Can We Get A Lil' Love?
I wanted to find out the relationship status of the people who peruse this site (which is not necessarily those who have personals or memberships) so I set up a simple survey. My curiosity was peaked since out of all the people who rant and rage about what kind of relationships work and don’t work, rarely do these folks mention their own relationship status. These entries literally number in the thousands and yet they are all but silent about their own connections. I find this fascinating. Just to be fair, I am single, and have been in relationships in the past, for a total of 15 years.
So, as of 6/19/09 the totals tell us, of those who answered the survey (1,503 people), that about 59 percent are single (889), just under 27 percent are in a sexually exclusive relationship (399), and just about over 14 percent are in relationships that are sexually open in one way or another (205). I don’t think these numbers are surprising revelations. My curiosity lies in how many people might view only the sexually monogamous category as healthy or desirable. “See how many gay boys are single and how many are ‘promiscuous.’ We just can’t settle down. We just can’t commit.”
Just the other day, when a stranger found out I was a sexologist, he confided in me about how hard it was for both his partners, as a threesome, to be taken seriously, even though they had a commitment ceremony, exchanged rings, and had been together for several years. Why is there such a need to pontificate condemnation and judgment? In reality, all kinds of arrangements exist for better or worse, whether we like it or not. Could we be allowing some people to come out of the gay closet, but insisting they hide the rest of their authentic selves? Are we going to condemn and look down on those different from us, just like the one-man-one-woman marriage pushers look down and condemn us?
The truth is, as anyone who has been in one will tell you, a relationship isn’t easy — whatever it looks like. If you’re going to go the distance, it takes trust, vulnerability, collaboration, attention, and lots of work. I commend anyone who takes the plunge and makes those long-term connects.
On that note, with the exception of when a partner dies, why does it seem that all other relationships when at an end, are so often viewed as “failures?” Why do we have to look at these relationships that didn’t go the way we planned in such “everything is bad” terms? If that aforementioned threesome splits someday, why is it so easy to let that confirm the worst things we thought of them? All that seems to generate is more negativity in our own hearts.
Sure, maybe a connection ended in a manner that was not the best, and maybe you didn’t want it to end, but does that mean the whole thing was a waste? Are there no good memories to look back on? Was there nothing learned to help you be a better partner next time? Everything ends. Nothing lasts forever, and it seems to me it takes most of us a few times to get things right. I doubt it serves our well-being to blot out our past relationships with such negativity.
Finally, it’s not just a challenge to be in a relationship, it’s damn near impossible to be happily single in this society! Everywhere we turn there are constant messages that tell the single person that you are not complete unless in a relationship. Furthermore, we seem to be set with the expectations that “it should last forever and it had better be perfect all the time.” Who are making these rules? Why are we so often buying into them, and as a result, we end up feeling “less than?”
This is not to say that relationships aren’t great and that most of us enjoy being in them. However, the truth of the matter is, an enormous segment of the population will be single for most of their lives. The majority of us will be single at the end of our lives. This is not a bad thing. This is the truth. Instead of setting yourself up for disappointment, embrace the possibilities. Don’t be a bitch. The power is in your hands to make your life wonderful whether you’re in a relationship or not.
In these hard time I wonder if the question is not just “brother can you spare a dime,“ but also, “can you spare a little care and respect?” Consider that you are okay wherever you find yourself in this survey, and maybe give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt as well. Whatever connection you find yourself in, or however you create love with those around you, why not be a part of the LGBT community that brings a little more peace, love and understanding?
(Photo: Getty Images)
Dr. Jallen Rix holds a doctorate of education in sexology and specializes in maximizing sexual pleasure for singles and
couples, "ex-gay" recovery, religious abuse and creative approaches to
sex education. You can learn more about Dr. Rix at his website.