first love

The things gay guys need to know before entering their first relationship

Two young gay men in bed together
Posed by models (Photo: Shutterstock)

Are there things you wish you’d known before you got into your first gay relationship?

That’s the subject of a recent post on Reddit that has prompted hundreds of responses.

“Generally speaking, what are some things that every young gay person should know going into their first relationship?”, asked the original poster (@MCsinister765) in the gaybros subreddit.

Many of the responses could apply to anyone, regardless of sexuality. Others were particular to gay men. Here are ten of the best, most well-liked answers.

1. “Don’t be blind by infatuation,” said one (@DisconnectedDays). Others felt this can be something LGBTQ are particularly prone to if they’ve spent time in the closet during their formative years

“A lot of LGBTQ folks can come out of the closet and dive straight into the idea of relationships and romance and intimacy that we formed in our heads rather than what’s real,” agreed @PhiloPhocion. This can manifest as, “Ignoring red flags, putting up with things you wouldn’t normally, or sometimes even almost the reverse and having unrealistic expectations on the perfect meet or the perfect person.”

2. “I regret every minute I spent chasing guys,” chipped in @zanmato1109. “Every time I’ve had a successful relationship, there was mutual interest from the get-go. I never pulled off the romantic movie story arc where I developed a crush on someone uninterested in me, heroically demonstrated my worth to them, and then had them suddenly start loving me … all I did was waste time I could have spent on people who actually cared for me or time I could have spent working on myself.”

3. “Be honest, with yourself and the other person,” offered @kylekatarn00. “Don’t let an image or perception dictate you or your relationship. Know and respect each other’s boundaries and take things slow.”

4. “In ten years you’re going to look back at yourself as naive no matter the outcome of the date,” suggested @Gvt_Surveillance_Van. “Have fun, be safe, treat them with respect, communicate, don’t tolerate others taking advantage of your kindness, communicate, listen, experiment, communicate. Don’t forget about your friends/support system. Your partner will never be your ‘everything’ and you need friends/family for support too.”

Related: Older gay gentlemen offer 15 life lessons to their younger gay counterparts

5. “Learn to de-escalate,” offered @DrAldrin for anyone entering a relationship. “I ask my mom why my parents have a good relationship. She said when one is mad the other tries to keep calm. A lot of things are said and done in the heat of the moment, but things are handled easier when no one is fighting.”

6. “The guy who wants to fuck you raw and swears he just got tested? He’s probably lying to you,” says @kt99_. This comment prompted many responses, with most in agreement. It may sound harsh, but the important point to take away is to always take responsibility for your own sexual health, and not to go on the word of others.

7. “Jealousy isn’t healthy or romantic. It’s toxic, and when it gets unchecked it can lead to violence,” cautioned @jamesfluker. He also contributed the important reminder: “You don’t have to agree with them all the time – but you should share common values that connect you.”

Related: Teen loses his virginity to a Grindr catfish and ends up fleeing in tears

Two men hold their hands together to create a heart shape
Posed by models (Photo: Shutterstock)

8. Many reiterated the importance of establishing boundaries. “Doesn’t matter what other people say about your relationship. Doesn’t matter what other people do in their relationship. What matters is your personal boundaries and that of your partner,” said @childof_jupiter. “Gay dating is more ‘confusing’ than straight dating because we don’t grow up seeing the rituals of courtship like straight people do. It’s a constant work in progress but you should have fun with it because you also have less restrictions about what it can look like.”

9. “If anything at all makes you think twice, listen to it. Real life is not a movie where you can just recklessly get into your first relationship, and get to go into happily ever after,” said @geekbot74.

10. “Take care of yourself (PrEP, condoms), be patient, know your limits/boundaries, communicate, and try not to be too harsh on yourself. You’ll make mistakes [but] it’s important to learn from them than feel ashamed/embarrassed,” summarized @MelbTwinkCuck. He was one of several commentators to mention PrEP as a means to protect one’s self from acquiring HIV.

What advice would you give to a gay person entering their first relationship?