Shadow Of My Life
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22nd October 2014
Falling in love without meeting
Falling in love with someone face-to-face is for old folks. In this day and age, people are more than happy to fall in love facebook-to-facebook. According to a new study, more than one out of three Americans say they believe it's possible to fall in love online without ever meeting the person face-to-face.
Men are more likely to say that's possible than women but people of both genders do believe in real love springing out of only virtual connections. 39% of men say they've flirted online, versus 23% of women. More than half of Americans say the Internet has made it easier for people to cheat and a very high 31% say they know someone whose real-life relationship ended because of their actions online.
21st October 2014
Quote of the Day
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."
- John Powell
20th October 2014
The Top 10 Dating Guidelines And Tips for the Gay Average Guy - Part Two
1. Give Off Those Good Vibrations
I get handfuls of letters from men voicing their disdain at not being given a chance by other guys because they feel they don't "measure up" in the looks department. While it is true in many cases that an attractive face can get one noticed and "in the front door" more quickly, don't underestimate the power of your personality and presentation. Many men who feel jaded and frustrated by their unfruitful dating efforts tend to unwittingly emit a negative vibe in their interactions with others. They wear their hopelessness on their faces and in their body language and end up sabotaging themselves because people can smell this kind of negativity a mile away and will retreat from making contact, reinforcing the sense of alienation they then feel and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if you're not feeling particularly spunky, work hard at making sure you project a positive self-image and energy. It's all in how you carry yourself. While a cute man can turn heads, there's nothing more magnetic than a man with a jovial spirit and great sense of humor. It makes you want to get to know him.
2. Confidence is a Turn-On
Along the same lines, there is nothing sexier than a man who exudes inner strength, confidence, and self-assuredness. It shows that he has his life together and enjoys being alive. Even if you have self-consciousness about your looks, have confidence in something-anything! And then don't be shy about it. By feeling proud of yourself and/or your accomplishments and then by finding ways to express that security intrinsically and through your actions and demeanor, men won't be able to help but take notice.
3. Repeat After Me---"I Am A Good Catch!"
Attractive men, inside and out, possess a healthy dose of positive self-esteem. They like who they are and recognize that their worth is not dependent on their appearance. They have many other parts to themselves that make them who they are. The cliché statement, "You must love yourself before anyone else can" is very true. Negativity and pessimism are men-repellants, so start work immediately on countering any negative self-talk and recognize the unique talents and gifts that you possess that make you a good person and a good date. Internalize the affirmation, "I am a good catch!" and start acting like it rather than focusing on your unfulfilled dating card.You become more attractive to men when you believe in yourself and consider yourself to be quality boyfriend material.
4. Unattractive Re-defined
So you don't think you're attractive enough? Wrong! Everyone has something about them that is attractive. Capitalize on what is attractive about you and recognize that which is truly ugly---ignorance, superficiality, mistreatment of your fellow gay brothers in any form or fashion, low confidence, self-degradation, cocky attitudes, excessive and superficial focuses on physical appearance, depression, etc. These are the things that are the epitome of unattractiveness and will send men running in the opposite direction. Rather than focusing on looks, try to work on identifying any personal "undesirables" you may possess and aggressively work to eliminate them from your personality and behavior to catapult you into interpersonal sophistication and savvy.
5. If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em
Being an "Average Joe" in guy/guy relationships tends to be more challenging than our lesbian and heterosexual counterparts because men are more visual creatures. Whereas women traditionally may be more prone to "overlook" physical attributes for more qualities of substance, men in general are more attuned and turned-on by what they see. Invest in your health and body by exercising and eating right, getting enough rest and relaxation, and integrating more wellness into your lifestyle. Not only will you be taking better care of yourself, but you just might secondarily be adding more appeal to the male tendency toward the visual with your healthier appearance. Nice clothing, a trendy haircut, and sharp accessories can also help to turn heads. Accentuate your looks with things that speak to your unique style and personality. We men are competitive by nature, so making yourself stand out in a way that is authentic and genuine to who you really are can go a long way toward getting yourself the right kind of attention from the right kind of men who will appreciate those particular attributes.
6. Embrace a Sense of Gay Pride
Many men, average or not, struggle with dating because of issues with their sexual identity and masculinity. Internalized homophobia and common male deficits in dealing with feelings and sensitivity can be huge barriers to attracting and maintaining healthy intimate relationships. These things can get in the way of becoming more emotionally intimate. A gay man who is proud of his homosexuality and not afraid to express this part of his identity adds a whole new element to the definition of attractiveness. Having good social skills, emotional intelligence, and effective communication skills are additional assets to drawing in the right kind of men you may be looking for.
7. Stop the Comparison Game
Another symptom of the "Average Joe" syndrome is that these men commonly compare themselves to other men and judge themselves critically in how they "measure up" to Adonis-like guys. This is extremely self-defeating because it's unfair to compare one aspect of onself (looks) to someone else's physical appearance. We have to look at the whole person, the entire package. There are some very physically-pleasing-to-look-at guys out there who are very unattractive in spirit and personality. Stop objectifying yourself and others and becoming prejudiced by looking at things as being "good enough" in only one capacity or human trait.
8. Different Strokes for Different Folks
Never forget the fact that not everyone is attracted to the model-boy or porn-star type. Everybody has different attractions, tastes, and preferences in men. While you may feel like you're in the minority a lot of the time, it's important to have faith that there really is somebody out there for everybody and it's just been a little more challenging finding the right timing, situational contexts, and geographical placements to put the two of you together.
9. Bring Out the Sexiness Factor!
Every human on this planet is and has the capacity to be sexy, no matter what one's appearance. If you can tap into this feeling, it will radiate and charm the pants off of people (figuratively, and sometimes literally too!). A good heart and a healthy mind are totally sexy. If you can integrate all of these tips into your repertoire and express them, people will be drawn to your energy. Just like "The Law of Attraction" states...you will attract what you put out there. When you feel good about yourself and what you have to offer and can translate that in your mood, spirit, and behavior, your appeal to others will increase. While looks can certainly be a component, sexiness is really about attitude. If you give yourself permission to access and unleash it, it can really be a guy magnet.
--and in conclusion--
10. Live Life to the Max!!!
Finally, and most important of all, live your life! Stop dwelling on your appearance and don't make your happiness contingent solely on your dating life. Make the most of what you have, develop your inner resources and social capabilities, and enjoy your life. Recognize the things that you do and don't have control over and practice the art of self-acceptance. By taking the emphasis off of your looks and channeling those energies into living a full life, you'll definitely be living with more meaning and passion that will likely bring about more good tidings for you. Your inner beauty and magnetism will shine through when you're having a blast living your life. You are beautiful!
Quote of the Day
19th October 2014
Dating And 'The Average Guy' - Part One
All one has to do is turn the pages of your favorite gay newspaper or magazine (that doesn't necessarily have to be sexual in nature) and you'll be distracted by photographs and advertisements of attractive men with chiseled bodies oozing sex appeal to titillate the senses.
Or log on to any dating or personals site on the Web and you'll find hosts of men demanding youth and rugged masculine good-looks as personal requirements in their profiles to consider even corresponding or chatting with them.
The harsh reality of the worldwide gay community and society at large is that physical attractiveness is deemed a significant value and those who fit the mold of how this description is defined are admired and rewarded with social privileges and positive reinforcement.
This isn't to say that being a "hottie" is all it's cracked up to be...they can struggle in the dating realm as well as they are often times pigeonholed with superficialities or viewed solely as sexual objects.
Dating hardships for the "very good-looking" (VGL) could be a whole separate article! But it can often times be a different experience for those who do not espouse the redeeming qualities or status awarded to those labeled as "beautiful" by cultural standards.
So what if you are a single gay man who might be lower on the "hotness scale" because of your physical appearance and looks, your age, your weight, or because you may have a disability? It can feel like your worth in the gay community means nothing and it can undermine your confidence in your dating efforts...but only if you let it!
This article will offer some insights and tips for helping the Gay Average or Not-So-Average Joe navigate through the sometimes cruel dating waters of the gay community to maximize their success as single men on the hunt for Mr. Right.
This isn't intended to be a Pollyanna approach to the situation because the cold reality is that it is unfortunately more challenging and competitive for those that don't necessarily fit the prototype of "VGL". But it's also not a lost cause!
As you will see, developing and accessing a positive self-esteem and sense of sexiness that we all embody, no matter who we are or what we look like, goes a long way toward attracting the attentions and affection of a significant other.
18th October 2014
17th October 2014
16th October 2014
Quote of the Day
The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination,
as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted
by formal education."
- Maya Angelou
15th October 2014
The Ethical Dating Man - Part Two
( Continued From Yesterday )
Tips for Becoming a Dating Man of Integrity
In the world of online communication, we can begin to feel disconnected from the human experience. Don’t! Remember that the man on the other side of the computer screen is a human being with feelings.
Treat him kindly as you would if you were speaking to him in-person. Good-manners are sexy! Remember to use “please”, “thank you”, and all the other common courtesies we were supposed to have been taught as children; and if you weren’t fortunate enough to get this kind of training, now is the time to start educating yourself on how to become more socially sophisticated and savvy.
Not only will you become more polished, but you’ll also be engendering more positive impressions of yourself in the minds of others as you treat them with the respect they deserve.
If you’re not interested in seeing someone again for a date, tell him so directly. Or if you initially agree and then change your mind, tell him. A simple “Thank you for taking the time to meet me and I enjoyed talking with you. I don’t think we’d be a match for dating but I wish you all the best” is a much better approach than game-playing, lying, and deceit.
Sit back, relax, and conduct a values clarification visualization in your mind of what you picture as being a man of integrity. What does he say and do that strikes you as admirable and well-mannered? Write down all the qualities and characteristics that describe this ideal man in his presentation, style, and demeanor from an individual and social standpoint. Then identify those qualities that resonate with who you are now versus those traits that you’d like to aspire to become.
Remember that high self-esteem results when we behave in accordance with our values and personal ethics.
If we all as gay men developed the mindset of living with integrity and becoming more socially conscious of the effects our behavior has on others, the dating world might perhaps feel a little less dangerous and more of a welcome and safe environment to get to know other men.
One man at a time can generate this movement. In closing, here is a quote from therapist and book author Joe Kort that I just love that speaks directly to the message of this article. Use this gem as an affirmation to take personal inventory and responsibility for who you are and want to be as a gay man.
14th October 2014
The Ethical Dating Man - Part One
One of the most common complaints I receive from single gay men about the dating scene is their frustration and pain of wearing “the battle scars” of mistreatment at the hands of other men they’ve met for potential friendship and dating.
“Why doesn’t he call me back when he says he will?” “Why did he say he was interested and then I find him online cruising for other guys?” “I found out Mr. Wonderful was married!” “These guys are so rude and crass in those Internet chatrooms!”
These are just a few of the many scenarios described by many singles who report feeling jaded by the actions of their fellow gay brothers who have slighted them or made them feel “less than” as they navigate their way through the dating jungle.
It is a curious thing to ponder how a disenfranchised group like gay men, who have historically suffered discrimination from a homophobic culture, could treat each other with such disdain and cruelty when we are all essentially in the same boat trying to find love, happiness, and a place we can call our own in this world.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! We don’t have to project and mirror the same homophobia we’ve been programmed with at each other as weapons.
Pooling together as a group with a collective empathy to provide support and understanding for what it’s like to be a gay man and single in the millennium can go a long way toward improving the social climate and self-esteem of our community and the men that comprise it.
There are many possible reasons why we treat other with the degree of misconduct that we do in the dating world. Some men are acting-out internalized homophobia. Others do so purely out of bad manners and poor social skills. But more often than not, many men are afraid to be direct and honest out of fear of hurting the other person’s feeling; they therefore take “the easy way out” by disappearing off the face of the earth or ignoring a dating prospect who they don’t particularly have an interest in pursuing further. While perhaps well-intentioned, this only serves to hurt the recipient more and this type of immaturity can backfire and begin to develop a negative reputation and image of the man doing the “ditching.”
We cannot change other people; we only have responsibility over our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Therefore, we each as individuals can begin taking stock of our own personal values and ethics to determine if we are carrying ourselves in alignment with who we want to be.
If there is a discrepancy between who we are and who we want to become, this is where we then want to channel our energies toward evolving into that man of integrity who treats himself and others with dignity and respect.
( Part Two - Continued Tomorrow )
13th October 2014
Is Love All You Need?
: The radio is full of love songs. Greeting card shops stock hundreds of love notes. Bookstores have dozens of books poetry about love, self help books about love, romantic novels and biographies that celebrate love and lovers. Everywhere you turn it’s love, love, love. It’s enough to make you a little crazy – and we’re not even talking about Valentine’s Day here.
Love is a critical ingredient in both life and relationships. Without love, we tend to shrivel up. The world can be a cold place; a loving relationship is like a warm refuge from the chill.
When we’re dating, finding out that we’ve got the chemistry with another person that we call “falling in love” is a wonderful thing, a bit drug-like. We feel the rush of emotion and delight that comes from being close to the object of our affection, and we’re bathed in a rich formula of hormones that feels fabulous.
And then the feelings shift. Sometimes the passion changes into something that can burn for the long haul – a warmth that may not be as intense as it was at first, but which remains something we value and hold close to ourselves. Other times, the excitement just burns itself out and in a matter of weeks or a few months it’s just gone.
Love is a lot, but by itself it’s not enough to form the foundation for a life together. A strong foundation requires some fundamental emotional health and healthy patterns between the individuals involved.
Have you ever fallen in love with someone who clearly wasn’t a good choice for a relationship? Most of us have. We felt an intense attraction and infatuation. It may have even become a bit of an obsession. Eventually – perhaps painfully – we discovered that something was missing. His feelings didn’t match ours, or he didn’t treat us in a way that felt considerate of us. Or there was some pattern in his personality that was fundamentally unhealthy. It didn’t necessarily lessen our love for him, but if we tried to build a relationship on love alone, we got a painful lesson on codependency and losing our sense of self.
Healthy relationships require many things every bit as much as they require mutual love. An ability to communicate feelings, for instance. Mutual respect. A common approach to life and a compatible attitude towards family and friends. Without these things love is not enough, no matter how much we might want it to be.
In relationships, love is a choice, not only a sentiment or feeling. Love requires commitment and regard for the other person’s feeling and making the choices that sustain and nourish a healthy couple over time. It requires that we make the other person a priority in our lives and invest our time with him. Unless both parties involved are willing and able to make the choices that are required to sustain a relationship, love ain’t enough.
Quote of the Day
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
12th October 2014
Parents, In-Laws & Relatives
Gay men aren’t the only folks who have complicated relationships with parents and in-laws, of course. But while straight couples typically get a lot of recognition, support and encouragement from their parents and other family members, things are often different for us. Some families are very welcoming. Other families are indifferent or hostile, and that can complicate loving relationships between men.
Enlightened parents welcome a son or daughter’s partner into the family. Even if this feels like uncharted territory to Mom and Dad, they grasp that the new love in their son’s life is the important thing, not the gender of the person offering that love. Family get-togethers may be awkward times when protocol is still being determined, but good intentions and clear communication are enough to smooth over most rough spots.
How to establish a good relationship between you and your partner and your parents?
For starters, if you’re not already out to your parents – this is the time to do so. They need to understand that your partner is your partner – not a roommate, “friend” or some other shrunken version of your true relationship. If your parents want to introduce your significant other as “our son’s friend” if you bump into their acquaintances, that may not be a big deal. But it is a very big deal for you to represent the relationship that way to people in your family network.
Be clear about what you want and expect when you introduce your partner to your family. Are you looking for parental approval? If you are close to your parents it is understandable that you would want their support, but be clear: you are an adult, and your life choices do not depend on Mom and Dad’s approval. In fact, implying that you want that approval puts your parents in an awkward position. Now instead of just meeting your beau, they have to give him their seal of approval. Wouldn’t it be enough if they were simply polite and friendly around him?
Make it easy for your parents to give you what you want. “Mom, I want you and Dad to come over for dinner next Saturday and meet my boyfriend Michael” is pretty clear. “Um, Mom, there’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you. I don’t know if this is a good time, but well, um, I’m seeing this guy Michael and I wanted to let you know” is not clear communication. Put yourself in your mother’s place. How is she supposed to react? You sound ambivalent and uncertain. Her reaction is likely to reflect that.
What to do when parents are unwelcoming to your partner, despite your best intentions? This can create a painful dilemma; it can feel as if you must choose between your family relationships and your relationship with your partner. While sometimes that is exactly the choice that must be made, more often the choice is really about how to respond to familial bullying.
For those of us who have been raised to be the proverbial “best little boy in the world,” it can be disorienting to realize that it’s time to stand up to family pressure.
Remember: you’re an adult now, and if you and your partner have made a commitment that reflects your love and devotion to one another, then he is your primary family now.
11th October 2014