Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
And How To Connect In Person Off The Internet.
By Angelo Pezzote, MA
I am a 19 year old guy in a very serious relationship for almost 18 months, and I am unsure now whether I want to be. I am madly in love with my partner. However, sometimes I lust after other beautiful guys. I am puzzled as to what to do. Please help.
Signed, Betwixt Boy
Dear Betwixt Boy,
Having these different feelings can be confusing. I am going to break consensus thinking and say your feelings are perfectly normal. Try not to feel guilty.
Feelings of lust, romance and commitment are powerful urges - but they are separate. This means we all have the ability to lust after someone in a video we are watching, while we are having a romantic affair with someone else at the office, while we are committed in a long term partnership with yet someone else at home. We each have the potential to "love" three different people, in these three different ways, all at the same time! In Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, Dr. Fisher's groundbreaking research finds that lust, romance and commitment are three distinct human drives hardwired into our brains. These basic drives are as potent as hunger and direct our behavior for their own purposes.
Lust energizes gay men to get out and sample men amongst a variety of men. Romantic love allows us to choose only one of those men at a time to focus and conserve our mating energy. Commitment allows us to feel emotionally engaged with that man long enough to stick around to help each other survive better.
Interestingly, each drive influences the other. Romance, for example, lasts for up to 18 months - the exact time you have been in your relationship! As commitment feelings like security, calmness, and unity increase between a couple (after 18 months), feelings of lust and romance fall between them. This seems to be because lust and romance help us to seek and choose a long term partner. Once we have that partner we no longer have to woo them. But the lust and romance drives do not go away. So we begin to desire others. For men especially, this 'wanting someone other than my partner' drive enables us to spread our seed quick and far. This trait is very desirable from an evolutionary point of view.
Wandering feelings and fantasies are human and natural. Since they are just thoughts and feelings they are OK. Acting on them is another matter. We all have a dual capacity for monogamy or not. Monogamy boils down to choice. We each have values and will power. So biology is not our destiny. Men can absolutely override unfaithful drives. But it can be hard. Whatever you decide, there needs to be clear, honest respectful communication between you and your partner around this issue.
I'm single and met a guy online. How do I go about asking him to meet for real?
Signed, New Prospects
Dear New Prospects,
Suggest meeting in a popular, public busy place like Starbucks. Somewhere like that is safe, easy to find, easy to leave and not easy for the drama queens to make a scene. For friends and dating, make it about a half-hour meeting unless he is not what he said. Then it is perfectly fine to respectfully say so and exit: "I am looking for a work-out partner. I do not recognize you as the athletic guy in the picture. This is not a match for me, sorry." Make this first encounter brief, it is just an introduction not a marriage proposal (tell your lesbian friends). If it goes well, resist pouring your soul out for three hours! Instead, schedule a second longer meeting. To build a foundation of greater intimacy, do not have sex the first few meetings unless you are looking for hookups.
Hookup surveillance can be just five minutes. A good line if you are not interested can be just "Sorry guy, not a match." In the context of strictly sexual sites, the rest is understood and is usually not taken personally. If you are interested, be sure to talk about HIV status and play safe.
The important thing overall is to be aware of your own expectations. Do not set yourself up to meet the perfect love of your life. Repel the urge to write a Cinderella story in your head. Keep an open mind. Try not to get too disappointed. Few people will be exactly like they say or look in their profile.
Many of us have very specific turn-ons we are looking for. Then we try to plug others into those flawless pictures in our heads. We get mad at them when they do not fit. Remember these desires are about us. They are not about deficiencies in the other person. Own your preferences without putting others down. Try "Sorry, I liked the red head in your profile" not "Later Blondie, you are an ugly liar."
In general, try trashing attitude. It is not inviting. Download warmth and friendliness with other gay men. We are all in this together. Most importantly be yourself and respect others. You will then get "hits" both online and off.
About Angelo... For more information, visit www.askangelo.com.
Angelo is a registered MFT intern applying for licensure.
Angelo Pezzote, MA, All Rights Reserved