Are you without a partner? Or struggling to find one? Do you put it down to just bad luck or do you think there’s something that makes other people not look at you as relationship material?
A post on Reddit has prompted a discussion amongst gay guys on this very topic.
A 36-year-old man posted in the AskGayBrosOver30 subreddit. He wrote: “I feel like a good portion of my thirties has been a series of unsuccessful relationships. It’s weird to think the less reformed and more chaotic version of me was more capable of relationships than the current me is.
“I understand it’s a vicious rabbit hole to go down, but I sometimes wonder if there’s something about me that I’m not seeing or not knowing and it’s holding me back. I’ve asked friends for honest feedback, and they’ve all said I seem like someone who would be a great partner someday.”
He said he lived a full life and had plenty of friends and interests, “But I come home at night and can’t help feel like I’m missing out on a bigger puzzle piece in my life.”
Many other guys said they had pondered the same thing, and some had come up with self-reflective answers.
Drink and drugs
“Turns out being an alcoholic was holding me back,” said one man.
“Brought a buddy back to my place a couple years ago and he noticed how many empty bottles I had in my kitchen. While we had a good time that night, he later said to me ‘I noticed your collection in there and figured you had a personal dragon to slay first before you could get serious with anyone.’”
He went on to reveal he was now nearly six months sober. Other guys said they’d never thought their drinking or drug use put off potential partners, but it was something to think about.
Another man suggested it was because he was on the autism spectrum. Others on the spectrum agreed that they found dating a challenge.
“After you shave off the sensory overload, social awkwardness, communication skills, inner world, and, attention drifts, there are the anxiety issues that just make relationships so difficult on my end,” wrote one.
Another added, “I couldn’t authentically emotionally connect to others because I could emotionally connect to myself.” Thankfully, therapy had helped him to explore his emotions and not run away from vulnerability. One has to be open to the possibility of heartbreak if one wants to be open to the possibility of love.
It’s not all about you
One guy made the very salient point that “We all have undatable characteristics, or personality traits that make us hard to be around. Everyone. Especially the people who don’t think they have any at all; they’re the worst … we’re all imperfect, we all get triggered, we all have defense mechanisms.”
Another guy cautioned anyone from fully blaming themselves for their single status. There could be multiple reasons at play.
“The amount of people we get in our dating pool changes so much. There used to be three gay bars in my city. Now the nearest bar is in Toronto, hours away by car. It could also be you, yeah. But don’t put so much on yourself. It’s all random. It’s a lot not you.”
Others talked about relationships involving work and compromise; This is something some people are unprepared for.
“Lots of folks won’t accept that relationships take compromise. It makes any sort of LTR unsustainable when everything and anything is a dealbreaker,” thought one man.
Making bad relationship choices
Others said that many gay guys chase the wrong guys. This may be related to internalized feelings of inadequacy or homophobia.
“I don’t think character flaws are the issue. Most gay men are simply going for the wrong guys based on what they think they want,” said one.
Some guys who are in relationships also responded.
“I’m currently in a LTR of many years but I’ve thought if it ended, I might have a hard time maintaining a relationship. I like a lot of independence and can be difficult and stubborn. At 41, I’m kinda set in my ways. I can also be moody and easily annoyed. Not exactly someone’s idea of a great catch, haha.”
Overall, some men had a rather negative, blunt opinion of what might turn other guys off. One said he had little interest in other people’s lives, which he knew made him a poor partner choice.
One said a relationship would likely get in the way of fulfilling his ambitions.
“What I learned from my terrible experiences in my 20s was that I make a terrible partner and that I also am perfectly content being single. I am ambitious, have a very strong vision for the life I want, and am really not that interested in compromise at this point in my life. And a relationship needs compromise to work. I know this about relationships, and about myself, and I know that I would rather be single than compromise for a guy until a later date (if ever).
“Sure, learn more about yourself and of course work to improve the things you want to improve – do that for you and not for some potential boyfriend.”
You know what they say about hindsight.
“Folks ignore red flags because the quest to be partnered is so ingrained in us by society”