We all know men who seem like they would be such a good catch, and yet they seem to be always single. Why?
1. Some gay men have been sexually abused as children. They probably don’t share that information easily, and probably with few friends. These men don’t trust anybody. This is a common response for anyone who has been sexually abused, not just gay men. So these men don’t have a highly developed sense of who to pick, who might be a “safe” person. They unconsciously feel that everyone will hurt them. It is very difficult, if not impossible for a gay man who hasn’t had therapy on the abuse, to maintain a successful intimate relationship. These same gay men may also be the ones who have battled addiction, or are still battling addiction, to continue the abuse unconsciously.
These gay men with a history of sexual abuse as children may be highly successful, and pillars of the community. They also may be in service to others, while never really addressing their own deep-seated wounds. They may also be especially charming and delightful to chat with about many topics. They seldom discuss topics that would border abuse issues, and if those issues are discussed in their presence, they often seem unusually uncomfortable. These men can be saddled with eating disorders to unconsciously mask their pain, or they may be unbelievably fit, seeking perfection physically. Perfection is often a theme for this man, and that is difficult for others to deal with.
2. Some gay men have diagnosed or undiagnosed Mood Disorders, like ADHD, or Depression. The fact that the disorder exists is not necessarily the problem. It is the fact that it usually needs treatment. So the many men with Mood Disorders who have successful relationships, have most likely addressed the problem with a professional and are getting or have received treatment.
Someone who is diagnosed with a Mood Disorder, whether on medications or not, is negatively affected by alcohol or party drugs. The stability and success achieved by using prescribed meds, can often be “washed away” by too much alcohol or partying. These men may then exhibit mood swings and perhaps some unpredictable behavior. Gay men who are moody and unpredictable with anger or isolation, tend to not attract healthy men to date.
3. Gay men have a higher addiction rate than heterosexuals. This does not mean that all gay men are alcoholics or drug addicts, but they do have a higher tendency to addiction. Why? They may be predisposed through family lines. Or they simply may have been activated into alcohol use in the only acceptable place for young gay men to socialize—bars.
While having a history of addiction does not make someone a bad candidate for a relationship, their current behavior and social skills do have a big role here. Many gay men who have battled with crystal meth addiction have a very difficult time adjusting to sex as clean and sober persons. Simply put: Intimacy is difficult without the “medication.”
There are however many successful relationships of many, many years where one or both partners have gone through recovery and are clean and sober.
4. Many gay men have serious Abandonment Issues. Most gay men are not conscious that from a very early age they are “pegged” to be gay and are actually treated differently by family and friends. Most of this different treatment is not necessarily a conscious choice by family, it just happens. Is there statistical proof that this happens? No. This is more of an observational and anecdotal view on the author’s part. At any rate, this feeling that gay men are being treated differently leaves them with a feeling of being abandoned by family and friends that seems to treat their siblings differently.
Of course, many people in the field of psychology know that most people who suffer from abandonment issues have big trust issues, and therefore they either are “clingy” and needy, or aloof and guarded. These men do not necessarily make the best relationship material.
What this article has tried to address is that gay men, as well as any humans may have limitations, addictions, disorders, diseases, personality defects and “issues.” These do not have to be deal-breakers in getting into successful relationships. We just always have to be aware of what others “bring to the table,” and certainly have to own or take responsibility for our own “stuff.”
Please don’t be afraid to identify that you need to get help working on something about yourself. Also, STOP judging others! You never know what they have gone through! Most of us could benefit from a support group or therapy at some time in our lives. If you fit one of the categories above, please seek help, as these issues can be desensitized and removed from being barriers to your happiness.
This article is part of a series of books called “Dr. T’s Living Well Series,” by Dr. Richard L. Travis.
The series contains books for Parents on ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Obesity, Anger, Drug and Alcohol Problems, Low Self-Esteem, and Trauma and Loss. There are also books on Addictions in different careers, Sexual Identity, and Gay Relationships.
Visit www.LivingWellSeries.com to see more information on these books.