Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Serially Dating Gay Men

Here's a change of pace from my more standard "fat" stuff.  I often post on a general "Gay" site.  They had done a feature on a woman with a history of "serially dating gay men." She was relating what a negative experience this had been. I’ll share an excerpt, followed by my comment, which then elicited a question addressed to me, and my response to that.

After the Eric situation, you’d think I’d have learned a little something, but nay, nay Toy with Mes. I’m a slow learner because a couple of years after Eric came Adam. Like Eric, Adam was a cutie patootie. He was a jewelry designer whose turn-ons included anything by Ralph Lauren, interior design, avant-garde art, and kittens. He always smelled incredible and looked as pretty as a picture in a magazine. I KNOW! I told you I’m kind of a fucktard. And he wanted to like boobies, but it just wasn’t working. He was horrible in the boudoir, but I kept sleeping with him hoping it would get better, but it didn’t.

As a Family Therapist specializing in Couples, I find it fascinating how "talented" folks were at picking "non-threatening" partners. This often results in women who eventually came out as bi or lesbian dating men who later came out as bi or gay (or transgendered).
I would also see women who had been sexually abused who repeatedly choose a (not yet out) gay partner to date because again...he will not press for sex…which suits the woman just fine.
As a general rule of thumb, when dating the "same" type of "wrong" partner repeats itself, as Therapists, we are alerted to look into how the "wronged" person is "setting her/himself up" rather than to accept the idea, of "Oh, I am a victim of these people with whom I shared a relationship."

What's also interesting as a Therapist, is realizing the choices are usually made at an unconscious level, so the patient often keeps repeating the pattern without gaining insight into why they make the choices they do.


@Professor Fatology: Professor F., I find your comment very interesting…I've been looking up the subject for a while now…
I´ve been looking back on my past childhood "crushes" and learned that most of them are now gay! I have carried on the same "taste" for "androgynous men" into my 20s and I´m currently dating one after 6 years. I´m sure that I´m totally heterosexual and I don´t think my current boyfriend is gay, nothing indicates that he is, but I´m afraid that history could repeat itself…might there be something in this pattern that I´m not seeing?

Dear L

Let me first say for legal and ethical purposes what I share is meant to be educational in nature, rather than therapeutic.

I was mentored by (maysherestinpeace) Virginia Satir.  If you ever read a book Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley, there’s some great stuff on her. One of the trainings she did was to have us sit with our knees almost touching and stare into the eyes of our training partner for 10 minutes. She believed that after the age of 16, you never meet a new person. That is—everyone you will meet will remind you of someone you’ve known, and often on an unconscious level, you will tend to relate to the ―new person as if he or she were the familiar one. This is not necessarily tied to gender or age—for example, maybe your current boyfriend reminds you of your Aunt Minnie because of the way both of them cock their heads when they listen to you, or they both have the same accent. This was Satir’s explanation of why you can meet a ―stranger and feel immediately comfortable with him/her, or why you can meet a new person and hate them on the spot.
My earlier post was from the perspective of a Family Therapist. It's very rare to see a new patient who isn't coming in because of a problem. In my many years, I've only had one person come in and say, ―You know, I'm doing really well but I bet I can do even better! I tend to see the women who date gay men, and then turn out frustrated, or lesbian/bi/transgendered or have been sexually abused in their youth because they've gotten to a point where the repeated patterns of their lives have made them unhappy enough to be motivated for change.

If that's not your case…then perhaps dating a man who ―reminds you of the gay men you've known in the past (or hell your Aunt Minnie-remember, the Satir stuff isn't necessarily connected to gender) simply isn't a problem. In which case, the historical associations you have with your current boyfriend simply gives him an ―extra helping of attractiveness. If you are both happy, then this isn't a good time to ―fix what's not broken.
We also know from John Money’s theory the Lovemap (what constitutes your erotic landscape—what floats your boat) is set at an early age—often before you are 8. There have always been androgynous males that many women find attractive. The general pop psych attitude is that it’s related to pre-adolescent feelings of ―safety—in other words, a ―Tween (as they are often called these days) finds a Justin Beiber or Zac Whatsis, or a Jonas brother ―sexy  because they don't register on the scale as strongly masculine. Someone exploring romance for the first time around isn't developmentally ready for sex…so a strongly masculine appearing male doesn’t register—or reads as ―dangerous—which is why the ―bad boy kicks the androgynous romantic off the radar a few years down the road for a lot of girls when she is developmentally ready to ―get physical, and the posters that covered the wall with the earlier heart throb get pulled down and replaced.

Lol—I think of my first lover who told me how religious he was in high school and used to write letters to Jesus, until he hit the developmental stage of realizing he could find ―cute boys who would write back.

Anyway—perhaps your Lovemap was set on ―androgynous at a very early age, and someone in this category will always attract your attention, rather than the big and "dangerous" type.

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