Relationships are challenging - and starting them is even more so! So it’s no surprise that looking for the one can be overwhelming at times. However, there are some common mistakes you can avoid in order to move closer to meeting your ideal guy.
Not being the best version of yourself
How many times have you been told ‘Just be yourself and everything will work out on its own’?
It’s a lovely sentiment, and of course, you want to be loved for who you really are - but that doesn’t mean that relationships and dating don’t require effort.
The first step is self-awareness. None of us are perfect - but sometimes our imperfections can have a big impact on the people around us, especially those we are most intimate with. Typically, guys fall into two camps when it comes to understanding themselves. The first group is more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and continuously work to improve themselves so that they can be happy while making their partner happy, too.
The second group have little to no idea of how they affect the people around them. In these cases, you’ll often find a that they tend towards selfishness, or thoughtlessness when it comes to others. In many cases, there’s also a big difference between what other guys think of them, compared to what they think of themselves.
The key is to realize that, while you should not fundamentally change for another person, you definitely can work to be a better version of yourself. Because there is a big difference between living life single, and sharing a life with another man.
After all, the way you live on a daily basis will have a direct impact on that other person, and simply running ahead without regard for how they might feel is unlikely to work out.
So think about it. When you are “just being yourself,” are you a very forgiving person? Are you patient and compassionate? Or can you be selfish? Do you tend to think more about yourself, rather than how you can add value and enjoyment to someone else’s life? Ask yourself what you can bring to a relationship, not just what you want from it.
And remember, if you are unwilling to change but haven’t yet found the relationship you want, perhaps it’s time to examine yourself. As Albert Einstein said: “It is insane to expect a different outcome when you do the same thing over and over again.”
Not being able to tell the difference between being “upfront” and being “desperate”
When gay men look for relationships, many do not tell their dates or write in their profile exactly what type of man they are really looking for, or what they want out of a relationship, for one major reason - they don’t want to sound desperate.
However, there is a big difference between being upfront and being desperate.
There is nothing wrong with being honest from the word go about the fact that you want to find a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with a long-term companion.
Saying, “I am looking for something more meaningful,” does not make you sound desperate. In fact, if you are afraid to be clear about this, there’s a good chance that you will only attract people who want to hook up, or date casually. Be clear about what dating means to you, and you’ll be able to save plenty of time going out with guys who don’t share your goals.
You will come across as desperate when you assume or fantasize there is a future with someone who is not looking for the same thing as you. Don’t simply assume a man wants to date you exclusively just because you’ve seen him a few times and you have chemistry. He may be enjoying your relationship as a casual fling, but not be looking for the long-term commitment you want.
Even though it may not always be easy, it’s important to know the difference between a man who looks at you with genuine care and affection and a man whose interest is mostly physical. In essence, date men with the same expectations as you.
Having the conversation
If you are going to be upfront, you should expect the men you date to be upfront as well. Have the conversation about what you are looking for early on, be honest about what you want, and discuss whether it is a goal that you share. You may encounter a few disappointments along the way, but it will spare you heartache in the future.
Always looking to trade in and trade up
Yes, it’s very common to feel that the grass is greener next on the other side. However, that doesn’t always mean that it is.
There will always be a hotter guy, or a funnier one, or one who doesn’t share your partner’s irritating habits – but really, all of this is superficial. When you first meet anyone, you see the best of them, while time exposes flaws and differences, strengths and weaknesses. Yes, you already see them in your current partner, but you’d see them in a potential new one too.
Couples who stay together for decades have to make compromises, but when they find someone they love, they stick with them and work things out. They don’t run away whenever conflict arises.
Of course, there are a couple of caveats to this concept of making a commitment work.
There are times when it becomes necessary to walk away. Firstly, if a relationship becomes abusive, emotionally or physically. Secondly if, through the course of the relationship, you find yourselves evolving in such a way that your values or goals no longer align, or you can no longer communicate in a way that feels natural and positive for you both.
Ultimately, however, it is worth investing time and care into your relationship, rather than jumping ship just because someone new and exciting comes along. No one is perfect, and, even though it may seem like it, there are no perfect relationships.
So it’s better to nurture the relationship that you do find and work to resolve any problems or differences you might have. Be satisfied with “Mr. Right,” instead of keeping an eye out for “Mr. Better” or worse yet, “Mr. Perfect.”
Believing that you will find someone without looking
If you have the same routine, go to the same places and see the same people every day, how are you going to meet someone new?
In reality, dating is a numbers game. You have to do some work. Potential dates come from new resources, new networks.
But before you get out there, you have to do a couple of things. First, be sure of what you are looking for. Do you definitely want a committed relationship - someone who may one day become a husband? Or are you at a point in your life when casual dating may suit you best?
Second, you have to be physically and emotionally available, and ready to share your life with someone.
As a single guy, take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Eat right, exercise, avoid excesses and pursue good mental health - because when you are happy and healthy in yourself, you will be able to give much more to your partner.
Once you know you’re ready, get yourself out there. Go to new places, meet new people, open doors. Establish new networks. Make a goal to make new friends. Every week, do something that will open your horizons and bring you closer to the man of your dreams.
Being emotionally immature
Emotional maturity is the ability to control your emotions and how you express them. So someone who has a short temper, gets angry easily, blames others, and does not want to take responsibility for his own actions is classically emotionally immature.
It takes two emotionally mature people to build a long-lasting and happy relationship, and you need to be able to do your part to make things work. Take responsibility, deal with conflict constructively, debate instead of argue, be the person people want to be around. In short, deal with things as an adult, rather than a child.
It’s equally important to be aware that, if you are emotionally mature, you will struggle if you enter into a relationship with an emotionally immature man. Many men do this because it gives them a sense of empowerment to feel that they can help or provide for someone. While this is an understandable and common impulse, it can often turn into a one-sided relationship, where you are putting in more than you are getting out.
Getting it right
When it comes to finding your perfect relationship, the most important thing is to achieve harmony and honesty between you and your partner. Do you share the same values? Communicate in the same way? Are you both willing to put time and care into growing and maintaining your relationship, and supporting each other?
It may take time to find someone who ticks these boxes, but by putting in the work required to be ready for that connection - and then maintain it - you can give yourself a real shot at happiness.