Dear Christine, Ready for the Real Thing in Rochester!

Dear Christine,

I’ve been in a sort of transition from being a husband and father in the straight world to finally realizing and accepting that I am gay and prefer men.

My wife knows and we remain friends and I have been “dating” for over a year now. My problem is that I haven’t been able to find anyone who wants more than a casual hookup. I know really well how to find men for that but now I’m ready to have a real relationship. I have no idea how to make the change or where to find men that might want the same thing. Any suggestions?

I guess you can call me, Ready for the Real Thing in Rochester!

Thanks!

Dear Ready,

One of my Sunday morning rituals (besides writing this column!) is drinking coffee and reading The New York Times, in particular, the Styles section where all the wedding announcements are found. Since the great State of New York legalized gay and lesbian marriage on July 24, 2011, it is a pleasure to read each gay couple or lesbian couple’s profile. The first Sunday was the best, as there was a huge back log of couples waiting to get married, some for decades. That September, it was hard to find straight couples’ announcements!

All this is to say, that certain someone is definitely out there! To find that special someone, it takes getting out in the community and getting involved where you will meet more people and make friends with folks who will introduce you to more folks. There’s all kinds of things to do, other than gay bars and Grinder and on-line dating websites. Those tend to attract people who just want a hook up, without the complications of a real relationship. So, check out information you find on GOAL, as well as Between the Lines, Affirmations programs. Get involved in an activity you already enjoy: there are gay and gay/lesbian singing groups, community drama groups, biking and hiking groups, groups that meet for dinners, some are pot luck, at someone’s home, rotating places, others are at restaurants. Ties Like Me is a group for gay and lesbian professionals, and the Gay Business Network is a new organization that is taking off. One thought I have is that you are straddling two worlds: being a straight father and husband while also wanting the Real Deal in a gay relationship. That’s a pretty tall order, and since you don’t go into details of how you are balancing all of that, it’s hard for me to comment. The first order of business is to be fully available, should you meet Mr. Right. If you appear to be involved in a prior committed relationship, others may avoid anything serious with you. When looking, be clear on what your relationship with your spouse is: are you planning on getting divorced? Not ever getting divorced?

Also, if you expect to stay close to your kids while you enter into a serious gay relationship, make sure you are clear with potential dates about that. I once knew a man who would tell potential dates the first time they met over coffee, that he had children, and they were always going to come first in his life, and his partner-to-be would have to be comfortable with that. One potential date was turned off by that, feeling like they hadn’t even gotten to know each other enough to know if they would be compatible when this gentleman was making a big issue about children. The potential date had no interest in parenting, but did have a lot of interest in a real deal relationship and was hurt that the gentleman in question would just toss aside such a good prospect because of the issue of kids. Personally, I think that gentleman did himself a huge favor. Why continue to date someone who does not have the same “non-negotiables” as him? If his children are first in his life, his boyfriend better be prepared for that, or they are in for a painful awakening once the blush of lust fades.

The first lesson in dating is “know thyself”. Know who you are and what you need in a relationship and in your life, and then don’t be shy in asking questions and letting others know what you need and what you can’t deal with. There’s no point dating someone who hates kids, for example! Go forth, and have fun!

Christine Cantrell

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd, 
Suite C 
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888Click here to email Christine.

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