Changing what you can – bettering ourselves and our connections

10 Tips to Help Gay and Bi Men Make Better Choices about Dating, Sex and Relationships

Greg Garrison, David Kelley Services (Toronto, ON)

"Check in" with yourself to understand what’s behind your motivation for dating, sex or being in a relationship. How much are you affected by others’ opinions of you based on whether you’re single? Do you feel more alive when you’re involved with another guy? Are you genuinely attracted to this guy? Are you reacting to feeling lonely or rejected?

Identify what kinds of experiences have been satisfying when dating, having sex or being in a relationship in the past… and what has left you wanting something else. How you've felt about past experiences can direct you to what will work for you in the future.

Get in touch with what you value, what you need and what you desire in another guy, in sex and in a relationship. Without this awareness, you may well make choices that don’t satisfy what’s really important to you. This is your life... follow your bliss!

Recognize that dating or being in a relationship makes demands on you – and not only time, effort and sacrifice – it demands that you reveal who you are to another guy. It's important to know how prepared you are to do this at this time in your life.

Timing is (almost!) everything… are you really ready to date or be in a relationship? Or are difficult life circumstances – dealing with significant health changes, substance use, experiencing oppression, grief over a loss, etc. – stressing your ability to handle the additional challenges of connecting with another guy?

Be aware of the power balance between you and the other guy. If you feel you have little power, how will you be able to negotiate what you need or desire? If you feel you have most of the power in a relationship (not an easy thing to recognize!), will you be able to really hear what the other guy wants or desires?

People change over time… and so do relationships… particularly in the early stages of getting to know someone. It’s important to be prepared for the natural evolution of relationships -- and the first step towards this is to accept that change is inevitable.

Before you begin to date or start a relationship, make sure friends and family are there for support – you’ll appreciate them helping you celebrate the highs and deal with the lows!

Recognize you have a choice in saying "yes" or "no" in any situation – and that choosing to be single is a choice.

Be prepared for the feeling that dating or being in a relationship is not always easy! Many dates do not lead to an ongoing relationship and most relationships you’re in will not be the "final one" (if this was true, we would all still be in our 1st relationship!)


Adapted from resourced developed by The AIDS Committee of Toronto (Handy Dandy booklet)


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