Thursday, March 11, 2010

D A T I N G and G O I N G O U T

" If you go back 20 years or so, gay men didn’t talk about “dating” at all. Partners were divided into one of two discrete camps: tricks or lovers."

hmmm. . . is that where "trick or treat" comes from? hahahahahaha......


ok, ok. . . i'll go back to my room.

Gay Relationships: Dating & Commitment

Gay I think dating is easier for straight couples. For one thing, if your straight everyone wants to fix you up with someone they know. But gay guys are really at a disadvantage when it comes to language about dating. And language often affects how we see and interpret reality.

Think about it. There is no gay equivalent of words like “fiancé” or “engaged” that imply a relationship has progressed to a certain level of seriousness (though still short of lifetime commitment). If you go back 20 years or so, gay men didn’t talk about “dating” at all. Partners were divided into one of two discrete camps: tricks or lovers.

Perhaps as a result of this language shortage, it’s sometimes hard for dating couples to understand exactly where they are in the journey of exploration and commitment. That makes many of us too quick to presume there is more of a commitment than is warranted. Dating can be divided into three stages: prospecting, mutual discovery and exploring commitment. Each stage has it’s own tasks, joys and challenges.


This is the initial stage where you find out the basics about your new guy and see if there is enough interest for him to be worth your time. You have a first date and decide if you’re interested in another one. If the chemistry is right, you may really click and feel like you’ve known him longer than you really have. But remember – you may like the guy, but you don’t yet really know him. And if there isn’t much attraction, calling it quits here hurts the least.

Mutual discovery:

OK, you’ve had a few dates and decide that you like this guy. In fact, you like him quite a bit. That’s good. But there is much to be learned about your new man, and this stuff can’t be completed in a few dates. What motivates him? Are his interests, values and lifestyle compatible with your own? If they aren’t, it doesn’t matter how great a guy he is – he’s someone else’s future partner, not yours. Ending a relationship at this stage is more painful, but if you haven’t rushed into commitment prematurely the bruises will heal quickly.

Exploring commitment:

Your basic questions have been answered and you’re getting a sense that this has real potential. The idea of dating other men has little appeal, and you’re pretty sure he feels the same. You’re not ready to put both your names on the checking account – you may never be – but where you are has gone beyond simply “going out” with the guy. Your friends are starting to think of you as a couple. If you were a hetero couple you might be thinking about announcing your engagement. This stage feels pretty intimate: you know your guy, and he knows you. And it feels good.

Now the question becomes, “Is it safe to trust you with my heart?” It’s more than just attraction now. You need to know more about his integrity and personality. Is he able to make the sort of commitment you want? If he’s not, the time to end it is now – not after years of unhappiness.

While people can get in trouble when they move too slowly to deepen commitment, more people probably suffer from moving too quickly to commit. After a few weeks or even a few months, you’re still getting to know one another. Taking a relationship seriously means not taking it too quickly.

John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and frequent contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. -


J said...

Maybe I've missed something, but I always thought a trick was the customer of a prostitute and the term is not synonymous with friend, date or lover.

Gary Kelly said...

Dating? Yeah, seems kinda weird to an old bloke like me. But there was an interesting piece on the news today about a girl from a school in Mississippi who wanted to take her girlfriend to the Prom. She was gonna go in a Tux. The school board said it would not host the event due to "distractions to the educational process". Hehe. So much for their version of education. What are they trying to teach the kids? That there's no place for lesbians in normal society?

But that kind of bigotry and blinkered thinking is something up with which minorities will have to put, I'm afraid.

Galileo found that out the hard way when he announced the world wasn't flat.

JustinO'Shea said...

Yes, poor Galileo! Imagine the societal jolt in proclaiming a round earth when everyone could plainly SEE it was flat. . . like, sail on the ocean. .. it certainly isn't round! hahahahahahaaa

You need to remember that Mississippi is only about 50 years into equal rights and integration.It would take too much ss-t-r-e-t-c-h to even imagine two lesbians playing str8 couple at a HS prom! Glory be!!!


JustinO'Shea said...

Exactly,J, a 'trick' while not being a full-bloom prostitute is certainly not a friend, date of lover. A trick is a person you use to get your rocks off.
Tricks are the 4-F's. . .find 'em. . .feel 'em. ..fuck 'em. . forget 'em.

GROSS, isn't it!

Sorry. I feel I am too explicit here..but how else does one say it?

Gary Kelly said...

Yes, it is gross. Blame the bloke who created hormones.

Ya know, J O'S, every time I see a puppeteer manipulating those strings to make his puppets dance, I think of how similar they are to the rest of us.

Stew said...

There is no gay equivelent and it's a tricky thing. Me and mine were together for 6 years before we decided to marry. It was difficult to refer to him as my fiance then and still wierd as husband. But partner just doesn't seem to be enough. We live, play and work together and it would be difficult to seperate us or our contributions to the relationship. And still sometimes I wonder why anyone would ever get married.
Then, I look at my parents. After 3 months of dating they were married and are still together (through thick and thin and 8 kids) after 57 years. They drive eachother crazy and would be totaly lost without eachother. Sometimes I feel that way about my husband.
Take it slow and make sure it's right. But don't let a good thing slip away. Sex is not everything.

J said...

Why is it that I find an honest merchantile transaction far less repulsive than the predation you describe? The latter is more likely to be the product of dishonesty and victimization.
A while back a blogger whose work I like described a Four F's encounter on a beach which he found quite satisfying until the youngster he shagged spoiled everything by asking to see him again and getting emotional when he coldly refused to reciprocate. The blogger was slightly amused/annoyed that the boy didn't know the drill and allowed himself the unwarranted luxury of becoming emotionally involved in the afternoon's escapades.
There must be some aspect of our genetic makeup that encourages this stuff: Our reluctance to succumb to old-fashioned feelings of guilt or conscience. I for one am incapable of turning those feelings off like a spigot, and wonder if I'm an aberation living in the quixotic world of a Norman Rockwell painting--a Mayberry of the mind.

JustinO'Shea said...

J. . . like you, I guess, I too am repulsed by the blogger whose afternoon-beach-shag is described.

Thus far, I've not been able to separate sex from some sort of emotional involvement. I feel with and like the poor shagged kid on the beach. . .who was emotionally into the sex. . and thought his user was also. "Let's do it again" seems to me a reanbable request after an afternoon of intimacy. . it shows some sort of feeling for the shagger.

That the shagger was annoyed is one thing. . .he didnt like the prick of his conscience, likely. BUT that he was amused by this emotional kid. . . what a friggin' fuck-face he is! That is cruelty.

I am 'with the shaggee' in this. . I think the shagger is a cruel narcissist.

Frankly, on this matter, I don't personally care if others agree or not. To engage in what seems to be loving,caring, passionate intimacy. . . and especially over a period of time. . . and then to turn it off like a spigot, as you say, J, is totally mean. . . If someone told me this scenario in therapy, I would press him to examine -- maybe for the first time ever -- his feelings in this matter; press him to look at the whys and wherefores.

Using someone as an object. . .after professing mutually active emotional involvement -- is totally reprehensible and cruel.

Also, to use the crap "everybody does that" is simplistic stupidity.
Leading someone on just to get your rocks off is immature narcissism.

And, please, don't ask me what planet I come from. . . . instead, ask yourself WHY you're even considering that.

If I found out. . ..and I always give someone special the benefit of a doubt. . . .someone was using me, lying to me, etc. . I'd cut this person off and out so quick..... . . .and then grieve, even if he doesnt deserve it!

Pheewww. . ..deep feelings here. .says a LOT about Justin O'Shea. .