Well, well, well! "The Big V," Valentine's Day, is upon us.
But instead of giving you chocolates, hearts and flowers, I've decided to gift you with something more practical: some juicy and meaty food for thought to digest.
And here it is. According to gay life coach and matchmaker Paul Angelo, "'Only 4 percent of gay men over 40 are in loving, committed, long-term relationships'." Because I'm over 40 (but I won't say by how much! LOL), this gave me pause.
Online publication PRWeb states that Angelo -- who surveyed 313 gay men over 40 -- concluded that seven factors are responsible for gay relationship difficulties: poor emotional self-management; lack of role models; sexualization of relationships; acceptance of gay relationship myths; lack of support; body alienation (linked to HIV and low self-esteem); addiction to anal intercourse. I explore some of these issues in my new novel, Nothing Can Tear Us Apart -- RAGE!.
According to PRWeb, Angelo claims, "'Gay relationships can work, but only when both men get coaching and therapy, sometimes for many years'." Let's examine his list.
• Poor emotional self-management. Angelo "attributes poor emotional self-management as the key factor in gay relationship difficulties. Lack of awareness of how a gay man feels leads to automatic negative behaviors running 'hidden' from conscious awareness." Some examples of this behavior include judgments of other gay men, negative self-talk, comparisons of current experience to past relationships and negative projections based on previous negative experiences. The gay life coach/matchmaker adds, "In the absence of awareness of those patterns, a gay man is unable to correct them."
• Lack of role models. According to Angelo, "lack of role models also contributes to gay relationships ending too soon. Gay relationships involve conflicts that include discomfort and pain. Having role models of other gay men who have remained in relationships despite conflicts and setbacks is important for a gay man who has no relationship experience and who wrongly assumes that a good relationship is one without conflicts."
• Sexualization of relationships. "'Gay lifestyle can be over-sexualized', says Angelo. Reality is that gay men also need intimacy, love and respect -- most of which are not received during sex. A gay man cannot have a stable gay relationship if he evaluates the relationship based on the quality of the sexual experience." Angelo inserts, "'Top or bottom are old-fashioned labels that used to work. They no longer serve a modern gay man who wants a family and a loving long-term relationship'."
• Acceptance of gay relationship myths. "According to Angelo, gay relationship myths dominate gay life. Often, those are ideas and expectations borrowed from the straight community and adapted to create a subjective defense against taking responsibility and being authentic."
• Lack of support. Angelo offers, "Without support from a gay coach or a gay therapist, gay men tend to make mistakes in dating and relationships, and rarely get a chance to experience genuine love." Angelo asserts that "Often, a gay man feels like a victim and wants to be rescued by a 'Top Alpha Male' who has lots of money, powerful persona and charisma. Perpetuation of 'wanting to be rescued' mentality abound in gay men who are 'bottoms'."
• Body alienation/anal intercourse addiction. Angelo states, "Unlike straight men and women, gay men are under a lot of psychological disadvantages that can create a permanent limitation to fulfillment in personal life. Body alienation and addiction to anal intercourse are examples of psychological conditions that are very common in most gay men."
And according to PRWeb,
Angelo openly admits to conflict in his own personal relationship -- as often as on a weekly basis. Such conflict helped him overcome his fears of abandonment and of being loved. According to Angelo, conflict opens the gay man to his shadow personality -- a place where unwanted feelings were put away many years ago. A gay relationship can be a transformative experience for any gay man to integrate the shadow and embrace it. The benefit often translates into improvements in other areas of the man's life -- money and health.
I'm a staunch advocate of counseling/therapy, having "sat on the couch" for an extended period of time with an extraordinarily skilled and qualified professional. She helped affect my psychological healing and repair my emotional compass, which put me on a much better track to successfully move forward.
If you're experiencing relationship difficulties, perhaps this food for thought is the very meal you need! It appears to have just the right amount of "special seasonings" to make it palatable.