10/08/2013 05:09 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Gay Men and the Pressure to Get Married


I have never felt the pressure to go out and club a potential husband over the head quite like I do now as a gay man of 30. Sure, I have always expected to eventually find a man whom I will want to walk down the aisle with (though I am still not sure who would walk down first), but I'm suddenly finding myself working against the clock.

This year my mailbox has been flooded with some of the most stylish save-the-date cards, wedding invitations, and engagement announcements that a gay man could dream of. I more than appreciated the perfectly chosen color palettes and the subtle yet stylish typography profiles that must have required so much time and good taste. But I must admit that the gay wedding boom has also brought about a slightly less sunny mood as I examine an emerging trend.

Now, don't get me wrong: I couldn't be happier to take my Grey Goose allowance and blow it at Crate & Barrel for my dearest friends who finally get to take the foolhardy plunge. Two weeks of drinking the cheap stuff won't kill me. After attending countless weddings (and second weddings) of their straight counterparts, gay couples who have been together for what seems like eons are overdue for wedding-day bliss.

Up until recently, for most gay couples weddings were a way to celebrate years of commitment, but without the guarantee that their union would ever be legally recognized. That was a dream that no one was sure would come true, so weddings were merely symbolic.

But with federal recognition of legal same-sex marriages and the expansion of marriage equality to several more states comes a new trend among the gay elite: the rush to the altar. And of course, each pair of grooms has to pack more dove-flying, glitter-blasting, Dom-popping gay-wedding realness than the couple who got married the week before.

Now, pardon the eye roll, but we've seen this play out in the failed first marriages of many of our 20-something girlfriends -- you know, the ones who said "yes" to the wrong guy just so that they could finally buy the wedding dress they'd been eyeing. We all have girlfriends who are more in love with the idea of the ceremony than with the man they are committing to.

Even though these bridal creatures are easy to see through, they still somehow have the ability to make otherwise smart single girls everywhere feel the pressure to snag a man before next year's Christmas party. I have lovingly poked fun at my clever, attractive, successful girlfriends who still somehow feel less than their espoused peers just because they haven't found a man to put a ring on it. But since the overturning of a major portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, the unnecessary pressure has spilled over to the single gays of the United States, including me, if I am being honest. And if we aren't careful, the results of this pressure could be just as ugly as a real housewife's divorce.

I've listened to several of my seemingly defeated single gay friends complain about how their last date never called or texted again. I point out that they conveniently forget that they have done the exact same thing to other poor souls many times over. Nonetheless, they exclaim that they'll "never find a husband" and order another drink.

As someone who has both rejected and been rejected by a potential match just shy of a million times, I have become too numb to take it personally. Instead, I have worked to determine what I love about myself and what I want to find in the man I won't mind still looking at when he's old and wrinkled. Establishing and accepting your worth and the kind of person you're seeking eases the pressure to race to the aisle. Sure, I would love to plan the wedding of my dreams, but it would only be an embarrassment if my groom turned out to be a nightmare.

Of course, the legal right to the state and federal benefits of marriage is far overdue. But we should know better than to chase after a label in lieu of looking for the right man. If it takes me until 40 to find Mr. Right, at least I didn't have to divorce Mr. Wrong in the process. Being single and secure is always better than settling for a man who ultimately isn't the right fit. This is about identifying real love as opposed to just looking like you are in love. If right now the only true love you have is for yourself, then that is enough until the right person for you comes along.

To all the gay men who are truly in love: I can't wait to attend your over-the-top, two-day, diamond-encrusted wedding extravaganza. You deserve it. But to all you single men out there: take a breath. After all, you know what is worse than being single? Being married to an asshole.

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