Many gay men wrongly assume that sexual attraction means relationship (material).
What is not understood is how to create wonderful relationships.
Often times those of us who have created something wonderful go underground.
We make it difficult to provide tangible, visible proof of what two men who are in love the right way can create. Most of us not only don’t know how to date but also bring these simplistic types of interaction to our attempts to design relationships.
When we are limited to less than stellar relationship resources, we can only recreate more of what doesn’t work.
Spending damn near three decades and unmentionable failures trying to make love work, there are three things that repeatedly show up when successful relationships are the topic.
Incidentally, these are the same three things that can be utilized in developing incredible friendships.
For a very long time, it was a goal of mine to be in a loving relationship that would assuage all past mishaps.
While I had no idea how to do this, it never was clear until a friend pointed it out, that nothing substantial could be created without a similar /identical set of values.
Like many of my misguided brothers, my assumption was sexual attraction equals relationship (see the wonderful Bethany Marshall for a clearer understanding of the limited thinking this provides). When these colossal flops presented themselves one time too many, my focus became finding a man with similar values.
Often times you can ask a person directly what they find important and although many either don’t know or feign ignorance, simply watching a potential paramour will yield some honest and clear indicators.
My brilliant acting coach Colette Duvall always taught us that the subconscious always reads.
Another way to view this philosophy : watch what a person gives their time and attention to.
If your date claims exclusivity but is spending a whole lot of time at the bathhouse, it is time to rethink the relationship if your goal is monogamy.
If you are interested in saving money and the new paramour finds ways to not only refuse to look for work but finds ways to spend the agreed upon mutual savings, he is not interested in honoring you or your finances.
After agreeing to support your decision to attend school, does the “potential” mate find ways to create chaos when you should be preparing for a major exam?
If so, take a look at your values and determine if this is the man for you.
You can’t really get anyone to change their values or necessarily adopt yours.
In the same fashion, you’ve both shared the desire to protect the relationship and the home you share and as a result neither of you invite psychos into your home for any reason this is also a shared value.
If the term “values” seems to airy fairy or clinical think : what does this person find important and what do I find important ? If there is a match differences can and should be examined and worked through.
Do you know the values of your latest love interest ? Do you have an agreed upon definition of monogamy ? Open relationship ? The way you spend your time ?
Here are few wonderful insights from the aforementioned Dr. Bethany Marshall which should be memorized when we are attempting to fall in love and want to desperately build a lasting successful relationship.
Healthy relationships are founded on mutuality (both of you are equally invested in the relationship), honesty(you never walk away from a conversation feeling confused) and generativity (each conversation generates a new experience, a new understanding and a new way of being with each other).
If these factors are there, then consider falling in love!
This article originally appeared on Anthony Carter’s Blog
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