opinion

Single & Fabulous? | Why do we choose the wrong men?

Anthony Gilet ponders why taken men are willing to kiss single hopefuls

2018-10-19

I kissed a taken man. Again.

Not on purpose, obviously, but it was reaching a point now where I could picture all of the spouses of the men I’d messed around with gathering in a city hall to discuss how to rid the home-wrecking wench from town.

But what’s interesting about these men is that they fail to mention they have a boyfriend… unless they’re trying to make you the filling of a meathead sandwich.

Like, you forgot to mention that you own a house and live with someone? Obviously not. But this disclosure could obstruct their end goal: sex with someone that isn’t the person they own a house and live with.

Perhaps they factor it a non-issue because their boyfriend doesn’t care, and they can’t fathom that any other gay man might actually be looking for more than a five-minute fumble.

In the words of woke white woman Charlotte Yorke: “I am not interested in starting some married man’s car.”

But also, they don’t really act like they’ve got a man. Kissing someone is one thing, but telling someone you’re “on a high” from them and that you “enjoyed every second” with them is a bit much. But I guess that’s what happens when you make out with guys who are on ecstasy.

On the one hand, he was just a boy I’d drunkenly kissed so why cry over spilt vodka? But on the other, it was far from the first boy who’d shown an interest when he was already involved with someone: so what kind of side-bitch vibe was I giving off?

And it wasn’t just coupled guys either. Unavailable men were the dish of the day for the last decade.

Firstly: it’s chemical. When we’re separated from our loved ones at a younger age (by death, divorce or a break-up), the stress causes our corticosterone to spike, which is similar to the withdrawal symptoms a drug addict experiences.

Only when we have that close bond with someone again can the oxytocin ease our separation anxiety.

Well, it’s not the first time chems have ruined a relationship, but at least our ability to sift out assholes is less to do with us choosing them, and more to do with choosing anyone that can end our single angst.

Another theory is our ‘attractions of deprivation’; where we get wrapped up in men who can almost commit; the ones that treat us well before disappearing entirely.

The nature of these relationships makes them hard to shake off because they’re often intense and addictive. Like Crystal Meth or crunchy peanut butter.

One of the reasons we form these attractions is that we seek them out to repeat past abandonment issues or rejection. Although it hurts, familiarity is often more comfortable than happiness.

It’s why many people avoid relationships to begin with, and so we enter this complete clusterfuck of commitment-phobia: Was I the one who was afraid of commitment or was it the men I was picking? Or was I choosing men that couldn’t commit because deep-down I couldn’t commit either?

Well, psychologist Ken Page believes that we all suffer from flight patterns, (choosing the wrong men, avoiding social situations altogether, endless chatting without meeting up, choosing hook-ups over relationships, not being authentic), and to be fair, those behaviours could describe pretty much anyone who is alive and gay in 2018.

He believes that only when we flee our own flight patterns, and live as our authentic self, (allowing the false self we have created to protect the vulnerability of the authentic self, to fall away) will we find true love. As ultimately, any man we attract as our false self will be wrong for us.

For the first time in years, my resilience and optimism toward dating was wearing thin. And perhaps that was actually a good thing.

Often we need to reach a breaking point of our bad dating patterns before we can fix them. A bit like how some people spend six years in a turbulent relationship, get their heart broken, then evolve into a changed, stronger person.

Although instead of one bad boyfriend it’s just hundreds of horrendous mini ones.

Dating expert Matthew Hussey believes that the thing we often break-up with someone for later down the line, is something that we could’ve spotted on the first date if we were looking. Or not actively ignoring in favour of other desirable traits.

So perhaps it was partly just recognising red flags sooner, and not giving certain types of men the time of day. Let alone your entire weekend and five-star head.

But also living as our authentic selves; I knew I wasn’t afraid to commit, but was I ready to open myself up to an intimacy that leaves us so vulnerable? Definitely.

Or at worst, I’d just have to Angelina Jolie my future husband.

Anthony Gilét is a London-based writer, blogger and YouTuber – follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

To read more from the Single & Fabulous? series click here.