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    The Risk of Dating Unavailable Men

    By Scott Tsui–

    During a recent visit to Southern California, I caught up with Spencer, a 50-year-old gay man. I met Spencer five years ago at a social event in Palm Springs. At the time, he told me that he was single and wanted to find a partner. Spencer was thrilled when I contacted him, and he was excited to see me.

    While sipping cocktails at The Abbey in West Hollywood, Spencer told me about his five-year relationship with Sam, an older man in his sixties. Before they met, Sam was dating Nick, a 47-year-old restaurant manager from Phoenix. Sam was commuting between L.A. and Phoenix to maintain the relationship. Despite being aware of Nick’s involvement, Spencer willingly became involved with Sam. Sam and Nick eventually married last year, and they now live together in Palm Springs. Spencer was deeply hurt and claims to have moved on, hanging out with Sam and Nick despite knowing that Sam still has feelings for him. Sam becomes jealous whenever Spencer is approached by other men or has anyone express an interest in him.

    Spencer’s situation is not at all uncommon in the gay community. Research studies in the U.S. and U.K. indicate approximately fifty percent of gay men have been, or are, in open relationships. This explains the number of partnered or married men outsourcing their sexual needs on the many hookup apps. While some single men enjoy “no ties, no strings” fun with partnered/married men, others become emotionally attached for various reasons. These reasons may be the power trip, the sense of satisfaction from fooling around with someone’s significant other, an unintentional attachment or simply an enjoyment of the drama. The end result often brings hurt, disappointment or heartache, or simply wasted time, emotions and energy.

    I have met men who spend years with partnered or married men in an open relationship, in the hope that someday their man will choose them over their partner. Those having fun with partnered men, while searching for their own partner, often fall in a dangerous trap in which the habit becomes hard to break. Their emotional entanglement with an unavailable man eventually leads to disappointment and heartbreak.

    Sadly, those men who don’t consider the consequences often fall into a pattern of chasing men who are unavailable, repeating the same mistakes, and eventually adopting the “all the good men are taken” mentality. This manner of thinking is dangerous because it discourages exploration of what’s possible, leading instead to feelings of despair and hopelessness.

    On the contrary, some men in search of long-term relationships cautiously stated that they refuse to date partnered, married or cheating men. These men know what they want and understand the danger of unnecessary strain and drama that comes with getting involved with this group of men. They would rather invest their time and energy in men who have the potential to become a long-term partner, and they portray those standards that attract men who expect likewise. The safest way to avoid involvement in a love triangle is not to give it the chance to form.

    As for Spencer, he was honest enough to admit that he liked the drama, but finally realized the price that he was paying. After investing five years of his life in a relationship that ended in an unexpected way, he admitted to having learned his lesson. He has realized that time is precious and flies by fast, and that he should work on ensuring he does not waste another five years on someone he can’t have.

    If every story has a silver lining, then Spencer’s story would be that he enjoyed five years of fun and now knows what he doesn’t want. And that will take him one step closer to finding his dream man.

    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: