Q Dear Love & Sex Q&A,
Greetings! My name is Gregory. Recently I came out of the closet. I am 45 years old and feel that I did so rather late in life. Anyway, I just do not want a “hook-up” anymore, but I want to settle down with a significant other. I want to rush things and begin looking, but a friend says, No. He says that I need to let that special guy find me. That I should sit back and wait because it works every time. So, I guess my question is, should I not look? Should I just wait for this special guy to just walk into my life? I mean, I am not getting any younger.
I fully understand my friend’s concern about hooking up with the first dude I meet. But my feelings are this: I feel that I have wasted a lot of time in hiding, so maybe I am trying to rush things by finding my significant other to make up for lost time. I wish that I had come out much sooner, but because of fear and my Christian upbringing and Christian teachings I did not. So, here I am at 45, wondering if I will meet my true love and be married. That’s how I feel right now and I get a little discouraged at times.
I am on several gay dating sites and get lots of hits a day but mostly from guys wanting only sex. I want much more than that one time Hook-Up.
Thank you for dropping me a line and connecting. Your question is a common one that is asked frequently from men at any age, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship. I feel that your friend is worried you are going to settle on the first guy that comes along. Fair enough, if that person fits you like a glove in the relationship arena, but do not force it.
Some relationships happen all of a sudden; for example, I met my husband through work and we felt a connection, went on a date, three months later we were living together, and within 9 months of our first date we were married and have been now for a good few years. So relationships do work when they happen quickly. But some can develop at a more leisurely pace.
I think your pal is concerned you are just going to rush into something because you’re desperate to be in a relationship and may make a bad decision. Only you can answer that one.
My advice is to get out into the dating arena, meet guys, get to know them, and if there is a connection (emotional, physical and intellectual) then see where it goes. Ask the appropriate questions of your date/suitor: if you are seeing someone who is on the party scene, likes open relationships and his independence, this person may not necessarily be the right one for you. If someone’s personality or behaviour is challenging for you and doesn’t fit with your own, do not stay with that person just because you are worried you won’t have the opportunity to be with someone else again. I spent three years with a guy in the past who was not right for me. He was a priority and a key feature in my life, but for him I didn’t even come up on the register. Don’t make the same mistake. When I had the wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moment and ended the relationship, life suddenly became a wonderful technicolor experience. It felt exactly like when Dorothy first enters Oz in the classic film.
Review the dating sites you are on. Are they purely focused on sex hook ups? If you are looking for a soul mate, going to gay Christian groups would be a good avenue to explore. Also, keep your on-line dating focused on relationship-orientated sites, like e-harmony/compatible-partners, etc. The GRINDR, SCRUFF and so on type of sites are fine for looking at eye candy, but it is a bit like a meat market, and ultimately you get what you see.
Continue to live your life the way you want to. Just because you are gay and have accepted that, does not mean that the life you have lived for the last 45 years has been wasted. Likewise, you don’t necessarily have to turn your back on your pre-out life. Dedicating your entire life to the sole task of finding “the one” will set you up for disappointment and be thoroughly tiring. Keep your eyes out, and be open to dating opportunities that may cross your path.
My key advice is to get out there, still live your life and pursue your interests and hobbies, but be open to meeting a guy who you feel a connection with. Don’t make “finding the one” the only feature in your life. Ultimately, you are 45, you have life experience, and fortunately you know who you are and where you are at. And so will like-minded age-comparable guys. So the dating field is wide open for opportunities.
(Check out my other article, “Dating Life in Your 40s,” here in IMPACT Magazine.)
If you have a dating or relationship question email hello@GayDatingExpert.co.uk
JONATHAN WELFORD heads up GayDatingExpert.com, a relationship and dating coaching practice. He was awarded the accolade of being one of the top 10 Gay Relationship Bloggers for 2013. He writes gay agony uncle columns for numerous publications in both the UK and USA, and is also a regular columnist for DatingAdvice.com. He lives with his Scottish husband in Manchester, UK.