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The realm of gay dating has seen some major changes over the years. As gay hookups have gone from back alley trysts to the mainstream, the rules of engagement of gay dating have changed radically as well. Whether you’re trying to put yourself back out after some time away or are just beginning your journey of dating men, here are six tried and true pieces of advice that I wish someone told me before I started dating.

1. There is no one correct definition of dating

First of all, what exactly IS dating? Does that word even mean anything anymore? Are we living in a post-dating word? These are the questions that you need to be asking yourself. Deprogram all the bullshit that Hollywood has taught you about what love is supposed to look like. Don’t compromise for the sake of some relationship aesthetic you're aiming for. Find a way of loving that makes sense to you and be true to it.

2. It’s okay to not be interested in the first few men you meet

Similarly, you shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations that the first guy you date will magically be the one that you settle down with forever. It’s just statistically unlikely, so it’s okay to play the field for a while until your find someone who you think is worthy of investing time to build a lasting relationship.

3. If you’re coming from the world of dating women, be prepared to get a lot more attention at bars

Also, for my bi fellas or anyone who is going from dating women to dating men, be ready for the bar experience to feel somewhat different. In general, you probably will find that gay men at bars will be more up front about their feelings. Prepare to have lots of dudes approaching you and flirting. Don’t let his overwhelm you when you’re just starting out. Feel free to take these guys up on their offers, but also be ready to politely turn them down.

4. Partying isn’t always the best way to meet someone

Another piece of advice that I think many of us have learned the hard way is that partying is not always the best way to meet people. Especially when there are social lubricants and libations flowing, the “beer goggles” effect is definitely real. You don’t want to sober up one day and find yourself stuck in a relationship that’s only good when you’re fucked up.

5. Be careful with nudes

This is kind of a no-brainer these days, but just, ya’ll need to be careful about sending nudes. And that’s for a couple reasons. First, like we’ve written about on this blog before, sending unsolicited nudes is generally not what you want to be doing. If you do find yourself engaging in some wholesome exchanging of lewd photos, just be wise about who and what you’re sending.

6. You’re complete already and don’t need someone else in your life to feel whole

Finally, the most important thing that I wish someone had told me before I started dating was that I don’t need a romantic partner in my life to feel whole. Everyone is complete and whole and perfect as they are. Learning to love yourself and be happy while you’re alone is an extremely valuable life skill.

When you just start dating, especially as a gay man, it’s bound to terrifying. But if you heed these bits of advice, then your road to finding true love will hopefully be a bit smoother.

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*** Andrew Christian Inc. does not claim rights to any images posted in this blog post. If you find your picture here and would like to have it credited or removed please email [email protected]

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