Saturday, December 23, 2006
"Still Looking For The Right One?"
This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to sit in on a dynamic workshop on the state of black gay men seeking relationships. The workshop was hosted through In the Meantime Men (ITM), a L.A. based men's support and empowerment group for gay SGL men and their allies.
The facilitator for this discussion was Dr. Roger Quinney, a licensed clinical social worker, psychological counselor, retired Unity Fellowship Church Reverend, and Ph.D. Candidate. Dr. Roger presented himself as a sharp, down to earth, well informed brotha who actually gives a damn about the mental health and wellness of gay black men. There are VERY FEW psychologists that target gay black men, so it was a real treat to have him present for us. And let me tell you, he brought it for the kids, young and old. This workshop was informative, engaging, and at several moments a HOT ASS MESS. Quite a few of the men in the group were KILLING it with their crazy ass comments and messy commentary...TREMENDOUS ENTERTAINMENT VALUE. I wish I had a video or tape recorder to capture some of dramatics that went down. Well hell, what do you expect? When black gay men talk about sex and relationships, you can guarantee things are gonna get SERIOUS. And they did.
Although I was much entertained by the personal accounts and cunty arguments that ensued, I left the workshop with some very useful information. Here are a few bits of material from the workshop that Dr. Roger printed for us. If you are at a point (like me) where you are looking for the "right one", I hope this material is useful.
Also, Dr. Quinney maintains a private practice in Los Angeles for you brothas and sistas out there that may need the support of a professional. Here's some contact info:
Roger Quinney, L.C.S.W.
Quinney & Associates
Counseling and Counseling Firm
Don't sleep on counseling! I'm seeing a counselor myself, and I highly recommend EVERYBODY see one at least once or twice. With that being said, ENJOY the material!
WHERE IS HE? "STILL LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT ONE"
The challenges of same gender loving people are often the need for companionship, or that special person in your life. The barrier is often defining the relationships and what you are really looking for in a person.
Where is he?
The statement "Where is he?" is your own perception of reality. The perfect person is generally in your head but the realities are based upon your behaviours and interactions with others.
Where is he?
You generally find that Black men are seeking other Black men that are physically attractive, intelligent, sensitive, stable, responsible, and lastly reliable. Is this a reality or a fantasy?
Where is he?
Ok, let's take a look at your own personal life experiences and reflect on them. What was your childhood like (i.e. relationships with parents, brothers, and sisters, etc.)? When did you become aware of your sexual orientation or sexual preferences (rule out any sexual abuse that may have occured). The key factor you must have before you can share your life with another person is you must know who you are as a person. Why is this?
Now that the matter of who you are is hopefully cleared up or a work in progress, let us take a look at all of the men who have come and gone in your life. What was the key factor for involving yourself in these relationships? Mutual physical attraction? Sex? Attention? Career advancement? Affection? Did you date before you had sex, or did you have sex and then tried to date? It is important to consider the sex roles you have played in these relationships and how it felt for you (top, bottom, versatile). Also consider the HIV/STI status of yourself, or your previous partners. Did this have an affect on your relationship? Did you live together with your partners? Who was responsible for the finances, cooking, and taking care of the home?
Where is he?
Let us always be mindful that the key to any relationship is COMMUNICATION. That is, to listen, share, and observe the behaviors of your potential partner. Unfortunately, one of the barriers in SGL relationships is COMMITMENT. Is the concept of monogamy a challenge for SGL people? It has been my experience that this concept of being monogamous is a learned behavior, which is often developed by having single, heterosexual people as the ideal model. Is this appropriate? Are there any good examples of committed, long-term SGL couples to be used as the model instead?
Where is he?
We must understand the person we seek is often a fantasy that be conjured up in our minds as the 'man of our dreams' without considering the faults and flaws we all carry. Therefore, we must always reach out to others and be friendly to one another regardless of if he/she does not meet your expectations. You never know...that initial 'frog' in your life may be your knight in shining armor.
DR. QUINNEY'S WORDS OF WISDOM: IF A MAN WANTS YOU
If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away.
If a man doesn't want you, nothing can make him stay.
Stop making excuses for man and his behavior. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.
Stop trying to change yourselves for a relationship that's just not meant to be.
Slower is BETTER.
Never live your life for a man before you find what truly makes you happy.
If a relationship ends because the man was not treating your as you deserve to be treated, then HELL NO, you can't "be friends". A 'friend' wouldn't mistreat a friend.
Don't settle for mediocrity. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is. Do not stay because you think "it will get better". You will be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better.
The only person you can control in a relationship is YOU!
Avoid men who have a bunch of children by a bunch of different women or men. He didn't marry them when he got them pregnant, so why would he treat you any differently?
Always have your own set of friends separate from your man's.
Maintain boundaries concerning how a man treats you. If you don't let your boundaries be know, you give him free reign to walk all over you.
If something bothers you...SPEAK UP! Men are notorious for being unable to read minds.
Never let a man know EVERYTHING about you too early. He may decide to use that vulnerability against you later.
You cannot CHANGE a man's behavior. This kind of change comes from within.
Don't ever let a man feel he is more important than you...even if has more materially than you. You have more to offer than materialism...your time, you patience, your listening, and your sharing of your heart.
If a man is always "too busy", it's time to MOVE ON! He just isn't into you. Just like we said earlier, if a man wants you, nothing will keep him away. If he is really into you he will MAKE time for you.
OK THATS IT FOLKS! Good luck with finding "the one". He or she is out there, but don't discount who you are as a beautiful person just to satisfy the needs or wants of somebody else. The way I see it, the partner for you will BUILD you up and make you a BETTER person, not tear you down or downplay your mental/physical/spiritual/emotional growth. But hey, that's just me.
Do you have any thoughts about finding "The Right One"?