Watching Disney movies as a kid didn't prepare me for dealing with the complexities of dating and relationships as an adult. Does prince charming really exist? If so, where do you find him?
I'm a natural optimist, so I like to believe that the answer to that question is "hell yea, he exists."
Remaining optimistic in the sea of surfing online dating profiles, lukewarm first dates, and the constant game of text messages just to plan a 2nd date can make the entire process of dating and courtship feel like a grind (is that why they called it grindr?).
The biggest desire I hear from men from all over the world is that they want to trade their life of meaningless hookups for something more significant and substantial. They dream of finding their prince charming.
I think the idea of finding prince charming is idealistic, but it's not realistic. Before you go off on a rant of defensive judgments thinking that I need to be more open minded to meeting a prince charming... allow me to explain myself.
Prince charming is not a real person, he's an animation created by storytellers. He's a concept and, again, not a real person. However! That doesn't mean that you're not worthy of true love and having a significant partnership. In fact, if that's what you truly want, keep reading because I'm going to break down several ways you can create more opportunities to meet a swell guy to fall madly in love with.
Praise the goodness that's already inside of you
Most dating gurus will tell you that you need to act more confident and learn how to flirt if you want to get laid and meet the love of your life. Those tactics are good if those are your goals.
In reverse engineering the road to true love, you've got to find it within yourself first. That could be a challenge if you've ever hated yourself for being gay. It's been difficult for me, but there are specific strategies and frameworks for cultivating love within yourself. Here are five different methods for extracting the goodness that already lies within you and your character:
- Ask your friends, "Can you be honest, what do you like about me?"
- Practice mindfulness activities like meditation, yoga, and journaling.
- Read books and study the origins of love. A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson is one of my favorites.
- Remind yourself of five positive qualities on a daily basis. They must be authentic, don't try to fake yourself into feeling something positive if that doesn't feel true to you in the present moment.
- Tell three close friends and/or family members that you love them.
According to Ken Page, author of Deeper Dating, you need to identify and nurture your unique gifts so you can share them with the right people. In this context, gifts are your traits and characteristics that make you special. You have gifts that bring out the best in you and you also have gifts that bring out your vulnerable side. Both gifts are equally valid and should be acknowledged.
It's a natural tendency for people to judge and criticize each other's gifts and vulnerabilities, especially with the hyperactive negative behavior that's demonstrated in mainstream media and reality television programs. The reason we've become such a judgemental society is because the collective culture is fearful of love. If you can begin to cultivate love within yourself, not only will you increase your odds of attracting love into your reality, you have the power to change the world in which you live in.
Destroy your fears by sharing love with those that you're interested in
Jumping on a dating app to hook-up is easy. Anyone and everyone can do it with a few persuasive words, but that doesn't make you feel fulfilled after you get your jollies off.
However you're meeting people, whether that's online or you meet guys in person, it's time to reverse your approach for relating with potential mates.
Instead of thinking about sexual attraction right away (even those that's a natural tendency for men), try to get to know others for who they are on the inside before you begin to judge them on the external. Sexual attraction can grow over time, so take the time to find the good qualities and traits in others before thinking about jumping into the sack with them.
If you ever meet guys who only want to have sex and nothing more, you're better off passing it off so you can invest your time in guys who are available and interested in building a meaningful relationship based off of shared interests and values. Sex is important and I'm not dismissing it, but lasting, loving relationships will only come into your life if you think beyond fulfilling your immediate sexual desires.
As you begin to break through your fears of self-loathing in dating and intimacy, you'll feel more open and willing to share your true thoughts and feelings with those who accept you for who you truly are.
Where to meet a few good men when they seem so hard to find
The truth is that there are good men everywhere looking for a nice guy just like you. They exist and they're out there.
Keep in mind that it's going to be uncomfortable and awkward as you begin to share your true character with guys who you date. It was for me, especially not having good "gaydar" - but I discovered there are ways to get around that. You can just simply ask guys, "What's your type?" If he happens to be straight, you can always be friends with him! There's no harm in telling a straight man that he's attractive.
The best ways to meet men nowadays is to share your passions and interests with like minded guys. You're more likely to meet available guys to date if you meet them in locations that cater to common interests. Here are five examples of where you can meet quality men to date if these are your specific passions:
- A local yoga or meditation studio
- The local chapter of a gay sports league, like tennis or basketball
- An art gallery or artistic studio class such as dance, painting, music, etc.
- A hiking Meetup group
- A public university or community college lecture
The possibilities to meet like minded men are vast and wide. Feel free to think creatively and ask yourself, "where do I imagine like-minded men hanging out?"
Make it a habit of going to at least one new social setting per week. Be willing to introduce yourself to strangers and be interested in others. Ask questions like, "What brought you here?" or "What do you think about the latest Marvel movie?" Whatever you do, be yourself and don't be afraid to share what's on your mind with others.
If you still have difficulty doing all of this alone, enlist an accountability partner to help you through your journey. It's nice to have a "wingman" to help you get your feet wet, but don't use it as a crutch to keep you from meeting guys who you could potentially hit it off with. Always remind yourself that any guy would be lucky enough to know you. You are worthy of love because it's your right.
What to do once you meet someone you like
This is the exciting part of the journey! Give yourself a pat on the back that you've made it this far because it takes courage and strength to share your true self with others and be vulnerable with new friends and potential partners.
When you meet a guy that you like, be sure to let him know! Nothing is more attractive than having someone tell you that you're attractive, so be sure to give honest and genuine compliments to the guy you end up seeing more regularly. He'll begin to believe that you're truly interested in him, and he'll more than likely become increasingly interested in you.
Relationships are like a dance, except both partners have the opportunity to take the lead. Be sure to communicate to your partner how you envision your relationship and what you value. This will allow him the space to communicate his own needs so that the both of you can create a mutually beneficial relationship.
The means that you become honest about topics such as expectations for when and where you'll hang out, the frequency at which you'll spend time with each other, the types of activities you guys want to do together, sexual preferences, joint adventures and activities, and your true thoughts and feelings.
The more open you become in your dialogue, the easier it'll be to grow more and more attracted to your partner, even if you weren't initially attracted to him in the first place. You'd be surprised to hear how many quality relationships have gone by the wayside because guys were quick to dismiss one another based on initial levels of physical attraction.
Love is within you and Mr. Right is closer than you think
All of these recommendations can seem so obvious, but as my mentor, Brendon Burchard would say, "Common sense is not always common practice." Sometimes the moments of awakening and enlightenment come from practicing basic strategies like the ones outlined in this article.
As you begin to put yourself out into the world to make new friends and create partnerships with guys you care about, you may come to find that your "Prince Charming" is even better than you imagined him to be. This is because you've taken the time to do the inner work and make behavior changes that truly matter.
Max DuBowy is a best-selling author, YouTube personality and the founder of Your Success Launch where he teaches gay men and other sensitive souls how to become a friend magnet and love themselves unconditionally. Max's FREE 8 Step Self-Acceptance Checklist and Guided Meditation is a sure fire way to discover how to be your true, authentic self with strangers, new friends, and romantic interests, even if you're shy. Sign up now and enjoy these free gifts in 2016. Max wishes all Huffington Post readers an abundance of peace, happiness and joy.