The Gay Love Coach
© Brian L. Rzepczynski, MSW, CC. All Rights Reserved.
Ok, guys, let’s face it. Dating can be a frustrating process when you’re single and on the market for a long-term committed relationship. Trying to find a compatible guy for romance and companionship can make you feel like banging your head against the wall sometimes as you struggle to figure out where to meet these men in the first place, and then to go through the whole screening process…it can feel like a full-time job sometimes!
But what happens if you are HIV+ and looking for love?
I get letters frequently from single men with HIV who voice difficulties with the gay dating scene trying to find people to date. Dating can be hard enough at times, but for those with health issues or disabilities, the problems can be compounded and the sense of hopelessness and uncertainty doubled as these men question whether love is even possible for them in a gay culture that seems fixated on shallow definitions of what makes a man attractive and “viable.”
I’m not going to sugar-coat things. The harsh reality is that having HIV can complicate the process of meeting people for dating and can make it more difficult.
The availability pool for dating prospects will be reduced because there are a percentage of men who will not date HIV+ guys. That being said, having HIV does not preclude you to a permanent life of singlehood unless you choose that lifestyle consciously.
The fact of the matter is that you can realize and live the dream of having a life partner if that’s your vision. Vast numbers of HIV+ gay men are currently enjoying long-term relationships and you, too, can join these ranks if that is your desire. This article will offer some strategies and suggestions for improving your dating success to empower you to “go for it” and keep the motivation burning for your boyfriend quest.
First Things First--Getting Out of Your Own Way
The first step for any gay man who wants to find his Mr. Right is to ensure that he is ready for love in the first place, which entails making sure his life is on solid ground, that he has dealt with any past “baggage” that could interfere with his efforts, and ensuring he has the emotional muscles and skills needed to navigate through all sorts of relationships. The second step is to define his vision for what he is seeking in a partner, in a relationship, and for his life. This provides a guidepost whereby you can measure your progress toward your goals and dreams. This requires a great deal of self-awareness and knowledge about who you are and what you stand for as you go about creating a list of your negotiable and non-negotiable needs that you then use to help you screen potential dating partners for their suitability against your vision.
As an HIV+ man, part of your readiness work will involve developing an acceptance of your disease. As with any illness or health issue, one goes through a grieving process; the degree to which you accept and feel “OK” with your health status, the greater your self-esteem can be to where it doesn’t become a personal impediment in your dating efforts. Many HIV+ men have shared with me that they feel “defective” and believe there’s something inherently wrong with them because of their status and this can be a huge obstacle to self-acceptance; not only that, but you then unconsciously send out certain “vibes” outwardly that reflect this poor self-image, which could work against your efforts to attract a mate.
It’s important that you adequately grieve your health status and work through any feelings that come up for you around this. This takes time and can’t be rushed. Remember that you are not your HIV; HIV is just a part of you and you have many other parts of your life that need feeding as well; spread the emphasis so there’s more appropriate balance and well-being. Having a strong self-esteem is an important prerequisite to dating and the impact having HIV has on this for you needs to be worked through. Feeling good about yourself will make you feel attractive and confident, qualities that others will likely find appealing and magnetic.
Exercise: Write about some of the ways that you feel having HIV has been affecting your dating life. If you can’t get a date, is it really because of your status, or is it perhaps something else about yourself that you could work on? What are some of the ways that you might hold yourself back from proactively dating? Do you possibly have fears of intimacy? It’s not all that uncommon for those men with intimacy issues to use their HIV status as a way to ward off closeness with others as much as they may feel that’s not the case. Develop goals for combating any of your self-imposed barriers to dating or enlist the services of a trained therapist or coach for support and guidance.
Where To Meet Men...
Continue Reading, Part 2 >
Brian Rzepczynski, Certified Personal Life Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: "I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right." Sign up for the free Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating and relationship tips and skills for gay singles and couples, and find information on coaching groups, programs, and teleclasses, visit The Gay Love Coach online.