Posts Tagged lose control

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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Alumni Weekend

Following my debacle of a night with Sexy Eyes, I woke early in the morning to go back to my apartment and get ready for alumni weekend at my college.

The previous night, while sitting on my couch, I received text messages from a teammate of mine from college. Unbeknownst to me, many of my teammates were attending the wedding of one of the guys I swam with in college. The texts started off saying hi and asking if I was still going up to school the following day, but then they took a turn I wasn’t expecting.

A little over a year ago, when I came out from behind the brick wall I built up, I started telling my friends as I felt comfortable with the news myself. I was hosting my annual holiday bash, and I invited many of my teammates from college who were in my graduating year. The guy I was dating at the time would be in attendance, so I felt the need to clue my friends in on this news as not to blindside them if they decided to attend.

I sent out emails, text messages and instant messages to many of them. They were all supportive. It was very refreshing to see their positive reactions. I did ask them to all please use discretion since it wasn’t yet public knowledge. I figured by telling them all around the same time, they could chat amongst each other, rather than with the people I hadn’t had a chance to tell yet.

Fast forward to today, and many of my younger teammates still didn’t know. That is, until the wedding. I’m not sure how it came up, but one of the guys I graduated with told one of the younger girls. I do have to say, I’m surprised and impressed he lasted that long before telling anyone. It was only a matter of a few hours before it spread like wildfire among the rest of the attendees. I’m certainly not mad about the situation. It’s a slightly uneasy feeling — I felt very vulnerable. I would have preferred telling them myself at a comfortable and convenient time, but what’s done is done. Now, they all know.

So the text messages began with: “So I heard you came out.” I acknowledged the statement and asked how he found out. He wouldn’t tell me. He wasn’t going to give up the source. I told him I wasn’t mad about it, but more just curious. I wanted to know who knew, so I wouldn’t say anything dumb or lie to someone who already knew the truth. He finally told me one of our female teammates told him. I asked her where the intel came from and she led me back to the source. The text conversation with my male teammate ended with him telling me he had something to tell me, but only in person the following day. A small red flag went off in my head, but only the following day would solve that question. What couldn’t he send me in a text that he had to say in person?

I assumed they all went up there early to go out to the bars Friday night. When I arrived on campus and found out they were all there for a the wedding, I could only assume my entire team knew at that point. Surprisingly, no one said anything about it to me, and no one treated me any differently. Not that I immediately noticed anyway.

We had an alumni swim meet Saturday morning when I arrived at the school. My main concern was not looking fat and swimming at least decently well. I wanted to be the guy who stayed in shape or even looked better than college instead of the pudgy men many of my teammates have become. It was just my inner gay coming out at that point. Much to my surprise, one of the fittest guys on the team asked if I’d been lifting and commented on how I looked more muscular. I was thrilled. Goal 1 — Accomplished. Then we swam a few races, and I actually had the top time of anyone in the pool. I felt great, especially since many of these guys were much more talented than myself when we were in school. Goal 2 — Accomplished.

Following the meet, many of the swim alumni hung out together. We drank in the parking lot, hit up the campus green, toured new buildings, etc. One of the younger alumni, whom I’ve never spoke to before, was chatting me up throughout portions of the day. I didn’t really notice this until that evening when I was leaving. One of the guys who lives near me in Jersey and I decided not to spend the night. We just made a day trip of it. When the younger alumni learned of our departure, he came up to me and inquired about us not going to the bar that night. I found it odd he would care I was leaving. Then I remembered the topic of conversation among the group the night before. It just seemed to come out of left field the way he asked the question and said, “Well, maybe some other time then.”

Between the drinking on the green and getting in the car to go, I decided to stop by an old friend‘s apartment on campus. He was my freshmen dorm’s mentor and a close friend over the years. It had been over a year since we last spoke, and I wanted to make a point to catch up with him. I took two of my teammates with me to visit him. We had a nice chat, and I chuckle when I think back to the point in the conversation where he asked me about dating and marriage. I smiled and told him I was a bachelor, at least for the time being. He is a religious figure, and I wasn’t 100% ready to tell him right then and there. I do want to take the time to tell him since he is such a good man and good friend, but I still need to find the right timing and setting.

On the ride home, I realized my teammate never told me what it was he had to tell me in person. When I texted him, he didn’t remember making that statement at all, and claimed he was very drunk the night he was sending them. He thought it was just who the source of intel was, but I doubted that. I’m not sure what he had to tell me, but I hope he would feel comfortable telling me whatever it was he needed to say. But maybe it was simply what occurred the night everyone found out. Who knows?

He also took the opportunity to reiterate his support of me and noted he has many gay friends he supports fully as well. It was nice to hear because he was a good friend in college when we swam together. I know he has a big heart, and it meant a lot to hear it all from him.

All in all, it was a successful weekend. It’s relieving to know the cat is out of the bag, and I received no negative reactions. I can never know what was actually said or joked about when they found out, but that’s simply human nature. I can only hope they come to accept me for who I am and be happy I’m finally happy…

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