Posts Tagged choice

The Next Chapter

Two years ago, I started this blog. I began writing because I felt alone. I knew there had to be other gay men out there who were looking for the same thing I was, and I wanted a way to connect with them.

grindrAt the time, I just ended my first gay relationship, and I found myself in very unchartered waters. I was already out to close friends, but not publicly. Because I had so few gay friends and a strong aversion to gay bars, I had to find a mate digitally. I began serial dating, at one point going on four dates in four days — And thus, One Gay At A Time was born.

Since the beginning, I have gone on MANY dates and put myself in many situations well outside my comfort zone. I have not only grown more comfortable in my own skin, but I’ve also grown up as a gay man. I got all the hookups out of my system and began searching for a meaningful, long-term relationship.

This blog began as an open forum diary of the daily occurrences I encountered navigating the gay world. I told my side of the story honestly in hopes that others out there would be able to relate, comment and most importantly, realize they are not alone.

The time has come for the next chapter of my life and for this blog. For quite some time I’ve been blogging about CK (aka Clark Kent or Superman). You’ve gotten to know him through my eyes in the early stages of our relationship. It’s been some time since I’ve blogged, and I apologize for leaving you, my readers in the lurch. I do not mean to abandon the small community I’ve worked so hard to foster, but I’ve been struggling with the next chapter of the blog.

When I first told CK about the blog, he was very open to and even grew excited about the idea of my writing our relationship. Over time, as you could probably understand, his excitement waned, and we began to argue about the content of the blog.

I had to make a choice between the blog and my man. It’s quite obvious which I chose. As a result, I will no longer be blogging about the specifics of my relationship with CK. However, in lieu of continuing to finish our story in a daily dairy format, let me catch you up on what has happened since July. Here are some of the highlights…

In July, CK joined my family for our annual beach vacation. While I went for the entire week, he only joined us for a few days. It was the first time we’d spent an extended period of time apart, and with my trust/cheating baggage, it was a true test of my sanity. I was thrilled and relieved when he finally arrived. It was also nice that he would finally get to spend some real-time getting to know my parents.

In early August, I traveled to Miami, CK’s birthplace to surprise his family with a visit to celebrate the birthdays of his two beautiful nephews (turning 1 and 2 only a week apart). I felt incredibly special taking this trip with CK. I was meeting his ENTIRE extended family. Before this point, I’d only met his mother. I was welcomed into the family with open arms and came to grow strong bonds with them over just a handful of days. This was unchartered territory for both of us, as I’d never been brought home to meet the family by anyone other than my high school girlfriend, and he’d never brought a man home to meet everyone before. It could not have worked out better!

Around Labor Day, CK and I went on week-long vacation to the Hamptons with 15 of my friends and family. While there, our relationship grew very strained. I felt he was trying too hard to impress my friends. I wanted him to be himself so all of them would come to love the man I knew, not the man I felt he was trying to be for them. By the end of the week, I reached my breaking point. I was so stressed out from organizing the vacation and ensuring everyone was happy that I made myself miserable, and I took it out on the person closest to me. In the penultimate moment of the trip, one night we not only exchanged words but also fists and shoves, as my closest friends and sister witnessed the lowest moment of our relationship.

It took a lot of time for CK and I to figure things out. This wasn’t the first time our relationship reached physicality, but I hoped it was the last. It also took a long time for things to return to normal between CK, me and my circle of friends. My sister wasn’t speaking to me for over a month and my friends had semi-ostracized me from typical gatherings. I burned a lot of bridges on that trip, and I am still working to rebuild them today. You can expect to read about my experiences and feelings dealing with issues such as physical violence in a relationship as one of the topics I will cover in coming posts.

In September, CK and I found an apartment in Hoboken to call our own. We moved in together in the midst of Hurricane Sandy’s wake on November 2. Although the experience of moving immediately following a hurricane is incredibly overwhelming, we are both stronger as a result of the experience. In my experience, moving in with a lover is unlike sharing a space with any other. You’ll certainly be reading about my experiences and the things I’ve learned from this experience as well.

After Sandy exhausted my last modicum of energy, I decided I was too tired to shave my upper lip. CK and I both decided to raise awareness and funds to fight prostate cancer by growing mustaches for Movember. I proudly raised over $500 for charity as a result of my stache, and I was thrilled when we both shaved them off — We both looked like pedophiles.

For the first time in my life, I had someone to take home to meet my family for Thanksgiving. Before venturing home, I sent my extended maternal family an email to get the awkwardness out of the way. You’ll be pleased to know my family welcomed him with open arms. I imagine coming out to extended family creates a lot of anxiety for man, as it did for me, so I hope sharing my experiences will encourage more to share the truth with the ones they love.

When I returned to Hoboken after Thanksgiving, preparations began immediately for what would have been my Sixth Annual Holiday Bash. This year, it became Our First Annual Holiday Bash. I finally had someone to share the hosting duties with, making it extra special.

Although CK and I spent Christmas apart, after all the festivities with my family, I hopped on a flight down to Miami to spend the rest of the holiday season and New Years Eve with my man and his family. CK’s sister and brother-in-law planned a trip with their two boys to Disney World for two days. After a little persuading, I convinced CK we should join them. I preferred Disney to a raucous gay party any day, and it was truly magical to see Disney World through the eyes of a two-year-old.

In February, CK and I took a romantic trip to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Although it seems we can’t go anywhere without having some kind of quarrel like an old married couple, the trip was amazing and couldn’t have come at a better time. We went ice skating, snow shoeing, swimming, hiking, and much more. It was a perfect escape for both of us to get out of the city and away from the bustle of it all after the holidays.

In between, there have been countless brunches, parties, trips, nights out, Broadway shows, fights… Oh yea, and plenty of sex — Can’t forget the sex! Overall, things have been going well for us. You have good days and bad days, but you have to realize the bad days are just there so you appreciate the good ones all the more. I am thrilled to announce, this past Saturday, CK and I celebrated our one-year anniversary at the restaurant we went to on our first date, Frankies Spuntino 570. Although we waited nearly an hour, the evening was perfect, and I look forward to many more years together.

Although I won’t be detailing the specifics of my relationship going forward, I hope to share with you what I have learned along the way. It’s not easy being in a relationship, but then again, the things that are worth it never really are.

To my most dedicated readers who haven’t let me lack of posting stop them from commenting words of support on my blog, thank you. You are what has motivated me to get back into this once again. I feel like many of you have integrated my writing into your daily routines, and I have left you with your morning coffee in hand and no reading material. You will not see the frequency of posts you may have grown accustomed in the past, but I still hope you find time in your lives for One Gay At A Time.

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Nearing the End of My Rope

Tensions were high between CK and I. Nearly every night, we’d find something to argue about. Although it didn’t always result in an explosive fight, there always seemed to be some kind of noise in the background. The honeymoon was officially over.

FightWhen we woke in the morning, CK apologized for the night before, as did I. As we got ready for work, we both agreed underwear was not something we should be fighting about. After making us breakfast, we ate, showered together, got dressed and made our way to the PATH.

A day prior, CK got tickets to see Hot Chip in Brooklyn from a coworker . He asked if I was interested in going. We had already planned to head to Brooklyn to visit Hip since he was recovering from his second hip replacement surgery, so I said, “Sure. Why not?”

While we were at work, we nailed down plans via text and phone. Since I finished much earlier than he did, I hopped on the subway and made my way to his office. He wasn’t quite ready yet, so I asked for his coffee order and hit up Starbucks. I didn’t sleep very well the night before, so I needed something to keep me up and give me the energy to be a fun date.

While riding the subway out to Brooklyn, I asked CK if he requested the time off to join my family on vacation. He reacted to the question as if this was some big surprise. I’d only been asking him about it for a solid month. When he asked me to take time off and book a flight to Miami for his nephews birthdays, I did it without question. Now that I was asking him to take time off to be with me and my family, he didn’t think he could get the time off. I was p*ssed! I found it quite selfish. If he’d requested the time when I originally asked, we wouldn’t have gotten into the argument that ensued. As I said, we seemed to be fighting about everything.

The rest of the ride wasn’t pleasant. It grew to far higher proportions when we got off the subway. I wanted nothing more than to get right back on the subway and make my way home. I no longer had any interest in going to the concert, and I told him that. It takes two to fight, so I take half the responsibility, but he was being rude and treating me in a way I wasn’t willing to subject myself to. As a result, I skulked behind him as we walked through Prospect Park. As he yelled at me for not helping him navigate our way to the concert, I shouted back, “Fine. Just go without me! I don’t want to go anymore. I’m not going to have any fun.” I wanted nothing to do with him or Hot Chip.

I think he understood I was serious and responded by apologizing. “Can we just get past this tonight?” he asked. “Do we have to sacrifice our entire night over this fight?” I didn’t want to just put on a happy face and grin through it. I was angry, and to be honest, I wanted to go home out of spite. The concert was something he wanted to go to, and just as he didn’t put in the effort to come with me on vacation, I wasn’t going to come to the concert. I realized how unproductive this would be, so I agreed to go (not before numerous attempts to make my way back to Hoboken).

When we finally made it in to the concert, CK bought me a few beers, and we cut through the crowd to watch the concert already in progress. Surprisingly, I started to have a better time. Admittedly, I’d never heard of the band before we arrived, and I didn’t recognize any of their music. The fighting ended, and CK was being affectionate. We even made a few friends while moving from place to place among the crowd and managed to bum a smoke off some nice guys.

When the concert was over, it was far too late to visit Hip. I felt really bad considering he was the original plan and reason for the trip to Brooklyn. I wasn’t thrilled we sacrificed his visit for a concert, but in the end, it was CK’s decision.

On the walk to the subway, we found ourselves in a situation once again that birthed yet another argument. When we were a safe distance away from the situation, I began to calmly explain how p*ssed I was at him. Once again, he didn’t think it was a big deal and almost brushed it off as if I was overreacting. I didn’t care. To me, it was so much more. I told him explicitly how much I didn’t like these types of situations, and he completely disregarded those feelings. I don’t think he consciously acted in spite of my request — Quite the opposite. I don’t think he was thinking at all.

After arguing about the matter the rest of the way to the subway, I decided I wasn’t going to engage him in conversation any longer. Clearly I wasn’t getting through to him. We rode the subway with a large group CK decided to befriend. I wanted nothing to do with them. When he asked me questions or tried to introduce me, I simply ignored him. If he wasn’t going to take my feelings into consideration any longer, I wasn’t going to regard his either. I began to wonder if this was something we’d ever get passed. Maybe we were just inherently different. Maybe he would never be able to see things through my eyes. I began to think about what it would mean to end things. Obviously that would be my last resort, but I began to prepare myself for that possibility.

FriendsArgueI was also in a tough spot because I was spending the night at his place. By the time we resurfaced in midtown, CK finally realized I was ignoring him. He started to get irritated by this, and yet another fight broke out between us. This time, I didn’t care. I went nuts. I didn’t care who saw us fighting or what they heard as I laid into him. We argued back and forth about the severity of the incident at hand for some time. He didn’t realize it, but as each of these incidents came up, my tolerance for them dwindled more and more. Toward the end of the argument, I think CK finally got a clear idea of the zero tolerance I had left. I’m not the most bending person (and that’s an understatement), but this was one sticking point I wasn’t going to bend on. I didn’t care how small the infraction. He had a choice, and he needed to pick me.

He finally understood my stance and apologized for everything. He didn’t think this fell under my umbrella of discomfort. He finally understood that nothing in this realm would be acceptable to me. We were able to civilly walk the rest of the way back to his place, but the conversation was certainly nonexistent.

When we got back to his bedroom, I brushed my teeth, stripped down to my boxer briefs and climbed right into bed. CK finished what he needed to do before bed and climbed into the opposite side of the bed. That night, we didn’t go to bed fighting, but there wasn’t a lot of love in the bed either.

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Running with Scissors

Another Fourth of July, and another night of disappointment. I’d gone to bed that night contemplating my relationship. Was I strong enough to continue to deal with this? I looked to the future and ran numerous scenarios in my head. I asked myself, “Is this worth it? Should I get off this train now before it’s a complete train-wreck?”

When we woke in the morning, we discussed what happened the night before. CK apologized. He told me he didn’t know I was so black and white on the issue. That’s when I laid it all out for him. It was not okay nor would it ever be okay. We’d had this discussion before, and I wasn’t going to continue to have it anymore. I made it clear: I wasn’t going to stand by on the issue. He had a choice to make. He took that to heart and told me he would do whatever it takes. “I love you with all my heart, and I will do anything to keep you in my life,” he added.

It appeared we were finally on the same page, and we both went to work. I had a half day at the office, so when I finished, I went home and hit up the gym. I was finally getting back into the swing of things. I’d injured my shoulder lifting in the gym months prior, so it was difficult to motivate myself to continue going when I wasn’t able to lift to my full potential. When I hopped in the pool, I was able to get back into shape with low impact on my shoulder. This was my way to finally get back in shape while my shoulder healed.

When I finished at the gym, I went home and packed a bag to head back into the city. CK, Hip and I were all going to see Scissor Sisters in concert that night. After the argument getting ready for Matinee, I asked CK ahead of time to help me come up with an outfit to wear. I didn’t want this to turn into another fight. It worked out much better this time because I was able to pack my bag with confidence. I wasn’t nearly as self-conscious as I was last time. When I was ready, I hopped on my motorcycle and made my way to Hell’s Kitchen.

When I arrived, CK and Hip were prepping a pitcher with drinks to head to the roof to share a cocktail. They both seemed a little loopy, like they’d been drinking for quite some time. We grabbed the pitcher and made our way upstairs to watch the sunset. Within a half hour, we polished off the entire pitcher. When we ran out, we made our way back downstairs. I was in a drinking mood, so Hip and I ran out to get more libations while CK hopped in the shower. We came back and mixed up another pitcher. I sat on the bed with Hip watching while CK tried on about twenty outfits and permutations of accessories.

As I watched CK while we listened to music, something about him didn’t quite to add up. He wasn’t being himself. I grew suspicious and my attention was hypersensitive. I was noticing everything. Hip put on Cedric Gervais’ Molly. The song continued asking me if I can help her find “Molly,” and I began to wonder if the two of them had already found her. When Hip handed CK something small, and he placed it in a box on his nightstand, I grew even more suspicious. Who knows what it was, but everything wasn’t adding up in my mind. Nothing I saw was concrete. But, I still couldn’t shake the notion something was up. I felt it in my gut. Were promises being broken already?

We continued getting ready for a few hours. This was all new to me. I never went to concerts and got ready with friends. I was just taking it all in. That’s when CK insisted I change my clothes. He wanted me to join in. I told him I was already wearing my outfit, but he wasn’t satisfied. He insisted I try on his jeans instead of my own. He felt they were more suitable, and I was embarrassed. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid. I protested, but he continued to insist I at least try on his jeans. When I couldn’t get them past my thighs I pulled them off and put a stop to the whole conversation. I was already on edge with my suspicions. I insisted I was going to continue to be myself. I had my own individuality, and I didn’t need to compromise that for him. “Are you embarrassed by me? I’m not just some Ken doll you can play dress up with,” I protested. I got dressed again and made my way to the living room. He successfully put me in a bad mood, and I was really tempted to tell him to go without me. I wasn’t looking forward to this concert at all.

I sat in the living room while they continued to get ready in the bedroom. Time was passing quickly, and it was getting later and later. I was continuing to refill my glass while I waited. I figured if I was in a bad mood, at least I could get a little drunk to put me in the proper state of intoxication for a concert. When they finally decided on an outfit and realized it was past time to go, they couldn’t locate the tickets.

I made an effort to look for the tickets with them. CK insisted he left them in a specific spot, but they were no longer there. I remembered seeing them in that spot, so it was obvious someone moved them. After being accused of moving them numerous times by CK, only to respond declaring my innocence, I decided to stop looking. I sat back and watched the frenzy. This was not my problem. I never touched the tickets, let alone having them in my possession. I didn’t even want to go to the concert at this point. First CK was insensitive about my attire, and then he insinuated I lost the tickets he misplaced.

As time passed, CK got more and more agitated to the point he started throwing things around his bedroom. His accusations became more and more pinpointed on Hip and I. He was taking no responsibility for misplacing the tickets that were in his possession. As his frustration level rose, so too did mine. I wasn’t going to stand there and take his verbal abuse when I was 100% sure of my innocence. It was clear he was intoxicated, and I wanted nothing to do with this situation. It was time for me to go home. I began to gather my things to leave when the situation got physical.

When he started to get aggressive, Hip intervened at my request because I wasn’t going to get into a shoving match. I had my fill. I wasn’t going to fight with an irrational man. I was just going to leave.

As I made my way to the door while CK got in my face and shouted hurtful things at me, Hip separated us, pulled me aside and managed to convince me to stay, but after all that, I was done. Against my better judgment, I stayed. I sat on the couch and waited for someone to find the tickets. I was in for a miserable night. Regardless of what was to come, I chalked the night up to a complete failure…

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