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Dating can be like a roller coaster ride sometimes with its fun highs and frustrating lows. Ever wonder why some guys have more luck with the dating game than others? Ever contemplate what it takes to become more successful with men? Well, that's a tricky business and there's no scientific formula that will yield those positive results. I believe dating is partly luck and LOTS of preparation.
This article will list ten characteristics common to the profile of a successful gay dater. The list goes on beyond this as well, but these qualities can provide a starting point for you to assess your possible strengths and weaknesses as a single gay man on the prowl for your Mr. Right and to develop goals for self-improvement that will maximize your efforts out on the dating scene.
Profile Of A Successful Gay Dater
10. He lives a life that he loves with a clear vision of his future and is armed with self-knowledge and awareness.
It's critical that you avoid defining your whole life around dating and finding a boyfriend. This is just one aspect of your life and you don't want to neglect and avoid the other parts of your identity. Know who you are, what you want, and where you're going in your life. Develop a crisp, clear vision of how you want to be and the type of life you'd like to lead and succinctly define your personal values, passions, and life purpose and live according to them. Look and feel your best! And remember, "The Law of Attraction" states that like attracts like; what you put out there and show the world has the tendency to attract the same back to you---and that goes for dating too!
9. He knows his personal requirements and refuses to tolerate anything less.
The best defense that you can have in the midst of all those men to choose from is to know what your non-negotiable needs are; things you absolutely must have or absolutely cannot have in a relationship for you to be with that particular guy. This will help you weed through the potentials and the Mr. Wrongs. And don't sway from your requirements, no matter how hot he is! You'll be saving yourself a lot of grief in the long run.
8. He has a solid knowledge of what constitutes a healthy relationship.
Be aware of the ingredients of a healthy partnership. This can help you detect any red flags in your dating relationship that might be "deal-breakers" or areas that the two of you could work on together. Such qualities include each person having a strong sense of self with solid boundaries, open communication, flexibility, commitment, ability to have fun, capable of non-defensive conflict negotiation, having emotional connection and intimacy, affection, sexual compatibility, etc.
7. He has a strong support system, access to resources, and is comfortable being alone.
It's important when your single to have a good friendship network going (they can be great match-makers sometimes) and have a circle of people in your life who support you and care about you. Additionally, become knowledgeable about the resources that exist in your community for LGBT individuals as additional components you can add to your network. And learn creative ways for coping with loneliness by utilizing this alone time for self-reflection, relaxation, and movement toward your personal goals and vision.
6. He has overcome a lot of the male socialization barriers that can interfere with relationship quality of life.
"Men are tough. Men don't cry. Men don't show emotions."You know, all those mumbo jumbo messages all of us men, gay and straight, had to internalize growing up. These scripts that are supposed to define manhood limit our ability to live freely. As a result, many gay relationships tend to be highlighted by competition, status, power/control struggles, and lack of effective communication skills and expression of feelings. Put two men together in a dating situation with the same socialization scripts, and these are relationship killers! Define for yourself what being a man means, develop comfort with your masculinity and gender, and don't be held back by these prejudicial sanctions.
5. He has addressed any issues pertaining to internalized homophobia, feels a sense of acceptance and pride with being gay, and has overcome a lot of the gay stereotypes and myths that abound about gay men and dating.
Coming out isn't for everyone, but the more accepting you are about your sexual identity, the greater quality of life you can experience. You don't have to live a double life any more, you no longer have to lie or hide behind secrets, you can live with less fear and stress, and your self-esteem tends to be higher in most cases. It's not an easy feat, however--there's years worth of shame to work through, but for most people the journey is beneficial as they can then live more authentically and truly be themselves. Dating and relationships can be made difficult without a resolution to this, particularly if both men are in different places of the coming-out continuum. Additionally, it's important to counter any myths or stereotypes about homosexuality because these can be limiting as well. "All the good ones are taken." "Gay relationships don't work." "All gay men want is sex." "I have to be a stud to land a man." "Guys will come to me." If you believe any of these statements and the many others that exist, recognize these as misinformation that can be confusing and distort reality and work hard at challenging and defeating such negative self-talk so that they don't get in the way of your goals.
4. He knows what dating means and how to do it instead of just having sex.
For many gay men, having sex and/or jumping into a relationship too early is a common phenomenon. Because of our homophobic society, we were never taught how to date, so gays don't typically have pacing rituals or milestones like our straight counterparts do for dating. This, coupled with relief after years of isolation and having a strong need to feel loved/wanted/connected, fuels us to rush intimacy too quickly and establish premature connections without knowing more about the other guy. It's important to build a foundation first as this helps us make good choices. Learn how to pace and slow things down by learning how to add courtship, flirting, and romance to the mix.
3. He is emotionally and physically available and ready for love.
Have the time and space to invite a person into your world. It will be difficult to establish a connection with someone if your time schedule is too booked up. Also be ready emotionally by ensuring you've resolved any baggage from your past or addressing any current personal issues that may distract you and sabotage your efforts at love. And most importantly, be yourself! Don't be someone that you think he wants you to be. Don't mold yourself around someone just to be in a relationship. You'll end up resenting him and yourself for your dishonesty. Remember to live by your personal requirements and have your own individual identity.
2. He has a well-rounded repertoire of dating skills and knows how to use them.
Dating skills include such things as knowing where to meet men (pick venues aligned with your vision!), being assertive, having good communication skills, being able to initiate and maintain conversations, differentiating between guys who are cruising vs. serious dating candidates, knowing how to flirt, etc. The more developed you are in these types of skills, the more savvy and confident you will feel when in social situations and you'll be more magnetic!
1. He is a go-getter and takes charge of his life. He makes things happen!
Nothing will happen in your life unless you take the proactive steps to make changes. This is not an easy task, especially if you're shy or hesitant because of past efforts that didn't work out, but you have to be the chooser and take risks. In most cases, things will not fall in your lap. You will need to do the work involved in making your vision become a reality. Whether it be combating procrastination or dealing with fears of rejection, conquer your anxieties directly. And do it NOW! The more you run or avoid anxiety, the stronger it gets. And don't put your life on hold either. One man once told me, "I'll start dating after I lose weight." No! Live your life to the max now while you're working on such goals. There's no greater loss than postponing living your life.
So there you have it! Ten areas where you can assess yourself on the successful dater scale. Dating can be fun AND challenging, so the more prepared you are for inviting love into your life, the greater the chances of victory. Identify the strengths and weaknesses you may have from this profile and make a commitment to yourself to develop goals for improving up your weak spots and follow through with them. While it's not foolproof, you will greatly improve your chances in the dating pool and you'll also be strengthening your personhood in the process, adding more value and richness to your life. Your Mr. Right is out there. Now go get him!
©2006 Brian L. Rzepczynski
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Brian Rzepczynski, Certified Personal Life Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: "I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right." To sign up for the FREE Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating and relationship tips and skills for gay singles and couples, as well as to check out current coaching groups, programs, and teleclasses, please visit http://www.TheGayLoveCoach.com
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Brian Rzepczynski holds a master's degree in Social Work from Western Michigan University and is also a Certified Personal Life Coach through The Coach Training Alliance. He launched his private coaching practice, The Gay Love Coach: Man 4 Man Coaching Services (http://www.TheGayLoveCoach.com), in 2003 and works with gay men, both singles and couples, on developing skills for improving their dating lives and relationships. He publishes a free monthly ezine called "The Man 4 Man Plan" that has helpful articles, tips, resources, and an advice column relating to gay relationships and dating. He is also the co-author of the 2005 self-help book "A Guide to Getting It: Purpose & Passion."