Your sexual orientation makes you unique and accordingly you look for someone unique with whom you could share your moments. This search for a suitable partner begins with dating and if all goes well it culminates into a healthy relationship. Technically dating is nothing but meeting someone personally and exchange views, ideas and find common grounds so that you could measure compatibility and accordingly take it forward. Sounds very simple on paper, but the whole process of dating is very challenging and to make it a success you have to overcome several barriers.
The fact is the right guy won’t come to your door you have to go out and explore the world so that you could find that perfect match. Since your sexual orientation is different and expectations are different, accordingly your challenges are going to be different, so a normal approach of handling those challenges won’t be of much help. Let us start with the likely challenges you might face and see how to overcome them:
Despite an amazing rise in the level of social acceptance for a gay relationship in recent years, gays find it extremely difficult to break the family barrier and come out in open. The element of secrecy your partner wants to maintain in the early days of the relationship is the biggest challenge as this creates some kind extra emotional burden on both to live a dual life. The best possible way out while dating is to be open about expectations and realities. Accept his limitations and support him and let time plays its role as with time it is likely that family and friends will start accepting the relationship. However, you must make it clear that he has to come out someday. Make a timely execution plan and try to execute it smoothly.
You have found a perfect mate who understands you and your need. Your emotional and romantic frequency is well-tuned, but your work schedule isn’t matching with his schedule. You work in late-night shifts and your partner is crew member with no fixed schedule, so despite all compatibility you don’t get those precious moments except on weekends. This is one of the biggest challenges of the modern lifestyle, as you cannot compromise with your earnings and you need to maintain a healthy relationship as well. It is better to discuss the work schedule in early days as this could be a big emotional drain in a later phase.
You and your partner are compatible at the core in terms of sexual orientation, but you might differ in terms of frequency, style of sex. It is good to be open about these aspects while dating. Just like any other relationship this relation also requires compromises here and there. If your relationship has a strong element of understanding then you can overcome these challenges easily. But for that you need to be transparent in approach.
One very common but fatal challenge is to handle friends of your partners, especially when they are not in tune with your own taste and mood. Frankly, the element of possessiveness creeps in once you start dating and you want to spend maximum time with your partner but friends make it difficult to do so. If you want to let this relationship flourish, then you have to accept partner with his friends. However, you can find ways to avoid seeing them. Alternatively, you can talk to your partner about the discomfort and accordingly find ways to adjust situationally.
Although the acceptance level of an age gap is much better among gay couples, some challenges pop up when the gap is bigger than 15 years as compatibility factor goes down drastically due to generational approach of handling situations. You are different, so your perception of age should also be different and you should focus more on life activities. Try to find common activities and enjoy the company of your partner.
Although some people see it as a challenge, it is not a challenge as such rather it is an opportunity to be together yet independent of each other. If you add an interesting area of both the partners, you create a big pool of area and keep on exploring new ideas. Life will be more fun as you will have a variety.
It is perfectly fine if your partner is from a different religion, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and generation. It works fine because as a gay man you are far above these worldly divisions. But when it comes to value system, the match should be absolutely perfect. If this is not the case, it is better not to start the relationship at all.
This definitely cannot be the reason for ending the relationship, but if not taken care of properly, this could act as a catalyst linked to some other challenges. If both of you are in the same age group then both of you have sufficient income to afford a desirable life. If your partner is junior then you have to take care of him and if the opposite is the case you have to seek assistance. It is all about openness and understanding each other’s need and accordingly support.
If you and your partner have a different set of expectation from a relationship, then it is better not to start the relationship at all. This monogamous versus open relationship is the biggest challenge as most of then it starts from open relationship then moves towards monogamous. Once again if the foundation and understanding are strong, any issue is manageable so focus on exchange of view and appreciate each other’s opinion.
A gay relationship is all about openness and any effort to bring an element of narrowness like jealousy will have a devastating effect on the relationship. Some emotions like fear, insecurity, betrayal, etc. are very natural and they need to be expressed. However, you have to tell your partner about the trigger factor that builds these emotions. Be open about your emotional challenges, as healthy communication has the power to overcome any challenge.
Dating gives you the opportunity to know about your partner as you can ask about some of these factors and in all possibility, you will get direct answers. Lively interaction will help you know some of the factors indirectly. To have healthy relationship going forward, it is good to know about relationship status, sexual history, protection, STI testing, and substance misuse.