When I returned from my business trip to Denver, things weren’t as they were before I left. N was slightly distant. His behavior was different. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something was definitely off.
Over the course of our time together, I noticed certain behaviors of his that raised red flags. For instance, he spent a lot of time at the gym. Now, I’ve known gym rats in my time, but I’ve never known anyone who spent quite as much time there as him. Or, at least that’s where he told me he was. Night after night, he’d spend 3+ hours lifting and doing cardio. Normally, I would appreciate such dedication, but after some of the stories he told me about what went down at the downtown Hoboken New York Sports Club, I started to get worried he might be participating (including stories of guys blowing each other in the steam room). I had no evidence or proof he was doing anything wrong, but deep down I had a suspicious feeling everything wasn’t on the level.
I really came to resent that gym. We both belonged to NYSC. I would work out in the uptown Hoboken NYSC which is newer and above ground, and I would ask him to join me. He always declined, telling me he was going downtown. I came to realize why we went downtown so much. He was getting his ego stroked, which was really getting to me. In the beginning I thought it was cute. I would call him things like princess and make noises as if I were blowing up a balloon when his head got too big. But, things started getting out of hand. He would come home from the gym bragging about the guys that checked him out. He would tell me about men slipping notes into his locker. Why he felt the need to share this information is beyond me. I belonged to the same family of gyms, and this NEVER happened to me. We are both attractive men. The difference was he was inviting it. I wasn’t jealous either. I had him. I didn’t need anyone else. I knew something had to be invited in some way from him for this to happen. Finally, I made blatant comments to him about why he went down there. It never fazed him. But if I said he goes there because he liked his ego stroked publicly, he got annoyed with me.
As I was beginning to wake up from the dream I thought was a relationship, I also noticed N spent a lot of time on Grindr. I know that’s how we met, and I have respect for the application, but it’s a death trap. It gets addicting and puts you in the constant mindset of being able to look constantly for something else, even if you’re already happy with what you have. It distances you from the process. If you were seeing a guy for a month and a half, and were walking down the street with him, you wouldn’t give another man the up-down in person. However, if you’re sitting next to the man you’ve been seeing, it’s possible to be looking at other men right in front of you without feeling guilty, which is what he was doing. He answered messages with me standing two feet away. This was a bold and brazen move I did not appreciate at all, even if he was just making friends.I was legitimately worried N was constantly seeking an upgrade model. I too was guilty. I was still talking to guys on Grindr and saying inappropriate things, but I never asked for a number or tried to meet up with any guys. It was more of an entertainment to pass the time.
These, among many other behaviors, created vast doubt in my mind of N’s faithfulness. He was new to the gay world. He didn’t know what he wanted. He just ended a long term relationship shortly before he met me. I was willing to be understanding of a lot of things since he was so new, and I was in his position one year prior. But, at this point, we’d been seeing each other for over a month and a half. For the sake of my emotional well-being, as well as my physical well-being, I couldn’t tolerate infidelity.
I started to get angry and resentful. When a guy from Hoboken started pursuing me on Grindr, I got sucked in. I immediately told him I was involved in a relationship and was purely looking for friends to hang out with. I had no one in my arsenal of gay friends other than Boston and NC. The conversation started off innocent, but then quickly escalated to a sexual nature. I was doing exactly what I accused N of in my mind. But, at this point, I was in revenge mode. I didn’t have proof he was cheating on me, but I knew it in my gut he was. Some of his stories didn’t hold up, and I caught him in lies. When there are inconsistencies, the mind will fill in the blanks and it has a tendency to run wild with possibilities. I also my actions because we never agreed we were exclusive. If he could philander, so could I. So when this guy asked if we could meet at my apartment for a quicky after work, I obliged.
I raced home that day and showered. Shortly after, he knocked on my door and came in. We went into my bedroom and chatted before making out. Then things got hot and heavy. It was quick but satisfying. This guy knew I was in a relationship with a guy across the street, and I told him to be discreet. So basically, I was using him for his body, and that’s it. This was a one-time gig to level the emotional playing field with N in my mind.
This isn’t who I am. I dated Broadway for ten months without cheating on him once. The thought never crossed my mind. And, he was my first gay relationship, just as I was N’s. I hated N for making me feel this way. It’s what drove me to “cheat” in the first place. But he didn’t make me do it. I did it of my own accord. Now, I know technically I didn’t do anything wrong, as we were never exclusive, but I broke my own moral code. I let myself down. I have to take responsibility for that. I did that and no one else. I didn’t like who I was becoming. And, I’m sorry and I was wrong!
That night, N was busy and didn’t spend the night. A big part of me wondered whose bed he slept in that night, but who am I to talk? I was happy, because while I wanted to seek revenge for N’s suspected cheating, I couldn’t fathom him sleeping on the same sheets I had sex with another man on. However, that night I slept on clean sheets in my bed sharing only with my guilt and my regret.Follow @onegayatatime