Fathers teach their sons to be men. They teach them how to ride a bike, how to fix a car, and how to treat a woman. But for gay men, no one is there to teach us how to love and treat another man. So how do we learn to make a relationship work?
Growing up I was able to see a stable relationship watching my parents. They work to keep the family together. They laugh and smile and plan together. They fight being very strong personalities but they make up as if nothing happened. After almost 40 years, theirs is the relationship I want for my life but watching them didn’t help me once I began dating men.
I’m an old fashion dater. I love to open both the car door and building doors for my man( I do stop short of pulling out the chair). I love to take care of him and I often times have a problem having my man pay for dinners. I prefer to pay like most men do for women. I am finding I want to mirror hetero relationship putting myself in the male position but what if my partner wants the same? How in the world am I suppose to date a man and not be the man I saw from my father and hell every movie I’ve ever seen. My dating life hasn’t been great.
Truth is gay men don’t have a clue how to date. We don’t have dating role models that show us not only how to treat another man but how to keep a relationship going. It’s no wonder gay relationship are so short lived if they exist at all. So what is left for us? Do we just decide to have bad relationship or should we stop trying to mirror the hetero lifestyle?
I have very mixed opinions about gay mainstreaming and trying to emulate hetero values and norms but I’m still someone who wants love. I don’t see a relationship that last forty years as trying to conform. We can still define our relationships a bit different from the norm. But to get there we have to flip our thinking about what a relationship is. It wont be like our parents (unless you are luck to have gay parents) but it can be just as strong.
All and all, dating men isn’t easy and the only way it can work is to decide to make it work. Say what you will about marriage and the hetero world, they at least no one to love and love for the long haul.