So you’ve been seeing this guy for a while now, and you think he could be the one. How can you raise the topic with him? For starters, explore the big issue. Is he ready to make the switch to an exclusive relationship, or is he still only interested in casual dating? It’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page.
You too need to be emotionally prepared for the commitment necessary in building and sustaining a relationship. These things take time, energy and effort. You might have to party less, or explain to your friends your need for couple-time and focus on getting your work done within office hours. Think about whether you’re ready for the sacrifices involved.
Lastly, don’t force it. If your date isn’t ready, pressure is only going to drive him away. Let it take its natural course. And do not announce it to friends, family or public domain prematurely.
Three big issues we may all have to face.
1. I’m dating a man. Should I tell my family?
If you haven’t come out yet, it’s best you do so before introducing your partner to your family. First, you need to have a good grasp of how your family might react. If they’ve expressed homophobic sentiments in the past, you should resolve this issue before talking about other stuff. Take it slow, and seek professional help if you think you need guidance on coming out.
If you think they’re ready, have a talk with your family. Make it clear that you are gay, and that you would like for them to be a part of that aspect of your life. Most parents will want you to be happy in life, even if they’re not entirely accepting of your sexuality. See also our articles and videos about coming out.
2. I’m dreading introducing my gay partner to my family?
If you’re already out to your family, you might consider taking the next step by introducing your date to them. Including your partner in all aspects of your life sends a powerful message, and may result in greater acceptance of your sexuality from your family.
First, ease your family into it by conducting short trial visits. This could mean bringing your partner home just to say hi. Get him to bring along a small gift, such as your mum’s favourite snack, so as to leave a good impression. If things go well, you may increase the duration of the visits gradually, then proceed to bringing him along for family dinners or events. If your family reacts badly, however, you need to stand firm and let them know that you will continue seeing your boyfriend, regardless of their objections. With any luck, your family will get used to his presence in time to come.
3. I’m attached. But the next door neighbour is so hot I get a hot flush everytime I see him. Help!
Being attracted to someone else while you’re dating is perfectly normal. There are many reasons why people in relationships might get involved with another person. You need to examine your feelings to see if your attraction is purely physical, or if there are emotional attachments involved.
If it’s just sex you’re after, has there been a prior agreement about sexual rendezvous outside of the relationship? If you do decide to have sex with another person, always use a condom to protect your partner and yourself.
Sometimes the attraction to another person may be symptomatic of underlying issues in a relationship. Are you trying to punish your partner because of something he did in the past? Are you bored and stuck in a rut? Are you doing this because you think your partner is not the one for you? Have an open discussion with your boyfriend about your feelings toward the “third party”. You might also benefit from professional counselling services to work out these issues together.
What language do you and your partner speak? Find out by asking him directly. In return, tell him what makes you feel special. Speaking in the right language will make your man want to love you back in the way you prefer. Love begets love!
Quality timeYou’re a quality-time person if you value eye contact, meaningful conversations and shared activities.
Receiving gifts. You may enjoy giving and receiving small tokens of love. Flowers, bracelets, a gym membership card: these are symbols of love to you.
Words of affection. Sweet nothings are something to you. You thrive on encouragement and compliments.
Physical touch. You like hugging, holding hands, kissing and being in physical proximity with your partner. Touching makes you feel loved and connected.
Acts of service. You get pleasure from doing things for your partner, such as washing the dishes after dinner. Chores aren’t acts of obligation for you, but a service borne out of love.
The first fight.
It’s absolutely normal for couples to fight. Here’s how to navigate the rocky shores of conflict:
Be patient and realistic. Understand that there’s no magic rule to resolving conflict, and every relationship has its own quirks.
Take a time-out. If the situation gets too intense, let your partner know that it might be better if you drop the issue for now. Re-visit it when your heads are cooler.
Be assertive and stand up for yourself. But at the same time, don’t be hysterical during a disagreement. Let your partner speak, and listen to what he has to say. A calm, two-way conversation will allow both of you to get your points across.
Understand each others’ way of communication. You and your partner grew up in different families, maybe in different countries with different first languages. How we speak and argue is influenced heavily by these factors, so there might be clashes in discussion styles. Be aware and develop your exclusive way of communicating.
And so to bed.
When should I get down to it? Do it when you’re ready and comfortable, not because of some fuzzy notion that gay men are supposed to be sex-hungry. Don’t feel pressured into having sex — ask yourself if you trust the person. If the answer’s yes, go ahead and dim the lights.
Sexual safety. You care for your partner, and you want to protect him. Take responsibility for his safety. And yours. Insist on using a condom, every time. Using condoms is a sign of lack of trust? Tell him that using a condom means you care for his well-being.Be frank about your sexual history, then get tested for STIs together. A commitment to sexual safety will only strengthen the bond between the two of you.
What can two guys do in bed? Plenty. Anal isn’t the be-all and end-all of gay sex. Nonpenetrative sex, or frottage, is an option: you grind against each other until you reach orgasm. Of course, there’s also kissing, foreplay, oral sex…
Try role-playing to spice things up. Act out your soldier-meets-doctor fantasy. Whisper dirty things in his ear. Or have sex in the shower, the kitchen, the garden…Just remember to play it safe by using a condom.
But…I’m shy. And it hurts. Again, your own comfort is paramount. If you’re the receiving partner in anal sex, lubrication can help ease the pain. Relax. Practice with sex toys. And remember, you have the power to stop at any time. See a gay-friendly doctor if you experience prolonged discomfort.
As we wrote in our gay dating piece last month, these simple guidelines above are far from universally relevant. But if they fit with what you already suspect, there’s a good chance your instincts have you on the right path already. Happy relationshipping from all of us at Lustralboy.
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