Why Do Gay Men Make Dating So Hard For Themselves?

We’ve all been there before:

You meet a seemingly great guy either organically at a bar or online. You exchange numbers and begin texting. The conversation is effortless — you share similar tastes and make each other laugh. You go on an amazing date that lasts for hours, perhaps closing the restaurant you’re dining at down. He walks to you respective subway stop — you kiss and make plans to see each other again. You chat a bit via text for the next few days, but a second date never happens.

If you are a single gay man who lives in a large city such as New York City — you have had this happen to you before. Listen, living in a cities such as New York, San Francisco or Chicago is hard enough as it is. Work can be stressful, keeping up with friends can be a task and taking a few moments to relax can be fleeting. So why is it that gay men make dating so much harder than it needs to be?

Gay men are — for the most part — a great group of people. Of course we have a few bad apples (every group does) but we are talented, hard-working people who share a sense of community and have banned together in times of strife and prejudice. Why then are we so terrible to each other when it comes to finding a mate? Time and time again I hear horror stories of bad first dates, ghosting and people telling flat out lies to first daters. If it’s happen to myself and my friends, it has surely happened to you and yours, so let’s take a look at some of the disconnects we have in terms of dating and how we can fix them.

I have had many, many, many first dates in the past year and a half but very few second dates. Here are some of the reasons I have received for not being asked on a second date:

Let’s take a look at each other these excuses one-by-one and explain why they are not only bullshit, but excuses we should no longer use when breaking things off with someone. (We will get to the one and only excuse that’s applicable in not seeing someone again in just a moment.)

I think we are looking for different things:

This is a personal favorite of mine. For the past year or dating, I have made the conscious effort to NOT state what it is I am looking for upon meeting someone in person or online. I am very happy to remain single. I have a wonderful career, great friends and an amazing family that keep me pretty busy. Should an awesome guy enter the equation — great. But a partner is neither going to define who I am or make or break my future. That’s my job. And so, on every single app I am on in the “looking for” category, I leave it unfilled. If someone reaches out to speak to me, I ask them what they are looking for because I am amenable. I am happy to have fun, meet new friends or go on dates in the hopes that it turns into a relationship. Therefore, if I am asked on a date with someone who is looking for something serious and I agree to meet them for said date and they then come back at me with “we are looking for different things,” I am going to call bullshit on you. If I said I was open to anything, I’m basically taking an a la carte approach to dating in hopes that if it works out, great. If it doesn’t, no harm no foul. And if you’re just looking to have sex, we can have fun.

Using “we are just looking for different things” as an accuse to get out of meeting someone for a second date is null in that: if you’re going on a date in the first place, the person you are meeting should automatically want the same things are do, if not similar. If not, then why go on a date in the first place? Clearly you’ve spoken to the potential dater beforehand, so you should know whether or not you’re on the same wavelength as far as what you’re looking for in a mate or partner is concerned. There are an endless amounts of ways for gay men to get their dick sucked in large metropolitan areas: going on a date with someone you have no interest in seeing again shouldn’t be one of them.

I was always told that going on dates in order to get to know someone you’re interested in is a surefire way to find a partner, if that’s what you’re looking for. So let’s be clear: if you ask someone on a date, it should be because you want to actually date them. Thereby making “we are looking for different things” a null excuse for not meeting again. This seems a pretty fair assessment to me. This excuse also does not work if you’ve never asked me what I am looking for. If you don’t know what I am looking for, we can’t possibly for looking for different things unless you’re a mind reader. If you’re looking for something other than a date — try being in honest in what it is you’re looking for. You may end up being pleasantly surprised by what you find.

I’m very busy at work:

We’re all busy at work and if you weren’t busy at work, I’d tell you to get a new and more fulfilling job. This excuse for not meeting again is the oldest and lamest of them all. “I’m too busy at work” but I wasn’t too busy to text you relentlessly for the week prior to our meeting, like all of your Instagram pictures at four in the afternoon, make dinner reservations and then proceed to spend three hours on a date with you.

We are all busy at work, and honestly, I would expect nothing less from the person I am dating. I love a man with drive. Again, I am calling bullshit on this excuse. We all have jobs and lives: you make the time for the people you actually want to see.

I’m not in a position to date someone right now:

So why did you go on the initial date?

Let’s circle back to the “we are looking for different things” excuse for not meeting someone again. If you are not in a position to date someone right now, you should not be going on dates. This is a huge disservice not only because you’re not being truthful to yourself and what you want but you’re leading someone else on, which is not very fair and can ultimately hurt someone’s feelings. We are all at different places in life and that’s the honest truth and there is nothing wrong with that. If you’re not in a position to date someone right now and you’re looking for friends, let me refer you to a wonderful tool called “Facebook” or any offerings at your local community center that can open up social doors for you. If you’re looking to simply get your dick sucked please refer to my old friend Grindr, who has always been there for me in my time of need. If you are not in a position to date anyone please take my advice and STOP GOING ON DATES.

I (or you) have a lot of baggage:

Unless you plan to date a newborn baby, we all have baggage. We all have pasts and sometimes the things that have happened to us in the past can be very traumatic. I have found that most strong-willed people can take that baggage and turn it into a positive, therefore making themselves a better person in the process. Life throws us curve balls and it’s up to us take those tribulations and turn them into something positive for the future.

However, unless you’re running from the feds, convicted of murder or are on trial for war crimes your baggage is most likely similar to the person you’ve gone on a date with. We all have exes. We all have problems with our jobs or strive for something better. Some of us unfortunately have very serious problems with family members who don’t accept us. That’s all a part of life and the fabric of what makes us who we are and should help propel us to make our lives better and to become stronger people. Like I said, we are all in different places and some of our baggage is heavier than others. But asking questions and being honest usually does the trick.

It is not, however an acceptable excuse to not see someone again. Because if you are going on an initial date: it’s clear you’re trying to forge ahead, not get bogged down in the baggage of the past.

We misunderstood each other. It happens to me all the time:

Here is my favorite of the bullshit excuses for not getting together with someone again. I, for one, am extremely amenable to other people’s needs and wants. If someone approaches me, I ask what they are looking for and take it from there. Therefore, it’s impossible for me to be misunderstood. Because I am so open, if you’re looking to simply have sex and I am attracted to you and we like the same things and I’m in the mood, I will have sex with you. I’m a man. It happens. There is nothing wrong with that behavior if you’re single. But if you come at me saying you want a relationship, take me out on a date, tell me to my face you’re looking for that someone special THEN tell me that I misunderstood all of that for something else, I may burn your house down.

I like to call this the “gaslighting” technique for getting out of a second date. You’re made to think one thing is happening due to the things a second party has told or shown you, when in fact the opposite is actually occurring.

For example, a grown ass man recently took me out on a date and told me via text and in person multiple times that he was looking for that someone special. A few days later, when I asked him out on a second date, he told me that he was just looking for sex and that I “misunderstood him and that these things happen all the time.” I then took a screen shot of texts of him specifically saying he was looking for a relationship and sent them back to him. Upon being called out, he proceeded to block me on all forms of social media. My biggest pet peeve in life (especially in our current political climate) is having someone say something to me and then pretend it never happened. There are boundless ways for us to communicate, which should make it very simple for these misunderstandings to never happen in the first place. If this “happens to you all the time” perhaps you should be a bit more clear in what you want and stop leading people on or lying. This should not happen all the time and that’s no excuse to do it to someone else.

No response to a text message (ghosting.)

This is a disgusting way to handle any problem and that fact that we have normalized this behavior as “it happens all the time” is ridiculous. The only person this really hurts in the long run is the person who does the ghosting. If it’s so hard to be upfront and honest with someone about how you’re feeling, you have a long road in life ahead of you. I understand that we are attached to our devices at all times nowadays and correspondence can oftentimes seem meaningless. However, there are actual real-life people on the other end of those screens and those people have these pesky little things called: human emotions. When you continuously disappear to get out of telling someone you are not interested or out of any problem in life for that matter, you are not actually dealing with anything at all. It may be easy to vanish from thin air, but trust me, the ghosts of your past have ways of coming back to haunt you no matter how hard you try to run from them. It’s also very childish to be too scared to just say “no.”

The only applicable excuse for not seeing someone on a second date or breaking things off with them is this:

I’M NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN PURSING THIS FURTHER. I’M SORRY IF I HURT YOUR FEELINGS.

Say it again, with me, out loud:

I’M NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN PURSING THIS FURTHER. I’M SORRY IF I HURT YOUR FEELINGS.

One more time to ingrain it in your memory:

I’M NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN PURSING THIS FURTHER. I’M SORRY IF I HURT YOUR FEELINGS.

See how easy that is? It’s honest, it’s noble and you’ve already thrown in an apology before they come back asking for one. Let’s face it: not everyone is a match. And let’s face some more serious facts for gay men: everyone we go on dates with is looking for that perfect unicorn of a man that we feel we deserve for some unnecessary reason that doesn’t actually exist. No one is perfect. No one will ever be perfect. And for some reason, many gay men think something perfect is right around the corner, thus continuing this endless cycle of first dates without a second date. It’s hard out there and it’s even harder when we say things we don’t actually mean.

By flat out telling someone you are not interested and apologizing, you’re being upfront and honest with your emotions. Yes, it stings. Not only on the receiving end but having to be the one to deliver it sucks too and unless your a sociopath, you most likely don’t take pleasure in hurting other people’s feelings. However, it’s a lot better than having to run around in endless circles of confusion trying to figure out what you misunderstood, misread or misheard when in actuality you didn’t misunderstand anything at all. Sometimes things just don’t work out. It doesn’t make you or your date a bad person, it’s just life.

Rejection stings one way of the other. Chemistry might just not be there or you may find after the initial date that you don’t have as in much in common as you once thought you did. You may just not end up liking the person you’ve gone out with. Beating around the bush with excuses as to why you don’t want to meet up again, backtracking on things that have been said in the past or simply disappearing, make the sting of rejection ten times worse because you’re then essentially having the blame of them not wanting to meet up again placed on you and there’s no reason for it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out — and there is no one to blame. Dating is hard. It’s supposed to be fun and easy, but for whatever reason we gay men in large cities have turned it into a blood sport. Sure, someone ghosting you or telling you they’re looking for something other than what you’re looking for after you seemingly agreed you were looking for the same thing can roll off your shoulders if it happens once or twice a year. But when it happens time and time again, we build a resolve that makes us jaded, biter and nasty toward the very group of people we are trying to date. Why can’t we just be fucking honest with each other? Time spent on a date that doesn’t work out can seem like time wasted, sure. However, its’ just a few hours of your life — not a marriage, not a thesis paper, not the loss of a loved one. It’s not that serious — so why the excuses when it doesn’t work out? Why make plans with someone for a second date when you have no intention of seeing them again?

I think it’s time, and I would hope that anyone reading this would agree, that we all take a bit more care of each other. Let’s try to be honest in what we are looking for and the reasons that things don’t work out because we can actually learn from our mistakes. Remember: there is no one to blame for chemistry. It happens when it happens and if it happened with everyone we went out with, no one would ever be single and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. We are all adults so it interests me why we act like schoolyard bullies when it comes to dating instead of simply saying what we feel. It’s a hell of a lot more respectful than being lied to because I was always taught to treat people the way I’d like to be treated and am beginning to wonder how that was lost in translation for the single gay men of my generation.

Has this ever happened to you? Do you agree or disagree with this assessment? Let’s start an honest (and nice) discussion and share our experiences with each other.

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