32 Things Gay/Bi Men Should Never Do In Healthy Relationships
Relationships are tough. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. We all wish there was a set of hard and fast rules to make them work, but there aren't. That said, there are still some things that men in romantic relationships with other men should do their best to avoid.
Yes, some of these things are helpful tips for people of all genders in any relationship, but you’ll notice that a number of the things listed are specific to gay/bi men. Either way, if you're curious, here are 32 tips on things you should maybe not do if you want to keep your relationship lasting.
1. Compare yourself to him
When you’re in a different-sex relationship, it’s much harder to compare yourself to your partner directly. But if you’re a man dating another man, it’s difficult NOT to compare yourself to your spouse. Nevertheless, try your best not to. Nothing good can come from this. You are two different people with different strengths and weaknesses. He may have a better body, but you’re a kinder person. He may make more money, but you may help more people. You want someone to balance you, because of this, there will be things he is better at than you are and that's 100 percent ok.
2. Compare him to your exes
Comparing your new man to your old man is a big no-no. He’s not supposed to be like the guys who came before him. They’re exes for a reason. You don’t want to be dating someone who’s exactly like your ex. That relationship didn’t work out!
3. Tolerate homophobic remarks from family
You or he may come from a homophobic family who calls your sexual identity a “lifestyle.” They also may harass you with other homophobic remarks. A healthy same-sex couple does not tolerate homophobia from family. If your family harasses your partner with intolerant remarks, stand up for him.
4. Don't get jealous of random guys
It’s tough not to get jealous when guys check him out and not you — or guys always flirt with him and not you. It makes you feel like the uglier one in the relationship. And if you are, so what? It means you’re dating up. It means he likes you for more than your looks. It means you’re a real, awesome person!
5. Lie about your wants, needs or desires
Don’t say you’re ok being in an open relationship if you’re not. Don’t claim you’re not looking for something serious if you are. Similarly, don’t lie in the other direction, because you’re afraid of hurting his feelings. Don’t say you’re ok with a serious relationship if you’re not. Be honest about what you want from him and the relationship.
6. You can say "no"
It’s surprisingly difficult to say, “no,” especially to the people we really care about. (Unless, you’re a bitchy queen, then it's probably not that hard.) But it's crucial in a relationship to be able to say, “no” whenever you feel uncomfortable.
7. Not reciprocating sexually
You need to be generous lovers, doing things for both you and him. A relationship with a selfish lover never works out (unless it’s a particular BDSM/kink dynamic).
8. Belittle him
A little joke here or there is fine, but constant jokes are no longer funny. Embarrassing your partner repeatedly or belittling him in front of his friends is not acceptable.
9. Force him into the closet
Yes, there are some circumstances when a boyfriend asks you to closet yourself in front of an old, dying homophobic grandma or something like that, but I’d say 95 percent of the time, he shouldn’t ask you to closet yourself. It took him years to come out. The struggle was real. You’re asking too much of your partner to re-closet himself, even if it’s for a short period.
10. Ask him to give up his friends
This is a form of manipulation and abuse. Some men use their insecurities, neediness, and tears to manipulate you into doing things. One of those big things is giving up your friends to spend time with him. If this happens, leave the relationship. He is manipulating you.
11. Get jealous when he checks out other guys
Or let me rephrase this. You can get jealous, but don’t get angry or do anything rash. Please, feel free to call him out on it, especially if he makes a bad habit of checking out guys way too conspicuously. But remember, he’s human. There’s no harm in looking as long as he doesn’t touch.
12. Spend too much time on your phone
It is so rude and annoying. Yes, if you’re both lying in bed, on your phones, and making small talk, that’s fine. But during dinner, or when he’s trying to have a real conversation, get off your damn phone!
13. Make him read your mind
I had an ex tell me, “I just want you to know that I want that.” How? Queer men are many things, but a mind reader is not one of them. Don’t expect anything. If you need something, and it’s important to you, make the clear. Be direct. Be upfront. Be honest.
14. Let arguments fester until you explode
I can’t even begin to tell you how guilty I am of this. Do your best not to stew in negative emotions. If something is upsetting you, you need to say something to avoid festering in it. Otherwise, what ends up happening is you get furious at something relatively trivial because you’ve been harboring such negative emotions towards your partner.
15. Take a nasty tone with him
Disagreements happen. We screw up. But no matter what, no matter how angry you get, you need to treat him with respect. This means you can never take up a nasty tone with him, no matter how annoyed you are.
16. Make him feel unsafe
This should be obvious, right? Sadly, that’s far from the case. Oftentimes, because we have trouble saying no (see reason #6) our partner gently pressures us into doing something that we don’t feel comfortable doing. Don’t be that partner. You should know if your partner has trouble saying no to things. Don’t take advantage of that. You should be doing the opposite -- really making sure he feels comfortable and safe because you know he’s not likely to say no to you.
17. Bring up any and everything during a fight
A fight or argument should focus on a particular issue. You either did this one thing, or you have a tendency to repeatedly do these group of stuff that I don't appreciate. The conversation should be about that one issue. Don’t bring up every single little thing that he has ever done wrong that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. If those things bother you too, save them for another time and conversation where you can focus on those specific topics.
18. Forbid him to talk to all exes
I was kind of torn about putting this on here, but I think it’s important to add. I don’t talk to serious exes. I’m friends with many guys I dated/slept with casually, but men I’ve previously loved and had a very intense relationship with, I don’t talk to. In my opinion, nothing good can come from it. For me, it’s tough to move on when I’m still friends with a close ex. And frankly, I don’t need any more friends. Nevertheless, many gay men are still friends with guys they seriously dated. Good for them! You need to trust your partner when he says they’re just friends. You can’t forbid him from talking to exes. You don’t own him like that. You can express your reservations about it (e.g., You know his ex was manipulative, so you’re wary of their friendship), but you can’t force him to do anything.
19. Blame him for everything
Everything is not his fault. Sometimes it’s your fault and sometimes, it’s no one's fault. Shit just happens. Don’t blame him for everything that goes wrong.
20. Secretly using hookup apps
So this pertains more to when you’re just starting a serious relationship, right as you’re getting to know him. Don’t be on hookup or dating apps when you’re with him. If I'm honest, I have done this in the past. I’d check my Grindr/Tinder when he went to the bathroom to see if another guy has messaged me. Be in the moment. There’s plenty of time to check out Grindr later when you’re pooping on the toilet.
21. Lie to him about your sexual activity
There are real health risks to sex, as all gay men know. Don’t lie to him about your sexual conduct. Don’t say you’re not sleeping with someone else if you are. Don’t say you’re having protected sex if you’re a cum dump for anonymous loads.
22. Use your insecurities to keep him around
This is a classic sign of manipulation. Using your insecurities to make him do things for you. It’s insidious and manipulative. Don’t be a terrible partner.
23. Skip date nights
Date nights matter, because they are when you are taking time just for the two of you. By skipping them you are sending the message that your partner isn't a priority.
24. Let the romance die
This is another reason you don’t skip date nights. You don’t want the romance to die. Make sure to do sweet things for him like sending him flowers, commenting on how handsome he looks and expressing your love for him.
25. Demand sex/settle for mediocre sex
Don’t demand sex. Similarly, don’t settle for mediocre sex. If one of you is not in the mood, don’t do it. Wait until you’re both in the mood. It’s not fun having sex just for your partner’s happiness. It leads to mediocre sex for everyone.
26. Avoid vulnerability
Be open. Be honest. The vulnerability is terrifying for everyone. Of course, it is. You always run the possibility that you open yourself up to him and he rejects you, but it’s a risk you have to take. You can’t have a real relationship without vulnerability.
27. Conflate your wants and needs
Some things we want. Other things we need. Don’t confuse the two. Don’t demand things you want, and don’t settle for not getting the things you need.
28. Forget why you’re dating him
Things will undoubtedly get tough at some point in the relationship. That’s just how relationships work. Never forget why you’re dating him. Never forget his positive attributes and the reasons you fell in love with him.
29. Hold in how you feel
You’re growing together, and it’s scary to share your deepest insecurities and vulnerabilities. It’s okay to let the growth happen. Share your biggest fears and desires, and set the world on fire.
30. Tell the world your business
The whole world doesn’t need to know all of your drama. Sure, it’s great to have some close friends and confidants to share with when the going gets tough, but if someone’s meeting your man for the first time, they shouldn’t know all the above-mentioned dirty secrets.
31. Forget about the spark
It’s never good to force yourself to be with someone. If the spark has faded, and neither of you are really putting in the work, it may be best to have that conversation. Otherwise, you may end up doing something like...
Yes, this also circles back to using apps behind his back and lying to him about your sexuality, but it’s even deeper than that. Don’t betray your partner’s trust. All you’re doing is causing everybody pain, so if you’re not in an open relationship (or even if you are), don’t do anything with anyone you wouldn’t want your partner to know about. Otherwise, cue Carrie Underwood.