“Sometimes I imagine I am Carrie from Sex and the City or Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones Diary; single women (or man in my case) well into their 30s who are still waiting for the right guy to come along,” says Aleem, a gay man from Lahore. Echoing similar views is Nabeel who says that, “Whenever I begin to lose hope that I may never find Him, all I have to do is hum;
‘Kon Hai Wohh?
(Who is He?)
Kahaan Hai Wohh?
(Where is He?)
Kab Aaye Ga?
(When will he come?)
Aa ke Mera ban Jayega!’,
(The one, who when he arrives, would be mine!)
or any other film song to this effect and I feel optimistic all over again.”
Nabeel may have found a novel way to deal with melancholia stemming from his still single status but this makes you wonder how different the situation might be if there were as many good matches for gay men as there are songs about the ideal one. Recent researches on the matter have revealed that gay men are likelier to report romance as the most important thing in a relationship. And when you discuss this with your gay friends you wouldn’t be surprised that most of them are looking to settle down into a long term relationship, with many seeking marriage and children. So if most gay men want love, then why aren’t more gay relationships happening around us?
In gay circles these days, homosexual men are often seen discussing that online dating is more focused on hook ups. And there are fewer men out there looking for commitment and a long term relationship. “Gay dating apps have made connecting with other gay men fast and convenient,” says Ali, a 20 year old gay man. “But these are used mostly just for sex, and I don’t know anyone who found their partner on an app like Grindr. In fact I know more people who developed body image problems using grindr where people are only interested in you if you look like a model,” he adds further. Despite his views of gay dating apps, Ali too likes to flick through profiles of shirtless men on Grindr hoping to be surprised while he waits for Mr. Right. So in the time and age of online dating apps why is it so hard for gay men to find love?
“There is nothing intrinsic to being homosexual that prevents LGBT persons from committing to a partner in a manner similar to straight couples,” says a clinical psychologist from Lahore. “A person’s sexuality has nothing to do with having stable or unstable relationships. Only the people in a relationship make it stable or unstable, not their sexuality or gender,” she further elaborates. Since relationships are about connection between two people or more, it is important to remember that gay relationships are not much different. However, growing up in a heterosexual society where there are no gay role models, it gets difficult for most gay men to model a healthy relationship.
When quizzed about the same, one gay man on condition of anonymity said that, “I am still single because I do not think anyone can love me.” As heartbreaking as hiss confession may seem, he is not the only one who feels this way. “Many in LGBT community consider them unworthy of love,” explains the psychologist from Lahore. “The reason for this low self-worth is that few of them grow up unscathed by family, peers, and a society which is hostile to their attractions and behaviors. Most of them are bullied as children and abused; physically, verbally, and emotionally by peers and family members. And all of this happened before they were able to recognize and understand their same-sex attractions,” she further elucidates. The hostilities that gay men face are not forgotten overnight, and the wounds they create, take time to heal, due to which most gay men would often report feeling unworthy of love, affection and happiness.
So what could gay men like Aleem and Nabeel do to not lose hope in their search for a life partner? The psychologist from Lahore believes, “The best advice I can give is to stop creating obstacles to safeguard your ego and get proactive. And in the meantime while you look for him, do the things in life that excite you and motivate you. Do not hold back and live your life.”