Healthy Relationships 2: A Shot at Love

As Valentine’s Day approaches, for some of us who may be single, it is a reminder of just how difficult dating is in the LGBT community. In a previous piece, I referenced that coming out as LGBT does not come with a “how-to-101” guide. That means we have to learn things for ourselves and navigate the waters one way or another. So keep up, and don’t get left behind.

For starters, many have asked me the question of, well, exactly how long does it take before you transition from dating to actually being in a relationship? My answer: that time is relative and that each relationship is unique. What I find ridiculous is for two who have just met and, a day or a week later, they are deeply in love. Then they break up within the month, and soon they complain that dating is just a bitch.

Whenever two people “hit it off” a connection is made. Whatever is made with this connection becomes a defining point, as it has tremendous potential for success, but more so for failure. This connection can lead to love. But love is not like fast food. Love is like a little plant, it needs nurturing so that it can grow.

As we all have heard, the running joke is that in a gay relationship, years are like “dog years” because such relationships do not last. While it may sound funny, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for many. But it doesn’t have to be. What many fail to realize, is that relationships are a lot of work. And many are not ready to pitch in their twenty, thirty or forty percent. Why didn’t I say pitch in their fifty percent? That’s because in a relationship there is never a perfect equal balance. There are situations in which one may be pitching in a good eighty percent, while the other is lagging. And then there are times when this lagger will go out of his or her way to pitch in an amazing ninety percent to make up for the difference.

Many call this effect “compromise.” They are wrong. By definition, in a compromise, no one gets what each wants. So I did a little thinking and concluded that instead of arriving at a “middle ground” where no one is happy, that couples should consider negotiate, which allows both parties to discuss the terms of any given arrangement. This process yields to the establishment of boundaries and expectations. Yes. Relationships are complicated.

As we scratch our heads wondering where to find that special someone, we quickly turn to the usual suspects: online dating and the club scene.

Online dating can be misleading and confusing for some. But it shouldn’t be. To demystify online romance and to be clear on this issue, let’s have a moment of honesty and approach certain sites for what they really are, hook ups. Manhunt, A4A, Craigslist, you name it, it’s all there. If a poor soul thinks they’re going to find love there, they’re in for a real surprise. Even friendships are highly unlikely to happen.

The club scene is as old as the stars in the heavens. Tiring and disappointing too, I might add.

However, both online connections and taking someone home after the last call can be really fun, and healthy! But again, it’s what the person does with these types of encounters. That there is potential for a relationship, yes… that the person should put all their eggs in one basket desperately hoping to make a square peg fit into a round hole, god no! And please, do every one a favor and don’t agonize because “it didn’t work out.” Because guess what, it was never meant to.

Step out of comfort zone if you really hope to land that special someone who deserves those roses and chocolates year after year. It has been fourteen well-earned Valentine’s for a young bud I know.

The following are six simple tips for hassle-free dating and romance:

Treasure what you have: tomorrow he or she might be gone and regret is sour.
Stop the chase: it’s a never-ending game that nobody wins.
The grass is never greener on the other side: the quintessential told-you-so!
Relationships need boundaries: this is a must-have rule of thumb .
Relationships are reciprocal: it really is your fault if you’re not getting your fair share.
Relationships are 24/7: would you skip a day without breathing?

Happy Valentine’s kiddos and happy hunting!

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By Joseph García