the person you think you are supposed to be.
Remember when your mom said, “Just be yourself, honey, it will all get good”? She was telling you the truth. Love yourself first and from that place of self-love, you will attract the perfect partner.
We teach gay and lesbian individuals who want to have a great relationship to focus on what’s in their control. When you shift your focus to loving yourself first, you start dating from a position of self-confidence and self-love. Then it doesn’t matter if the other person loves you or not, you are the one that counts the most
Dating and relating to a partner from a position of self-love allows you to let go of past encounters that didn’t go well. You already feel loved! It also avoids focusing definitively on what “The One” looks like. It promotes focusing on individual self-discovery, self-love and finding enjoyment In all aspects of your life. When you see someone who may be the one, focusing on your inner strength allows a more natural flow, rather than constricting one another with judgments, roles and expectations.
Both Gabriel and Herman can focus on themselves while allowing potential partners who check off their boxes to show up in their world. From this strength of your self-love, a long term relationship can present itself, without having to force yourself to be someone different than you are.
Want to find out how to attract your perfect partner?
Knowing your Communication Style will help predict who is most likely to be successful with your Style. Are you a Sensualist, Referee, Guardian, or Connector?
TAKE THE QUIZ, refined after researching over 2500 LGBT individuals who have approached us for help since 2007.
Knowing your Communication Style is the first giant leap to take to know how to connect with your partner.
ABOUT SAM GARANZINI, LMFT, LPCC, and ALAPAKI YEE, LMFT
Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee are Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapists and the co-founders of the Gay Couples Institute – the world’s only gay and lesbian couples counseling clinic. The Gay Couples Institute has locations in Northern California and Manhattan, as well as online counseling services available.
For more information about how the Gay Couples Institute can help you, please visit: www.gaycouplesinstitute.org