I want to touch on a topic that has not yet been discussed on Gay-Straight Relationships: marriage. I recently received an email from a reader that raised an interesting question regarding the topic. A gay male, whose name will remain anonymous, emailed me to inquire:
“Sometimes I do not understand gay men. At one moment, you see them waving a flag for marriage equality, but then the next minute you notice them avoiding the thought of a long-term, committed relationship. It seems gay men enjoy the thought of marriage than actually wanting to pursue it. Why do you think this is?”
Based on my own observations, I have noticed something similar among gay men. This is most certainly not the case for all gay men, but some gay men prefer not to enter into long-term relationships even though many of them may be supporters of marriage equality. I do not necessarily view this as hypocritical; rather, I feel that many gay men want to support gay marriage even though they may not want to get married or pursue long-term relationships themselves.
Although research has not explored the ‘why’ behind this idea, I will offer two perspectives:
The Age Demographic – When I first read this inquiry, the first question that popped into my head was: Are these gay men younger or older? It is likely that age plays a huge role for whether gay men wish to pursue marriage partners. For instance, younger gay men (20s to early 30s) may simply not be ready for such a commitment. Even though some gay men in this age range seek and desire long-term, committed relationships, some gay men may not. Gay men in their mid-20s to early 30s may be still trying to establish their career, connections, and friendships. Thus, it isn’t that surprising that some gay men in this age range casually date rather than committing to something that is longer-term.
Partial Acceptance – Another explanation that could be driving gay men away from long-term relationships in their own lives is that marriage is not yet 100% accepted. Even though the U.S. has made wonderful progress over the past few years, there are still many states where it is not legal for gay individuals to marry. Additionally, there are many places in the United States (even in the world) where it is frowned upon to have a gay partner at your hip. From a psychological perspective, this may cause gay men to feel ostracized by walking down the street with their partner. Because of this, some gay men may not want to pursue long-term, committed relationships and may see it easier to casually date other gay men.
(Received reader’s consent to publicly post)