Posts Tagged ego

Equilibrium

After our week in the “country” house, as CK liked to call it, it was time to utilize our city abode. It was in no shape, however, to be lived in. Sure, the new bed was delivered, the delivery of which was a bit of contention between us, but the bed was surrounded by towers of boxes.

The day the bed was delivered followed a week straight with CK. There were errands I needed to take care of I never got to do when we were together. Because of this, I dropped CK off for the bus and told him I would meet him in the city later. I was trying to be productive with my time, rather than waiting for the bed to be delivered with him. Looking back, we probably should have just done them together, but at the time, I didn’t want to subject him to my boring burdens.

We were both eating dinner when I cooked at my place, so there’s no reason I should feel guilty dragging him to the grocery store. Going forward, I learned to shed that guilt quite easily. But on the flip side, this meant I would be going to the grocery store with him on the other side of the river. That seemed like a much better arrangement. I was beginning to resent that I had to do the responsible duties while he had all the fun, but that wasn’t fair to him. He never turned me down when I asked him to help me, but in reality, I never asked him in the first place. I couldn’t resent him if I didn’t give him the chance to delight me. There were lots of not exciting things we would both need to do, like cleaning our apartments, that while not fun at all, they could be completed much faster with both our efforts in tandem. Our lives were blending together, and I loved it. It wasn’t smooth, but I loved it.

On the flip side, since we were spending so much time together, I was finding it hard to make the time to work out. My body was paying the price, and as a result, my self-esteem plummeted even lower. I needed to start running again. I needed to get back in the gym and start lifting again.

This posed the challenge of a delicate situation. CK proposed that we work out together. I knew I was a far better runner than CK was. That’s not a dig against him at all, but put simply, I ran cross-country in high school and swam in college. In order for me to get results from my workouts, I needed to push myself, and I needed to push myself hard! I wouldn’t be able to do that if I was holding back to run at CK’s pace. I didn’t want to insult him or his abilities, but I wasn’t sure this was something we’d be able to integrate.

Regardless of this, I decided to make an effort to give it a shot. When I told CK I wanted to go for a run one night, he wanted to join me. We both got ready and walked over to the west bank of the Hudson to run along the trail. As I predicted, we clocked a pace much less effective than I was hoping. I decided I needed to speak up. I was met with the response I had dreaded. He took insult to my comments that I needed to run faster. I didn’t know any way to navigate this without creating a conflict. He took it personally that I was insinuating he was holding me back.

As a result, he played the role of the martyr and told me to take off. The result of running at our own pace was what I was hoping for, but the hurt feelings and passive-aggressive response was exactly what I was hoping to avoid. I tried to talk to him about it to make it a discussion so there would be no hurt feelings, but he wanted none of it. He’d rather I just go, so that’s what I did.

While I ran, I thought about how to deal with the fallout of this. It made sense to me that we work out together, but we needed to do it in a way that benefited us both. I was going to resent it if I wasn’t getting the full potential out of the workout, and that benefits no one. That’s when I came up with a solution:

When we ran together, we would start out together at a warm-up pace. When I was sufficiently warmed up, I would pick up the pace and run ahead of him. When I felt I was half way through the workout, I would turn around and pick him up on the way back. When I overtook him, I would slow down to a cool down pace. I thought it the perfect solution.

It’s also basically what we were doing. When I turned around, I quickly came to find myself right behind him. As we ran, I proposed this new idea, but he still wasn’t having any part of it. I realized I was in a losing battle, and this would have to be addressed later when his ego healed.

Working out in the gym was also a whole other battle. When I go to the gym I like to be by myself. I do not treat it as a social excursion. I am there to work out and go home. I don’t even like spotting someone when they ask me for help. I resent it because I am there for my workout, not theirs. I don’t ask anyone else to spot me. I am not a trainer or an employee. Why should I be “working” at the gym? I know this sounds very antisocial, and that’s exactly what it is. I’m not the biggest fan of lifting. I see it as a necessary evil. I want to get in and out of there as quickly as possible.

When CK asked me to lift with him all the time, I was very hesitant. I loved him, but I was so used to lifting by myself. I knew if we did this together, I would get cranky, and it would start a fight. I was trying to save us from that. I also liked to go to the gym during my lunch break at work, so when he would ask me to hit the gym with him in the morning or the evening, I wouldn’t want to. I would want to use that time for far more fun things.

It was going to be a delicate balance, trying to integrate our lives, but eventually we would find equilibrium. Both sides would have to make sacrifices and concessions, but both sides would benefit from each other as well. Needless to say, CK was the first guy I’d gone to these steps with. It was new territory for me, but it was certainly exciting as well!

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Knowing is Love

After a night apart from CK, there was nothing I wanted more than to be with him. Days apart from him drug on incredibly slow. Work was what I did between spending time with my man.

We were really finding our relationship groove, spending nearly six nights a week together. I was a little worried I was losing touch with friends because I was spending so much time with CK, but I put in extra effort to make sure I found time to spend with them, especially if the opportunity arose for me to integrate CK with my friends. We didn’t live together, but we might as well have. After work, he’d come to my place, or I’d go to his. We watched TV together in the evenings and even turned some special TV events into romantic date nights, such as the season finale of Revenge or catching up on our new favorite cable series, Game of Thrones.

Couples that play together, stay together. We went for runs and worked out together. I was also taking the time to teach him some of the knowledge I collected over the years in the kitchen while we cooked dinner in tandem. We were a bona-fide happy couple. Rarely a moment passed we didn’t tell each other how much we loved each other. I’m sure everyone was jealous of our love or disgusted by our cuteness.

I started taking a passive interest in his hobbies. I went with him to the comic book store and watched him with great pleasure looking like a kid in a candy store. He too took an interest in my hobbies as well. One Thursday, he came to my weekly recreation league volleyball matches. He sat in the bleachers cheering me on taking pictures. I knew he was going to be bored out of his mind, but it meant the world to me having him there. What made it even more special was that I didn’t even ask him to come. He asked me if he could come some time. It really proved to me he loved me. It was also quite an ego boost having him there as well because he was turned on by my “jockness.”

On of our shared hobbies, we shared something else incredible — Our sex life. It was very healthy, and while we didn’t have sex every time we saw each other, we came close. We had sex sometimes before bed and sometimes sex when we woke up in the morning. At times, I even ended up going to work late because I couldn’t keep my hands off him, in the bed or in the shower. I’d also found the ideal sexual partner. Between us, there was no top, and there was no bottom. We both experienced sex with each other to the fullest. Our sex was passionate and fun. We never took things too seriously. We had fun in bed, taking pictures and tickling and wrestling. At times, sex got messy. This isn’t the most pleasant thing to write about, but it’s a fact of life when you’re having homosexual intercourse. We learned to deal with this without the embarrassment. We took care of things and moved on. I tell you this because I think you should be prepared for it to happen. Know you’re not the only one, but it is a very important step in a relationship when you can be so comfortable together.

We’d been together only a month, but I felt like I’d known him for years. Never before had I felt so comfortable with someone or loved them with all my heart. Never before had I felt so loved. I even went so far as to give CK a key to my apartment, and I cleared out a small space in one of my drawers to store clothes at my place.

On our days off, we’d lay around most of the morning before getting in gear to head out into the world, sometimes not leaving my bed until 1:00. If the weather didn’t cooperate, we’d stay on the couch watching movies all day snuggled in each other’s arms.

Since we first started having sex, we talked about getting tested. It was the responsible thing to do. I trusted him, but you can never be sure. I’m sure he felt the same way about me. Before we met each other, we had sex with multiple partners, so getting tested wasn’t a question. We’d also had unprotected sex, so that made it even more imperative we get tested.

One Friday, we had the day off and had plans to head into the city to see an off-Broadway show, The Accidental Pervert with my friend P. I had the idea to call the clinic and see if the had any appointments later in the day that we could be go in and get tested. I did this without consulting CK, but I didn’t think it was a big deal considering I made the call in front of him. If he was opposed, I would simply change the appointment, but I was certainly not going to cancel it. I needed the peace of mind knowing we were both clean and HIV negative. We had a discussion about the testing and agreed to keep the appointment I made. We both got tested and made our way to the show. We’d have to wait a few days for the results, but at least we were making big progress. Knowing is love. After the show, the three of us all went out for a lovely dinner at Boquiera in the Flatiron District.

I had never been so happy before in my life. I had a great man. We were being responsible. He was becoming a greater part of my life. Things were finally looking up for me. I have dated a lot of guys int he past and had sex with even more. Looking back, I’m not proud of a lot of what I did, however, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I was better for the experience, and if all that lead to meeting CK, it was all worth it. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I’d finally found the man of my dreams, and we were in love.

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Southern Hospitality

After my lukewarm date with the doctor, I was ready to get back out there in search for a man.

I’m happy to report, which I’m sure some of you may have suspected otherwise, I was doing a great job of staying off Grindr. Granted, it was a short period of time, but I was thoroughly proud of myself. I felt like I’d joined GA. Every day not having meaningless sex was another day of Grindr sobriety.

Tuesday after work, I arranged another date with Southern Drawl. The last date was a bit crazy. Footsie under the table. Shenanigans in the bathroom. I was curious if he’d be able to behave this time or would he be looking for another quick trip to the bathroom.

We texted during the day to lock things down. I proposed The Breslin. I’d always loved their food, their drinks and their ambiance. He shot the idea down because he said the place was always full of hipsters. I had always been a fan of Sala 19 in the Flatiron District, so I proposed we go there for dinner. It worked out well because it was halfway between our offices. He agreed.

I had to wait at work for him to finish. When he did, I made my way south to meet him. I met him on the street corner, and we walked to the restaurant.

Dinner was very nice. He was well-behaved, and the conversation was good. I told him about my allergist appointment, and he told me about his day. We talked frankly about our last date. We discussed what went on. I learned he’d never done anything like that before. I was also learning about the guys he’d dated since living in New York City. When we originally spoke on the phone, I was under the impression he was new to the gay world. I thought he’d never really dated anyone before. Now, I was learning about all the guys he dated in NYC, as well as the guy he dated through college that he said I so strongly reminded him of and resembled. It was a bit unsettling.

In the middle of dinner, he told me he’d ended things with the guy he was seeing. He explained they’d only been seeing each other for two weeks, and things were never that strong. When I probed him to ask if he left the other guy because he met me or if he did it because he wasn’t satisfied with the previous guy, he told me it was the latter, but part of it was also due to meeting me. A big red flag went off in my head. Would he leave me for a better model?

I still wasn’t sure about him. I liked talking to him. I liked being with him. He was smart. He was nice. He wasn’t flamboyant, however, I wondered if maybe he was too “straight.” He was a bit homophobic. I’m not the most open about my sexuality. I’m not out to everyone at work. I don’t openly advertise my sexuality. However, if he wasn’t comfortable with himself, how could we be comfortable with each other. I couldn’t be sure about him. Was he right for me? I had no idea. Only more time could tell. I was keeping a distance as we moved forward. We had a connection, but was it strong enough to last? Was it what I wanted?

In our conversations, his southern entitlement shined through. It was an incredible turnoff. Where was the southern charm I’d seen so many times in movies. When I think of the ideal man, I think of Matthew McConaughey. He definitely has an ego and self-confidence, but he also exudes charm and sexuality. His confidence is not in your face, and he seems down-to-earth. Southern Drawl fit the other Hollywood archetype — The Southern plantation owner. He had an air or superiority that was hard to swallow. Many times, he laughed off these comments, making them seem like a joke, but I wondered if there was really something deep down that was more genuine. I wasn’t ready to date a snob. That $hit wouldn’t fly with me. I wasn’t going to let him get away with it, and I’d already started calling him on it.

When we finished eating, we split the bill and walked north to the PATH station. I said goodbye to him ont he street with barely a hug. He was uncomfortable exchanging a kiss with me in front of a city of strangers. I wasn’t thrilled by that.

On my ride home, I questioned why I was continuing to see Southern Drawl. He was definitely interested in me, and I was still intrigued by him. I wasn’t ready to write him off just yet, but I didn’t see a lot of promise or potential. I would continue to see other men and continue to see him until I was ready to make a definitive decision.

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Whoopsie!

I’ve been on Grindr for quite some time now. I’ve come to remember certain things about certain guys on there. I recognize when new guys come up, and I recognize when guys I’ve spoken to in the past pop up as well.

N and I have always had an awkward relationship when it came to Grindr. It was how we met, but it was also the catalyst for him cheating on me (and me cheating on him).

After I broke up with Smiles, he asked me to keep a lookout for a guy impersonating him on there. I was so thrilled he found an opportunity to capitalize on my failing relationship in some way. It was so typical of him. He’d also mentioned that a friend found me on there shortly after breaking up with Smiles. The story he gave me sounded like such b.s. I could see right through it. I could tell he had a secret profile himself because what he proposed happened would never have happened. He had a serious boyfriend, and I seriously suspected he was still using the app, just on the dl this time.

One day, I thought I discovered his secret profile. The language he used in the description was spot on for things he’s said on his profile in the past. There also was no picture attached, so his boyfriend wouldn’t be able to find him if he tried. I messaged the profile saying: “Is this [Neighbor’s] secret profile?”

It took a long time, maybe a day perhaps, but the profile responded to me. He asked if he knew me, but I played dumb. I proposed my idea of who he was, but he wasn’t answering me straight. Finally, he said he wasn’t who I thought he was.

We started to chat about different things. He asked where I lived. I told him where I live and where I’d recently moved from. He commented about how I’ve lived in the back end of Hoboken for the most part. I told him I care more about what was inside my apartment than where I lived location wise.

He asked what gym I go to, and I told him. I told him my reservations about NYSC based on the stories N told me, as well as many of even my straight friends. He told me how he felt the same way, and because of this, he goes to Club H.

When I was detailing the sketchiness I knew about NYSC, he became more curious. He asked what my ex told me went down there. I told him he told me guys rub and tug in the steam room. I told him my ex told me about participating once before he met me. An older gentleman walked over to him and lifted off his towel, exposing him. He then proceeded to blow him. I was shocked by this because anyone could walk in at any time. He told me he was never able to stretch in there because guys were constantly dropping their towels at him and propositioning him.

He then started asking a lot of questions about my ex. He asked why we broke up. I told him about catching him flirting with other guys on Grindr and sending naked pictures of himself to other guys “he was just messaging to be friends with.” He asked if I had a picture of him, so I looked through my phone and sent it. I felt a little guilty, but then again I didn’t. N certainly didn’t show me the respect I deserved, so why should I give him respect in return. Besides, I wasn’t really doing anything wrong. I was only telling the truth, and the picture I sent was fully clothed. At this point, I still wasn’t sure he wasn’t N pretending to be someone else to pump me for information, but like I said, I wasn’t saying anything untrue. I was being honest and civilized about it.

“No offense, but he’s not very good looking,” he added. I smiled from ear to ear. “Like my apartments, I choose my men based more on what’s on the inside,” I told him. I chuckled in my mind and out-loud because N always thought he was an adonis. He was decently attractive, but not enough to warrant his ego. He went on to insult his looks further. At this point, I had a feeling it wasn’t N or one of his friends.

Then he asked if he was good in bed. I told him I didn’t want to talk about my ex anymore and tried to change the subject. “That means no, haha,” he joked. I said, “Not necessarily. He was new when he met me. I broke him in and showed him the ropes. I put in all the legwork for his current boyfriend.” “How do you feel about that? Does that make you mad?” he asked. I told him I didn’t care anymore. It wasn’t my concern, and we weren’t exactly friends anymore. I told him how I’d put in the effort to continue to be his friend, but I couldn’t be bothered anymore. When he asked why we’re barely friends, I told him about how N never put in any effort toward friendship unless there was something in it for him. “He’s too conceited, that’s why,” I added.

At this point, I was a little suspect this guy was the one who was impersonating N on Grindr. It seemed he knew something or was pumping me for information, because every time I would try to change the subject, he would circle back. Once again, I just answered all the questions I was asked honestly. I asked him to send me pictures, which he did. I’d never seen him before. I started to ask him what brought him to Grindr, and I immediately was blocked by him. It was a very unusual turn of events. I was highly annoyed, but there was nothing I could do about it. I shrugged it off, and went on with my day.

I knew this wasn’t the end of it. I knew there would be some hell to pay, but I was ready for it. That, and I DIDN’T CARE! Screw him. He wasn’t adding any value to my life. He was one of the exs I no longer needed to concern myself with.

Of course, while traveling for business the next day, I received a text from N: “Hey bud… So this is going to be random. But you never spoke to anyone about me on Grindr recently have you?” Yup. I was right. It was someone pumping me for information so they could run back to him with it in some fashion.

I decided this wasn’t worth my time. I didn’t respond. I just laughed out loud to myself and put my phone away. It was my turn to talk to other guys on Grindr.

I told all my friends about what happened, and they loved it. They have not been a fan of his since they learned all the sh*t he was pulling behind my back. He was useless dead weight in my life, and it was time to cut him free. I no longer needed that baggage. He proved he didn’t care enough to keep me a part of his life. I was going to spend more time concentrating on my good friends and new lovers. I was done living in the past.

That night, I texted the southern guy to see when we were actually going to get together. We’d had two great hour long phone conversations. I was looking forward to meeting him in person. I asked what he was up to the following night, and he responded back, “Yeah… I have a date, LOL.” I was p*ssed. He had a lot of nerve. He knew I was interested. I made that clear. It was incredibly rude to respond in that way. What was laugh out loud worthy of that!? I didn’t want to give him the benefit of an angry response, so I just said, “Enjoy. I take it you’ve lost interest then?”

“No, I just met someone last week at work (since I barely have a life outside of it) and we’ve had a few dates. Seeing where it’s going. We haven’t even kissed yet,” he detailed. “Not gonna lie. I’m pretty disappointed. Been trying to meet up with you for weeks. Nothing I can do about it though,” I told him. I was hurt, but I wanted to be honest. He tried consoling me by saying: “I’m sorry. It just happened. It doesn’t mean we can’t grab a drink. I just want to be completely up front. The opposite of the guys up here who are dating and f*cking 7 people at a time.” I wasn’t going to play this game. “Well my friend, the ball is in your court. You know how to reach me if you’re ever up for that drink…” I was done chasing men who showed no interest in dating me. I had better things to do with my time.

I also made a new rule. I was no longer going to try to date flakes who worked at Ralph Lauren. This was the fourth guy who worked there who burned me. I know this sounds petty, but I wasn’t about to let it happen again…

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The Horror!

Touchdown! After a long flight of writing a lot of blog entries, I finally landed in San Francisco. I was very happy to be away from New York. This was forced time to clear my head. It would be impossible to try to find a guy for a date from thousands of miles away, and I needed a break. Don’t get me wrong, I want a man to call my own, but the process of finding one is exhausting.

I rode to my hotel with a very chatty driver. He had lots of questions and comments for me. Many of the comments referred to women and our “shared” desire for them. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was gay. I just let him continue talking. It wasn’t that long of a ride.

I got to my hotel, and took my good ol’ time getting to the office. They didn’t know exactly what time I landed, and I’m sure they wouldn’t have any work for me yet anyway.

I was right. When I arrived at the office, they had no work for me the entire afternoon. This worked out quite well. It allowed me to update the blog and go for a nice long delicious lunch I didn’t have to pay for. When the workday was coming to a close, I made my way back to my hotel.

I’d been on Grindr all day hunting for a guy to either meet for a drink or have some fun with. Nothing was turning up. I recalled the last time I was out there. Originally, I had the same luck. That is, until I picked up signal from San Francisco. No such luck that day.

I thought about the other weapon in my arsenal. I could pull up adam4adam.com and see who was in the area. I managed to find a few sexy men to message. It was only a matter of time before one of them messaged me back. A few did, but many of them were flakes. A few of them were unattractive as soon as I saw their faces as well. I asked a few to hang out, and the ones only interested in sex, I proposed coming to my hotel. Some of the guys on Grindr offered bl*wjobs, but I was looking to get it in.

One guy was very willing to make the journey to my hotel, and he was a bottom and looked pretty sexy. I told him to come by and gave him the details. I had one failsafe. They would not be able to come up to my room without me picking them up from the lobby. If I was unsatisfied with what showed up, I could hop back in the elevator and shut the door. That’s terrible, I know, but you never know what will show up when push comes to shove.

I was doing it again. I ended a relationship and simply fell back into old habits of hooking up outside of a relationship. I wasn’t thrilled with myself, but I was giving myself a free pass while in San Francisco.

I would have to put off dinner until after my evening tryst arrived. I was hungry, but I wouldn’t have time to get dinner before he came by. When he arrived, I collected the man from the lobby. He was a good-looking Aussie.

We got up to my room and talked about where we were from and our stories. He sat on the bed and talked with me. He seemed like a pretty cool guy. He was a bit of a vagabond. I liked his traveling experience. I was envious of it.

When the moment was right, we both went in for a kiss. This was followed by LOTS of kissing. Lots! He seemed quite nervous. I was trying to get him to relax a bit. I took my time with him gently feeling his body. He was a good kisser. This was a good sign.

Slowly I began peeling off some of the many layers he was wearing until we were both naked. He had a decent body. He was skinny, but not exactly muscular and defined. The kissing became more passionate and the petting grew heavier. When we were pretty far along, I whispered in his ear, “I want to be inside you.” He responded the same sentiment, so I reached for the condom and lube I had in the nightstand drawer.

Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. Now I know I say this in a lot of posts, but this time, it may be too graphic for even those who are normally turned on by my warnings. Just be forewarned. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so!

I inserted myself inside him. He felt great. He seemed to really be enjoying himself as well. We were about two minutes in when something didn’t feel quite right. I took a whiff of the air, and immediately knew what was wrong. I looked down in horror, and it was all I could do to keep myself from vomiting all over this man.

I immediately pulled out and hustled to the bathroom. We both knew what was wrong. I tossed the condom in the trash and began scrubbing myself. I casually suggested a shower. I was trying to maintain my composure so this man wouldn’t feel worse than he already did. This was horrific, but I still had the man’s ego in the back of my mind.

He suggested I go first. I’m not sure why. All I could think about was his uncomfortable state while I showered. He made his way to the toilet and took care of himself while I washed up in the shower. When I finished, I left the bathroom so he could do whatever he needed to do.

I was still a little shaky and trying not to think about what just happened. I’d encountered this before, but never to this extent.

When he emerged from the bathroom, you could have knocked me over with a feather. He actually suggested we keep going. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. At this point, I no longer had the man’s feelings in mind but only my own sanity. I told him, “No. I think I’m done for the night.” He didn’t stop apologizing. “Don’t worry about it. It happens. Part of the territory,” I reassured him while he got dressed.

And then, when I didn’t think this man could surprise me any more than he already did, he suggested we grab food since he hadn’t eaten anything yet either. “No. I think I’m just going to order room service or something but thanks,” I added.

Just as he was walking out the door, my phone rang. It was San Francisco. I explained to my departing guest that I needed to take the call and gave him a wave goodbye. I couldn’t wait for him to be out of my sight so I could stop thinking about what happened.

“Helloooooo. How are you? Are you Grindring?” he said as I picked up the phone. All I could think in the back of my head was, if you only knew! I simply replied, “I’m single. I can do whatever I want.” We talked about our schedules for the week and planned a night we could grab a drink together. He suggested we meet in The Castro since I didn’t make it up there during my last visit. Once our plans were solidified, I hung up and tried to figure out what to do for dinner.

Joe’s Crab Shack was a block away and was one of the few places still open at that hour. I decided to go there. This would be the second mistake of the night, as this was the worst seafood I’d ever had. I couldn’t finish it. I was literally wiping the seasoning off the crab legs with paper towels, and I still could barely tolerate them.

If this was a sign of what was to come from my San Francisco trip, I was going to lock myself in my hotel room when I wasn’t at work. The positive was, it certainly couldn’t get much worse…

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Closure

Saturday finally arrived. Smiles so graciously found time in his busy schedule to meet with me to discuss “us.” I wasn’t in a combative mood, but I was resolved in the notion that I wouldn’t be a doormat for him anymore. I had a lot of things I wanted to say to him, but I didn’t rehearse them in my head. I wanted my emotions to speak for me.

I knew how I felt, and I knew how he let me down. I was so disappointed in him for simply trying to back away from our three-month relationship instead of just speaking to me like a man. I was embarrassed for him.

We decided to meet at Doma Coffee Shop. Ironically, it’s pretty much where our relationship started (after a failed date at Employees Only). I had a few places to go in the city that day, so I took the motorcycle in. It was a nice enough day I could get away with it with a few layers.

After I parked my bike and walked toward the shop, I noticed Smiles was just arriving. We shared an awkward hello. I think he may have been going in for a kiss, but I gently turned and just gave him a hug. I had no interest in giving him any more of my affections. I’d already given him enough.

We went inside, and he ordered his coffee and began to pay. I wasn’t expecting him to buy my coffee, but it was interesting he didn’t even offer. He found a table for us to sit at while I ordered my coffee.

I joined him at the table, and we awkwardly chatted about work for a bit. Surprise, surprise — Our conversation revolved around his job once again. I was trying not to enter this meeting bitter or with a superior attitude. After all, it was a week earlier I was kissing another man in front of him. I wasn’t above him in any respect.

He talked about his business partner who was in the news at the time. Because I stay well-informed, I knew a lot of the story about the man’s current situation that Smiles did not. So when he was complaining about the man not getting back to him, I informed him of the news of the day and his new partner’s involvement in it. He was shocked to learn some of the details I knew. We were about to break up, and I was still keeping Smiles up-to-date on the goings on in the world at the time.

When that conversation got stale, Smiles kicked off the “us” conversation. He led with his thinking on the “situation.” He told me he recognized he wasn’t putting as much of himself into the relationship as he could have and how that wasn’t fair to me. He pointed out his priority of focusing on his career currently, and his schedule didn’t allow for a relationship. He acknowledged the possibility of his being partly responsible for my actions on New Year’s Eve. Over more conversation, I realized he thought I might have been acting out or doing it on a subconscious level.

I reiterated for him how little of the end of the night I remembered. I was on the verge of tears as I explained this to him. I told him I never would have done it had I been sober. I told him I didn’t initiate the kissing, but I also didn’t stop it immediately. I told him that I would like to think I stopped it relatively quickly, but I have no idea because I don’t remember a single moment of it. I think Smiles wanted to know the motivation for the make-out session. He half asked a question and then stopped when he again realized I didn’t recall any of the end of that night. I apologized emphatically and acknowledged how horrible what I did was. I choked up as I told him it was one of the worst things I’d ever done in my life. I could see that it did in fact bother him. The morning after, he told me he was okay with it, but now, I knew he wasn’t.

Sadly, it made me feel a little better knowing it upset him. It showed that maybe he, on some level, actually did care about me, even if just a little bit. At least I knew he felt something toward me.

I transitioned into more conversation of how we would move forward. I told him I was pretty much on the same page as him as far as ending our relationship. I told him I wasn’t getting enough of what I was looking for from him, and it was a direct result of his priorities.

I told him how hurt I was that he would just drop me after three months. I really stressed that point. I told him I felt so disrespected that he would just stop texting and calling like a switch, as if I wouldn’t notice or I would be okay with it. It really did hurt, because in my mind it nullified our relationship. It showed he didn’t respect it enough to give it the attention it needed, even if it was coming to a close. He told me it was because he needed time to think about what he really wanted and how he wanted to proceed. I told him he didn’t need to cut me off while he thought about it, and he acknowledged his fault.

In the end, we were fine. The whole conversation lasted roughly a half hour. He was on task and had things to do, so when the conversation was winding down, he stood and said, “Shall we go?”

We walked outside and began to part ways. I turned back and said goodbye. I also told him to call me to grab dinner sometime. Just because we weren’t dating didn’t mean we couldn’t be friends. He responded, “Sure thing sir.” I thought that was an odd response, but I’ll take it.

It was an amicable breakup. I’m not sure if I got the closure I needed. I still felt like he used me and doubted if he ever really cared for me. I never got an answer if my suspicions were true. I wondered if he’d been with other men while dating me. I wondered if he met someone else. All questions I would never get answers to. I think that is the hardest part about a breakup — The blow to the ego. We take fault and feel there is a flaw in ourselves, even if that’s not the case at all.

I would recover from this breakup relatively quickly, but I certainly would walk away with a few new scars and a few pieces of luggage to my baggage pile. I would try not to let it affect me too greatly, but then again, you can only control your emotions so much.

Hopefully, as one door was closing, another would soon be opening…

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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Sunday afternoon, I tried to see if Smiles would want to do something fun the following day since I didn’t have to go to work. Sadly, he had work to do. He was trying to build up a company from scratch, and it is a lot of hard work, so I understood. What I didn’t expect was he would be busy he wouldn’t be able to find the time to pick up the phone and call or text.

Monday passed with me planted on the couch watching TV all day while surfing adam4adam.com and reactivating my Grindr account. I was just seeing what was out there, but as the afternoon progressed, I started to think toward the future while examining the past.

I realized I wasn’t happy. I equated my relationship to the struggle of Sisyphus, a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity. I was constantly putting work into the relationship only to find I wasn’t receiving much benefit from it.

I had given Smiles more than his fair share of chances to finally woo me, and he failed. I enjoyed his company, and he was a very nice, successful, good-looking man, but the time had come to move on. It just seemed he wasn’t that into me, and I realized I deserve better. Since I had been on the journey to this conclusion for quite some time, I wasn’t that broken up about it. I’ve had varied reactions to the end of relationships in the past. I moved on with closure after my mutual breakup with Broadway. I had slight some minor cardiac scarring after I ended things with San Francisco. I was a wreck when things went south with N — Losing ten pounds in a week (Not proud of that).

This epiphany wasn’t all that earth-shattering for me. Things had been on the decline for some time. This certainly didn’t come out of the blue, so the blow was lessened.

I actually started to get slightly angry about things. I felt used. I recalled asking Smiles on our first date why he was on Grindr, and he had mentioned he was lonely. I realized I was someone to pass the time for him. I was someone he could go to dinner with so he didn’t have to eat alone. I was someone he could have the occasional romp in the sheets when he was in the mood. I was a seat warmer. He never had any plans to forge a relationship with me, and this made me really feel used.

I wanted more. I deserved more. And I was going to find more. I started searching once again on a4a and Grindr. These are clearly not the best place to find Mr. Right, but it couldn’t hurt to try. Once again, it was just going to be a lot of work.

On top of it all, our sex-life was minimal. As a result, I was horny. I was hungry for some good sex. Over the summer when I was having my wild time, I felt I started to really hone my craft. I had numerous guys constantly hitting me up for seconds, thirds, and more. It was great for my ego, and I craved a really good romp in the sack.

That’s when I turned my efforts toward Grindr. I wanted to find a local guy with a hot body. I knew it wouldn’t be easy from past experience, but maybe some new hotties moved into the area in the three months I’d been away. I started talking to one guy for quite some time. We even started to Skype with each other while I watched TV. He lived very close and had a really nice body. He was Asian, which doesn’t quite get my engine roaring so there he wasn’t a relationship prospect, but we could at least start on a friendship. We face-time chatted most of the evening. I gave him full disclosure on the situation. We even discussed him coming over to hook up, but in the end I decided to be good.

Afterall, I still hadn’t officially ended things with Smiles yet. It wouldn’t be right. I’d already betrayed that relationship once, I didn’t need to do it again, not matter how resolved I was about its end.

I got an offer from a man I’d had a tryst with in the past. He begged me to come to his apartment, but it was cold outside, and it was getting late. I had work the next day, and I needed to go to bed. I told him I’d take a rain check.

My new friend went to bed, and I continued to figure out a way to satiate my libido. I figured I would hit up some old friends in my Skype contact list. One of the sexiest men happened to be online. He lived in South America on an island, and I wanted to do bad things to his body. It was amazing. I loved camming with him. The only issue was he had a big thing for me. He always begged me to be his boyfriend, no matter how many times I told him it couldn’t happen because we are so far away. He begged me to come visit, but I told him I couldn’t afford the flight. I wasn’t about to fly to South America for a booty call. But if he lived anywhere close, I would have been over there in a second!

I convinced him to have a little fun on camera until I finished. As usual, it sapped all the energy from my body, and I jumped into bed and dozed off without a thought left in my head.

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Vanity Without the [Af]Fair

When I arrived back at Smiles‘ apartment, we agreed upon watching a movie and ordering take-out. He was in the mood for barbecue, so we pulled up a menu online to figure out what to order. We also took the time to pick a movie to pull up on Netflix since Smiles doesn’t subscribe to cable.

Throughout all this, I started getting handsy. He was sitting in his computer chair, and I stood behind him massaging his shoulders and then his chest. I had my hands down his shirt caressing his chest in a very sensual motion. He was really enjoying it, which means I too was enjoying the moment. He commented, “This feels better than the Asian woman who gives me a massage. You’re more relaxing than she is. I should save my money and come to you.” I took this as a great compliment and continued to pleasure him.

After some time, I backed up and sat on the couch. He was going back and forth between the living room and the kitchen. I stuck out my finger and beckoned him to come closer. I pulled him down on my lap, and we sat there embracing for some time. After about two minutes of silence, just enjoying our closeness, we started to chat a bit. When he had his fill, he started to back away, but I pulled him in closer and told him, “I’m not done yet.” We both laughed and he tightened his embrace.

Our dinner order was placed, and our movie chosen. He grabbed my hand and led me to the bedroom, and we hopped into bed to watch Vanity Fair. Smiles was very cuddly throughout the entire movie. We changed positions periodically to ensure consistent blood flow and comfort, but I was really enjoying snuggling with him. He had been very sweet from the moment I walked in the door.

About half way through the movie, we realized our food hadn’t arrived. Smiles called to inquire and was told it would arrive shortly. When another half hour passed before we saw our food, he called again to complain. Just then the food arrived. We paused the movie, filled our plates and made our way back to the bedroom.

When the movie was over, we cuddled and spooned and chatted a bit. I was happy. Things started getting more playful when I pulled up his shirt and started to blow raspberries on his stomach. He went off in a fit of laughter. He then resorted to pulling any body hair I have. I told him that was just plain mean. I told him that was my mother’s defense mechanism when I would joke around with her as a kid.

This segwayed into exchanging fun stories from our childhood. I was really beginning to feel like I had a boyfriend. Yup. I said it. I just used the “b word.” I didn’t say this to him, but I began to think about it. I felt very close to him at that moment.

Smiles began to become very relaxed and slowly started drifting off towards sleep. I was gently rubbing his whole body while he dozed off. We were spooning, and I slide my hand between his thighs and started to massage his manhood. It wasn’t long before my hand was pulled away with a grunt.

I know I said I was going to bring it up the next time I was denied, but I chickened out. I was a little taken back by it. He had been affectionate all night, but when I tried to make a move, my seduction was shot down.

At this point, my ego was in the toilet. I quietly spooned a few minutes longer before we hugged and kissed goodnight. I found myself in the very familiar situation of walking home alone pondering why the guy I was so strongly attracted to was so distant from me on so many levels. I tried to think about how great the day was instead of the unhappy ending, but I’ve never been good at fooling myself. I’m far too much of a realist.

I needed a new game-plan, but it wasn’t going to be an easy one to come up with…

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My Cheating Heart

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.

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