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Gay? Love At Second Sight


If you’re a gay or lesbian single who makes snap judgments about potential dates online, read this!

By Margot Carmichael Lester

ou see someone online and your first reaction is, “He sounds great, but…” The rest of that sentence could be keeping you from meeting someone really special. Or getting out at all. Here are some tips for avoiding snap judgments and broadening your dating pool!

1. Change your focus.
“We are quick to judge because we are quick to idealize new people who enter our lives,” explains Barbara Purcell, a New York-based relationship coach. “Many of us make the
You may not want to make a decision about your date solely on your gut reaction.
mistake of quickly and unfairly judging a date because we’ve already set expectations that must be met, rather than allow for the connection to organically establish itself. When looking for a relationship, it is far more important to think about the ideal love (one that involves mutual respect, trust, laughter, great dialogue, etc.) rather than the ideal lover.”

2. Look closer.
“To avoid disqualifying someone too soon, look for what I call diamond-in-the-rough qualities,” suggests Rebecca Roy, a Beverly Hills-based clinical psychologist. “The person may be nervous and talk too much or want to try to impress too much because he fears you won’t like him. These qualities can be a turnoff, but if you think about it, they are also wonderfully human. We all feel these things and do these things at times. You may be disqualifying someone who is terrific simply because of displaying behaviors which are evidence of need. Try to see the humanity in this before immediately discarding someone into the ‘not’ pile.”

3. Network for love.
“I didn’t meet the boy of my dreams online, but I that is where I met Stan, the guy who introduced me to him,” says Joe Borghetti of Houston. “Stan and I realized there weren’t sparks between us, but we did enjoy hanging out. So we agreed to help each other meet people. About six weeks later, he introduced me to the man I’m dating now. If I’d rejected Stan totally, I never would have met David.”

4. Screen, don’t judge.
“You may not want to make a decision about your date solely on your gut reaction,” counsels Alina Bas, a New York-based certified life coach. “But do take it in consideration, along with things like the conversation flow, feeling comfortable with the person, and wanting to experience more of him/her.” Listen to your instincts, but give the person a bit of time—the impression a person makes on a first date over a latte may not represent the person he or she truly is.

5. Understand your past.
“Learn what worked or did not work in past relationships,” says Nancy O’Reilly, clinical psychologist and founder of the WomenSpeak Project. “Time and thought about any relationship is very important to truly
I decided I’d date online as a way to get out more.
understand what you really want and what will lead to a healthy, long-lasting relationship.” Recognize how much your own expectations play into your past relationships.

6. Build confidence.
“Lack of self-awareness causes many people to dismiss others at first glance,” says Jeff Palitz, a licensed therapist in San Diego. “People who have a strong sense of self and are active in examining their own needs often are more patient with the idiosyncrasies of others and more open to letting time pass before they make a final determination about whether or not another person is ‘qualified’ to date them.”

7. Adjust your attitude.
“Online dating wasn’t working too well for me until I loosened up a bit and decided to have some fun,” admits Leigh Hagigh of Chicago. “I decided I’d date online as a way to get out more, to practice, to meet other people in general. Once I let some of the pressure off myself — and those women — I went on more dates and felt more successful.”

8. Do your homework.
“Some Web sites allow users to list what they want in a partner,” O’Reilly says. “So really think about what you want: common interests, religion, sports, like to bowl or hate cats. It takes courage to really open your eyes and get real about what a healthy relationship should look like and what makes you feel safe and secure.”

9. Check your bags.
“Judging a date may be a defense mechanism, especially if we’ve experienced a recent heartbreak,” Purcell says. “It’s a sure-fire way to keep people at bay. Judging someone serves as a way to safely establish distance from this person. To successfully date, you must be open and comfortable with yourself—embrace and accept who you are and you’ll be far more open to what someone else has to offer.”

10. Be open.
“Lord knows I considered rejecting Craig based on the grease under his fingernails alone,” laughs Cary Lindsey of Phoenix. “But he suggested a movie I really wanted to see, so I went. Before the night was over, I realized how close I came to ditching a funny, cool guy over something as dumb as dirty fingernails.”

Following any one (or more!) of these 10 tips will help you make the most of every online and in-person interaction. And that’s the best way to find the love you’ve been missing.


Margot Carmichael Lester is a freelance writer based in North Carolina who met her husband online.
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