It happens all the time. You walk into the bar and lock eyes with a guy. Time stands still. You exchange smiles before turning back to your group of friends. After a few drinks, you find yourself next to him on the dance floor. Rihanna’s We found love plays in the background as you slowly begin to dance with him. Then you kiss and the deal is set! You know you aren’t sleeping alone tonight. Your friends give you a thumbs up as you head out the door for what you believe will be the first of many nights with your new lover.
The relationship is good for the most part. You only really hang out in bars, but it’s what all gay couples do, right? I mean, it’s where you met after all. Time passes and things aren’t quite as exciting as they used to be. There are trust issues, you notice little things that he doesn’t do that he used to do, and don’t even get me started on the insecurities that begin to creep up in your mind. And then it happens. The dreaded, “we need to talk” line. Just like that, your relationship is over.
You’re devastated. You talk to your friends about it but no amount of advice they give is good enough. You take time away to be alone and figure things out. After a few months off the grid, you find yourself back in that hopeless place where you found love before and, once again, you lock eyes with your now ex-boyfriend as all of the emotions come pouring back in. What are you going to do? How will you ever make it through this?
Breakups are hard. They affect us on an emotional and mental level that many of us don’t understand. They can cause us to change our diets, engage in unhealthy behaviors, and even contemplate things much worse. We can fall into a pit of despair fearing that we will die old and alone. Unfortunately, we can’t wave a magic wand and change the people we date. But we can change habits about ourselves that lead us down the path of an unhealthy and unhappy relationship.
We’ve all heard the phrase “there are plenty of fish in the sea”, but how many times do we go fishing and catch the same type of fish? Change where you are throwing your net. If you have had bad luck dating guys you meet at the bar, don’t date guys you meet at the bar.
Instead, go to a place where you can find someone who has a similar interest. Find an artsy guy at a museum or a musician at a lounge. Step outside of your comfort zone. There is nothing wrong with taking a risk.
Don’t ignore the red flags. I know as well as you that there are some things that we witness in a relationship that put us off ease, but we use love as an excuse to settle. Let’s change that pattern after a breakup. If you start to witness similar traits in the next relationship, bring them up in a conversation. Hopefully, they can be resolved.
Remember that life isn’t a fairy tale. Most of us don’t have a Prince Charming who won’t rest until he finds our perfect size 10. There may not be an Aladdin who takes us on a magic carpet ride.
Sometimes, we may only have a Shrek who can simply offer us true love’s kiss and, like Shrek was for Princess Fiona, he may be right under our noses. Be open to new people who may come into your life.
Most importantly, pay attention to your mental health. I recently went through a breakup and I felt like my world was caving in. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and thought that I had done everything wrong in the relationship. So, I sought help. I found a therapist who I could talk to about my insecurities and my fears. I never could have imagined how much knowledge I would gain about myself and my dating habits from talking to a trained professional. We can’t be afraid to admit that we need help.
Try these things if you find yourself in a breakup situation. They may give you the extra push to get you where you need to be mentally. More important than any relationship with another man, is the relationship that you build with yourself. You are a lot stronger than you think. And let me be the first to say, “you will be ok”.