handsome bearDear Michael:  
I was in a long-term relationship that recently ended.  I was faithful to my boyfriend and (to my knowledge) he was faithful to me.  Now that I’m single, I am meeting all these gay men in “committed” relationships who just want to have sex with me.   What the hell is wrong with people?  Why isn’t anyone faithful anymore?
Pissed off in Pacific Beach


Dear Mr. Faithful:

I imagine it’s pretty hard to end a long-term relationship.  You’ve been out of the dating scene for quite a while.  Give yourself plenty of time to readjust.  Keep your expectations reasonable and realize that it usually takes about 6 months after a long-term relationship for the “shock” to really wear off.  The transition to being single doesn’t happen overnight:  it’s a process, not an event.  Getting used to being on your own is bound to be tough, whether your relationship was monogamous or not.

And let’s talk about monogamy.  Just because your relationship was monogamous, doesn’t mean it’s the perfect model for everyone.  If it worked for you, great.  It doesn’t work for everyone.  It sounds like the monogamy issue pushes your buttons.  If so, own it and take responsibility for your reactions.  I’d even suggest a little introspection to see why non-monogamy or “open” relationships bother you so.

You say that “married” gay guys are hitting on you.  Fair enough.  Maybe it’s all about them.  But, are you willing to look at your possible part in all of this?  For example, are you doing something to attract them?

I wonder if you are meeting single men too.  If not, perhaps you’ve got something going on where you are attracting “unsuitable” guys (e.g., not single).  Why not take a look at your own motivation:  what is it you want right now?  Do you want to have fun and date?  Do you want to find someone great to settle down with?  If you don’t know what you want, you may be putting out mixed signals.  Again, take responsibility for your part in this.

Do you remember what flirting is?  Perhaps your memory is a bit hazy.   While some guys take flirting as playful fun; other guys may take flirting as a sign that you’d like to have sex with them.  Could this be your situation?  Maybe you think you’re just being friendly and outgoing and it’s being misinterpreted as “I’m available for sex and you look good to me”.

Many relationships are not 100% monogamous.  Is this a crime?  Many of my clients in long-term relationships tell me that their relationships go through cycles of being “open” and “closed”.  In previous columns, I’ve written about the joys and perils of each.  Neither is better, they’re just different.

See if you can stop judging people and accept that these guys find you attractive.  You simply need a gracious way of saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” to the married men who find you hot.  Tell them something like:  “I’m flattered, but I’m really looking for single guys”.  By saying something like that, you’re being gracious to them and putting out what it is you really want.

Eventually, the married guys will leave you alone and the single guys will get the message.  Who knows?  Maybe these “married” guys will introduce you to their single friends, if you graciously rebuff their advances, rather than condemning them.

Condemning someone rarely gets you anywhere:  politely telling people what you DO want is likely to get you much further.