Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Does Your Relationship Pass The Gay Best Friend Test?

Did you fall in love with a stranger?

Holly Peterson's controversial new book "The Idea of Him"  uses the "gay boyfriend test". She says that people in love get so enamoured with the myth they have created about someone that they don't see any glaring flaws until irreversible commitment has been made. Then they may get stuck with someone of few common interests, no common world view and clashing life goals. At that point you are stuck with a stranger. Holly says there is a simple way to weed out these inappropriate candidates to be your future life partner: "I think the central question is, 'Would you rather do something...with this person or your gay best friend? If you're choosing friends over your significant other because 'he's uptight or he's not as fun', that's a red flag. Love is about really wanting to share everything with someone else."

This is in stark contrast to what we see today. So many men are resigned to  an immediate future bound to someone they would never otherwise seek out for friendship, doing the things they would never imagine doing themselves. One good place to spot such men is at a Sunday morning church service. You will see these despirited souls slinking behind their religious mate. Ted was one of these unequally-yoked heel-draggers, a 33-year-old attorney with a drinking problem who began a relationship with a devout 28-year-old bank auditor. He confided to her fellow auditor and close friend, "The service was nice, but I hope we won't be doing THAT again!" Sadly, men like Ted often end up spending thousands of hours of their lives at catechisms, baptisms, bible studies, choir practices, church picnics, Promise Keeper rallies, Family Home Evenings, church works days, and homilies against their true desires.

One of the sorriest sights at the golf, tennis and raquetball clubs is the married or cohabitating man who always has to scrounge up a female playing partner for summer mixed couples matches or the Valentine's Day Sweetheart Tournament. His sport is his passion in his life. It is all he ever talks about. Yet his live in or wife is nowhere to be found, even if he finally achieves his dream and wins the coveted club championship trophy. He yearns for the day when his mate would join him and win the Mr. and Mrs. Club Championship. But it will never come to pass. Why would such a man commit to a woman who doesn't share or at least support him in his life's delight?

Whether he is attending events with his mate that he pretends to enjoy, or steals away to do the things he really likes, the man who selects a mate with no thought towards compatibility does pay a steep price in his daily existence. Life becomes a drudgery of unwanted tasks and forced appearances. Consider the man who early in his dating relationship pretended to enjoy going out to the mall with his new girlfriend when he actually detests it. He must live out that phony love of searching for bargains the rest of his relationship with the woman or betray his basic dishonesty. So many men spend a bright sunny Saturday not at the golf course, softball field or football stadium, but at a concrete Promenade. Comedian Bill Cosby described the expression of such men who are dragged along with their wives on a shopping trip as "the most pained-looking people you can find."  No wonder Holly Peterson would rather go shopping with her gay best friend than with a grumpy straight boyfriend!

Sadly, because of the propaganda in movies, television, Internet videos and music, women must assume that the average man has been conditioned to seek out romances with strangers and worry about compatibility later. This kind of courtship and marriage has been condoned by our society and practiced for a century now,  so very few men can look at their parents or grandparents marriages as good examples to follow. With the recent advent of of hooking up and being joined at the hip, the average man assumes he will have superficial relationships based on physical attraction and charm. Few men object to immediate sexual gratification with no strings attached. These developments make it extremely difficult for women to use Holly Peterson's gay boyfriend test and seek a mature romance that may lead to marriage based on honesty and candor with many shared interests, common world view and shared goals. Most men in 2014 simply aren't familiar with healthy relationships. We suggest interested female readers check out Chapter 10 and male readers check out Chapter 11 in our book "The Tiger Woods Syndrome" where we feature 10 common sense ways women and men can achieve the kind of substantial relationships Holly Peterson describes in her new  book. 

 

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

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