I met my wife through work, which statistically is one of the most likely places you’re going to run into that special person you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with. According to a survey by MIC of 2,373 18-34yr olds, 39% met their partners through friends, 22% met at a social gathering and 18% met through work. Interestingly, online dating, leading to a permanent relationship, only accounted for just under 10% of the sample.
This is encouraging news as I’ve been trying to understand after ten years of separation from my wife, three years divorced, and with teenaged sons now big enough to find their own way in the world – which theoretically leaves me time to forge a new life for myself – why it is then, that I have still not had the remotest success in finding a man to have a relationship with.
I have tried gay dating sites and none with any success, as the statistics above hold out. A good part of the problem it seems, is the expectation that any form of contact is a red-light indicator that you’re after romance, when in fact, a few exchanged messages to chat about shared interests might be all that’s on the cards. I am as guilty of falling into the rose-coloured waters of wishful thinking as the next man when it comes to building up ones hopes at the slightest spark of attention, but, and of course this so obviously true; until you get to know someone in real life you don’t know them at all. My experience has been, every chat stream, email exchange and even telephone conversation resulting from winks and likes on dating sites, have always ended in disastrous first dates, if they got that far. The guys are never what you expected, either in looks or personality. So I have given up on internet dating and now am increasingly asking myself, as I look forward to my twilight years, where does this leave me? The difficulty of meeting anyone is doubly compounded when you are a gay dad. Often gay men without kids don’t want the baggage children might bring and understandably so. My kids come before any other consideration, even personal relationships, and only another gay dad or someone very understanding could be expected to appreciate that. Because of my situation, moving and shaking in a mostly heterosexual world, most of my friends are straight and my gay friends are all in couples. How then am I to meet a man when another survey conducted by Match.com ascertained that 27 was the average age British people met their life-long partners – I’m twice that already!
Reading about how couples meet, mutual friendship circles appear to be the one defining answer. Shared interests, chance meetings at social gatherings, and of course work, all seem to be the most likely places to acquire friends that might develop into something else. This is also evidenced by the 40% of respondents in the MIC survey who said that their current long term relationship started as purely platonic. My challenge then is to get out there much more than I have been and meet people. Watch this space folks for further updates….