The Measure of a Man

Let’s Be Frank: The Diary of a Divorced Gay Dad

Okay, so I’ve now been burned, ditched, dropped and heartbroken six ways from Sunday, and I’m sick and tired of it. Being a writer, I made cathartic notes during my upsets, and as a result have created something valuable. I’ve complied a short list of qualities that I want in my future man. These are very broad ideas, and nothing too extraordinary. I am willing to bend a little, but overall he must possess the majority of the following:

  • He must be nice to me. This sounds very basic, but I’ve been shocked at the number of guys who play nice in the beginning, and then the horns come out a few weeks in. I don’t need someone unusually nice, because that’s annoying. Just a standard, “Goldilocks” level of nice will do just fine. Bitchy gay guys are the biggest turn-off in the world, which is exactly why I make fun of them on Twitter.

  • He must make me laugh. I’m not expecting the gay male version of Amy Schumer, but he needs to be able to keep up with my wit. I couldn’t tell you the last time I truly LOL’d, so if he can make me do that, it’s major bonus points. A sharp sense of humor can carry a person a very long way with me.

  • He must be able to empathize. This is a HUGE one for me. I am over guys who have tunnel vision and can’t see past their own arrogant lives. If I am going through something, I want him to at least make an attempt to understand how I feel. If, for whatever reason, I cry about something, and he tells me to suck it up, I’ll tell him to get the f*ck out. I’m not playing the victim here – I don’t want sympathy, I want empathy.

  • We must have good sex. Yeah, and I’m talking about close to mind-blowing sex. A good deep connection, amazing chemistry. I want to want him all the time and vice versa. I’ve had relationships like that, so I know it’s achievable. I bring my own cards to the table and expect him to do the same.

  • He must be a good boyfriend. This sentence holds a lot of weight, because this is not an easy thing. To me, it seems that a large number of guys have no idea how to be a good boyfriend. Hell, I’m still learning that myself – it’s an ongoing process. At the end of the day, you know if he’s good or bad because of how you yourself feel after being with him. If he lets you go to bed upset, or causes you constant worry because he’s scared to give you affirmations – he’s a bad boyfriend. I have literally zero room for any more bad boyfriends in my life. I can smell them from a mile away now. They can keep walking.

  • He must be honest/loyal. I’m a monogamy guy once I’m with someone. I don’t give a flying f*ck if that’s outdated or whatever, it’s who I am. I want to find a similar man who can be both honest and loyal to me. They go hand in hand to build trust, which is paramount in any relationship. Unfortunately, these qualities seem to be rare nowadays, but I know when I meet Mr. Right, I’ll be all the man he needs.

  • He must take care of himself. DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! This is priority number one if I’m going to enter into something serious with a guy. If he has issues, that’s fine, but he needs to deal with his issues. I’m not going to be the one who blows the whistle, he needs to blow it himself. Additionally, fitness is a big part of my life and therefore I want it to be a big part of his. He doesn’t have to have a six-pack, but he has to get to the gym regularly, like me, and hopefully with me.

  • He must be proud and supportive of me. It’s really obvious to me when I’m dating someone and they’re not. I have a lot going on in my life and am extremely supportive of the person I’m with. That can’t be a one-way street. If I remotely question lack of support or pride, I know I’m on to something because I should just feel it. He should be just as interested in my life as I am his.

  • He must be open to marriage and possibly kids. I used the word “open” because I’m still on the fence about the idea, however I do like the idea of remarrying one day. He would have to firmly possess all of these qualities in the list, and probably even have a couple happy surprises. As far as kids – I’ve always wanted a larger family, but the stars will have to align for that to happen again.
  • Did I create the impossible? Did I just essentially remove myself from the dating scene altogether? I don’t think so – because I’m personally capable of everything on this list, and therefore know it’s achievable. I won’t pull this thing out on a first date and put my date on the spot, but in the back of my mind I’ll be noticing red flags. It will be a tool for me to use, and maybe even remind myself if something isn’t going quite right. As any single person knows, we’re all pioneers out here, and it’s rough terrain.

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    Politics

    Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

    The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

    DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

    Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

    As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

    "This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

    Read the full article here.

    Personal Essays by Gay Dads

    Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

    One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

    My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

    Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

    How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

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    Politics

    Gay Russian Dads Forced to Flee Moscow

    Fearing the Russian government might take their adopted kids into custody because of their sexual orientation, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev fled Moscow

    A married couple in Russia, with two adopted children, were just forced the flee their home in Moscow for fear that the authorities would take their children away, according to German news site Deutsche Welle.

    Trouble started last month after investigators in Russia opened a criminal inquiry into the proceedings that had allowed the gay couple, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, to legally adopt the two boys —adoption by LGBTQ people in Russia has typically not been recognized. The government became aware of the adoption proceedings after the gay couple brought their 12-year-old son to the hospital, who was complaining of a stomachache. The boy was fine, but after he mentioned offhand that he was adopted and lived with two fathers, the doctor called the police.

    Andrei and Yevgeny granted an interview with Deutsche Welle after escaping Moscow, but on the advice of their lawyers have yet to disclose where they are currently located. Here is a quick recap of that conversation:

    "In connection with the 'propaganda of non-traditional values,' the state representatives are accused of having neglected their duty of supervision," Andrei said, when asked to explain on what basis the Russian government might take his children into custody. "This means that lesbian couples could even have their biological children taken away because, through their lifestyle choices, they propagate "certain values."

    Yevgeny also explained the events that led to the couple's harrowing escape "I was alone in Moscow at that time. A week after Andrei and the children had left the country, there was a knock on my door, but nobody called 'police, open up.' After half an hour the violent knocking stopped. My parents' home was searched. They were looking for the children and our Danish marriage certificate because we got married in Denmark in 2016. My friends then got me out of the country."

    Read the full interview here.

    Gay Dad Family Stories

    This Couple is Using 'Wheel of Fortune' Winnings to Help Fund Their Adoption

    Need to raise money for your adoption fund? Why not try your luck on Wheel of Fortune like these guys!

    Doug and Nick Roberts connected three and a half years ago via a dating app, and on their first date, the two immediately felt a connection. Doug, a psychologist, and Nick, a neuroscientist, were married 18 months later. Today the couple live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and they're ready to start their next exciting adventure together: fatherhood.

    The husbands would like to have children, and Nick has always wanted to adopt. "We considered surrogacy, and may consider it in the future as we expand our family," said Doug, "but right now, it is cost-prohibitive. Adoption was easily the right choice for us as we begin to grow our family.

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    Change the World

    4 Tips for Using Instagram to Connect with Gay Dads Offline

    We asked gay dads who have successfully met up with other LGBTQ families offline for some of their tips

    Last week, we ran a story about several gay dads who did the unthinkable: meet other gay dads IRL after connecting on Instagram! We get MANY questions from gay dads wondering how they can meet up with others in their area, so we decided to dig a bit deeper this week to get their advice. What can gay dads do to meet others off the 'gram?

    1. Be kind — share others' excitement in parenting!


    From @twinlifedads Ben and Andy:

    "Be kind. That is absolutely it. Be kind to each other and don't be afraid to reach out. Respond to each other when you can. Share in excitement for each other. There is no reason to bring someone else down who might be excited about how they are parenting."

    2. Drop a couple comments and likes before reaching out!

    From @brisvegasdad Tim and Nic:

    "I think drop comments now and then on their posts and instastories and see where things land. Chances are, if you're commenting on a post and it is a heartfelt response, they'll click through to your account, look at your photos and connect with you. And that's when the magic happens - you can introduce yourself, talk about your lives and how things are being a parent... and after a while, if you're in the same neighbourhood, you meet up and grow your friendship organically. That being said, I'm obsessed with Bobby Berk from Queer Eye and his husband Dewey Do - if they ever had kids, I'd probably be completely unsubtle and leave strange awkward comments on their instaposts saying, 'GAY DADS MEET UPSSSSS'."

    3. Go in with no expectations

    From @stevecsmith Steve and Ben:

    "I always try to reach out without any expectations – mostly just to provide a positive comment. I like to leave it up to the other parents to comment or message back before suggesting meeting up or a playdate. Every family is different, so how each person is going to respond is different too."

    4. Keep trying!

    From @theconways13 Ricky and Jeff:

    "Reach out to other families, start a light friendly conversation. Get to know each other and let conversations happen organically. If they lead to a play date great! Our first experience in meeting another lgbt family (not through ig/gwk) was very awkward cause there wasn't a whole lot of conversation happening before hand. The conversations leading up to the play date will help make the first play date with the family go a lot smoother and fun. Don't be afraid of not connecting with the other families. If it isn't successful the first time, continue reaching out to to other families- don't let it deter you from reaching out to others."

    Gay Uncles

    Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

    It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

    In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

    But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

    In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

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    Popular

    Happy Gay Uncles Day! Hug the 'Guncle' in Your Life Today

    Yes, Gay Uncles Day is a silly, made up holiday — but underneath all the smiling photos of gay men with their nieces and nephews is an important message.

    It all started three years ago in August: the Internet lit up with the hashtag #GayUnclesDay, accompanied by countless adorable pictures of gay men beaming for the camera alongside their nieces and nephews. And just like that, another fake holiday was born.

    But National Gay Uncles Day is not just another silly social media antic — beneath all the smiling pictures is a message that is at best aspirational — from gay men who dream of parenthood but haven't been able to make it happen for themselves —and at worst, for the many gay men not allowed in the lives of their siblings' children, a reminder of how far we have yet to go.

    So yes, it's a silly, made up holiday — but one we're more than happy to support. So a very happy Gay Uncles Day to us all!

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    Fatherhood, the gay way

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