Single Season


I recently read this amazing blog post by # called “You Are Significant With or Without a Significant Other.”  Over the last couple of weeks I have talked about this blog with friends and acquaintances.  Many of them have said, “Oh, I’ve heard about this.”  It is well worth a read, so take a few minutes now if you haven’t already.  What she writes about is worth sharing.  We as single people may not be where we want to be in our lives, or where we envisioned ourselves, but we have it pretty good.  We have some freedoms that married folk don’t.  We have some freedoms that parents don’t.  Rather than looking at it as a burden to be single, or something to be sad about, let’s choose to look at it as an opportunity to Say YES to Life! and live the hell out of this season.

I’ve lived the better part of my 37 years being single.  Granted, 26 of those years were spent trying to figure out who the hell I wanted to date.  Good Lord!  Once that got all settled, I spent the next nine years living it up, going to bars with friends, dating, getting graduate degrees, traveling, thinking it would be awesome to have a kid, realizing it would not be awesome to have a kid, and then finally finding that guy, the one I would call “boyfriend.”  Those years were fun, but certainly not what I was looking for, for the rest of my life.  The year plus with my ex was amazing and I thought it was everything I wanted out of life.  AT LONG LAST, I wasn’t SINGLE.  Honestly, in my head, just not being single and having a “boyfriend” was probably more significant than the actual relationship.  He couldn’t give me his heart.  He couldn’t say, “I love you.”  That is what I’m looking for, a guy who can accept emotion from me and give it back to me.

“You’ve been so unavailable/Now sadly I know why/Your heart is unobtainable/Even though Lord knows you kept mine.”

                                   –Sam Smith, “I’m Not The Only One” from In the Lonely Hour

(Check out Sam Smith’s album, In the Lonely Hour, and be amazed.  Not since Adele have lyrics been so real.)

Before my ex, I had convinced myself that I was content being single.  How many times did I tell myself, “I’d rather be single than with the wrong guy.”  I can tell you, hundreds of times that phrase went through my head.  And yes, if I’m single the rest of my life, I will be okay.  However, after experiencing a consistent, fun, and worthwhile dating relationship, the reality is that I want to be with a partner.  I do not want to be single.  Who does?  As is written in “You Are Significant With or Without a Significant Other,”    being single does not mean that we have to wait to be partnered before we can start our lives.  This is a season.  We may not be where we want to be, but this is an opportunity to live our lives freely until or if a partner should ever join us.


“Being single is an opportunity, even if it’s not one you choose. Spend it.”  I love this quote from the blog post by #.  Yes, thank you for acknowledging that this is not what I chose.  I don’t like it, but I can take this time and opportunity and “spend it.”  And this too, “don’t wish away this season just because it doesn’t look the way you thought it would.”  What a constant reminder that I have a good life.  I am doing things with my singledom that are pretty amazing.

What has this Single Season afforded me?

Amazing Friendships:

Sarah, Dave, Michael, Patrick, Ronald, to name a few, have come in, or back into my life during this season.  This is like my Oscar speech because there are SO many more people who the above have introduced me to who have become amazing parts of my life too.  I probably could name about 50 new or returning people to my life during the past year.  If anything has come of this time, I know that I am blessed to have these friends in my life.  These are the people who reach out and ask, “Want to go grab a beer?”  “Want to grab brunch?”  “Want to go to a movie?”  “Want to go for a run?”  This season may not be where any of us want to be, but we have the freedom and choice to do whatever we want, when we want, and how we want.  That’s pretty cool.

I have not written off my married friends, though most of them have fled to the burbs with kids.  That’s not to say we can’t still hang out.  As is written in the blog post, “You Are Significant With or Without a Significant Other,” single people can still add significance to married people and vice versa.  “Don’t miss out on friendships with amazing people because they’re single and their rhythm of life is different from yours.  And don’t assume that because someone’s single, they don’t want to hang out with married people, or people with kids.”  This is true.  I love my married friends and I love their kids.  The best part of hanging out is that I get to see my friends, play with their kids, and the kids stay with them and I get to go back to the city.  I joke, but some of the friends I have who are married have been the longest friendships here in Chicago.  Though our lives have changed since we were all 24, single and living in the city, I love them all and wish I could see them more. So yes, my single friends from 14 years ago are mostly married with children and though our lives are admittedly different, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be involved with them.  They add significance to my life too.

This Blog:

Finally, after a year of being sad, I made it through the fog and found my voice.  I’m only 5 posts (almost 6) into this adventure of blogging, but it feels good.  It feels good to write and create and express my emotions.  This blog is about taking my power back.  Taking back the power to be happy.  It is a choice and I’m choosing to find the good things in life, whether I’m single or not.


Being single may not be where any of us want to be right now, but we have a choice to be cheerful and happy and free to do whatever we want.  I recently said to my friend Patrick, who is headed on his first solo trip, that traveling alone is amazing because it opens us up to new experiences we would not often open ourselves up to in the comforts of our own world.  On my solo trips in Thailand and Peru I met so many people I would have otherwise not, because I was single.  When we’re alone we are more willing to approach people and they more willing to approach us.  In Peru I had one of the best conversations about world travel with an older single woman who saw I was alone and asked to eat dinner with me.  That took balls, but you know what, if I was with someone, she and I would never have had that conversation.  We would have never shared our stories of the majesty that is Machu Picchu.  On the flip side, there were a few times in Thailand that I was staying at fantastic hotels and I wished I had a partner with me to experience the grandeur.  During this conversation with friends Patrick and Sarah I said, “I really want to go to Greece, but I think it is a trip to do with a partner.  Maybe a honeymoon trip?”  Wisely Sarah said, “You could die tomorrow.  If you want to go, go.  If you want to go next summer, start planning.  If you want to go for your 40th, do it.  Invite friends and the people who can and want to come will come.  Don’t wait for a honeymoon or a boyfriend.  Life could end tomorrow.  We are single now and we can go now.”  YES!  This is about Saying YES to LIFE!  Whatever makes you happy, do it.  If it is owning a nice knife, buy it now.  Do not wait for a wedding.  If it is travel, do not wait around for someone else. Do it now.  Do it for yourself because you are fabulous, free, and ready to live your life, NOW!  Forty is just over two years away.  Start saving your money because we are headed to Greece, ya’ll!

“Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” 

                                                                                                                                                                           -Carrie Bradshaw


To my single friends:  Hold on for the ride.  Embrace your singledom and live your life.  Remember, Single is not a status, it is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”

How are you Saying YES to LIFE?

For Now

“Well, I guess this is it….for now.”

That was how June 4, 2013 went down.  It was the final time I saw my ex.  Though he told me three weeks prior that he was taking the job in NYC, we tried to get together and in his words, “cherish” our time.  It was far too emotionally taxing on me to continue seeing him.  Finally on June 4th I had enough balls to say, enough.  Enough of this pretending like you didn’t make a unilateral decision to leave Chicago and “us” for a job in NYC.  And so we went on a walk along the lake.  The first words out of his mouth, “Well, I guess this is it, for now.”   My response, “No, that’s not fair.  You decided to move.  Don’t string me along.”  What is this “for now” business?  What it is, is a mind fuck.  A way for a guy to keep you right there, just stand over there while I go do what I want to do and if I come back, maybe we can be together.  WTF?  It was like he was Kanye to my Taylor.  “Yo Matty, you’re awesome and all but NYC is way better and I’m going to go live there.  You just wait here because ‘for now’ I gotta do this.”  Go fuck yourself is what I should have said.  Go.  Fuck.  Yourself.  What is this “for now” bullshit?  Unfortunately it did keep me under a spell of hope that he would change his mind and see the ill of his ways and he would come back.  Since he’s moved on to a new relationship, I don’t see that happening, “for now.”  And boys and girls, that Hollywood story is in Hollywood, not real life.  People make decisions every day that impact them, their lives and the people around them.  So over the last year I’ve been on a journey trying to grapple with defining “for now.”


As I’ve journeyed through the last 12 months, many people in my life have helped me move along.  Take my co-worker, for example, who is getting married soon.  “Nothing lasts forever.  I’m getting married, but that could end.  Just because we’re married doesn’t mean it can’t end.”  Or take someone else I know whose long-term relationship ended because of different goals each of them had in life.  I guess I struggle because I grew up in white picket fence Portage, MI where all of my friends’ parents were still married and everything was how it is supposed to be.  My parents are going to celebrate their 44th anniversary this coming summer.  It’s just what I grew up seeing and knowing to be how it is supposed to be.  You fall in love, you get married, you live happily ever after.  Right?  So what is the “for now” business?  Is our generation so afraid of commitment that we now allow ourselves to say, “Well this is dandy for now, and since it’s just for now, I don’t have to get totally invested.”  Is the next best thing the way we are now living our lives?  God damn, I sure hope not.  Is falling in love and finding a partner who you long to wake up to each morning a thing of the past?

I’m 37 years old and have been looking for love for 12 years, give or take some sowing of the oats.  I found a man I loved, but “for now” he can’t do it.  So I’m journeying again and finding a lot of great, wonderful people, but if commitment is a thing of the past, shame on me for trying.  If, say, my next relationship last 3 years and he leaves, I have to do this all over again?  Yes, Matt, you do, because as I’ve learned, nothing lasts forever.  But the thought of that makes me want to vomit and pack my suit case for my retirement home in Miami with my Golden Girls–NOW!

“Choose HOPE when you can’t find faith.”

Ok, I’m back!  Back on my feet.  It took me some time, but I’m here.  Nothing does last forever.  I can still have my Hollywood story and maybe that is a dream, but I do hope that I find a man who won’t leave because he wants to spend the rest of his days waking up next to me.  I’m not going to lose hope, even on the days I don’t have faith.


So here I am, writing a blog post about what “for now” means.  It can be a cowardly way of not totally wanting to cut ties, end things, and be a dick, or it can mean living in the moment, cherishing what you have now because in a minute, an hour, or a day, it could all be different.  For now, I’m dating and enjoying it.  It could all feel different tomorrow.  Like Carrie Bradshaw, I do want to find that real, inconvenient love, but for now I’m meeting men, enjoying the moments we are sharing, and seeing where things go.  I told my friend Sarah last night, “I’m kind of overwhelmed being in text/email contact and going on dates with 7 men.”  She wrote back, rightly so, “I don’t want to hear anymore pessimistic ‘I’m going to be alone’ dating stories.  Overwhelmed=I don’t feel sorry for you.”  Right on sister!  *smile*  She’s absolutely right.  In those dark days, you can’t see the light.  The only thing that gets you through are friends, like Sarah, who shine a light when you can only see darkness.  Then, when the light is shining so bright and you share your overwhelmed thoughts, she bitch slaps you and says “buy a pair of sunglasses dude.”

It’s summer and it’s raining men!  Listen, it feels nice to have attention, we all know that, and I feel hopeful that maybe one of these guys is the one, at least for now.  I kid, because I am looking for a committed and consistent relationship, but my goal is forever, not for now.  Yet, the reality remains, in a couple of weeks I could be dateless and continuing this journey because these guys decide that I’m not the one for them.  And that is fine but for now, for these moments, I’m going to enjoy getting to know them and enjoy their company, and hell, enjoy the attention!  


This brings me to June 4, 2014, one year later.  I was on a date with a very handsome, super fun guy.  We ate sushi and had fancy cocktails.  Dinner conversation was so great we had to Uber 5 blocks just to make it to the show Avenue Q, which he planned upon my suggestion that it is playing in town.  We made it just in time.  The only cause for concern was that I motorboated a muppet just hours after only my second nose bleed in my life.  Luckily for me her breasts were made of foam!  Anyway, the show was great, the company I kept, better.  The show ended with a song, coincidentally titled, “For Now.”

For now… Nothing lasts, Life goes on, Full of surprises. You’ll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes.  You’re going to have to make a few compromises…

For now… 

For now we’re healthy.  For now we’re employed.  For now we’re happy… If not overjoyed.

And we’ll accept the things we cannot avoid, for now…

Don’t stress, Relax, Let life roll off your backs.  Except for death and paying taxes, Everything in life is only for now!

Each time you smile…Only for now.  It’ll only last a while…Only for now.  Life may be scary…Only for now.  But it’s only temporary…

Everything in life is only for now.

So the last two June 4ths were very different.  I’m different.  I’m more honest and accepting of this journey.  I don’t like it all the time, but for now, today, it’s all ok.


Investing In Me

Remember what you deserve

I have a love/hate relationship with this quote.  ALL I have to do is FORGET what I feel?  Really?  I wish it was that easy.  For some people, perhaps it is, but for me being the emotionally invested and aware guy that I am, it isn’t that easy.  However, the sentiment behind the quote has merit.  It makes sense and is the basis of this idea of “Investing In Me.”

I recently read an article on Facebook about why gay men suck at dating.

What resonated with me is the idea that my generation of gay men are now “nomadic.”  There isn’t anything necessarily tying us down, like kids, and most people change jobs as often as every few years.  So, why not move to a different city?  Absolutely, go do that, but I’ve worked 14 years here in Chicago and my life is here.  I’m not necessarily looking to move.  According to the article by Jerry Plaza, “We want to move away, travel and achieve big dreams. Not that there’s anything wrong with the idea, but it sure does put a damper on anyone who might see a future with you.”  Right, you want a future with me?  Stay in Chicago or make millions so I don’t have to work!  Boom!  But in all honesty, if you want to be in a committed relationship, you need to be congruent with each other and for me that means you probably need to stay here, with me.

Natalie Lue from would call this establishing dating boundaries.  My dating boundary is that I live in Chicago and don’t plan to move anytime soon.  As I worked through the heartbreak of my ex moving to NYC for a job, over looking for one in Chicago and choosing to stay with me, I realized I needed to listen to him.  In March of last year he told me, “I can’t give you what you want.”  For so many reasons I just wanted it to work.  At the time, I would have done anything to stay with him.

“I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.”

 -Carrie Bradshaw

I’m looking for a guy who will choose to stay with me because he values me and loves me.  My ex could not love me like this.  His friends, I think, probably convinced him that he should stay with me.  Why not, right?  I do know that I have my shit together and the guy who I end up with will be lucky.  So we worked things out and two months later he was gone. I should have “listened” to him.  In Natalie Lue’s Handy List of  Commitment and Availability Issues List of Phrases, the FIRST phrase is “I can’t give you what you want.”  Listen to him!  If you learn one thing only from this post, please, LISTEN TO HIM!  It doesn’t matter if you beg him to reconsider, beg him to stay, or if his friends think you are fabulous and tell him he’s a fool to leave you, LISTEN TO HIM!

And just when you think listening is enough, now listen and set your boundary.  Take your head with your heart-Invest In Yourself.


As I began dating again I made a commitment to myself to be authentic to my life and my life goals.  I was not going to shy away from speaking MY truth and MY desire to find love and commitment here in Chicago.  The first guy I dated I met running.  I loved that about him.  We had a ton of fun and he was super cute and energetic.  The first mention of not liking his job and “maybe I’ll move”, see ya buddy!  “My ex did that and I’m not doing that again.”  We’re friends and he is great, but “maybe” I took seriously and that is not congruent with my life.  Then a few months later I met THE next ONE.  He’d recently moved back to Chicago to be close to family.  Not having a job, he was seeking.  On our second date he mentioned the dreaded three words in my world, New York City.  I told him my ex moved there for a job over me and that if he wanted to look for jobs there he should, but that this would be our last date.  “Oh the draw of New York.  Everyone wants to live in New York.  I lived there in my 20’s.  It was great but I moved back here to be close to my family.”  My response was very direct and clear, “That’s great, but if you do seek jobs there, don’t date me.”  It could have been the cold and snow of this past January and February in Chicago, and loving a warm body next to me, but I fell head over heals for this guy.  We dated for 7 weeks filled with laughter, hours of YouTube watching Whitney clips(he loved her too!), flowers at the door and ice cream in bed and rainbows and glitter(ok, no rainbows and glitter), and just an amazing time.  After 7 weeks, he moved to New York City, for a job.

So here I am, now in June, after taking a few months away from dating, Saying YES to Life!, I’m back dating again.  I’ve met some really great guys, however, I continue to find these nomadic gay men.  Why do the guys I date think “I might live in NYC one day.”  I’ve pondered this for the past week or so since I met a really handsome, fun guy.  Is it that I’m attracted to younger thirty year olds?  Perhaps.  Or is it that my generation of gay men aren’t settled and don’t plan on settling down?  Has the instant-ness of hook-up/dating apps changed the type of guys we are meeting?  Or are we changing?  Are jobs so fluid now that staying put in a city and working at a job for more than a few years a thing of the past?  Perhaps.  With these changes, can men dating now find love?  A quote from the Broadway play and recent HBO movie, The Normal Heart, struck me.  “Men do not naturally not love. They learn not to.”  Are we learning not to love in order to keep our hearts at a distance and not settle down into commitment?

For me, however, I have to choose to “Invest In Me” and not only be upfront with these guys and my intention to stay, but say goodbye when they mention the idea of “one day” living somewhere else.  Short of sounding bitter, because I’m not, I hesitate to believe that “Love Conquers All.”  No matter how great I am, if a guy wants to live in say, New York City, he’s going to do it.  All I have control over is my life and my desires and running the other way, fast, when the mention of living elsewhere is brought up.  So I’m working on it.  I’m not perfect, and this very handsome guy who’ve I’ve recently met is worth getting to know.  But, I’m going to listen to him and I’m going to take my head along with my heart.

It is just about summer break around here.  Last summer sucked the life out of me, but this summer I’m Saying YES to Life! and “Investing In Me.”