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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Stages of a Relationship & When is it Okay to Say “I Love You”



I’ll start off by answering the second part of our subject material here. While there is no “right” time to state the words “I love you”, there is a wrong time. You will realize when the "wrong" time is after reading this blog.

Let me preface this by saying I have years of experience behind me in the study of relationships and the science behind love. I’ve read several journals that breakdown the theories of intimacy, triangular theory of love, relationships and attachment theories. In addition, I’ve read a plethora of blogs regarding various scholars’ views on relationship stages. The foundation of the information in this blog comes from my own experience and learned knowledge over the years. This blog consists of my own interpretation of the various stages in a relationship. 

The Relationship Stages

1.    The Infatuation Stage: Nearly every scholar and professional agrees that the infatuation stage is the first stage; nothing comes before this stage. This is the stage in which your euphoria is at its highest. Your body has started producing high levels of endorphins, which will make you feel unusually happy and in bright spirits all of a sudden. You will find yourself extremely attracted to the person and desiring intimacy quite frequently. You’ll want to spend a majority of your time with the person and you’ll find nearly every waking moment with that person enjoyable. While you experience moments of intense happiness, you may also experience moments of fear and you’ll find yourself asking questions like “is this real?”, “will this go away?”, “Are they really into me?”, “Am I really into them?”, “Do I love them?”, etc. However, one thing remains true in this stage and that is that your partner can do no wrong.

2.    The Conception Stage: This is really the “birth” of the relationship in my opinion. In this stage you’ll amass a wealth of knowledge about your partner. You’ll begin to get more of an understanding of the person, their background, their family life, who their friends are, what they like to do, commonalities and you’ll figure out if this romantic connection has the potential for long-term or short-term relationship. However, it goes beyond your mental state of mind; your body is still producing a large amount of endorphins in this stage. It’s this stage where you will fall in love with the person. Limerence is at its highest in this stage. You can’t imagine life without the person in this stage. You are happier than you’ve ever been in this stage. The relationship seems completely conceivable and maybe it is. You’ll realize that you have several commonalities and ask yourself “Are we the same person?” You tend to look beyond all their flaws and only see the good in them. Any type of conflict in this stage is seen as detrimental (but it's not) to the relationship. However that’s only due to a sudden shift in feelings. It’s important to know that conflict will/can arise in any stage of the relationship and knowing how to communicate with the person is vital.

3.    The Disclosure Stage: I call this the disclosure stage because this is the stage in which you really give your partner full disclosure and when your partner is a in more relaxed state allowing himself or herself to give full disclosure as well. You may begin to notice some annoying habits that your partner has. You may begin to disagree more and you may even experience something deceitful at this stage.  There is no way for your body to continually produce the amount of endorphins it was in the beginning of your relationship so the euphoria begins to subside. Aspects of the relationship become a bit more “serious.” Maybe your partner wasn’t full forthcoming in the beginning of the relationship but now feels comfortable doing so. It’s of utmost importance in this stage that communication and conflict resolution is done so effectively between each other. One should be as open and honest as possible in this stage because if you can make it through this stage with full self-disclosure and minimal unresolved conflicts, you’re pretty good to go for the following stages.
(TIP: In this stage it’s important that you engage in meaningful activities. While you may share many commonalities, you may also have things that each of you like individually. There might even be something that your partner wants to do (i.e. go on a hike) that you feel would not interest you; try it. You have to both be willing to at least experience the other person’s interests. Who knows, you could end up really liking it yourself. However, the important thing here is to keep engaged and try new things with your partner. You’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.)

4.    The Reality Stage: While many like to refer to this as the disillusionment stage, I refer to it as the “reality” stage. To say that one will experience disillusionment is rather pessimistic. This could actually be a very positive stage in the relationship but we must take into consideration the events that occurred in the previous stages. One thing is true in this stage; the endorphins your body was producing in previous stages are almost completely gone at this point. You have both settled into your roles as a couple in this stage. You most likely have made future plans and arguments are not out of the norm. Psychologists unanimously agree that arguments are healthy and actually help to mold a more positive relationship (if resolved). There may be some worry about whether or not you chose the right partner but this is due to our natural defense mechanisms. We’re worried we may have made the wrong choice and want to be assured by our partner that we haven’t.

5.    The Reactionary Stage: It’s in this stage that more of the conflict might occur. This is possibly one of the most difficult stages to make it through as you start to feel as though you’ve lost your individuality and seek to gain it back. You might feel yourself competing with your partner, struggling to prove your worth to your partner, power struggle issues become more prevalent here and doubt is at its highest. Differences can help the relationship grow but it can also hinder it. Sex It’s at this point in the relationship that trust, self-disclosure, communication and support (from each other) are of extreme importance. If you still are unable to resolve conflicts, communicate effectively and see past your differences, the relationship is most likely doomed. If you can’t resolve issues on your own, couples therapy may be necessary.

6.    The Cognizance Stage: I call it this because it’s at this stage that you’ve reached a milestone in the relationship; you finally have clarity of what this relationship is. You’ve overcome some serious hurdles and you’ve come to a peaceful place. This is the stage where partners usually decide to marry each other. Based upon the attachment theory, a happy couple should have positive views of each other and feel comfortable with intimacy and dependency. You become very happy in this stage because the war is finally over and you both accept each other for who each other is. You no longer distort the image of the person or project upon the person. You see them as they are and love them for being that person. You realize that you may have future conflicts but you know how to resolve them with better perfection. You see the relationship as something that has the potential to last a lifetime in this stage. You both realize that you have the power to make changes and can do so if you’re both willing to work at it together.


7.    The Unconditional Stage: This, to me, is the final stage in the relationship. It’s at this point you both completely trust each other, love each other, know everything about each other and realize that your love is not only deep, but unconditional. Research suggests that in all theories of relationship stages a very low percentage of people actually make it to the final stage. However, that should not disillusion anyone reading this as there are hundreds of thousands of couples that have lived long, happy, successful, prosperous and adventurous lives together. It's all about making the key fit the socket, if you connect on a level that transcends typical connections then you've met the one.


Successful relationships all have a few things in common; there’s full disclosure, trust, a friendship on top of the intimate relationship, comfortability in independence, comfortability in intimacy, commonalities, excellent communication, understanding and support. If you have all of these in your relationship, you’re well on your way to a very happy and long-lasting relationship.

-Christopher M.
MA in Clinical Psych, New School
MSW Program at Fordham

  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sunrise



Sunrise 

Only the breeze could have perforated his cerebellum, 
So circumspect as he sat stoic and across the room, 
Transfixed in the language he wished he hadn't cultivated, 
Fire burning his flesh, he paid no mind, 
But like the extirpation of a cancer, 
A feeling had gone to grave. -CM

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why Do So Many Men Put Sex Before A Relationship?



Why is it that so many gay men put such a strong emphasis on sex before really getting to know a person?

While it's flattering to have a man have such strong physical desires to be with you in an intimate manner, I'm not sure it's good to put such an emphasis on sex before really getting to know a person. Intimacy is something that takes time to develop, yet we rush ourselves into this stage by trying to bypass other necessary steps like the building of interdependence between each other, the development of trust, the goal of full disclosure, etc. There's no rule book which states that you must NOT have sex before entering into a relationship but is it really the best idea to do something that some of us might value a bit more than others? 

Sex is a primal human instinct but if you really feel that you care to get to know someone better you should probably be a bit more conscious of your desire and put it to the wayside until you feel they are ready for that type of intimacy within the relationship. Some of us desire, for lack of words, intellectual intercourse rather than sexual intercourse. Sex is great and important in a relationship but becoming closer with a potential suitor is more important to me personally.  

Remember that sex is everywhere. You can get it at almost any time of any day. You can devalue it all you want or you can let it devalue you. You can have sex prior to a relationship and probably still have a relationship depending on the synchronicity between the parties involved. You can have sex at any age. You can make the decision to be promiscuous or keep sex more sacred. 

You can't meet an amazing person any day. You can't build trust with a person instantly. You won't go up to a stranger and give them full disclosure. You won't meet a potential lover every day. You won't get to always share those amazing moments with someone you really care about. You won't always get that person that really wants to know who you are inside and out. 

When you do meet that person that wants to ask you questions, learn about you, smile at you, be patient with you, compliment you, give you full disclosure, tell you their secrets but not take your clothes off right away....be happy about it. That's a very rare diamond in the rough. 

-Chris Ryan

Monday, November 4, 2013

Interview + Review Of MENCH'D, 1st App For Long-Term Relationships

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In a market where apps are a dime a dozen, a diamond in the rough has been created. Mench'D is the first app to focus on guys that want more than just a quickie, this is where men who are serious about dating come. Thus far apps in the LGBT community have largely promoted a more promiscuous ideology.

Mench'D is the first app to focus long-term relationships and accomplishes this through a very user-friendly interface that allows users to answer questions that will match their compatibility with others. You won't find a guy's "p_ _ _ _ size" on here like you would on Adam4Adam or Manhunt but you will find out the more redeeming qualities of him. The app has a very sleek, sexy design that offers users the ability to scroll through pictures based on their location with percentages signifying the users compatibility with them. Essentially, Mench'D incorporates the great qualities of existing apps into one incredible app (improves upon them, considerably).

We had the opportunity to ask Mench'D creator Justin Maxx a few pertinent questions regarding his innovative new app. Check out our interview below:

1.   I'm sure people want to know how you came up with Mench’d, will you tell us?

I tried all of the dating apps, but nothing seemed right. From match.com to grindr.com, I couldn't seem to find what I was looking for, until one day when I came across okcupid.com. Initially I fell in love with the app, but then I realized there just weren't enough gay guys on it! I was immediately inspired! I questioned why there isn't a site specifically made for gay men who are serious about dating and want to efficiently find a match. I decided to create the perfect solution for the gay community by creating a sexy, yet sophisticated dating app called Mench'd. (Those happen to be my two favorite qualities in a guy)

2.   Do you feel the dating experience is enhanced through the recent advancement in technology? If so, how?

It has totally enhanced it! I believe that the advancement in technology has changed the experience of online dating. Some men that stick to online dating never have the courage to actually meet in person. Mench’d connects users for ON and OFFLINE dating. I think having all of these social networks and dating sites has connected us with men that we may have gone our whole lives without ever interacting with. With Mench’d specifically, I have made it so that you can get very specific with your choice and type of guy. I wanted to enhance the experience by letting the users ignore the guys they were attracted to, because the one thing I hate about dating is wasting my time. Dating is already hard enough that you don’t want to go on a date with someone and find out they have different political stances, religious beliefs, or simply if they are allergic to dogs.

3.   Do you feel technology increase temptations to cheat?

That depends on each individual, the temptation to cheat is something a lot of men deal with. I hope that Mench’d will help men find the best possible match, so that cheating is never an issue. Although, speaking about technology in general, I feel like the internet has given us gay men tons of different portals to experiment. I think cheating is one of the worst moves you can make in a relationship instead, communicate with your partner or boyfriend and talk it out. That tip might sound stupid and simple but it works.

4.   How is Mench'd different than other dating apps/sites?

Mench’d is very different from all the other gay dating apps on the market. Mench’d is the FIRST gay dating app to push LTR ( Long term relationships), most apps and websites are about getting laid and making that sexual connection. I wanted an app where I can make a connection with someone’s likes and dislikes. Sex is easy, love is hard. No pun inteneted. Mench’d was launched 4 months ago and with thousands of users now worldwide, I feel like I have created something with a purpose and have truly filled a gap in the market! On top of everything we have several awesome features including a video profile that other apps do not have. A lot of our users think of us as the OKcupid of the gay community.

5.   Will you post success stories? How do you personally measure success in a relationship?

I will post success stories, I have gone on several dates off of menchd.com it has been an amazing experience. But dating is hard and Mench’d is attempting to help gay men find the loves of their lives. I have seen pictures of guys on Mench’d dates but I haven’t heard of any relationships yet. The app is still a baby its been live for 4 months and it is international.

I measure success through the connection that two people have with eachother. When someone finds and feels that LOVE connection its something special ... the tingeling sensation in the pit of your stomach that makes you smile, because you feel safe and familiar with another human being!

6.   Where do you see Mench'd in the future?

Mench’d is already expanding, we are working on an android and web version and hopefully will launch them by valentines day! I see the app turning into more of a lifestyle app then just a dating site. I want the users to feel engaged like they are learning how to love and build a relationship and not just messing around.

Follow Mench'D on Twitter

Download Mench'D

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-Chris Ryan

Monday, October 21, 2013

10 Gay Horror Films You MUST See This Halloween

10 Gay Horror Films You MUST See







10. Hellbent
Halloween in West Hollywood, two guys making out in a park are interrupted by a serial killer. Later that night, a group of gay kids decide to visit to the site of the murders. 







9. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

A group of teenagers get into a car crash in the Texas woods on prom night, and then wander into an old farmhouse that is home to Leatherface and his insane family of cannibalistic psychopaths. 








8. Our Lady Of The Assassins

The tempestuous love story between Fernando, an older man who has recently returned to his crime-ridden drug capitol hometown of Medellin, Colombia and the gun-happy 16-year-old assassin Alexis, who murders all too easily. When Alexis himself is fatally gunned down, grief-stricken Fernando hunts for his young lover's killer in the Medellin slums, but instead encounters Wilmar, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Alexis. 








7. Deathtrap

A Broadway playwright puts murder in his plan to take credit for a student's script.







6. 9 Dead Gay Guys

Two Irish lads stumble through London's gay scene.






5. Fright Night


When a teenager learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, no one will believe him.





4. Hot Guys With Guns

If you can imagine Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as younger, hotter ex-boyfriends, you'll have the basis for Hot Guys With Guns, a modern take on the old-fashioned detective story. It's Chinatown meets Boystown.







3. Kill Your Darlings

A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.





2. A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge


If you were paying attention in the introduction, it should come as no surprise this film tops our list. Some have called it “the gayest horror film ever made,” and they would be 100% correct.
That said, it’s hard to believe in 1985, following on the heels of Wes Craven’s massively popular inaugural outing on Elm Street, that the folks at New Line Cinema intended to provide us with possibly the most homosexual horror of them all. To be sure, Nightmare 2 director Jack Sholder has maintained that he was unaware of any homoerotic subtext while making the film, even as screenwriter David Chaskin and star Mark Patton have championed the movie’s inherent “gayness.” Indeed, Patton has even gone so far as to dub himself one of horror’s original “scream queens,” and his crown has been championed by LGBT and Elm Street fans alike.
With all the behind-the-scenes discussion, you may ask yourself what makes this film so gay, and it’s hard to pinpoint, exactly. Maybe it’s the leather bar, frequented by the S&M-enthusiastic gym coach. Maybe it’s the moment when Jesse (Patton), about to get laid by a girl, flees the scene to go stay the night with his hunky friend instead.  Or perhaps it’s Jesse’s painful struggle with a secret that sets him apart from the other boys, leading him to epically declare, “He is INSIDE ME!”

1. Rocky Horror Picture Show
A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The epitome of a gay horror film and a timeless classic that will go down as the best gay horror film of all time.

New Jersey Becomes 14th State To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage


Congratulations New Jersey on becoming the 14th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Governor Christie formally withdrew his appeal to this ruling. Gay Marriage is now a LAW in New Jersey and Governor Christie says he will uphold that law and comply with the Federal ruling that came this past June. 

We're one more state closer to 50 states for gay marriage! 
For more info read here

"LIKE" So Gay So What on Facebook and you'll be updated with the latest in LGBT news!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You CAN Be A Young Gay Republican! (PSA)



In this genius satire the very young Republican, Lynn Sellers, tries to sell us gays the reasons why (or why not rather) we should and CAN be a young gay Republican! It's cute, fun and full of satire, if you want more visit Liberal Bias Video on YouTube.



And remember, Liberal Bias Video is a BIG 10!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Gays & The VIP


"I'm not always gay but when I'm am, I prefer dos tops. Stay horny my friends."

The Gays & The VIP

VIP = Very Influential Phenomenon

            When we consider the microcosm of gay nightlife culture we have to bring up the VIP. Why are homosexuals so easily influenced by the VIP status? Why do feel we deserve the treatment of a celebrity when we show up to a club with our posse? Does bringing people to a club automatically mean we should get a table and a bottle?

            Let’s get one thing straight in this very gay article, bringing people to a club is great for business but when all of your people are drinking out of OUR bottle for free how do you think that helps the venue? Should we be honored by your presence? Unfortunately, we are not anymore. Today the concern of clubs and bars is more about bar sales than having your pretty face there. Sure we want pretty faces in the bar because that can bring more people (dollars) into the venue but we can’t afford to fit you and all your friends in the venue for free. This is not 1953, you’re not at the Sands Hotel/Casino and you are not Frank Sinatra.

            So how did VIP become so prominent in gay culture? I’ll tell you how, groupthink. We were influenced by seeing others get VIP and started to think like them. When we saw the qualifications for VIP we automatically assumed we should be granted VIP status. This phenomenon has spread throughout gay nightlife culture. Oh and when someone gets a “NAME” forget it. The venue might as well pre-order the red carpet before they arrive; they’re going to need it.

            Did you remember that club owners, promoters and the staff that run this beast (otherwise known as your playground) need to make an income as well? For the VIP our welfare is at the bottom of their list.

The VIP’s list may look a bit like this:

1. I DO NOT do LINES (unless they are on a table).
2. My name is ALWAYS on the list.
3. Umm drink tickets while I WAIT for my bottle/table?
4. Where’s my BOTTLE bitch?
5. Get that motha fuckin’ table ready NOW!
6. Umm can you get these very NON-VIP-EY people out of my area?
7. Drink tickets?
8. BYYYYYEEEE!

            Now if that list didn’t annoy you (even in the slightest) you probably have a personality disorder or hopelessly suffer from hysterical VIP disorder.


-Chris Ryan

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Ethereal Path



The Ethereal Path
By Christopher M.

The feeling in my gut,
Before ascending through the brume,
Of which I’m sure will abscond soon,
Is not without its glow,
And not without its gloom.

The uncertain path ahead,
Is affluent with hindrances.
Where miners seek diamonds,
And beggars seek aliment;
I seek the ethereal.

I may kick over the traces,
And keep my language abstruse,
I may put on disparate faces,
But while my qualms will wade,
I’ll never lie to you.

And when our hearts are pure,
And no longer caliginous,
We’ll rake over the coals,
With fires in our souls;
Becoming to each other indigenous.