The Five Myths Of Dating

Gay culture is rife with myths about gay dating patterns which just aren’t true.

By Jim Sullivan

yths can take a life of their own. One gay man says, “All gay men with blond hair are bottoms,” and Joe in Chicago repeats it to his friend Rob in Boston. Thus, a myth
You don’t have to love dating to succeed
is born. Soon, gay men everywhere begin to believe that all men with blond hair are bottoms, without any real evidence to back it up.

“Myth” is a nice word for misinformation. If not addressed, dating myths, at best, confuse the average dater, and, at worst, distort reality.

Myth #1: All the Good Guys Are Taken
Peter came to my Christmas workshop, “I Saw Michael Kissing Santa Claus.” He’s a six-foot-tall yoga teacher who is studying to be an interfaith minister. A pleasant man with beautiful blue eyes, Peter is friendly, but a bit shy. Still, I think he’s a good catch. When I asked the guys to break into groups of four to discuss desirable internal and external qualities, I noticed Peter looked a little lost, unable to find a group to hook up with. He said he was feeling really nervous. I told him to at least introduce himself to the men in the group.

I met Peter a month after the workshop, and he was dating Bill, a man from that group. He loved what Bill had said that night, and it had given him the confidence to share his thoughts and feelings. The two exchanged numbers and, shortly, started dating. Two beautiful souls — Peter and Bill — unexpectedly hooked up. These guys were not taken, and they were available for love!

Myth #2: Dating Is Easy
Donald, a 33-year-old computer programmer, works long hours at his job. He entered the dating scene hoping it would be easy, and it wasn’t. We set up a dating schedule for him, blocking out time each week for “dating and fun.”

The myth that dating is easy supports the assumption that “I don’t have to take any action; I can sit on my rocking chair on the front porch and wait for someone to come to me.” I know men who love their jobs/careers and men who hate their jobs/careers. You don’t have to love dating to succeed, but you must be open to it, and you have to recognize that there is work involved.

I believe the work of dating is more about emotional rather than hands-on stuff. That’s why there must be some payoff to dating (and I don’t mean sexual). With work, you get a check; a nice one, one hopes. With dating, is the payoff the fun of meeting new guys over a drink at the local bar? Is it going to the club for dancing? Is it the pleasure of joining a gay sports team?

Carl Jung said that when we take an action, there must be some positive payoff down the line, or the subconscious will sabotage future action. I know guys who go on lots of dates, but they never seem to have any fun. Each date seems like a job interview, and is as pleasurable as a root canal. Remember, dating might not be easy, but it ought to be fun!

Myth # 3: Men Will Flock to Me for Dates
Dennis broke up with a lover of nine years, amicably. Dennis has never dated. He had met Christopher at a fund-raiser when he was 27 and they had immediately become a
Take it easy. There’s a good chance you will meet someone.
couple. So Dennis was angry when he found himself having to join the hunt for a boyfriend. He thought men would come to him without his doing anything.

If you’re waiting for your prince to come, the length of the wait may surprise you. Fully 90% of men are not going to approach you; you’re going to have to approach them. Even gorgeous guys need to make the first move.

I know it’s humbling, but dating is not for divas.

Myth #4: Everyone in a Relationship is Happy
A man sits in a café in West Hollywood, watching the happy couples walking by hand-in-hand, smiling, not a care in the world, and he says to himself, ”Why not me? Why can’t I have that?”

Take it easy. There’s a good chance you will meet someone, but in the interim, don’t assume everyone in a relationship is happy. I can assure you that there are some unhappy couples (straight and gay) whose members would prefer to be single. So enjoy your singlehood while it lasts.

We have such a single-phobic society that, sometimes, it seems like being single is a fate worse than death. This puts pressures on singles to get into a relationship of any kind, as long as they’re paired off. Better to wait for something right.

Myth # 5: Successful People Have an Easier Time Dating
I work with successful people and they have the same struggles as common folk. Dating is a great equalizer.

Mitch is 42, works in real estate, and has incredible verbal dexterity. When he came to see me, I said to myself, “Why is he here? He’s so outgoing!” Mitch told me that he had been in a 15-year relationship, which had broken up two years before, and that he didn’t know where to meet guys. As he spoke, he seemed increasingly vulnerable and I could see that he was still feeling significant sadness over his breakup. He was alone and wanted to share his life with someone special.

Mitch knew he had a lot to offer another man. His courage in seeking out coaching was a giant step toward admitting that, despite his success in life, he needed help just like other men.

We don’t want to be ruled by the tyranny of myths or tales from the dating world. They restrict us, keep us stuck in a negative belief system and certainly don’t get our energy going.

Jim Sullivan coaches gay singles on dating and relationship issues and is the author of Boyfriend 101: A Gay Guy's Guide to Dating, Romance, and Finding True Love. He has 25 years counseling experience and holds masters degrees in counseling from New York University and in religious studies from Manhattan College.
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