Posts Tagged New Paltz

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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Playing It Cool

My weekend with Smiles was a decent one. I’m not self-destructive, nor do I get in my own way enough to think it was a failure or a bad weekend. Any time I spendt with him was progress, and it made me happy. But, I left the weekend feeling a little uneasy. I was denied twice in two days. Did he not find me attractive? Was he just thinking of me as a friend? Not knowing where I stood was eating away at me.

It’s obvious he was interested in me. But, it was his level of interest that worried me. We were in the beginnings of a budding relationship, or so I hoped. Things were supposed to be carefree and fun. The heavy stuff comes later. We should have been having sex like rabbits and dying to see each other.

I felt like I was constantly chasing after him. I got no indication he was interested in chasing me. But, maybe I wasn’t giving him the opportunity. Maybe I got so excited about him, I was constantly initiating our time together, and if given the chance, he would be asking me out on dates.

On Monday evening I texted him to see if I could spice things up with a little getaway. “Hey. What would you say to getting out of the city for a weekend?… Celebrate your birthday, just the 2 of us… Something totally low-key and relaxing like New Paltz, NY. Gorgeous this time of year too and not that far…” I thought if we hit up a bed and breakfast, we could find the time to get wrapped up in each other with no other distractions.

A big part of me thought this was a giant leap forward, and I was moving too soon, but another part of me noticed a little bit of stagnation. Things were getting a little stale. Maybe I needed to intervene to get us to that happy-go-lucky mindset.

Just as I expected, he safely replied, “Hmmm that sounds like fun, can I think on that one for a min? I’d want to be able to give you my full attention and I think with [work] this weekend, the [possibility of a new prospective work project] starting and the over two jobs with a bit of clock on them, I might not be totally present. Which wouldn’t be fair.”

I was right. Too soon, too fast. I didn’t want to cower and backtrack. I had to play it cool. “Certainly. Wasn’t exactly talking about this weekend. Was more thinking 3+ weekend out. Just wanted to throw it out on your radar,” I replied. I wasn’t lying. I was really just planning in advance.

He got my drift. I soon got a text back: “Ah. Ok. Sleep well. I’m crashing early tonight for a change.”

I decided to take some advice from friends and play a little hard to get. I stopped texting or calling. The next point of contact was going to be initiated by him. It killed me. I wanted to text so bad. I never went anywhere without my phone, waiting for him to text or call.

Tuesday went by without a word. I was in a bad place. I started having doubts about the whole thing. We were only a couple of weeks in, and he already grew tired of me. These weren’t good signs, and I started to really get down about it.

I decided, I wasn’t going to put myself back out there completely, but I was going to continue to put my ear to the ground to see what was going on out there. I started answering my messaged on OKCupid and chatting with a few guys. It was nothing crossing the line, but in a way, I was laying some groundwork if Smiles decided he was done with me.

Finally, on Wednesday, he texted me to ask me how my day was going. The exchange went back and forth a bit before simmering out. I was thrilled — Back on top. I recognized how happy I was, but I also recognized how dependent I am on others for my own happiness. This is an issue. I really need to learn to be more independent. It’s not healthy to need other people to that extent.

In our exchange, he invited me to come with him to a bar to watch a friend’s band the following night. I reminded him I had volleyball on Thursdays and couldn’t go. I really wanted to go, but another part of me was happy I had to turn him down. I have a tendency to drop everything for men I’m interested in. I needed to show I was independent as well.

Thursday went by, and we didn’t talk to each other during the day. On my way to volleyball, I texted him: “Thinkin’ bout you 🙂 .” He responded, “Good luck at your game!” It was nice he remembered I had a game. He was showing a vested interest in my life, which is always a good sign.

After volleyball, we texted a bit. He told me about how he didn’t get the project he was counting on for work. I knew it meant a lot to him, so I tried to console him as best I could. I knew he would be depressed for a few days as a result because he was really looking forward to it. I called him, and we spoke on the phone. I also took the opportunity to ask if I would get to see him Friday night.

Since he asked me to watch the band with him, I was satisfied he wanted to spend time with me, and I knew it wasn’t simply me chasing him down.

He had plans to go to a friend’s birthday party Friday night and talked about us going together as if we planned this long ago, and it was assumed I would be attending with him.

It appeared things were back on the upswing, at least emotionally for me. The question remained. Would we continue moving up, or was it only a matter of time before things started sinking again?…

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