I’m a gay man who always seems to meet men who were previously married to women, were on the down low and have only recently divorced and come out. The problem is that most of these men are not comfortable enough with who they are to actually be ready for a committed relationship. I can accept that and continue my search for the right partner, but I can’t help but wonder why I keep meeting men with similar histories and issues.
Don’t start to believe there is something wrong with you that attracts men who are not ready for commitment. Consider this: Increasing numbers of men are admitting who they really are. However, those men are still in formation while you are already there, so don’t waste your time. Trust yourself enough to accept that none of these men are the right partner for you right now. Keep doing what you love. Love will find you.
How can I get my 27-year-old son to confide in me? I have no idea what is going on in his life or relationships. I want to know, because I really want to be closer to him. Any ideas about how to get him to open up?
Start the conversation by opening your own chamber of secrets. Tell your son about your first heartbreak and how you mended your sense of self; share the life map you created for yourself at age 20 or 30 and whether you tracked it or journeyed elsewhere; reveal your current problems with colleagues at work and how you resolved those issues, or fail to do so. Ask for his advice about your life and relationships. But don’t play show and tell. If you divulge something juicy about yourself, your son is not obligated to unveil something personal. He is an adult, so treat him like an equal. If your son does begin to clue you in about his life and relationships, never use that information against him. The reason most people stop having meaningful conversations with their parents is that Mom or Dad manages to use the information in unexpected and inappropriate ways. And, yes, saying something sarcastic about one of his shares followed by “just kidding” counts as inappropriate. Just be a friend who happens to have grown up with him.
Why don’t men commit? I’ve been in so many relationships and men never commit for more than two years. Why is that?
Two years is a magic number. Generally, after six months of dating, pretenses fall away and you gain insight into a person’s true nature. Then the real relationship begins as each partner determines whether she or he is willing to contend with the other person’s ego. Twenty-four months provides ample opportunity to observe each other and decide if making a lifetime vow is the right choice. But when a relationships ends after a two-year investment of your time, celebrate. You’ve saved yourself from a decade or more with someone who is not willing or able to go the distance with you. After the grief or anger clears, scour your memories of the relationship for examples of attitudes and behaviors you need to tidy up. If you were clingy, get comfortable enough with yourself to enjoy being alone. If you were critical toward your man, practice kindness toward others and acceptance of their quirks. Always be grateful for any new knowledge gained about yourself after a breakup, and apply what you learned to choose more wisely in the future.
I noticed that you referred to Eckhart Tolle recently and wondered what you think of his books.
I have only read A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose and think it’s a terrific primer on Buddhism.