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Ask Dave-I Am Ready For A Real Relationship


One man wonders why he’s never in a relationship—and how to change his situation. Answers ahead.

By Dave Singleton

ear Dave,
I’m a 33-year-old gay man, have my act pretty together (I am handsome, fit, love my job, own my home, educated, blah blah blah). But I’m missing a huge part of life. I haven’t been in a relationship for years now. I don’t necessarily need to get married, but I want a real partnership, at least. How can I facilitate a mindset change so I can get a
In the other areas of my life, I know how to get what I want.
boyfriend? In the other areas of my life, I know how to get what I want. I make plans, schedule, and set goals. But with dating, I’ve gone on coffee dates with guys I meet around town, but I’ve resisted dating online, since blind dates intimidate me. But now I think I am ready to try anything. Any tips on how to apply my go-getting ways to finding a relationship soon—say, by July 4th?
-Impatient in Atlanta

Dear Impatient,
Sadly, there’s no magical spell to create “Instant Boyfriend,” but it’s a great idea.

I admire your drive to kick your love life into high gear. But be careful. Planning is one thing. Creating an arbitrary deadline for a new boyfriend, however, could just set yourself up for disappointment.

You can control goals such as renovating your home or reaching your goal weight. But meeting Mr. Right by midnight on a certain date isn’t going to work. The best tactic is to hope and plan while keeping your deadline expectations in check.

I know it seems unfair when logical rules for success don’t always apply to dating. Work 40 hours a week, and you get a paycheck with an annual pat on the back. But log 40 hours in search of Mr. Right, and the results aren’t so clear-cut.

So, since you are goal-oriented, why not let your progress report act as your clear-cut metric? Are you spending your dating time wisely? Are you focused on aspects of dating that you can control, rather than those you can’t?

As you ask yourself these questions (and allow yourself to hope and dream of what your most exciting relationship might be like), factor these practical tips into your dating plan:

Manage your dating portfolio.
Smart marketers never rely on one channel for sales. It’s like relying on one stock for portfolio growth. Instead, create a multi-channel mix. The channels can include:
  • Online, by posting a profile. Online dating is an excellent way to present yourself, especially if you give create a profile that truly reflects who you are and what you want in a thoughtful and entertaining way.
  • Networking and social events that (this next part is key) tie in with your interests. Busy people who are passionately pursuing their interests come off as very attractive.
  • Friends and family. Let a few key people know the kind of guy you’d like to meet. Give some general direction without making your request sound too confining or demanding (i.e., mature, fun-loving man who is single, gay and interested in movies and home renovation.)
  • Your day-to-day life. Keep your eyes open as you go about your daily activities. You never know where you might meet someone, whether it’s in line at the supermarket or at a coffee shop.
It can be a fine line between asking too little and asking to much.
Don’t be too quick to judge.
It’s easy to dismiss a date who doesn’t live up to your romantic expectations. You may not meet the love of your life in the next few weeks, but you can learn from every person you meet.

Don’t be a desperate date.
Get a better, calmer hold on your anxiety before you resume dating. Acting desperate can be a big turnoff for a potential Mr. Right. Instead, focus on being happy as you are. Pursue dating, but live your life in the moment.

Focus on quality.
You and I both know that it’s not too hard to meet other gay men, especially in an urban area like Atlanta. But more doesn’t equal better. Fast-paced daters have to be smarter in their approach. Want a deeper relationship? Then dig a little deeper to avoid the trap of breezing through numerous coffee dates without putting yourself into them. Focus on quality by:
  • Assessing potential ahead of meeting online dates. As much as possible, you want to know if there’s a connection before you meet.
  • Sharing a little bit of personal information and seeing if he reciprocates. It can be a fine line between asking too little and asking to much. But you want to know if he’s really interested in getting to know you.
  • Focusing on shared interests and values as much as physical characteristics. It’s important to be aware of how your present yourself, especially if you are looking for a relationship rather than a hookup.
Bottom line: No one can predict if you’ll find true love in the coming months. But no matter what happens, you can adopt a new outlook on dating right now. Would you rather reach July 4th with no progress, no plans, and overwhelming disappointment caused by unrealistic expectations—or with the knowledge that you are focused and looking for your match in the smartest way possible?


Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at davesingleton.writer@gmail.comm.
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