If you are looking for a book that offers an incredibly authentic approach to improve your relationships and life, I highly recommend reading #IsHeHereYet by Dr. Tony Ortega, a licensed clinical psychologist, and life coach serving the LGBTQ community in his private practice located in Brooklyn, New York.
Finally, a book that is directed towards gay men written by a gay man who is experienced in helping gay men down the path to healing, empathy and personal growth, exploration, and understanding. This is what many of us need out here – not another relationship-touting self-help book that goes by stereotypes and pre-conceived notions and leaves you feeling even more hopeless if you are indeed hoping to build a real relationship with someone of the same sex.
What I like most: the book is practical and is easy to understand, I can relate to the content, and it gives plenty of examples to demonstrate patterns that don’t work in relationships. It gets to the root of our issues so we can recognize them and begin to heal.
The stories and activities in this book are consistent and easy to digest while also being profound. They are spiritual and groundbreaking. I was excited every moment I got to sit down with this book and absorb the wisdom inside.
I am still working my way through #IsHeHereYet; however, it has been life-changing in the way I see my life and my role in it. I pick it up and read a small section and then practice it.
#IsHeHereYet is more than a self-help book; it’s a fantastic tool to help us heal our past hurts that are affecting present relationships.
I caught up with him to gain some greater insight on relationships and his new book.
What was the driving force and deciding factor to write #IsHeHereYet?
Actually, there were two main factors at work. I remember when I first started working with a life coach, I wanted to work on my “inability” to have a relationship. He kept telling me, “My goal for you is to be wildly okay with yourself.” I was like, ok, whatever you say but did the work. This book is all about that journey of getting from needing to be in a relationship to being wildly okay with who you are. The other factor was the issue that there aren’t a lot of gay male relationship and breakup books out there. When my ex terminated our relationship, I couldn’t find anything of value. I got the inspiration that maybe I should write a book that I would want to read and hopefully add a book to our community. Gay male self-help literature is not very prevalent, in my opinion.
What were your life-changing moments that inspired you to write this book?
The main moment was recovering from that break-up. I was in this 69-day relationship. I made this relationship to be something that it wasn’t. It was going to make me normal. It was going to be my prize for doing the work I had been doing. Such was not the case. I was devastated and coped with it by drinking copious amounts of alcohol as well as going through a slew of men to validate what my ex did not. Once I woke up from my alcohol/cock fest, I realized that this was not the person I wanted to be. I was in the shower one day and actually started to get dictation from what I believe to be Spirit. And thus, the first couple of chapters were born that morning.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
That’s a funny question because I don’t remember the actual moment I came up with it. I can tell you the motivation to call the book #IsHeHereYet. Throughout my quest for love, I would always do the work that folks and books would suggest to “call in the one.” I would do all this work and be like “is he here yet?” When I started to write the book, instead of a how to manual to call in the one, I wanted to be a journey to be the one and then see what shows up. The subtitle, Being the person you want to be with”, came along later as I was having trouble tying everything together. This book is a journey to be the best version of yourself at any given moment and while being in that space, being the person you want to be with, let’s see what shows up.
What are the most significant challenges gay men face when it comes to dating and how can they overcome those obstacles?
I honestly think that the biggest problem we have is that we focus on something external, something outside of ourselves, to make us feel good about ourselves. We are commonly all about the clothes, the travel, the guys, etc. How about a more inward journey to greater self-acceptance which will then lead to greater unity in our community.
What do you think is the biggest mistake that men make in their relationships?
I think that this question is answered in Chapter 2 of my book. This chapter is called “Stop Making Relationships Your Higher Power.” I feel that we make romantic relationships the end all be all of our existence. We are constantly searching for love when really the love that we need is already inside of us and all around us. We need to stop blocking ourselves from accessing it by this eternally motivated quest for love.
What are spiritual relationships?
I am going to take a very Course In Miracles approach to answering this question. The Course talks about special and holy relationships. A Special relationship is one in which one or both parties approach being in the relationship from a place of woundedness and separation. I/we are using this relationship to fill a perceived void in our lives. We are two halves becoming one. A Holy relationship is one in which both parties enter it, recognizing their individual wholeness and coming together to be in a space of love. So I would consider a holy relationship to be a spiritual relationship.
In Chapter 2 ‘Stop Making Relationships Your Higher Power’ of your book #IsHeHereYet, you said, relationships fail because the people were not ready to be in a relationship. How does someone know they’re ready for a relationship?
I don’t know if there is a set point in which anyone can say, ok, I am ready. I think that it is an inner knowing that you are at a point in your life that you are feeling very good about yourself and then the right energy is present and potential suitors may start to show up. I am actively not dating right now and yet, I do come across potential suitors. I don’t turn them down per se but I am not out and about thinking about dating.
How do you recommend or suggest a reader navigate through your book and “makeover moments” efficiently to ensure maximum progress and development?
My suggestion, which is mentioned in the introduction, is that if you are single, remain single for the first 8 chapters, if you can. I feel that working on a chapter a week (maybe two chapters if you have the time) and complete the makeover moments as thoroughly as possible and sit in meditation with what you have uncovered about yourself. When you get to chapter 9 (You…On A Date), take it slow and really get into the experience. Chapters 10-12 are much like Steps 10-12 of any 12 step program. They are kind of maintenance steps that you can continue to work on throughout your self-improvement journey.
Letting go of the past can be a challenge when you’ve experienced cheating or abuse in a prior relationship, what are some methods to help someone make peace with their past?
The biggest tool (without giving away a lot of that particular chapter) is to look at the situation as objectively as possible. What did you learn about yourself than you can change or do differently while honoring the pain you feel from the trauma. Always honor your pain, don’t live in it as we will repeat the trauma again in another relationship.
What do you hope readers will gain by reading #IsHeHereYet?
That you don’t need to be in a relationship to feel whole and complete. That the most important love relationship we can have is with ourselves. We don’t need to call in the one. We need to be the one and see what manifests then.
Is it better to go on dating apps or meet people in real life?
I am truly on the fence with this. Yes, apps are historically for hooking up purposes only. However, there are people on there who don’t want to just hook up. I use apps and my profile says I don’t just want to hook up. The problem with apps is not the apps themselves, but how we use them. As far as meeting people, yes we can go to clubs but that can be difficult. I would recommend Meet Up groups and community events like book signings and stuff. I think you will meet a different caliber of individuals that way.
Visit Dr. Tony Ortega website at www.drtonyortega.com or via social media @drtonyortega.