Heavy Meddle: I’m Looking For Mr. Right, Not Mr. Right Now

A young gay man struggles find potential partners who want commitment. (Wil Stewart/Unsplash)
A young gay man struggles find potential partners who want commitment. (Wil Stewart/Unsplash)

Welcome Meddleheads, to the advice column where your crazy meets my crazy! Please send your questions. You can use this form, or send them via email. Not only will you immediately feel much better, you’ll also get some advice.



Dear Steve,

I am gay, 22, and single. I have come to the point of my life where I am ready to settle down and stop hooking up. The problem is I feel as if guys are not looking for something serious and just want something for the moment. I recently went on a date with this dud. The first thing the guy said to me when we went out to dinner was, “Yeah, you’re not bad looking.” Uhhh, excuse me? Not a good first impression.

Clearly, I have no luck finding the right guy. I'm not at the point in my life that I feel I will be alone forever… yet. But I can see it happening. I think the root of my problem is I’ve been meeting all of these guys from apps, such as Grindr and Tindr. The traditional way of meeting people is so far-fetched; it’s 2016 for crying out loud!

I am struggling to find a guy who wants to not just hook up, but to develop something long lasting.

Any suggestions?

Just Another Boy on Grindr



I am 49, straight, and married. So I am not your ideal advice columnist on this one. But the frustration you’re expressing here is universal. The simplest advice I can offer is also the most obvious:

Put. The. Phone. Down.


You can’t go hunting for doves (who mate for life) in a tropical jungle filled with horny hummingbirds.

Okay, please ignore that lame avian metaphor, which is patently unfair to hummingbirds, and focus on this simple notion: you are not going to find partners who are looking for serious monogamous traction on apps that ask users to swipe.

I’m sure defenders of these apps will rush to point out that users can specify what they’re looking for in their profile. But there’s nothing to stop horny people from misrepresenting themselves in responding to a profile photo they like. This is why Dan Savage himself — for my money, the smartest advice columnist around — warned a few years back that the Internet had the potential to turn gay men’s homes into bathhouses.

Look: if you’re serious about meeting a partner who is open to long-term commitment, I don’t think it makes much sense to dismiss any avenue that isn’t an instant gratification app as hopelessly outdated. If you’re looking for a more traditional arrangement, wouldn’t a more traditional venue make sense?

You can’t go hunting for doves (who mate for life) in a tropical jungle filled with horny hummingbirds.

There is any number of approaches you might take, ranging from more serious dating websites to social groups geared toward developing deeper bonds to blind dates set up by friends. You can do that legwork yourself.

But one thing to ponder is why you haven’t done any of this stuff already. Is it possible that your feelings are a bit more complicated? I ask because most people in this country (gay or straight, male or female) view their early 20s as a time of social and romantic experimentation.

If you really do want to develop a more enduring partnership, you’re going to have to swim upstream a bit — against the flow of your generational cohort. That can be unsettling. And it can feel isolating, especially when you’re surrounded by people who are talking (or tweeting or posting) about their latest hookups.

But remember: you’re looking for Mr. Right. They’re looking for Mr. Right Now.

This is yet another reason to … Put. The. Phone. Down.

The main thing to keep in mind, JABOG, is that you’ve got plenty of time. I’m not trying to be condescending. On the contrary, I think it’s amazing that you’re serious about finding a more serious partnership at such a young age. I just mean that connecting in this way requires a virtue that can be hard to come by at any age: patience.

Good luck and happy hunting.


Author's note: This is generally the part of the letter where readers tell me what a boob I am, which is fine. But please don’t forget to offer JABOG any practical advice you have, especially if you’re a youngish reader who has struggled with a similar dilemma. Make your voice heard in the comments section below. And please do send a letter to Heavy Meddle, too. You can use this form, or send your questions via email. I may not have a helpful response, but the act of writing the letter itself might provide some clarity. — S.A.

Heavy Meddle with Steve Almond is Cognoscenti's advice column. Read more here.

Headshot of Steve Almond

Steve Almond Cognoscenti contributor
Steve Almond is the author of 12 books. His new book, “Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow,” is about craft, inspiration and the struggle to write.



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