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29 comments | Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My friend author Lee Hayes(who is an extraordinary writer by the way) posed the following question on his Facebook page yesterday that sparked an incredible and much needed dialogue on the state of same gender loving relationships. I'm hoping that many of you who visit this blog daily will be compelled to add your two cents to the discussion. This is a topic I've wanted to address for some time. Below you'll find the question and my response. This is a perfect opportunity for those of you who stop by everyday but don't comment to actually "live out loud", so don't be shy, we have a lot we can learn from each other.

The Question: How many SGL single folks have hopeful expectations that they will one day find their romantic life partner? I ask because I sense a level of pessimism in the community. Is everyone jaded?

My Two Cents: I've been with my partner for 2 years and believe me I put up with a lot of "ish" before he came along. I also don't think we really know what it takes to make a SGL relationship work long term. Many of us don't see other brothers in LTR's and don't have them to hold up as a model. I learned a long time ago that the str8 model doesn't work for us...it's not even working for them:)

And when we get into relationships we bolt at the first sign of trouble. It's so much easier to run away than it is to stay and fix the problem.

So what's your two cents?


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

It is very difficult to maintain a SGL relationship...I have been with my partner for 3 yrs now and Lord knows everyday there is something that makes me want to fight him. However, I always look at the pros and cons...My good still outweights my bad with him. When it comes to a relationship you have to allow the person your with be the person they are. Also, you have to be able to commuicate your feelings. Don't hold nothing back evenin if you think is going to hurt your partner. Be honest you can only tailor your relationship to the both of you. What works for you may not work for another couple. At the end of the day the both of you have to remember to compromise. Not saying my relationship is the best but I make it work for me and at the end of the day I am happy.

April 22, 2009 1:05 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I believe that there is a very thick line between "compromise" and "desperation" that tends to get thinner and thinner as we get older.

With that said, I have started to think that I will not find a singular long term relationship, or even a series of mid-term relationships that would provide something even close to the platonic relationships I currently enjoy.

I will not say "I will never love anyone" but I do have to understand that I have interests that have few black and gay participants. I don't day only black men, but I just don't meet that many gay men I can genuinely say I'm compatible with.

Maybe someday, but I am losing hope. And I want to mentally prepare myself for when the line thins and I have to cut that part away, because I refuse to be a desperate old queen compromising himself into misery.

April 22, 2009 1:05 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

It is interesting that you posed this question right now. I was just talking about this subject this past Friday with a friend. He asked me if I on the market for dating, I told him that I am not on the market. I told him that I actually expect to be single the rest of my life, based on the guys that I have met and attempted to date. Although it was painful and scary to admit it on Friday and even now, I don't expect to have romantic life partner in my life. Am I jaded? Somewhat. But I am basing my outlook on the candidates that I have met. I am not looking for perfection, but it would be nice to have someone who is willing and/or capable of giving you what you need in a relationship.

April 22, 2009 1:28 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I can only speak for myself, but I have never been a relationship oriented person. I have always been the person who is much happier by myself. The last girlfriend I had was in the 10th grade and I didn't date a guy until my freshman year of college. It was a fun, youthful little freshmen relationship but nothing I took too serious. A lot of men want to date and marry me but I just dont know how I feel about giving all of myself or even half of myself to another human being in that nature. I'm not saying that I wont want to settle down with the man of my dreams in the future but at this point in my life its not even what I think about or consider. I don't date either, I just like to live my life to myself with great friends surrounding me. I might be one of those few weirdos who just likes being single. Maybe things will change but I just don't subscribe to the societal notion that you need companionship on a romantic level to be complete or whole. If it happens it happens but it's not something I go out into the world looking for. My computer and books is my boyfriend/husband.

April 22, 2009 1:45 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I long for the day I can find a man, who is willing to love and cherish me for more than my body. I have tried numerous amounts of times to date, but by the end of the night, all the dude wanted was to have sex. The black gay community is known for being sex fiends, and from my experience that's what they are. I love my community, but it gets really frustrating to constantly hear that all that men want is sex. Where are the good men at?! I don't understand why this is. Maybe it's where I live, and the fact that the gay community up here is small. I've only had one true relationship (although I'm only 20), I feel that as a community, we need to start looking for more than just a quick nut...and see past the outer apperance.

April 22, 2009 2:15 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

My experience has been a little different. My problem is that I have two examples of how to make a relationship work: my parents have been married 30 years and my uncle has been with his partner for 28 years. I've seen heteros and homos making it work for my entire life as I'm only 25. So my standards for relationships, all relationships, are different. I am not currently looking for a partner at the moment, but one day I know that they exist and will come into my life at the right time. Right now I am focused on my education and not focused on meeting anyone. About three years ago all I seemed to attract were married men, closeted athletes, or some other foolishness so I figured something is up with me--it was, I was not emotionally available at the time therefore, I attracted men in my life who were the same. Like attracts like. Knowing who you are as a person before entering in relationships is a good start instead expecting someone else, a partner, to fix or heal any problems they did not cause or are responsible for. I don't think gender has anything to do with relationships. It's the internal drive of the individuals that enter into relationships that determine their outcome. One last thought to leave everyone with: Stop looking for an example of how to be, you and what you do just might start a trend. You are the example you're looking for.

April 22, 2009 2:19 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Well, if self-gratification is King, then of course people will bolt at the first sign of trouble.
Aren't you supposed to "follow your heart"?
What if you "heart" changes daily?

That is why it was always a lie to claim that we were "just like straights" if only they would give us a chance to prove it.

In actuality we were pushing the gospel of "if it feels good do it" long after everyone sees it has failed.

And so, this is what we have.

There is no model to follow (and you never elaborated on what out meant when you said the straight model does not work).

Were you advocating "open relationships"? That gay staple?
That sad truth we hide from the straights when we claim that gay relationships "do last"?

April 22, 2009 3:47 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

well I feel very optimistic that I will find a love that I will have for the rest of my life. I have had some great relationships in the past, and I attribute that to two things:
1 - I am not out too much in the public eye, and although I go to clubs on occasion, when I go, it is a treat, not just something to do. Most of the guys that I am attracted to and that are atracted to me are profesional brothas who have something going for themselves. we prefer to go to a theater show, or a movie or some other cultural event where we can learn, talk and compare our expereinces at the event. We rarely talk about who wore what, or the latest dance. I guess what I am saying here is that I find people who are like minded. Same interests, etc.
2 - I have dont a lot of work on myself. I think that as GAY men we tend to think that we can not have a job, or not be physically fit, or have a degree or two under our belts nd we can attract those thngs in our life. As a professional male, about something in this lifestyle, I have taken steps to work on my body, mind, career, etc. When I look for someone I want those things as well. Guys without them may get some conversation, but that is about it.

Location also has something to do with it as well. I find that in Miami, guys are very elementary in their thought. In places like NY, Chicago, Texas and ATL *yes ATL* brothas a lil more mature and I am attracted to maturity.

Lastly, you have to stand for something, or you will fall for anything. You have to know your worth, and if you let people fuck you over, then they will do just that time and time again.

My 2 Cents!

April 22, 2009 4:42 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I just went out to see Sunshine Cleaning last night and Any Adams said something that struck a chord within me. She said "I'm good at getting men to want me but not date me, take me out, or marry me"(something to that extent). I feel the same way. Men want me but they don't see the treasures I posses. After failed relationships time and time again I still bounce back and try it again. I have faith in God and with my faith in God i know that God will not only bless me in finances, and spirituality, but also my relationships. We need more models of successful relationships within the SGL communities. I'm still praying that the next man who wants me will cherish me and go for the real prize...my heart and unadulterated love.

April 22, 2009 5:22 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Reading this blog entry today takes me back about 10 years into the past. I remembered how others viewed me as a B!TCH or ANTI(GAY)SOCIAL merely because I decided NOT to be like those around me AND saw MY potential beyond the CLUB, CLOTHES and SEX. The GAY culture is such a marvelously fascinating thing, that something the MIS-UNDERSTANDINGS of this life cannot begin to scratch the surface with regards to the ins and outs of who we are. I for one feel sad that we cater to the stereotypes of who we think we are; and if we are to really find that romantic life partner we so want, we need to pursue honesty over the lies that exist. We have no lead characters in this play call life and this is crazy because we are all trying to be someone else when everyone is already taken. We SGL folks need to understand that we choose what kind of life we want…when I was single for 3 years I made myself STOP and WAIT for the RIGHT kind of men that I wanted to date because I knew that it wasn’t going to happen overnight. I won’t suddenly fall into this great relationship and things will be fine…even though I am in a relationship that I feel will be everlasting, I know that this is going to take work and most of us don’t like to work, we rather the easy way which leads us to the land pessimism…

April 22, 2009 6:53 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have expectations of finding my romantic life partner, but to be honest those expectations are quite low and that one day seems very far off based on personal experiences/observations. Recently I got out of a one year relationship that happened by chance and turned into love. She was older and I truly learned from it.I wasn't expecting it to last forever but never fathomed the many hurdles we would face. To answer the question is everyone jaded? Sadly it seems so. She was jaded due to eight years of abuse and misuse so it really affected our relationship and so I found that being jaded can be contagious. However I'm going through the necessary processes so I don't continue with the cycle. Other SGL folks I know are jaded also. It all really comes down to this. They live off misconceptions and other misguided ideals. For instance I like the girl next door type (picnics,reading,flowers for no reason), but according to most folks I know to find a girlfriend you got to go to the club. Nothing against a cool relaxed atmosphere, but at most gay clubs (depending on the location) it's about sweating and gyrating so all it leads to is sex. I don't believe in the club mentality, but chances are my girl next door does and if I'm outside and she's inside we'll never meet.I am making a stand to be a positive SGL role model for the younger generation( I am 20).

April 22, 2009 7:59 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I agree with much that has been said about the topic. As much as an optimist as I am, at 32, I seriously question whether I will endeavor another long term relationship with a brother again. My process has been to meet several brothas a year and just date to see where it goes. Many of these meetings could have resulted in long term relationships, but aside from my ex, I have yet to meet a brotha who I feel undeniably connected to who I'd be willing to take the journey with. Another unfortunate event is how the present teens and twentysomethings seemingly perpetuate the stereotypes courtesy of dominant society. It is true that they haven't had genuine examples of SGL long term relationships; I think this has informed their choices to just focus on the sexual aspect of "the life". The other piece is that many brothas 30 and older also promote the sexual aspect which further compounds the problem. Brothas, we have to take our relationships beyond the bedroom. Unlike our forefathers in the life, we have the opportunity to create positive relationships and influence policy and society in general. We obviously can't do that when solely focused on one aspect of our existence.

April 22, 2009 8:08 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

My experience is that it is easier to find a sex partner than a life partner. Part of the reason I'm still single is that I am very picky. While I don't want perfection, I would like to have a certain degree of compatibility. I think a lot of folks are fearful of relationships because they don't know what it should resemble. I believe relationships are difficult to maintain in general. Will I ever find a suitable mate? It's possible. I'm not going to hold my breath, though. Good question, Darian.

April 22, 2009 8:15 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Once upon a time I wanted the great husband, beautiful home,children,and dreams of a life of dinner parties and Sunday barbecues. I'm not completely jaded now but after dating in Atlanta for the last 3 years Iv come to terms with the fact that if I want most of those things more than likely I'm going to have to provide them for myself. I'm still hopeful I will find that great man but more realistic that it might not happen and Iv come to a point where I'm okay with that. I have a great circle of friends, doing well at work, and really starting to grow into being comfortable with who I am.
Most of the men here are so set on this idea of a stereotypical alpha male or a borderline tranny and I don't fit either one of those molds so I already know its going to take a special kind of man to love me.
So for now I'm hopeful I will find that great relationship but until then me and my girlfriends are just enjoying the city being single, sexy, and free!

April 22, 2009 8:44 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I'm 36 years old and I've been with my partner for thirteen years. Last week I was in a room with about twenty black gay men and our topic for the evening was sgl relationships. Oddly enough I was the only guy in the room in a relationship.

Though most of the guys in the room want a partner, they all quickly came to consensus that all men cheat and there are no good men. I just have to say this, if you have expectations that you're man is going to cheat then you're man is probably going to cheat.

And I'll also add that you have to take inventory of your own baggage. If you've been in several relationships and they've all failed, the only common denominator is you. So what are you putting out there to cause this.

I don't think people have to settle or surrender or sacrifice to be in a long term successful relationship. But you do have to be willing to be happy with yourself (without your partner), communicate honestly (because no ones telepathic), and have realistic expectations of how a relationship works (because it ain't like the movies).

April 23, 2009 1:08 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Relationships require commitment. They require a certain level of integrity and commitment. Having a committed lover isn't the first place for us to look when it comes to being in a relationship with a man. The first place to look in my opinion is our relationship to SELF and our relationship to our fathers.

Because many young black men don't have strong established relationships with their fathers, it is hard to discover a semblance of one with an adult partner.

We have to also be careful of the stories we tell each other about our dating experiences. Those stories leave lasting impressions and have an impact when it comes to forming our own opinions about experiences that we haven't even had yet.

In New York City on Tuesday May 12th, we are aiming to start a dialogue that poses the question... "Why Am I STILL Single?" We need to talk about it and take actions around changing that status.

Let the games begin!

April 23, 2009 8:01 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I'll be the first to admit LTR's ain't for "punks" meaning not for the weak or easily detered. There is a certain amount of work and sacrifice,compromise and balance...I've been in a long term relationship for 5 years (6 in july) and it honestly has had its ups and downs we've gone through the honeymoon face where everything is PERFECT (you're still on your best behavior) that whole nesting phase, then things get more real...real life enters in (bills, family, drama, blah blah...but we've always been on the same page,We've always had a clear view of self and each other so its worked out. My other half and I are best friends, we laugh, we chill,we STILL have the kinda sex that you wanna call up your best friend and brag about!!.. we bump heads but we come together when its all said and done and we get our thing tighter! The one thing that helps is:we let each other shine as individuals; There are differences in our personalities but areas where I'm weak he's strong and vice versa. As the years go on we get better at it. So for anybody that wants a REAL realtionship start by being honest with you about who you are, what you want & what you are capable of...know if you can do the give and take, the compromising...all that it takes to be a "WE" then let love find you...

April 23, 2009 9:56 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I remain optimistic because I have no choice, but my experiences give me cause to be pessimistic.

Several months ago, I decided to take myself "offline" and focus on meeting people face-to-face via groups, meetings, community events, etc.

What I have discovered is that there are virtually no black men going to these functions. It seems all the black guys are online, working their closed social circles, or going to the club.

I feel like I'm doing all I can by "putting myself out there" but yet I sometimes feel deficient because I hear of people with dates or relationships, neither of which I've had in a while.

April 23, 2009 10:59 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have had 2 LTR so far and neither lasted over 2 yrs. I went thru alot of crap in both relationships and sometimes it is easier to just walk away instead of saty and deal with the problems your relationship is having. I have dated lots of losers, wierdos, and everything in between, but i still know that the one for me is out there. All of this that im experiencing now is just preparing me to find and keep the love of my life. I dont have any delusions that it will be all rainbows and gum drops. I know it will be hard work and dedication. Thats what a relationship is.

April 23, 2009 11:50 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

My friends and I discuss this topic constantly. I use to believe I would find someone to be in a long term relationship with, but after many dissapointments my hope and faith are actually hanging from a thread. I can't really speak on having a relationship because i've never had one before. But at the risk of sounding a little jaded, most of the guys now and days are just too superficial

April 23, 2009 12:33 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

the one thing i have learned 4 me any way as the reason my relationships didn't work out was because most of the guys who said they were ready to settle down was still trying to play the field and most of all god was not the foundation of our relationship and anytime you take god out of the mix it will always fail.

April 23, 2009 4:57 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

What I want to know is:

How can everybody be jaded?

How come all of us are "looking for the right guy" but none of us can find each other?

Everybody is the wounded soul being victimized by everyone else out there?

Hoe can everyone write in and say that the only honest and mature people they know are themselves?

April 23, 2009 7:35 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

LTR relationships do work if you work at them , mine has lasted for 14 years. and i have alot of friends who have been in LTR much longer . good luck in your search

April 23, 2009 7:37 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I've found that our definition of relationship is sometimes defined differently. I also think we have lost the art of dating and simple face to face, one on one communication, thanks to our 21st Century online dating rituals. I've decided to let down the walls and allow myself to meet people without pretense, to love freely, to date and enjoy the human spirit in another person...and if we 'relate',well, I'm open to the relationship.

April 23, 2009 8:19 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

All I know is that I would love to be in a LTR and I know I have what it takes to be in one. There is no formula for one, it just take two people who want to be together to work at it taking in their uniqueness as individuals and as a couple. A couple have to work through the rough patches and celebrate each other through it all. We have to get over not having examples and get over that we all have been played and get over hang ups and open up to ourselves and each other to date be sure of what we want and don't want and ready to compromise with the individual of our affection.

April 23, 2009 10:55 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I read others post and while it seems that a lot of guys are anti dating because of heart break, trial and error, or bitterness. I dont think that is indicative of the entire gay community. I just know that I am not the relationship type. I think they are pointless. Nothing against relationships but a majority of the ones I know about are miserable and even the happy ones are not desirable to me.

To each his own but I don't need a man in my life on a relationship level. I went years without sex or intimacy and that was just fine. I won't say I don't have a hookup buddy now but that's all I need. And me and the man I am with have that understanding.

April 23, 2009 11:03 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

To the person who asked why are we so jaded: I'm also wondering why so many of us, myself included, say that we are "good men" but can't find anybody.

I wouldn't say I'm more mature or honest than the people I meet. I see people who make good friends, and could possibly be relationship material, but there isn't reciprocal interest.

As the common denominator in these situations, I can only conclude there's something about me that is preventing me from attracting what I want. In my case it's frustrating because I try to be "of substance" and I'm getting less attention than when I hung out on hookup sites.

Anthony in Nashville

April 24, 2009 12:04 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I concur with Anthony in Nashville's analysis. I would also add that brothers that I have met are afraid to be vulnerable. He see it as a sign of weakness or they are just plain afraid to be open and honest once it gets to a certain stage. I also believe that I am not attracting the person that I want because I have not shifted my energy.

Do I sound hopeful? Am I contradicting my original post? Hmmm

April 24, 2009 12:22 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I don't know, Darian. In this time of recession, a long term relationship is the LAST thing on my mind. For me, it is not about being jaded or bitter, it is about putting life in perspective and ordering your priorities . Gay love is for the kids who are well-established in their careers and/or academic positions. It becomes frivolous for those of us who are hustling through undergrad/grad and have yet to get our corner office or that Dr. in front of our name. Seriously. Who has time or patience to entertain the Jane Eyres, the Don Juans, twelve page criticisms, thesis papers, etc, and a significant other? Not me.

April 24, 2009 1:07 PM


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