Posts Tagged litmus test

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself

It had arrived. Although this would be my third year “participating,” I was legitimately scared. I wasn’t sure why it was so scary, but honestly, I was petrified for so many reasons.

My first interaction with Pride Weekend was a mistake. I was making my way to Governor’s Island for a polo match with my family when we found ourselves “stuck” in the parade route. The following year was the first year I was out when the weekend came around. It wasn’t pleasant as I witnessed my relationship crumble before my eyes like an out-of-body experience. I missed the parade that year, but I got a sampling of the other aspects of the festivities.

My fear was grounded mainly in the unknown. While I am a gay man, I do not participate in the typical gay culture. I’ve never been a big fan of gay clubs and what goes on there. I come from a background of a traditional relationship. In the gay world, that is like finding a diamond in the rough. The clubs seem to be the antithesis of this. They are a hot-bed of drugs, promiscuity and raunchy behavior. I know all gay men who go to bars don’t fit into this stereotype, but this stereotype is founded in truth. While I’ve been to a handful of gay clubs, and my comfort level was rising, I still had no idea what to expect. Never before had I been to a circuit party. I was venturing into the abyss, and this caused me incredible anxiety.

While I have learned to let go of the men in my past, I still carry the scars of my relationship with them. They’ve all hurt or used me in some way, shape or form. My biggest fear in life is being alone, and this fear is fed by thoughts of cheating, which is birthed from my baggage. The idea of CK with another man broke my heart. I had clear definitions of cheating, but there were worse things floating through my imagination — Like cheating in a form I feel is unfaithful, but the offender does not.

My relationship with CK was building a great foundation, however, the cement was still wet. We were only dating two months and ten days — Very young for any relationship. In the first month, I had strong suspicions I wasn’t the only man entering his bed. Things didn’t always line up and some of the clear indications were there, however, our relationship was still just forming. I knew there would be a transition period. While he told me he was only interested in me, and I was the only man entering his bed, I was aware how we met. I was also aware of his intentions before we even met through his first major slip-up on Grindr. I couldn’t expect monogamy from the first night — That wasn’t realistic.

While I was fairly understanding and looked the other way early on, I was not going to tolerate infidelity as our relationship progressed and strengthened. For starters, my heart wouldn’t be able to handle the pain, and lastly, it wasn’t safe for my health. I needed to trust him to be faithful. Outside the heartbreak, frankly, we were having unprotected sex. We’d been tested, but there are no guarantees. I trusted him with my life, literally, and if he was sleeping with other men, he was treating my life carelessly.

I sincerely had a feeling his intentions had evolved, but I couldn’t be sure how he would react when faced with temptation. I hoped I was the only man for him. As a result, I was petrified for the life of our relationship. I’d watched my relationship with N publicly combust the previous year, and I didn’t want a repeat.

I’m sure many of you reading think I am overreacting. It’s just a party… It’s just a parade… It’s just a weekend… Well, not to me. To me, it was a litmus test for the strength of my love for CK. I didn’t want that love to be tested, and I didn’t want to have to make a decision that could end my relationship with CK. He was my Superman. He was my world. If I lost him, my world would come crumbling down.

We had plans to go to a huge party at XL Friday night, Matinée circuit party Saturday, and the parade Sunday afternoon. I was venturing into this unknown abyss with faith and hope I could persevere. The thought of CK dropping X and losing control of his inhibitions with some other guy caused me great pain and panic attacks. The idea of another man’s hand groping his package caused me panic attacks. Picturing him dancing shirtless against another shirtless man caused me panic attacks. Every time these scenarios and many others entered my brain, my heart rate would increase drastically, I would start to sweat, and I would get light-headed.

All this added up to me being petrified and frustrated. When I asked CK what clothes I should pack to bring to his apartment for the weekend, and I didn’t get any cooperation or help. It all became overwhelming. To begin with, this wasn’t something I was looking forward to, and his lack of cooperation made me lose my sh*t. “Okay Babe. I’ll talk to you in the morning. Have fun tonight!” I said on the verge of tears as I hung up the phone on him.

I think that was the wake-up call CK needed. I don’t think he fully understood how much anxiety this all created for me. I voiced my frustrations for weeks leading up to Pride Weekend. I told him I was going out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to do it as long as I got some hand-holding. I needed help to get over this. It was just another fun weekend for him, but it was a big deal to me.

After a few minutes, he called me back. We discussed things a little more rationally, and CK’s tone changed. He finally realized I was struggling and tossed out the life-preserver. Now that I knew I had him in my corner, I was a little more relaxed, however, I still wasn’t completely comfortable. It was going to be a long, stressful and exhausting weekend both physically and emotionally. I bit down then and there, and braced for impact as I packed my bag and walked out the door.

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Chelsea Early

Saturday morning I woke up at a decent hour. It wasn’t easy sleeping with Chelsea. He thrashed constantly.

We quietly chatted for a few minutes lying face-to-face before I told him to go back to sleep while I made breakfast. I whipped up some of my famous homemade pork and apple sausage, scrambled eggs and sliced up an avocado. I brewed him coffee and went back into my room to rouse him. I slowly slid into bed and nuzzled with him to gently wake him. He was really cute, and I enjoyed doting on him a little.

When I finally woke him, we embraced and flirted a bit. I was feeling a bit randy and naughty, and I was trying to get a little frisky with him — Nothing serious… just a little heavy petting. He was quietly protesting, but he was enjoying it. When I finally managed to sneak his briefs down to his knees, he gave in. It was better than I expected. We had a little fun, but again, nothing serious — Just a lot of groping. I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. After a bit, I made my way to the kitchen, and he joined me. He was very grateful for the breakfast spread and raved about how good it was.

After we finished eating, we moved to the couch to relax in front of the TV. My female roommate woke up and came into the living room. I introduced her to Chelsea, and they hit it off immediately. We had our laptops out, and we were playing on Facebook. My roommate was telling him all about her dating life, and Chelsea was trying to think of guys he could set her up with. I became a non-participant observer at this point while the two of them had girl talk. She apologized for monopolizing our time, but I didn’t really mind. It was nice to see him interacting with her. I always put prospective men through a litmus test. They must meet my friends and get along with them before I will fully accept them.

The time came for him to head back into the city. He needed to do a bunch of things before he started his new position in Connecticut. He was also looking to find a sublet for his apartment while he was traveling for work Monday through Thursday. I told him I’d talk to my friends about renting it out, but I wasn’t thrilled he was about to start a job that would have him traveling far away. This would most likely mean I wouldn’t see very much of him. He would only be around on the weekends. If I went away for the weekend, I wouldn’t see him for a long time. It was a tough obstacle I could see in the near future.

When he got back to the city, he texted me about his conversation with his friend. He was talking about where he was the previous night, and the friend asked him how we met. He was embarrassed we met on Grindr and lied. I texted him back telling him he need not lie in the future. He should simply tell people we met through a mutual friend. He also realized he forgot his toothbrush. We made plans to go out again on Tuesday, and I told him I could either bring it to him, or he could leave it at my apartment until the next time he spent the night. I was being slightly presumptuous, but he decided to leave it at my place.

That night, I went to one of my best friend (and avid blog reader), J’s surprise birthday parties hosted by his fiancée (another avid blog reader). It was still March and still cold outside, but there was no way I was taking the train out to where he lived. Every time I took the train there, I ended up sitting at the train station for roughly and hour or so, and then spent over an hour on the moving train. He lived a 40 minute drive away, so I decided if I bundled up, I could brave the cold and ride the motorcycle out there. Boy was I way off.

I froze my a$$ off. I was incredibly cold the entire ride. I couldn’t wait for it to be over, but my friend, J is well worth it. I also got to hang out with one of my other college teammates who just moved back from California. I hadn’t seen him since I went out there for a trip with friends and met up with him for an afternoon.

J was so surprised to see both myself and our other teammate. He didn’t even know he came back from CA. I was thrilled to see him so happy and glad I made it out there to witness it. When everyone was packing up to head home or off to the bowling alley for some more fun, I decided to split. It was already nearly midnight, and it was only getting colder. I said goodbye and sped off for home trying to avoid hypothermia in the process.

When I got home, my roommate and I chatted about how much she loved Chelsea. She thought he was a good fit for me and thought he was a really great guy. It was nice to hear her glowing review. I had nothing but positive reviews as well, but only time would tell if this was meant for the long haul.

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