Ask MISTER CARL: 'My Boyfriend's Too Busy for Me!'

While some things might be easier to accomplish when you're young, dating (nevermind building a successful, healthy relationship!) isn't one of them. Relationships and dating take work, no matter how old you are.
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Welcome to "Ask MISTER CARL." I'm Carl Sandler, the founder of the gay dating app MISTER and and a relationship expert on The Morning Jolt on OutQ on Sirius XM Radio. In this new blog series I offer strategies and advice for anyone navigating the marvelous, messy and often fucked-up dilemmas we face in our quests for intimacy, both online and off.


Dear Mr. Carl,

I've been dating my boyfriend for about five months. When we first met, we spent all our time together, but for the past few months, he's been spending more and more time helping his family take care of his mentally challenged cousin. Needless to say, it's put a huge strain on our relationship. We never go out anymore, and I can barely remember the last time we spent the night together. Whenever I try and tell him how I feel, he gets agitated and tells me I just need to deal with the situation. I understand that family is important, and I know his cousin needs him, but so do I. I'm not sure how much longer I can deal with it. Help!

-- What About Me?

Dear WAM,

It sounds like neither one of you feels particularly well-supported or understood by the other. You're finding it difficult to give your boyfriend the support he needs while taking care of his obligations, and he's unable to give you the kind of together time and intimacy you need. That's certainly a tough hurdle for any relationship, especially one that's new, but it's not an insurmountable one.

It sounds like there's still a lot of potential for growth and intimacy here, but in order to get your budding romance back on track, each of you will have to do two things simultaneously. The first is to try to fulfill each other's needs for time and space as best you can. You have to meet somewhere in the middle. The second is figure out ways to make the limited time you do have together richer and more meaningful. In other words, focus on quality time over quantity time.

Many people -- doctors, flight attendants, sex workers -- have demanding jobs or other obligations that leave them with little time for a personal life. These types of people require partners who can deal with their busy lifestyles and who are able to accept it as the price of admission (thank you, Dan Savage) for being with them. If you're finding that price to be too high, then your boyfriend may not be the best match for you. It doesn't make you a bad or uncaring person. It just makes you an honest one. Good luck!


Dear Mr. Carl,

Three years ago, I ended my long-term relationship of 22 years after I found out my partner cheated on me. Now I am a middle-aged gay guy (51, to be exact) living in a big city where hookups -- not dates -- seem to be the norm. I have a great career, am in great shape, and while I'm no movie star, I'm certainly not ugly. Still, I can't get a date, and I'm starting to feel like nobody wants me. Let's be honest, 51 is like 76 in gay years! I don't like bars, but I do put myself out there. What am I doing wrong?

-- Oldie but Goodie

Dear OBG,

While some things -- multiple orgasms, for instance -- might be easier to accomplish when you're young, dating (nevermind building a successful, healthy relationship!) isn't one of them. Relationships and dating take work, no matter how old you are. The good news is that finding love at 51 is not only possible, it's happening every day. Guys your age are meeting and connecting with each other in all sorts of places -- the gym, online (hello,!), and even the bar scene. Yet, to date right in 2013, you've got to be open to finding your future husband wherever he may be.

But before you start looking for that new love, I'd like to talk about your how you're dealing with the end of your previous one. Your letter makes it sound like perhaps you consider yourself a victim of your ex's infidelity. I don't mean to make light of what he did, but I'm sure you know that cheating is most often a symptom of a troubled relationship, not the cause of a failed one. At the end of the day, you're just as responsible as he is for your relationship's demise. The best thing you can do at this point is to learn from the experience, don't let it break you, and get back in the game.

On that note, let's get one thing clear: 51 is not like 76 in any years, unless you choose it to be. I know plenty of vibrant, sexy 51-year-olds (and 76-year-olds, for that matter) who are actively dating, in relationships, having amazing sex, and living their lives with the energy of guys half their age. The only thing stopping you from being one of those guys is you. No matter how old you are, optimism, self-confidence, and a youthful outlook on the future are what bring all the boys to the yard.

Next time: "Why can't I find a guy who wants to be down with the swirl?"

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