Keeping a relationship from falling apart is a bit like tending a garden. It seems as simple as tossing some seeds in the ground, waiting for a few months, and harvesting the literal fruits of your labor. Once you actually start gardening, however, you quickly begin to realize that it isn't nearly as easy as it looks.
Turns out, there is actually a ton of work that needs to be put into it. If you want to have a lovely garden, you're gonna have to pull some weeds and do some digging.
Unlike a garden, relationships are much easier to sabotage without realizing it. There are all sorts of social, emotional, and sexual traps that we can fall into that will turn our relationships from a Garden of Eden into Dante's Inferno in no time flat.
Here are some of the main ways that gay guys sabotage their relationships and how to avoid them.
Oh, baby! This is a major one! Jealousy is one of those issues that plagues men in general and really plays hell with gay guys, specifically. Knowing that your guy can simply pop down to a local bathhouse or swipe a certain way on his phone to rustle up some tail at the drop of a hat can have a serious impact on our ability to maintain a healthy perspective when it comes to jealousy.
Unfortunately, jealousy is a weed that doesn't need much encouragement to grow. All it takes is a tiny seed of doubt in our partner's fidelity and, before long, we begin to obsess about every move they make.
We start to snoop around their phones and internet histories looking for clues. We bombard them with pointed questions every time they walk in the door and start to make accusatory, sideways comments that usually only lead to arguments. Eventually, it all falls apart and we often don't even realize that it was our own misplaced lack of faith that brought the whole thing tumbling down.
If you don't feel like you can trust your partner to be faithful, you should probably take a hard look at your relationship and ask yourself why that is. Your jealousy is probably rooted in another issue that is manifesting as distrust. It might be something your partner is doing but, more likely, it is the result of your own personal baggage.
Try to find the source of your mistrust and examine it. Maybe your man is steppin' out, maybe you just have abandonment issues. It's important to know which is which.
2. Unrealistic Expectations
No matter what, you're going to enter into any relationship with some sort of expectations for how things will play out.
You will have your own ideas about how your partner should act and so will they. While expectations are unavoidable, it's important to manage them carefully if you want to stay in it for the long haul.Sure, we would all love it if our guy could always perform well in bed, never be in a foul mood,
Placing strict earning requirements on your partner is another major no-no. If you work at Starbucks but you expect your man to provide you with a Scrooge-McDuckian money bin where you can swim your morning laps, you're just a gold-digger and it's your fault you feel unfulfilled in your relationship, not theirs.
Many guys also have the unrealistic expectation that their man should be able to read their mind. Well, here's a newsflash: He fucking can't. If you want something you aren't getting or you're getting something you don't want, open your damn mouth and say so.
The last thing any relationship needs to grow is...
3. Passive-Aggressive Bullshit
We've all had or have been that partner in a gay relationship that doesn't say what they mean or who skirts around problems by making catty comments or simply remaining outright silent about them. We've all said one thing and meant another and we've all refused to talk about our problems when confronted with them.
Unfortunately, it's just a thing that humans do from time to time. The real problem starts when all of that becomes the norm in a relationship.
If you are having a hard time saying what is actually on your mind, it implies to me that you don't trust me with your problems. Whenever one person perceives distrust in the other person in a relationship, things start to snowball out of control really quickly.
Respect and trust your partner enough to say what you mean when you are talking about the big things. If you can't do that, you're either in a relationship with the wrong guy or you're too emotionally immature to maintain a healthy relationship at all.
Either way, you have some fucking work to do.
4. Good Enough Is Not Enough...
Sometimes our own baggage weighs us down and makes us feel like we aren't deserving of a loving, fulfilling relationship.
This often leads us to settle on a relationship that is far from ideal or healthy. When we think we can't do better, we don't even try and this often lands us in situations that we feel like we can't escape.
I spent years in an unhealthy relationship while living in a small town because there simply wasn't anyone else available and I think he stayed with me for the same stupid reason. As time went on, we grew more distant and became resentful of each other. Arguments became the norm and eventually, there was a massive blowout. We started off as best friends and ended up literally fighting by the end.
We'd both settled on something because we felt like we needed to be in a relationship to be complete as people but we failed to realize that sometimes the only way to find yourself is to simply be by yourself - You won't find out who you really are or what you really need by basing your life on someone else.
As important as this point is, the flipside can be just as dangerous.
5...But Perfect Doesn't Exist
While you should never settle on a relationship that is barely scraping by, you should always be aware of the fact that relationships are works in progress and they will never be perfect. Don't compare your current relationship with former ones, it's apples and oranges.
Don't compare your partner to other men in your life- There will always be something you like about them more than your current partner but the packaging is usually prettier than the contents.
Of course you're going to start to feel like your man doesn't measure up if you spend all of your time examining his negative traits and comparing them to the positive traits of other guys. Try to focus on what makes your man your man and try to focus on the positive, within reason.
If you're constantly looking for something better, you will miss what's right in front of you.
6. Not Enough Space
Sometimes we fall into the trap of co-dependency and we smother all of the life out of our relationships by not giving them room to grow. People need space to be themselves and that usually means spending time apart from our partners.
A relationship shouldn't be two people blending into one, it should be two distinct personalities working in tandem to help each other grow as human beings.
If you're the type of guy who just can't leave his partner be and who is always sending check-in texts and getting mad or suspicious when you don't get an immediate response, you're probably the problem. If you have to know where your man is every moment of every day and never give him a moment's peace to simply be himself by himself or with his friends, you are sending a message that you either don't trust him or that he is somehow hurting you by just having a normal life.
No relationship can hold up to that pressure for very long.
7. Too Much Space
The amount of time we spend building intimacy with our partner and the amount of time we spend apart being ourselves can be a hard thing to keep in balance. As important as it is to maintain our individuality and personal space, it is equally important to make time to focus on growing closer together.
Unfortunately, this is a thing that gets harder and harder to do as the modern world begins to press in on us more.
It's easy to fall into the trap of "spending time together" only to turn around and spend the whole night scrolling through Facebook and making pithy comments on Twitter. Our jobs can have a major impact on our ability to make time to be a couple, as well.
Whether we need to work more because money is tight or because we are ambitious about our careers, we often put our loved ones on the back burner so we can chase those dollars.
Sure, we all need the money and the sense of purpose that comes with having a career, but we also need the love and companionship that comes from being in a loving, healthy relationship.
The trick is finding a way to balance the two in a world that does everything it can to keep that from happening. It's not easy, but it's worth the effort!