Shadow Of My Life
You are viewing the most recent 25 entries.
28th August 2016
Boyfriend Hunting - Where The Men Are
So you’re on the prowl for a boyfriend, hunting for Mr. Right to potentially build a lasting and fulfilling relationship? You feel like you’ve got your head on straight, your life is in order, and you’re ready and available for love. Perfect!
As gay men, it can be a bit more challenging in our quest for potential dating partners since we’re not always easily recognizable, that is unless you’ve got a finely-tuned sense of “gaydar.” We don’t have a rubber stamp with the word “GAY” printed on our foreheads to cause us to stand out from the crowd, so knowing who it’s safe to approach can be made more difficult than our heterosexual counterparts face. But, it is not impossible, for as the saying goes: “We are everywhere!”This article will offer possible settings that will increase your chances for meeting other gay men, as well as to provide some practical tips for approaching these venues.
According to David Steele,M.A. and Marvin Cohen,M.A. from The Relationship Coaching Institute (*)in their program for relationship success training for singles, attraction venues are places and activities to meet potential dating partners, and there are four levels:
Level 1: Public Places. These are places such as malls, festivals, banks, grocery stores, etc. It’s possible to meet someone compatible in these places, but not likely because there’s such a large diversity of people to pool through.
Level 2: Generic Singles Settings. These would include bars, singles clubs, personal ads; places where you would specifically expect to find singles congregating. The odds are increased for meeting someone in these venues, but can still be difficult to find “qualified” partners.
Level 3: Special Interest Settings. Sports clubs, fitness classes, targeted workshops on a particular topic, etc. An even better place to meet people because you’re living your life doing something that you enjoy with other like-minded people, already giving you something in common to build from. These are great places to make new friends too!
Level 4: Shared Mission Sites. This is the best venue to meet your life partner because it’s a place where the people have a shared sense of values, purpose, and passion, which are important ingredients for relationship success. Places like churches, service clubs, and personal growth venues would be examples of such settings where they act as a community with mutual support and involvement.
You can meet the man of your dreams in any of these venues, however the more aligned the venue is with who you are and what you’re looking for, the higher probability of success exists. Choose to involve yourself in settings that will attract the type of men you want to affiliate with.
Top 5 Places to Meet Gay Men
Through interviews and polls taken with clients and men in the gay community, the following are the top popular picks for meeting potential guys for dating and mating.
1. Gay Bars & Dance Clubs: While these may be obvious places that gay men can flock to, be careful. You can meet a lot of nice guys in these venues, however the environment can be highly sexualized and prone to draw men who abuse drugs or alcohol and are only “cruising” for sex. If you’re seeking a boyfriend, be clear on that and screen the men you meet carefully.
2. Personal Ads & Internet Chatrooms: Whether it be newspaper or telephone ads, online personals, or dating services, these can be ideal places to search for men, particularly for those who have extra-busy lifestyles or who don’t live in large gay urban areas. These ads are a great way to creatively spell out exactly what you’re looking for. Always meet in a public place if it gets that far and don’t rely solely on this method at the expense of live human contact and social interaction.
3. Volunteering: Get to know the resources and organizations available in your nearest gay community and volunteer your time to some that resonate with and are meaningful to you. Examples might include The Human Rights Campaign, gay youth groups, gay community centers and health clinics, task forces, etc.
4. Friends: Build your gay social support system and expand your gay friendship circle. The more people you know, the more people your friends might be able to introduce you to. Lots of fulfilling relationships have started from “set-ups” by friends. It doesn’t always work out, but friends can be a valuable resource because they know you and your interests.
5. Gay-Themed Events: Pride parades and festivals, drag queen shows, gay theatrical productions, charity events, classes and workshops with gay topics, parties, gay support groups, church activities, gay trade shows, gay speed dating events, etc.
Also, don’t forget other places such as coffee shops, beaches, work, business networking events, restaurants, art galleries, museums, and health clubs as other possible gay guy meeting places.
Dating Tips for the Hunt
·Meeting Mr. Right takes careful planning and preparation; it’s typically not always a spontaneous, out-of-the-blue experience. Know yourself and what you believe in and stand for, as well as what you’re looking for. Ensure that you’re emotionally available and ready for a possible relationship.
·Be friendly, open, receptive, and assertive when socializing. Your life partner could be anywhere, so don’t limit yourself exclusively to certain meeting places. Expand your horizons and be open to new possibilities.
·Avoid expecting every encounter to lead somewhere. Not every hot guy you meet is Mr. Right. Use your screening skills and assess true goodness-of-fit.
·Don’t let dating consume your life. Live your life in a balanced and fulfilling way. Be happily single.
·Defeat negative thinking that could undermine your confidence in social situations. Be affirming toward yourself and let each experience be a new learning opportunity to help you improve yourself and your approaches.
Conclusion - So there you have it! Mr. Right is anywhere and everywhere; you just need the readiness and emotional reserves to take the risks inherent in meeting new people. While dating venues can be important in helping you increase the odds of finding a good match, the most important ingredients are what you bring to the table.
As long as you bring a positive attitude, strong self-esteem, good social skills, and an upbeat and assertive demeanor to the playing field, your chances of narrowing the market down and having a triumphant hunt for your future husband are great. Don’t delay… boyfriend hunting season opens now!
27th August 2016
25th August 2016
Validate Your Way To Bliss
Over the years, I’ve had slews of couples come through my office with a variety of presenting issues that range anywhere from communication breakdowns, to sexual dysfunctions, to infidelities, to diminished passion, etc. These only name but a few, but the common denominator that appears pervasive throughout most relationship difficulties is a climate of tension, resentment, and mistrust that results when the partners don’t feel acknowledged or honored by each other. This can erode the foundation that the relationship is built upon and jeopardizes the love, closeness, and attachment the couple had developed. Mayday! Mayday! Relationship rescue is now needed!
The interpersonal skill of validation is one technique that can help enrich any relationship and is a great tool for solidifying emotional bonds and fostering more intimacy between loving partners. This article will explore the concept of validation and offer suggestions for incorporating more of it with your partner to promote more heightened “relationship bliss.”
What Is Validation? In the initial stages of dating, it’s not too difficult to validate each other. This “honeymoon phase” of relationship development is depicted by high chemistry, thinking about each other all the time and wanting to devote energy to being with one another. You feel excited and boosted by the other’s attraction for you and attention. It requires very little effort and is usually described as a “magical” feeling. Over time, however, this “spark” tends to diminish and is a normal sign of the maturing of the relationship, not necessarily a signal that something is wrong.
Long-term relationships require lots of validation for sustenance and nourishment. Validation is letting your partner know how much you appreciate him. It’s being attentive to his needs and acknowledging him as someone of value to you, regardless of whether you agree or disagree about areas of contention. It’s making him feel important, showing him how much meaning he brings to your life. Validation is the ultimate expression of love for your partner. The key is to be genuine, consistent, and deliver it in the style to which you know your partner likes to be attended.
Validate Your Man!
The greatest way to validate your lover is to use your knowledge and wisdom of his needs, personality, tastes, and preferences and communicate it verbally or through action in ways that will have the most and meaning and impact for him.
In his groundbreaking book, “The Five Love Languages (2004)”, Dr. Gary Chapman, Ed.D exposes how we all express love in different ways; what is meaningful and validating to you may be indifferent to your boyfriend. The key to relationship success, according to Chapman, is to understand each other’s unique needs and learn the correct love language to express so each partner is fulfilled. Chapman identifies the five specific love languages as:
1. Words of Affirmation (verbal compliments & appreciations, kind words, encouragement)
2. Quality Time (togetherness, conversation, activities)
3. Receiving Gifts (flowers, surprise gifts)
4. Acts of Service (doing things for your partner that he likes/wants)
5. Physical Touch (affection, holding hands, back rubs, kissing, sex)
By speaking your partner’s primary love language, you are validating him in a way that matters most to him and increases the chances he’ll reciprocate back to meet your needs in ways you prefer.
An important point needs to be made in that it’s critical you learn how to validate yourself too! While giving and receiving validation with your partner is a positive relationship skill to practice, it’s equally vital to empower yourself. You don’t want to create a dependency on your partner to meet all your needs; you are responsible for your own happiness and should avoid placing expectations on your relationship to fulfill your life. Learn how to boost your self-esteem and soothe yourself when life or your relationship gets tenuous. This will help you cope better with disappointments and avoid placing pressure on your partner for something you must take ownership for. As partners, teach each other on how you best like to be treated, but also be proactive in taking charge of your own life and making things happen for your success.
1. As an exercise, both you and your partner can make separate lists detailing what you imagine your lover doing that would be pleasing to you. Then at a later time, exchange your lists, talk about them, and begin performing the items on the lists. This can be an easy reference for accomplishing tasks that you each know would be validating for the other.
2. Purchase the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. While written primarily for a heterosexual audience, the material definitely pertains to gay couples as well and I highly recommend it as a valuable resource. What is your primary love language? What is your partner’s? How can you work together as a team to meet each other’s needs in ways that you each appreciate the most in your own unique styles of preference? The book also contains personal assessment tools and exercises to help you integrate the content into your relationship.
While validation won’t solve all your relationship woes, it certainly will go a long way toward creating a climate of support, encouragement, and attentiveness that can inspire more intimacy, trust, and commitment. Make a conscious effort to learn more about your partner’s needs and your own and tailor approaches that will create the most impact for both of you.
With practice, validation will become second nature and “relationship bliss” can be yours for the taking!
24th August 2016
21st August 2016
20th August 2016
16th August 2016
Putting On the Brakes In Your New Dating Relationship for Everlasting Success - Part Two
"So how do you control yourself when you want nothing to do but to rip the clothes off of your new guy even though you know it’s best to wait? How do you handle these powerful feelings of attachment without losing your sense of self and without becoming too intertwined?"
Here are some action challenges to help keep you on the right track toward promoting a healthy relationship progression with your new dating prospect:
This means to avoid acting on every impulse you have when it comes to your dating partner. Do you really need to call him for the fifth time today? Is it wise to send him one email after the other on the same day? Do you have to see him every day this week? By thinking about the consequences of your actions, you’ll be in a better position to guide the relationship along. If you need to, snap yourself with a rubber band to break out of an “impulse trance” to avoid making impulsive moves.
Beware of spending every waking hour with each other. You need breathing room and you don’t want the relationship to become suffocated by becoming too enmeshed. By having your own independent life separate from the relationship, you’ll be bringing fresh air into it that will help vitalize it and keep it exciting. Don’t forget you have other roles, responsibilities, and relationships that deserve and need your attention as well!
3. Find outlets for your impulses
Stave off those self-sabotaging urges by finding productive outlets for those impulses to “rush things along.” Such things as exercise, masturbation, fantasy, or writing can be helpful pursuits to channel your thoughts and feelings toward when all you want to do is direct your energies at your love interest. They can be constructive distractions and physical releases for “emergency relief.”
4. Stay anchored in the here-and-now
New lovers often times in their exuberance talk about what their futures will be like together and this definitely accelerates the pacing of the relationship. Instead, be fully present in every moment you share together and enjoy each opportunity together as a gift in “the now.” To help stay on an appropriate timeline for yourself, you can create a personal scrapbook of the memories and experiences you’ve shared with this special guy as a time-table and way to stay centered on going slow and relishing in getting to know each other.
Talk to each other about the thoughts and feelings that you’re having. This shared dialogue will help cement the bond between you even more and communication is one of the avenues toward building trust, respect, and intimacy. By keeping the feelings and temptations vocalized, they can be dealt with more directly. Unspoken, suppressed desires have a way of erupting spontaneously and you’re more at risk for acting-out by keeping everything hidden. Obviously you’re not going to want to share everything you’re fantasizing about with your dating partner (there do need to be some boundaries!), but keeping the dialogue open and honest can help pace the momentum.
Being mindful of the qualities and characteristics of your ideal partner and relationship can be an excellent barometer to gauge the pacing of your relationship. With every experience and contact you have with your new dating partner, you’re learning more and more about whether this is truly a goodness-of-fit. Does he share similar values? Does he stimulate me intellectually? Is he trustworthy and loyal? Can I be vulnerable with him and share my feelings? Do we have physical chemistry and sexual compatibility? These are all things that are learned in the process of your dating journey with this particular man. Stay true to your personal requirements and non-negotiable needs for a partner and relationship, and you can’t go wrong!
The beginning of a new dating relationship is often times characterized by an abundance of feel-good feelings that can be mind-boggling and overwhelming. Enjoy the thrill of what is happening to you and at the same time make sure that you stay in control of these feelings as opposed to the other way around. Perhaps one of the most important questions you can ask yourself to ensure your relationship is pacing at a rate you are comfortable with before allowing yourself to be vulnerable and consider commitment would be:
Has my dating partner consistently demonstrated through his words and actions that he is safe to let into my life and share my heart? The answer to that question can only be answered through the passage of time and shared experiences. So slow down, think, and enjoy the ride!