I always felt illegitimate to be single, yet alone gay. When I was a third wheel with many of my coupled friends, I didn't feel like I fit in for being the only person without a boyfriend (or a girlfriend back in my "straight" days).
Being single made me feel like I wasn't good enough, and I'd only be good if I had a partner. Growing up, we're often told that having true love is the only way to be happy.
I've been single for most of my life, and I've also been in a few relationships. Both have had its pros and cons, but I want to shed some light on the benefits of being single.
It's important to highlight the benefits of being single, especially as a gay man, because it allows us to understand that we're good enough whether or not we have a partner.
Single life allows you to make decisions on your own terms. You don't need to comply with another person's wants and desires because you get to call the shots. Want to go to sleep early without feeling guilty? No problem, go take a snooze. Crave to jump on Scruff for a random, no-strings-attached hookup? Be my guest (just wear protection please).
Just because you're single doesn't mean you're alone. You get to hang out with anyone you want to without having to please a partner. Partners can hold you back from hanging with certain friends because they're not necessarily mutual friends between you and your partner. You get to hang out with whoever you want, whenever you want when you're single. Want to jump in the car with your bff and head to the coast for the weekend? Guess what? You can. No need to ask for permission from a partner when you're single.
You never have to worry about long-term commitments as a single gay man because you're open and available to all opportunities that come your way. You never need to think twice if you get a job opportunity across the country or your intuition tells you to pack up your bags to pursue a calling in another country. You can enjoy many short-term engagements without feeling the need to commit long term.
Single life allows you to date and meet as many guys as you want. Putting the label "open relationship" won't ever be an issue in a so-called "committed relationship" - that usually leads to deceitful cheating and unhappiness in the long term anyways.
What if you made your own rules and told yourself that it's perfectly ok and acceptable to be single and happy? How would you behave and live your life differently?
Would you feel less guilty after random hookups? Would you allow yourself to love and accept yourself unconditionally? Would you smile when you look at yourself in the mirror?
Even if you crave to be in a relationship, it's still important to learn how to live by yourself and take care of your own needs without the support of a partner. This way you understand your self-worth and know how to take care of yourself in order to build self-reliance, resilience, and strength. The most important relationship you have in your life and the only relationship you'll have for the rest of your life is the relationship that you have with yourself. Nurture that relationship, it's important.
It's ok to be a single gay man.
You don't have to feel sorry for yourself anymore even when the you feel alone and isolated.
You have the innate power and courage to create success on your own terms as long as you do things that build your worth and value in the world.
Surround yourself with people who encourage you to be yourself and allow you to express yourself. Become friends with people who enjoy your company and establish mutually beneficial relationships that foster trust, joy, and love.
Participate in activities that challenge you physically, emotionally, and intellectually. The process of growth is the most fulfilling journey you can decide to pursue.
All of these are possible and within your reach, and you don't even need to be in a relationship with another man to do this.
All you need to do is love and accept yourself right now.
The decision to feel ok as a single gay man is all yours. The only thing you have to do is decide and commit to the choice.
Max DuBowy is the author of the Ultimate Guide to Self-Care for gay men who want to break free from stress and anxiety. Are you ready to love yourself unconditionally, make friends, and be confident? INSTANTLY DOWNLOAD A COPY OF HIS FREE GUIDE HERE.