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Boyfriend 101: Meet your #RelationshipGoals

Dos, Don’ts and other useful gay guidelines to making 2017 the year you finally keep a man

By Mike Fleming

We know, Oprah. You don’t need a man to define or complete you. But that doesn’t mean that a good man isn’t hard – or desirable – to find. So you did that. Now you see he’s even harder to keep.

If the timing is right, and a fulltime partner instead of your next ex is your goal, there are some things you can do to make sure that this is your year to make it happen.

If you’re dating and ready to take it to the next level, or you’re about to embark on another date-him-awhile excursion with no guide, these tips from gay relationship expert and life coach Rick Clemons have us all atwitter with possibility and anticipation.

Defined Parameters
“How you and your guy define your relationship determines whether you and your guy screw it up royally or masterfully make things work,” Clemons writes “It’s all about boundaries and agreements, both of which need to be checked and discussed about every three-to-six months. Thinking about an open relationship? Define “open.” Out loud. Open relationships in themselves aren’t the mistake guys make. Clemons makes it simple “No boundaries, no agreements, no relationship. Period!”

Clingy vs. Aloof
There’s a balance to a good relationship.

“Nothing’s more embarrassing than having a trail of toilet paper clinging to your sneaker as you walk out of the men’s locker room into the free weights area at the gym,” Clemons jokes. “No, that’s not true. It’s actually more embarrassing to be too clingy or not clingy enough in your gay relationship. Find the balance.”

Be Exact & Follow Up
Your gay relationship is on thin ice if you’re communicating by assuming you said something clearly and later finding that what you said actually meant nothing.

“Hello, it’s time for “Gay Relationship Rescue Plan Numero Uno,” Clemons advises. “Speak to communicate, listen to learn, and validate what you think you heard. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking what you said is what your guy heard. And no, it’s not about his earwax removal.”

You do you.
No matter how comfortable you get being part of a “we,” don’t forget to believe in yourself, and practice self love and respect as a “me.” That means admitting when a relationship has gone sour.

“No matter how much money he has, available party favors, to die for sex, or the size of his loft apartment, if the relationship sucks, it sucks,” Clemons says. “It’s a false sense of comfort to believe ‘If I leave, I’ll be single and that’s bad.’ Yes, you’ll end up single, but you might actually be happier, and isn’t that what you’re really after?”

Trust. Trust Again. Repeat.
You should both feel free to do your own thing with your own group of friends, but don’t make things more complicated than they have to be.

“One of the biggest gay relationship mistakes is sucking the life out of your gay relationship with a one-way train ticket to ‘Distrustville,’” says Clemons. “Distrust me once, shame on you. Distrust me twice, see ya!”

Live Together
When the timing is right, take the plunge and don’t live separate lives.

“I’m not advocating first date, U-Haul truck, move-in immediately, white picket fence warp-speed relationships,” Clemons says, half-joking. “And I also understand that sometimes, things get in the way, like the question of ‘How would I hook up with other people if we’re living together?’ If that’s your priority, maybe it’s time to rethink this whole relationship thing.

“If you can’t live with your man, what other relationships in your life aren’t you able to live with? How you do anything is how you do everything!”

Hookup Apps aren’t for ‘Friends’
Apps have overtaken all of our lives, but let’s call a spade a spade. If you’re on Grindr, say so and admit it’s not for “making friends.”

“I hear of more and more gay men, me included, who use gay-specific apps like Grindr, Scruff and the like, for ‘networking.’ Honestly,” Clemons writes with an eye roll. “Look, if you can’t be fully honest in your gay relationship about your app fetish or extracurricular activities, then your gay relationship won’t be honest with you.”

Put it to the Test
“Every healthy gay relationship gets tested,” Clemons asserts. “Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a healthy gay relationship. We push buttons, ignore needs, and think we’re the only one not getting the attention we desire.

“Assuming your gay relationship is above being tested is a mistake. Test, test, test, or the relationship could go to rest. Test out of love for yourself, for him, and for the good of the relationship.

Talk About Money
If you can’t talk about the big stuff, then the rest of the talks are just fluff.

“Not that money is everything, but when you start analyzing the water bill based on who was home more on which days of the month, it might be time to have a real conversation,” Clemons says. “Let’s not nickel and dime each other’s spending habits in our heads, rather than banking on the fact that a real conversation about the state of the finances could lead to more cash in the love bank.”

Let’s Talk About Sex
Even though our reputations sometimes say otherwise, gay men are just as likely to avoid talking about bedroom issues as the rest of the world. Release the hangups, according to Clemons.

What doesn’t get talked about doesn’t get done,” he says. “How much fun is that? (Answer: not very).”

In closing Clemons leaves us all with one good reminder:

“There are no mistakes: only purposeful lessons we all learn as we live, learn and grow. Now go find your man, give him a big, old smooch, slap him on his adorable butt, and tell him you love him. He may wonder what’s gotten into you, but he’ll also definitely feel good to know that he still turns your crank.”

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