Posts Tagged long-term relationship

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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Match.com: Singles in America

Continuing with this week’s Valentine’s theme, I want to highlight a study I had the privilege of learning about this weekend while attending Sweets in the City, an event hosted by Single Edition.

107 million Americans are single, and match.com is trying to understand them. Under the guidance of Dr. Helen Fisher for the third year in-a-row, match.com has commissioned a national relationship study, Singles in America. After asking 200 questions to a perfect cross-section of the U.S., they learned fascinating new things you may or may not have heard in the news as of late.

I was shocked to learn both men and women judge each other first by their teeth, followed by grammar. It’s refreshing to know that in this day and age, communication is still important. Still, I’m surprised to see teeth topped the list (as well as proud of my pearly whites).

As a gay man who wants to one day get married, it was also refreshing to hear that commitment is back in style — 90% of those open to marriage believe they can stay married to the same person forever.

As Dr. Fisher reported the results, she was most-surprised by the increased emergence of friends with benefits. As a 28-year-old, I didn’t find this particularly surprising, having had my own FWB relationships.

In related results, virginity is no longer a core value in the dating world — If anything, it’s an obstacle. Gone are the days where the first instance of intercourse between couples occurs on the night marital consummation. I think it’s only natural that people want to test-drive the car before they buy it these days, even though women are less likely to admit it.

Sexting was a particularly interesting territory in the digital age. Although most singles believe sexting could jeopardize their careers or privacy, they still partook in this social taboo, proving love conquers all (including reason).

JustMarriedGayMenMy favorite statistic was that gay men fell in love more often than anyone else. We were more romantic, more experienced in “love at first sight” and more likely to be “deeply in love” with a long-term partner. Lastly, we had sex with the same frequency as other singles, finally proving the stereotypical perception of gay promiscuity is outdated.

I’m curious if this is due to wider acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage, or if this has evolved naturally. Dr. Fisher made a point about not making a point of discussing homosexual responses as a separate entity because there are very few differences from the heterosexual responses. We’re not all that different after all.

The most shocking results were that women desired independence and men sought commitment. Single men fall in love faster and want to “move in” together sooner, while women still want to hold onto their girls’ night out.

Hear Dr. Helen Fisher’s own interpretation of the facts from Saturday’s event below:

This post was sponsored by the fine folks at match.com. Be sure to check out all the fun, fresh video clips at Singles in America.

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Meeting the Hatfields

Today is another Fast Forward Friday!!!  

Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real-time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!

Back to your special edition of One Gay At A Time…

Southern Drawl was very anxious to see me. Before our last date ended, he asked me, “So, when do you get to see me again?” It was a bit egotistical, but it was also a little cute.

I had plans with other guys for the rest of the week with the exception of my volleyball game on Thursday. We agreed to do happy hour after work on Friday to get the weekend started off right. He was going to the Frying Pan, a permanently parked barge on the Hudson River that doubles as a restaurant/outdoor bar, with a group of his coworkers. Apparently, he was comfortable enough to introduce me to them.

He was already there when I made my way across town to meet him. He worked right across the street, so there was a solid crowd present from work. I found them in the crowd and pulled up a chair to the table. Everyone was very welcoming and nice. They immediately offered me a cup of sangria, and I settled in. I joined the big conversation, and Southern Drawl and I had a few side conversations not meant for the table.

I wasn’t sure to what extent he was out to his coworkers, so I played a vague roll. I didn’t show any signs of affection or do anything that would be a severe tell. I had a good time.

When everyone was ready to go, we started walking. We were heading to his apartment, but we walked with the others until they peeled off to head in separate directions. It was then I was informed that this was a big deal. None of the other guys he dated had met his coworkers. Only one or two of them knew he was gay, so this was somewhat of a public coming out. I’m sure his coworkers would put two and two together if he was inviting a man to join them for drinks. It was flattering he was willing to do that with me.

Since before I met S.D. in person, I’d learned of his incredibly flamboyant and promiscuous roommate. We talked about him to quite an extent on the walk.

I could not have been prepared for his apartment when I walked in there. It was an utter dump! His roommate was lounging on the couch when we arrived. S.D. needed to change before we went out for the rest of the evening. I chatted a bit with his roommate, and he certainly had a strong unwarranted air of superiority. We didn’t get along, but we didn’t clash either. He was a non-entity to me.

Meanwhile, I made a comment about S.D.’s shoes, and I was ripped a new one. He went off on me how expensive they were and how dare I downplay them. I was dying to get out of that apartment, and S.D. was dragging his feet.

He told me his friends from back home in the south were going to be out on the Lower East Side since one of them worked at Brother Jimmy’s. We decided to pick a place in the neighborhood to grab dinner before drinking our faces off. We found a nice Italian restaurant, Pete’s Tavern and shared a delicious pleasant meal. Things were starting to feel comfortable with him. All the awkwardness melted away. We had great conversation and kept each other on our toes. The conversation was great, but I began to wonder if I was sexually attracted to him. When he sent pictures to me, I found him to be quite attractive, but since being with him, I didn’t get excited or aroused by him. We hadn’t crossed that bridge yet, but I wondered if when I came to that bridge, would I even want to cross it. On top of that, we hadn’t discussed positions since we first spoke on the phone. He told me he didn’t have much experience in the bedroom originally. He said he never really bottomed, but he may be willing to experience it. Since then, I got a different picture learning about the long-term relationships he’d been in. I wondered if they were sexless, or was he lying. We were two tops, and that was going to pose a problem as some point.

After we finished dinner, we walked to Brother Jimmy’s to meet his friends. He was excited to introduce me to them. They’d already seen pictures of me and predicted I was a far better man for him to date than the one he just let go. They already loved me before even meeting them, so it was my game to lose.

S.D. introduced me to them, and we hit it off pretty swimmingly. His best friend, a female, pulled me aside to talk and gossip. We chatted, and she expressed how much she liked me. “You’re just the right amount of gay,” I was told. I’d always thought that about myself, but it was still interesting hearing someone say this to me. Even the friend, the girl who was working behind the bar planted a kiss on me, right on the lips. It was a pleasant surprise. I was a hit!

S.D. also told me his friend from work, “his little buddy,” was joining us. This kid was gay and even lived with S.D. on the couch for a period. They were very close and best friends of sorts. When this kid arrived, I was introduced to him. He seemed very nice, and we exchanged small talk. Almost immediately, S.D. and he separated from the group and began chatting the night away. It was obvious to me S.D. had a crush on him. I wondered if the little guy just wasn’t interested in S.D. and that was the hangup for why they weren’t together. I felt incredibly neglected. I was getting quite drunk, and that usually peaks my emotional state. I was very close to walking out the door and going home without a word but better judgment kicked in.

After we watched someone who looked like Snookie do an amazing rendition of Adele for karaoke, I was ready to go home. I was drunk, and I was trying to see past how he ignored me. Even after all I drank, the bartender charged me seven dollars.  I’m still not 100% sure why, but I asked S.D. if he wanted to come back to my place and spend the night. I think I wanted to test our sexual chemistry. I wasn’t looking for sex. Clearly that wasn’t possible in the state I was in. I just wanted to get somewhat physical with him.

We made out way back to my place and quietly made our way to my room. We climbed into bed to spoon, and I passed out quickly.

Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. When we woke up in the morning, we started spooning and fooling around. There was a lot of heavy petting and oral pleasuring. It wasn’t long before he was straddling my chest fondling himself. It also wasn’t long before he excited himself so much he finished right on my chest. He asked for my permission, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen almost immediately.

We lounged in bed for some time before I made us breakfast. There was a bit of a schedule for the morning, however. My parents were coming into town for Easter weekend. I needed to get him out of there before they arrived. Just as we finished eating, I got a call from my parents. They were downstairs. I told S.D. to quickly get dressed and make his way down the back stairwell. He was fine with this, and we agreed we’d chat later on the phone. I hustled him out the door and kissed him goodbye.

One minute later, I threw on flip-flops and went down to greet my parents. They didn’t make a single comment about the guy leaving my building. I had yet another celibate weekend in front of me, and this was a good thing.

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Letting Him Down Easy

Monday, I decided to be a good brother and pick my sister up from the airport. I drove her to Newark Airport early Friday morning before all of my Grindring, and she was arriving around 2:00.

Before I hopped in the car, I made plans with M.E. to meet up later that day. I wasn’t planning to tell him I knew about his Grindring from my bedroom. I was just going to keep that in mind when interacting with him. I wasn’t going to let myself fall for a guy like that. For us, it would be purely fun. He told me he had class that afternoon, but he would come meet me on the pier when he finished.

I was regretting agreeing to pick my sister up since it landed smack in the middle of my day. I wanted to head out to the pier and get some color while I was off from work. The forecast was looking gorgeous for the week, and I planned to take full advantage. I decided not to waste the morning and went for a run around 1:00. I came back to my apartment, showered and packed a bag for the pier. I hopped in the car and headed to the airport. My sister was delayed, so I spent about a half hour circling the grounds. When she finally touched down, I parked in front of her terminal and began reading my first Out magazine. I was becoming a full-on gay man. I finally subscribed to a clearly homosexual publication.

She came out, and I drove her back to Hoboken. We swung by the pier to drop be me off so I could get some sun, and she went home.

Around 3:30, M.E. joined me on the pier. We laid next to each other talking for a bit. I gently stroked his hand with mine. We weren’t being blatant or obvious, but we still found ways to show affection. It was a nice time. Around 4:30, the sun was beginning to set. The temperature was dropping, so I suggested we head back to my apartment. I wasn’t even thinking about this in terms of sex. I was just cold.

He gave me a ride back to my place and decided to come up for a bit. He couldn’t stay too long because he had plans for the evening. We ended up in my bedroom fooling around a bit. It was nice to have him in my bed again. Every time we were together, I enjoyed myself.

The time came for him to leave, and I said goodbye to him at the door with a kiss.

Over the next week, I didn’t really reach out to M.E., and he didn’t really hit me up either. When enough time had gone by, I assumed he met someone else. I was trying to get away from the relationships based on sex, so I wasn’t exactly protesting or questioning why his calls stopped.

One day I got a text from him asking me why we hadn’t been in touch in some time. I told him I assumed he met someone else. He assured me this wasn’t the case. He told me the reason he was so quiet was because he was trying to create distance. He was beginning to fall for me and didn’t want to get hurt. This is when I pointed out to him I knew he was on Grindr when he was at my apartment. I didn’t tell him how I knew this information. At first, he denied it and told me he was chatting with his friends about his spring break trip postponement. I acknowledged that, but also pointed out he was on Grindr while he was in my apartment. I told him how insulting that was to me. I pointed out how, by no means, were we exclusive, but to be on the app while sitting with me was not something I looked kindly upon. He apologized profusely. I told him I noticed he blocked me on Grindr as well. He told me the reason for this was because he saw me on there periodically, and it was killing him. He was imagining me with other guys, and it was getting to him so much he blocked me so he wouldn’t have to see it anymore. I told him I wasn’t holding anything against him, but it was shaping how I looked at whatever was going on between us.

He was completely torn up about it. I had a lot of other things going on in my life at the time, and I didn’t really feel like getting into it with him. I was partially using this as a way to make a clean break from him. I liked him and cared about him more than a one-night-stand. I considered him a friend who I also happened to enjoy in my bed. He was more friend than benefit. I didn’t want to hurt, but I also needed separation. There was too much going on in my life at the time. He begged me to talk on the phone, but I told him that would have to wait. I lied and told him I was with friends and didn’t want to be rude by taking a phone call.

I knew he wasn’t happy, and it wasn’t what he wanted. I needed to think about me for a change. I needed to put more effort into the men I was meeting and looking toward a long-term relationship with, rather than the men I just enjoyed having around for sex and a little companionship. It wasn’t fair to him, and it wasn’t what I needed. The time came to move on. How that would shape my relationship with M.E. was yet to be determined…

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PR Independence

I had a lot to think about since PR left. Was he really what I was looking for after all? I learned things the hard way over the past few relationships. I’d stayed with too many men for too long after I saw the writing on the wall. I didn’t want to repeat past mistakes.

Was I jumping the gun? Should I give this a shot? There were so many questions and no answers.

I began to build a pros and cons list in my mind.

I didn’t want to lose a great guy, but I was so tired of wasting my time with guys who just weren’t a fit for me.

CONS

He enthusiastically showed me pictures from his ski trip with his buddies in which everyone dressed in drag. They went all out with wigs, heels and bras among other things. I had a strong feeling I was not going to fit in with his friends. He also was a big fan of gay bars. He went on and on about his desire to go to Griffin in NYC on Sunday nights. It is apparently a huge gay party everyone on the scene knows about — News to me. This is not my thing, but I’m not made of stone. I would be willing to be flexible, but if this is the norm for him, we were going to differ greatly. Sadly, he may be “too gay” for me.

We are both tops. I am willing to play ball with a guy I’m in a relationship with, but I get no pleasure from bottoming. That’s not to say he wouldn’t also be willing to trade positions. But, if we both prefer it, it’s probably going to become a problem down the road for us. This was a very frank conversation we needed to have to establish expectations.

I wasn’t thrilled that he didn’t have a full-time job. I wasn’t writing him off because he was unemployed. He was in a long-term relationship with a man, and when that situation changed, he needed to find something. He fully realized what he was facing, but I just don’t know if I’m cut out to date another guy trying to get back on his feet. I put in a lot of work emotionally supporting Smiles until things ended. I really don’t want to come off as elitist at all, but I also wasn’t thrilled with the jobs he was applying for. I never did ask if he went to college, but I got the feeling he didn’t. I wondered the financial stability we would attain if we forged a long-term relationship. He was applying to jobs that I could have done over summer break from college. They had odd hours, and there was a good chance we’d see even less of each other.

PR was a good-looking man, but he wasn’t something you would double-take. I was attracted to him, but some of his physical attributes left something to be desired. I know he was making an effort to get back into the gym, as evidenced when we went together, but was that just because of me or because he really wanted to be in shape. I worried he may be habitually lazy.

Lastly, he was moving back home. Home was at least a half hour drive away, and I don’t have a car. This was going to make seeing each other even harder. I wanted someone who was going to be around when I wanted/needed him.

PROS

PR is only a year older than me. Finally I found someone in my own dating pool. We could share many pop culture references and understand them fully.

He is one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met. He always had my best interests at heart and took great care of me. He was chivalrous and loyal. He exhibited many of the qualities I really look for in a man. It seemed I’d finally met my match in the dedication department. I knew I could trust him to be faithful and love me for a long time.

He was passionate in the bedroom. Recently I’ve put more emphasis on my needs in the bedroom. I took a major back seat with Smiles in the sack. I needed someone who could truly exhibit the passion I required between the sheets. He certainly fit the bill.

He is easy-going and always up for a good time. I could spring a fun trip on him, even a day-trip, and I know he would be onboard. I lead a very active lifestyle and need someone who can keep up. I had a feeling he could.

Overall, I was leaning towards the cons pile. It seemed to be the stronger argument. They seemed to outweigh the pros this time, and for once I was going to trust my gut.

I had a hard time deciding what to do. I spoke with Boston on the phone, and he told me I would be ill-advised if I went out with him on Valentine’s Day misrepresenting my true feelings. I thought I would have been breaking his heart if I called the night off. I thought it better to go out with him and tell him some other time I didn’t think things were going to work out. He told me I had a tough decision to make, but I needed to deal with it delicately. My friend D told me I shouldn’t cancel on him the day before Valentine’s Day. He suggested going on the date and explaining things later. He was worried PR made plans already, and I would be ruining them completely.

In the end, I finally decide I just don’t want to go. I am so tired of pretending with guys. I need to be more honest. If I feel a date is going south, I need to speak up and stop being so damn polite. I decided to tell him my feelings, but I also did it as a coward. I sent him a text…

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