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    Learning to Love

    By Scott Tsui–

    Hey people, wake up! We have a life to lead and adventures to discover in relationships. Now is the time to start learning how to go about it. Life is too short not to live it to the fullest.

    We have delved into the first three elements of love, namely self-awareness, motivation and authenticity. Today we’ll cover learning.

    As mentioned in the article on authenticity, we were never taught about coming out and embracing who we are while growing up. We not only lost the opportunity to learn how to date a guy while we were hiding our true identities, but we also lost out on knowing how to begin a relationship. We usually couldn’t ask our parents, guardians, brothers or uncles how to date a guy. Our knowledge about gay relationships often stemmed only from what we heard, read and saw. Mostly, we experimented and worked through relationships purely by trial and error.

    It’s presumed that once we complete higher education, our learning stage is over, except for continued education or training for our profession. Most of us never take the time to study how to build a healthy relationship or the finer art of relating on a romantic level. This is the reason why many gay men cannot distinguish myth from fact and fantasy from reality. Most have no clue about where to start.

    It also explains the reasons why relationships are so often confusing, complicated and intimidating. It’s confusing enough in heterosexual relationships, where more and more people get divorced than ever before. Now we layer a gay relationship with being a new frontier of social acceptability, which before was unspoken. Teenagers often hang out with their friends, and when they see someone they like, they ask each other: “How should I approach them? What should I say?” In decades past, a gay person hardly ever has this natural support and group dynamics of teenage culture to rely on.

    Older generations particularly suffered from this problem, and even those in younger generations, who now have more freedom to be accepted, can still find it difficult, for many reasons. What we need is a framework to begin the learning and discovery process for advice, which can be obtained quite readily online these days.

    We can educate ourselves about relationships; we just need the opportunity to learn and to have the open access and availability of information in a safe environment. Creating healthy relationships is a skill that can be honed in much the same way as we expend time and energy in advancing our education and professional career. It’s important to keep an open mind, be willing to take risks and to be vulnerable with an open heart, and eyes, so that with practice we become better. 

    Relationships are a never-ending learning process, through overcoming life’s challenges. During any relationship, we encounter together joy, but also heartache, tragedy and mishaps. Through the crises, we must learn to adapt and to be a rock for each another when the going gets tough, as well as to celebrate together when life is good.

    Once we have a learner’s mindset and understand that it just takes time to figure things out, with give and take, it helps to diminish feeling intimidated or the need to run away when problems arise. We have a sense of being able to handle situations more readily. The fastest way to master a skillset is to model someone who has already succeeded. There are many avenues where you can gain advice—from reading articles such as this and other books, from people with successful relationships as well as professional relationship coaches. Just keep learning by searching for solutions, and do not give up.

    Three Steps to Finding Love

    1. Become comfortable in your own skin. Before we can find someone to love, we must first learn about ourselves. Discover what is important to you, and what you really need and like. Understand who you are at this stage of your life, and what you want to achieve in future. Look in the mirror and appreciate who you already are and the attributes you can bring to a loving relationship.
    2. Attract the right partner. Do you present yourself in a way that attracts the type of man you desire? Consider the type of person whom you want to be with and the complimentary attributes that he would possess. Attracting the right partner means recognizing what is important not only to yourself, but also to the other individual, and how you can connect in a loving partnership with the same values and sense of adventure on your journey through life together. Once partnered, think of yourselves as a gift to each other.
    3. Sustain the relationship. A relationship entails connecting with someone and staying connected. It includes adaptability and consideration. Yes, there will be times when you are angry with one another and don’t always see eye to eye; that is to be expected and is healthy. The keys are to stay connected and to appreciate the love that you have for one another and the gifts that you both bring into the relationship. Over the course of time, you will go through many experiences together and will build a history that will both enable connection and bring moments of warmth. Hold onto those moments and remember why you fell in love in the first place.

    By maintaining a learner’s mindset, the chances of a successful relationship are substantially increased.

    Scott Tsui is the Relationship Results Coach, author of “Lonely No More – 8 Steps to Find Your Gay Husband” and the creator of the world’s first online gay relationship training: Gay Men Relationship Blueprint. Tsui works to help gay men find, attract and sustain meaningful relationships. For more information: http://scotttsui.com/