You’d think with all the dating apps, agencies and advice on offer, finding ‘the one’ in the 21st century would be pretty easy! But it’s not. So we invited Dean McCullough – the Northern Irish cutie from E4’s brilliant Young Free & Single – to talk about the way we gays look at love in 2016.

There is so much pressure these days to get out and go on dates what with dating apps on the rise and the price of condoms going down. And it got me thinking. EVERYONE wants to fall in love but what if love isn’t what we are falling for?

In some aspects, I like to think that we are all Carrie Bradshaw’s looking for our own Mr Big. You know, late night walks, London Eye selfies, love letters and LVs on Valentine’s but the real answer may well be that we are actually all Mr Bigs living in a Samantha Jones world! Sexually frustrated, too cool for school, instalike-driven and bored.

However, just last Christmas I couldn’t scroll down my Facebook news feed without seeing mates and mates of mates getting engaged or hitched and much to my surprise, most of them were YOUNG and GAY! HOW DARE THEY HAVE FOUND LOVE AND BE HAPPY?!?!

But then I started to think myself,  what is this fascination with ‘settling down’ so early?

We as gay men have lived our whole lives trying to find ourselves, fit in and be ‘normal’ (whilst of course standing out, being wonderfully unique and expressing ourselves obvs) And in some ways moving to a big city, shagging around for a while, meeting a run of the mill guy on Tinder, going on a few dates, settling down and updating the relationship status on Facebook is another step towards validation and trying to feel ‘normal’. But why do we have to do that?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely speaking in general because I get as giddy as a fag hag pissed on Porn Stars when I see my gay mates getting together and I LOVE a wedding but I can’t help think are we all thinking about ‘settling down’ and trying to be ‘normal’ a wee bit too early? I know we all want to house hunt as couples and save a fortune splitting the rent but shouldn’t we live a fun, crazy life and think about shacking up with someone when we’re fed of up of the shagging around?

Perhaps I say this because marriage was never a big thing in my family. But does marriage, now that we can do it, seal the deal and validate our relationships and indeed us gay men?  (More validation – I feel like it’s the word of the day)

#ValiGaytion – (verb) the validation of a gay man’s actions making him feel normal and empowered. This can be done by assimilating with straight society, i.e. finding a boyfriend and settling down.

Sorry, where was I? Ah yes, marriage. I recently saw how happy newly wed TV presenter Rylan Clark and his husband (former Big Brother housemate) Dan Neal looked in their wedding pictures. Was I jealous? Sure I was. But did I want to run out and find my Mr Big (brother)? NO – not at all. I like to think I’ve been in love before but I clearly haven’t found ‘the one’. And if that’s the case then I need to get back on Tinder pronto! It’s just a few weeks until Valentine’s Day, so I better get swiping!

How do you feel? Is getting settling down important to you? Are you newly wed and want to shed some light on this dilemma of mine?

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