With a background in Psychology, Lemarc Thomas runs exclusive matchmaking agency Seventy Thirty. Alongside a team of psychologists, Lemarc coaches and matches those of influence and affluence around the world.
”In the gay world these days, you would be forgiven for thinking that a well-angled selfie of a healthy looking body is given greater weighting than values, goals and personality. Single gay men often come to me feeling that online dating is far too sexualised and focused on ‘hooking up’ and are doubtful that any like-minded men are out there looking for a long-term relationship. However, while they wait for Mr Right to come along, they join the crowd and flick through countless torsos hoping to be surprised (by a face and a heart) .
And why not? After exploding onto the online dating scene in 2009, Grindr quickly established itself at the forefront of the gay dating scene as the all-male, location-based, social network. With over 5 million guys on Grindr in 192 countries and hitting 6 million users on its fourth birthday, we cannot ignore the fascination and curiosity of app based connectivity
Apps like Grindr have allowed a convenient, fast and inexpensive way of connecting with other gay folk in close proximity. It has also allowed anonymity, exploration of sexuality and a way to check out our neighbours from the comfort of our own sofa. However, such apps are also criticised for being just about sex and being too focused on ‘the visual’, giving rise to body image problems (body dysmorphic disorder is higher amongst gay men).
But let’s not generalise gay behaviour by what happens on social networks. Surely within the 10% of the population assumed to be gay, there are a few gems out there.
The majority of gay men who come to me at Seventy Thirty are looking to settle down into a long term relationship, with many seeking marriage and children. Gay men want love, and research suggests that gay men are more likely to report romance as the most important thing in a relationship.
Connecting with people via social media certainly has its benefits and can even reduce depression and loneliness. However, apps like Grindrarechanging our social patterns of communication and courtship, which is having a negative effect on our social skills. So maybe it’s time to lift up our heads and breathe in the air as we view the world without a yellow glow?
Why is it more difficult for gay men to find love?
Psychological literature, which I agree has its limitations, suggest that growing up in a heterosexual society with a lack of gay role models can lead to difficulties in modelling a healthy relationship. Having a troubled past linked to being gay gives rise to mental health problems. There is also literature on internalised homophobia which affects partner selection. On practical level, there are less gay people out there and one might only feel safe approaching another guy if they are in a gay environment to avoid the awkward situation of hitting on a straight or even closeted guy.
We still have a long way to go, but in London attitudes have changed rapidly and we are not victims. I will be bold enough to say that we can all find a partner if we want to, but often all the excuses protect our egos and the self-fulfilling prophecy keeps us single. If you really want a partner and you can’t find him, try harder!
So what do we do to find love?
Spending too much time with our heads down checking messages and apps inhibits social interaction. Anxious people are more likely to have their heads down on their phones when on their own in a bar, while confident people are more comfortable standing strong on their own. Put your phone away – notice your surroundings and acknowledge the people around you.
Fear of rejection is always the major inhibiting factor in finding love. Many people observe potential suitors hoping that they will be the one to initiate contact and let opportunity pass by. Approaching someone and showing interest in them is often flattering for the other person and it’s unlikely that they will be cruel to you if they are not interested. Stop letting opportunities pass you by.
Make sure when you go out that you strike up a conversation with at least one person, start with someone who you are not that attracted to and work your way up to the guy who causes your IQ to drop by its square route.
Get out there – consider this focusing on yourself – think of the things that you want to do. Focusing on your interests mean that you end up socialising with like-minded people who could potentially be love interests or could introduce you to a love interest. Taking up a hobby, such as joining a gay sports club, is a great way of meeting other gay people.
Be appealing – if you don’t think you are attractive, you’re probably not. Think about what you need to do to be more attractive to yourself. When you feel more attractive, you will be more attractive.
Don’t spend too much time online. The more profiles you flick through, the less likely you are to find a date. Flicking through countless profiles that don’t match will make you feel despondent about your chances of finding love, plus if you are always seen online, you will get a bad reputation and become awkwardly familiar to people!
The best advice I can give is to stop creating obstacles and get proactive. It’s empowering to take your life into your own hands, who cares if we get rejected once or twice along the way to success.”