It is easy for us to showcase stories of love and romance, month in and month out, and forget the days when many of us thought: "I will never find the one." Those were trying times and, for some of our Men's Vows community, still are. 

It is not uncommon for a gay man's journey of romance to follow this path:

  1. Wild and crazy times when set free from the closet sampling everything that the "man-candy store" has to offer.
  2. Wide and misty-eyed moments when falling for the first time. 
  3. Sarcastic and cynical jags about what "dogs" men are after a series of failed relationships for us and a series of successful relationships for other gents. 
  4. Solitary and contemplative eternities wondering "if it will ever happen for me." 

While our intent is not to bring down the room, especially in our Romance Edition, we have all experienced some version of the above before. And, while the challenges of finding "the one" isn't particular to gay men, our experience is unique. Why? 

Two simple, but complex - though fortunately changing - conditions are true for us:

1) We never thought the "picket fence idyll" could be ours.

From the fact that we aren't programmed as little boys (straight or gay) to make marriage our ultimate goal, to the fact that, until recently, marriage wasn't our right, we never fully placed "happily ever after" in our sights.

Yes, married life in its fullest is more and more accessible to many of us, there still is a ways to go for it to feel 100% equal to those who call themselves husband and wife. And, as a result, might still make those gay men among us still feel like the "normalcy" of husband and husband is not yet in reach.

2) We don't have the role models whose footsteps we can follow in.

Let's face it, as much as Will & Grace seriously moved the needle for making gays a part of the mainstream, we never saw Will dealing with the day-to-day of married life. And no amount of Golden Girls reruns, our favorite septuagenarian gay proxies, has unearthed an episode of them in a relationship. 

For as many prominent gays - be they celebrities, tech pioneers, activists or otherwise - who are proudly out, there are countless more who are not. And, while more upstanding gay couples move into cities across the country, there are neighborhoods that still don't include same-sex couples among their happy families. 

But, because and despite the above, we are making confident strides forward in making both the possibility and reality of love, romance and marriage between men as everyday as an episode of "The Brady Bunch."