Fear is a factor for everyone and when it comes to joining a group and even a gay men’s group then the fear may escalate often resulting in procrastination, avoidance and non-attendance. We have certainly seen this over the years when we run our annual gay men’s group.
I’m always fascinated by how much time and money gay men are willing to spend on their appearance, entertainment, and their social lives. Many gay people I know and clients I work with don’t hesitate to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on personal training, beauty products, healthcare and skincare treatments, plastic surgery, and non-surgical beauty enhancements as well as expensive clothes.
As a gay man you probably have a really good idea about what you DON’T want in a relationship. You may have experienced at least one and perhaps several bad relationship experiences that have influenced the ‘don’t wants’ in your relationships. Some gay men have a checklist either mentally or written down about what it is they want in their partner and how the partner can satisfy them.
If you didn’t catch the ‘It’s time’ video below at the end of 2011, you were probably in the minority of gay men. The video produced by Australian Marriage Equality went viral after its launch and now has over 5 million views on YouTube.
One of the topics that frequently comes up with my gay private practice clients is the issue of using Grindr to meet other gay men. I’m always interested in the wide range of reactions to this app and what men think and feel about it. Some of my clients have occasional fun using this app, while others get hooked on constantly being online and cruising for other men- often leading to lots of frustration and despair.
Many gay men struggle to create intimacy and closeness with other gay men, and there are a number of reasons why this is so. The experience of growing up gay in a straight world effects us all in different ways, however there are a number of commonalities that gay men struggle with, and these struggles come to the surface when we are in intimate relationships with other men.
Gay mens’ group therapy is a powerful and effective way of changing negative patterns in your relationships and help you learn how to communicate and relate effectively to create deeper relationships with other gay men. As I prepare for our next Sydney gay men’s group therapy, one of the most common questions we get from gay men is how can group therapy help build better relationships?
What does a relationship look like in 2011? Well to start, that question itself is a bit pointless because, as we all have surely experienced, every relationship looks a bit different. But wait a tick, isn’t a relationship supposed to be between a man and a woman who love each other? Marriage, kids, house in the burbs, the whole shebang?
In my counselling work with the gay community, I am staggered by how many gay men report they have dissatisfying relationships. It seems to be the norm that gay men feel lonely, isolated and disconnected from other gay men and the broader community in general. If they are part of the gay community, many of their relationships tend to be superficial, vacuous and consist of ‘fair-weather friends’.
Dave’s story is one that is familiar with many gay men. He was feeling frustrated and despaired about the state of his love life. It felt like he was on a dating merry-go-round. His relationships were frequently short-lasting and he cycled through many brief flings and one-night stands that went nowhere.