It’s probably because of where I’ve been looking, but finding a committed relationship in gay LA is impossible. When I meet a gay couple I sometimes just wonder, “How did you make it work?” I fantasize over love, and even on occasion, have browsed through tumblr for photos of gay couples. Wow, that last sentence makes me sound incredibly pathetic, but I am a romantic and can’t help it. I don’t think gay’s are incapable of holding a relationship, but I do feel a majority of them don’t want to. Gay culture, from what I have been witnessing, is all about the moment.
I used to fantasize about moments, but my “moments” weren’t this. They were brief romantic adventures with a first love, a weekend spent with a boy you fell in love with in D.C., or a cancelled flight in Nashville to just follow your heart and get to know that boy you met in a Southern thunderstorm. THOSE are the moments I crave. The ones that are tied together with romance and counted in heartbeats. Yet the “moments” people experience here in LA are one night stands, a hook up, a one and done. I’m not saying hook ups are bad or wrong, I just desire more than that.
I want to sleep with someone who wants to be there the next morning.
For awhile I have tried to play by the rules of the city, and all it’s done is left me feeling emptier than before with a side of scabies and anxiety for dessert. And the more I try to meet a decent guy, the more depressed I get about the whole way dating is done in the gay world.
See most guys I encounter are either dating someone, hung up on someone, or so desensitized to romance I don’t even think they know what a date is. And a common trend I keep finding is that a majority of guys are in an open relationship. What the fuck is the point of a relationship if you still just want to go around and fuck other people?
I tried to ask a friend why he had that kind of set up with his boyfriend, and all I got was that there were certain things his boyfriend couldn’t give him that maybe others could. But I had always learned that NO ONE will ever check off every box you desire, and love comes with sacrifice and hard work. The idea to have it all is enticing, but also keeping someone while still seeking others is selfish and ultimately unrealistic. When you open up yourself to others in a way like that, you’re leaving the door open for so much to destroy the relationship you have.
For example, the more you give yourself to someone sexually, there is no way for feelings to not develop. Maybe you yourself won’t get them, but I promise over time someone is going to get hurt. Someone’s heart is going to change.
You are also opening yourself up to the possibility of STD’s and other things that can alter the course of your relationship. Say you slept with someone with HIV or Herpes and had no idea, and then you sleep with your boyfriend. You just put your boyfriend at risk for something that would NEVER have occurred if you stuck with monogamy. I mean to each his own, but I would never want to put myself or anyone else I care about at risk like that. That is so selfish.
A man I recently met has been in a committed relationship for 4 years, and when he met me, immediately started flirting. I flirted back, but after some consideration, changed my mind. I wouldn’t want someone flirting with my boyfriend, nor would I want my boyfriend flirting with someone else. So when I rejected his offer of a hook up he in turn got mad at me. Saying I had no right to justify my answer of a “no” based off of HIS relationship with his boyfriend. He accused me of being a wishy washy LA type, and to be honest, a part of me was offended. Even when I felt like I was doing the right thing, I was still being lumped with those who don’t. Sorry I was being considerate and looking out for someone besides myself, I feel like that was the most NOT LA thing I could do.
The effect of the gay community has even invaded my family life. I love that I am open to my family, it makes it so much easier on me to be able to express my true self and feelings, but it also adds so much stress on my mom.
And I sometimes think lying about it would have been the easier thing to do.
My mom worries about the promiscuity of the gay community. She worries that when I’m out I am kissing multiple people, sleeping around, and collecting STD’s like Pokemon. She is so scared that I won’t find a quality match, and that all that exists out there is sex.
But maybe she’s not that far off.
All the gay community has ever really portrayed to me is the freedom of expression. Yes we fought for the right to be ourselves, but I feel like we have taken it too far by allowing our bodies to just be used however we want. Yes, we have the right to do whatever the hell we want with them. Everyone has that right, but we have been a community that is just known for it’s promiscuity and we justify it by just saying, “well we’re gay.” That’s an image we give out, so naturally my mom is worried about it.
I don’t think that’s who I am. I’ve had my moments of freedom, sure who hasn’t, but I don’t look at myself as a promiscuous person. But maybe that’s me justifying it by always telling myself, “I could be a lot worse.”
I guess my problem is, I’m a romantic, and the more I hear about open relationships and try to submerge myself in this community I just end up feeling let down. I want the kiss in the rain, the surprise arrival in the airport, or the boombox outside my window. Maybe what I want is unrealistic, and even more unrealistic for the gay community. I wouldn’t be surprised if my standards were too high, that seems to be a recurring theme for my life.
In all I feel like I don’t fit in in my community, I think I want more than it’s proven it has to offer.
But love has to be out there, and I am a wanderer who will keep looking.
5 thoughts on “Relationship, Smationship”
I can’t speak to the community in Los Angeles specifically, but I can say that, generally, you are not alone. There are a lot of gay men out there that really crave monogamy and commitment. Here in Boston I faced a lot of similar frustrations in my early twenties; everyone was only out to hook up, and that was fine, but it left me feeling empty the next day. I went into every one-night stand thinking maybe I’d awaken something in the other person—spark some romance and start something that would last. Time and time again I was foiled.
Maybe it was this story we tell ourselves as gay men. We are supposed to be promiscuous. We don’t have to settle down like heterosexuals. We’re all men, right? It’s supposed to be easy and free and uncomplicated.
I didn’t want any of it. I even convinced myself for a while that I could probably handle an open relationship. It sounded good on paper, right? In reality there was no way. I too am a romantic. I always got too attached, and there is nothing wrong with that.
When I finally met my husband, I was 25 and he was 32. I think it helped that he was older, because most of the 25 year olds I knew still wanted to play the field.
I’m 33 now, and I don’t know very many gay men my age who have the same attitudes they did when we were 23. I could get into the whole Peter Pan philosophy of what it means to be a gay man, but this comment is already super long, so I guess I’ll leave you with. . .
Stick to your guns and keep looking for people who share your values and beliefs when it comes to relationships. There are people your age who want the same thing you do, and you’ll find them. Continue to be up front about what you want, and the right guy will present himself in the end. Try relaxed dating sites like OkCupid that let you match on values-based criteria, and just continue to be your perfectly awesome self.
I hope this didn’t come across too preachy! Have an awesome day!
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I really appreciate you taking the time to read and leave such extensive feedback! I won’t be giving up on love any time soon, and it’s so reassuring hearing stories like yours. It pushes me to keep going, and to not settle for less than I want. Thank you!
P.S. I’m glad there are people like you out there who believe in love. I feel like we exist in a culture that wants nothing more than to remove love from the equation.
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As a gay man, I agree with you. The whole gay culture has so many different sub-spectrums, and we labeled by gay men. How ironic when we as GLBT population want equal rights and no discrimination.
I met William when I was not looking for a relationship, he was not the person I was looking to date, hook-up with, or being social with, so I thought. We moved in after 4 months, bought a house a year later and it’s now 14 years later.
We are do not have an open relationship, we are proudly monogamous, and have a very strong physical emotional relationship. We have very few gay friends and do find that certain gay men do give all of us GAYS, a very bad reputation.
I don’t think it’s just LA, most cities may tell the same story. I am saying romance and love are alive, don’t give up.
I was 23 when I met William who was nearly 20, and I was no angel when I was single. But then I wanted to party more than just have hook-ups. My first boyfriend cheated on me, and I think that shaped how I see relationship. His cheating broke my trust and it too many years to really trust and see that William was honest and had no bullshit.
Thanks for letting us all see the world as you do. Ivan.
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Thank you so much for the response! It means the world to me that people are taking the time to read about my journey and offer hope for me to hold on to. I think so often I get let down that I start to believe that I am wishing for the impossible, but your story helps to remind me that I am not alone and love is alive.
William sounds like an amazing guy and I am so happy that you found him. I find most couples meet the “one” when they least expect it so I think I just need to stop looking and just start living. So often I am romanticizing a moment just waiting for the magic to happen. But magic happens when we least expect it, and that’s the love story I want to have.
Thanks for sharing, and inspiring me to keep on going!
Thank you for being so honest. What I know today is less than yesterday, but I do know that nobody is perfect and your ego sometimes destroys ones dreams. Ivan.
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