Posts Tagged progress
Before you jump into today’s post, I’d like to bring to your attention a story a reader shared with me last night. Being the hopeless romantic I am, I was so touched by their story. Check it out here.
Back to our regularly schedule program:
When CK and I got home after a long night out on the town, we argued about the timing of the following morning. I was insistent we would keep our plans, or I would leave him behind. I wasn’t going to flake on Boston because he wanted to stay out at the bar that night. I realized we weren’t making much progress, and we were only staying up longer by arguing, so I set my alarm and climbed into bed.
The next day, I woke up and started reaching out to Boston. Much to my chagrin, he wasn’t responding. I tried over and over and over again via text and phone, but still no response. I’d already managed to get CK up, and he was being incredibly cooperative considering how early it was and how little sleep we got. I wasn’t happy because I got in an argument with CK over this, and now Boston was flaking on me. I was trying so hard to salvage this so CK wouldn’t flip out on me when I told him Boston wasn’t responding. I hit up Hip to see if he’d be interested in the beach. It’d been some time since we hung out, and I thought it would make CK much happier to have one of his friends there. I asked D and his girlfriend if they wanted to join us at the beach, and surprisingly, they were in. They would just be joining us a little later. I also reached out to my sister, and I learned she was driving out to the beach. We were planning to take the train, but now that Boston was missing in action, I asked her if she would give us a ride. Now, I had to manage the logistics of getting someone from Brooklyn, CK and I in Hell’s Kitchen and my sister coming from Hoboken through midtown coordinated.
CK and I were making great time. We hopped in a cab, and it was looking like we would all get to our meeting point at the same time. I couldn’t have been happier and more stressed. My sister arrived a few minutes before us, and we all piled into her car and were off to the beach. This was the first time my sister met Hip. I had a feeling they would get along since Hip is such a mellow guy and easy to get along with, but in her usual fashion, she took a little warming up. Once she warmed up to him, they were really hitting it off.
As we drove, I texted Boston telling him we were on our way and invited him to join us out there when he and the girl he was staying with got moving for the day, but I had a strong feeling I wasn’t going to see him. About half way out there, he finally called and told me he was way too hungover to come out to the beach. He offered to meet up later that evening, so I told him I would hit him up on my way home.
We arrived at the beach and spread out, taking over a solid chunk of beach. D and his girlfriend were on their way and would be joining us shortly. This day was going so much more smoothly than I ever thought possible. The weather was gorgeous, and we were all having a blast. I was really enjoying being with such a great group. Everyone was relaxed and having fun. We took a picture together, and we all agreed it was the picture of the summer. Now that summer is over, I can testify it was, at least for me.
Later in the day, CK and I decided to go for a jog/walk. It was nice to separate from the group for a little and take a nice stroll. We talked about the night before, and he apologized. He also thanked me for such a great day. The biggest smile grew across my face. I know I was stressed that morning and annoyed how things were playing out, but it was all worth it to have such a fun and carefree day. I was so happy with him. I loved him, and I couldn’t see myself with any other man. He was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
We stopped to take pictures on the rocks of the jetty. This quickly turned into a typical CK photo shoot, which I’m not the most thrilled with. I’m not a fan of having my picture taken because 99% of the time, I hate the results. I don’t like being in the spotlight, but CK does. When I take the pictures of him, I know these pictures will be sorted through as fodder for his Instagram feed. This is yet another account of my attention not being enough. He still needed the attention of his adoring fans. I wasn’t crushed by this. I have thicker skin than that, but it didn’t exactly have a positive effect on my feelings. On top of that, I knew everyone was about ready to go home when we started our walk. I didn’t want to make them wait too long to leave. I tried to be a good sport and shot some pictures of him and even let him snap a few of me, but the time came for me to insist we return to the group.
As we walked back, we passed two hot and I can only assume straight men walking the opposite direction. As we passed, CK not only made a comment regarding their aesthetic, but took the conversation one step further and asked if I would ever entertain the idea of fooling around with another couple (acknowledging a previous unprovoked sentiment I stated expressing my lack of interest in ever bringing another person into our relationship). I immediately started getting very anxious, and my heart sank a little. I was immediately taken back to the previous night with him looking around the bar to see who was looking at him. I was right back to worrying I would not be enough for him. My heart beat started pacing. I immediately and definitively expressed to him my feelings on this, and I think he recognized how worked up this was making me. I told him this was my worry when I finally came out. I didn’t know if I could ever find a man who would settle down with me and give me a “traditional” relationship. I realized that’s not for everyone, but that’s what I wanted. It’s not something I wanted to compromise on, nor do I think it’s something I should budge on. Now, I was worrying if CK was the right man for me.
“This isn’t something I want. I just wanted to know if you would be open to this,” he said. I responded, “If it’s not something you want or you’re interested in, then why did you bring it up? If this is coming up now when everything is fresh and fun, how’s it going to be ten years from now? Will I ever be enough for you?” He started backtracking immediately. He put his hands on my shoulders and said, “Babe, you are who I want. No one else. I was just asking the question, not proposing we do it.” I explained to him how worried I was that it was even brought up. He managed to calm me down and acknowledged that knowing that was off the table does not make him want to stop dating me. He added, “You have nothing to worry about. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” I was a bit more relaxed, but I was still questioning if I was enough for CK. It had been the theme of many of my past relationships, and I didn’t want to go through that again.
When we got back, we all packed up and headed home. On the ride home, I fell asleep in CK’s lap. Unbeknownst to me, Hip and my sister we’re now like two peas in a pod. They were having so much fun together blasting music and weaving through traffic. D and his girlfriend were following, so when traffic came to a halt, Hip climbed up through the sunroof and started making faces and flailing around at them.
When we got back to the city, my sister dropped the three of us off at CK’s. He needed to pack an overnight bag before we went back to Hoboken for the night. We hung out for a majority of the evening before finally taking the bus to the other side of the Hudson River. Not before getting ice cream, of course. In the end, I didn’t get to hang out with Boston before he left town. It just didn’t work out. Maybe I’d have to wait another year to finally see him.
All in all, it was a great day. I had so much fun hanging with my friend and CK’s friends. It was completely refreshing to see his friends getting along with my friends. It wasn’t all roses and sunshine, however. I was still worried I wasn’t the man CK was looking for. I worried I was looking for him to settle down with me, and he wasn’t quite ready for that. It’s not that I didn’t trust him to not cheat on me so much as worrying we didn’t have the same relationship goals and outlook. Only time would tell if our paths were heading in the same direction.
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.
All weekend long, Clark Kent and his mother were packing up his apartment. He still needed to live there for about two more weeks, but they put a big dent in what needed to be packed up. I was thrilled. While there was no doubt I would help him move, no one enjoys moving. No one enjoys packing and unpacking. I’d done it enough times myself.
I did try to do my part. Before I left on Sunday night, I offered to grab some boxes from work and deliver them to his apartment so his mother could continue packing while he was at work. His place was right by my gym, and I planned to take my lunch break at the gym. I grabbed as many boxes as I could from the supply room and took them over to his place.
I’d gotten his mother’s cell phone number the night before. I texted her to let her know I was on my way. She responded with many thanks.
When I arrived, she answered the door and gave me a big hug. She was very grateful and detailed for me all the progress she’d made. She was at a bit of an impasse because CK would have to make some decisions before she could pack any more.
I needed to be on my way, so I said a final goodbye to her since this was the last I’d be seeing of her on this trip. She was headed to the airport the following morning. She gave me another big hug and said, “Thank you.” I promised to keep CK in line and urge him to call home more often. She commented that he’d be in good hands with me. I was flattered and touched.
All day long, CK and I had been texting each other. We’d seen each other only a few short hours earlier, but it wasn’t enough. I missed him, and he missed me. On top of that, we hadn’t slept together since Friday night. It was shocking how quickly we’d grown so fondly attached. I was really gaga for this guy. Things were going great!
That night, I went home alone. I watched TV and wanted to call CK, but I didn’t want to interrupt his last night with his mother. I stalked him on FourSquare a bit until I learned they went to Dos Caminos for a late-night dinner.
Finally, very late that night, he called me. He’d gone up to the roof to smoke and call me. He told me he missed me and couldn’t wait for us to be together again the following night.
He detailed to me how much his mother liked me and told me how happy he was about the whole thing. I was really head over heels for this guy. Never had I felt so loved by another man. I could tell this guy was genuine. He really made me feel like a prince.
He also detailed for me how tired of his mother he was. They had spent a lot of tense time together. He was ready for a break. It’s understandable how they’d butt heads over a lot of things. I told him to stop being so mean to his mother. I pointed out to him it was Mother’s Day and she traveled all the way up north to help him. He realized what she was doing for him, and he truly appreciated it, however, her leaving would mean me arriving. We made plans for the following night and said goodnight.Follow @onegayatatime
Waking up with the feeling of dread is never a good thing. Upon opening my eyes, I immediately knew something was wrong. It all came crashing back. I remember the conversation I had with Smiles the night before in my bed. It didn’t go as well as I would have liked it.
I needed to reassess the situation and make a decision before proceeding. One thing was for sure; I was going to proceed with caution. No longer was I going to invest so much of myself into a one-sided relationship. Smiles was still interested, and I had optimism the relationship could still progress towards something good. However, I could no longer devote so much of myself to someone who wasn’t doing the same for me.
I had that day off, but I had to wake very early. I needed to get my friend’s car keys before he went to work so I could take Smiles to the airport. When I volunteered to take the day off from work, I thought it would be a perfect way to see him off. I wanted to be both helpful and selfish. I wasn’t going to get to see him for a week, let alone on Christmas. The next best thing I could get was sending him off at the airport.
I climbed out of bed, put on clothes and rode my motorcycle over to my friend’s place. I swapped the bike for his car and drove back to my apartment. When I got back to my room, there were a few minutes left before Smiles was supposed to wake to get ready for his flight. I undressed and climbed back into bed.
Since we went to see the stage-show the night before, and he was working through the day before, he wasn’t able to pack yet. When my alarm went off, we woke and got ready to make our way into the city so he could pack.
I drove him through the Holland Tunnel and stopped in front of his apartment. There were no legal spots available, so I had to sit in the car while he got ready. When he got out of the car, Smiles checked out another street and texted me from his apartment: “If you wait another five minutes, you can park on the other street at the meters.” It was nice of him to check that out so I wouldn’t have to sit in the car alone the whole time.
My question from the night before was still in the back of my head. The car ride was rather quiet. It was as if we were both searching for something to talk about. I had yet another question burning a hole in the back of my mind. I had no New Year’s Eve plans, and all my friends did. I didn’t want to spend it alone, but Smiles hadn’t mentioned it to me. I had no idea what his plans were, but I wanted to spend it with him. The conversation from the night before didn’t change that. I was about to ask him if we could spend it together, but as we neared the airport, things got hectic because he wasn’t sure which terminal he was flying out of. That question would have to wait until later.
Once we had that settled, I found a space at curbside and helped him unload. We exchanged a very quick hug and kiss as he set off for home for the holidays. It was very unceremonious. I don’t know if he was self-conscious because we were in public or if it was because he still felt awkward, but I was very disappointed. That was not the way I wanted to be kissed by the man I was dating but not seeing on Christmas. That was not a proper goodbye.
As he walked away, he turned back and said, “I’ll call you later tonight.”
Since I had my friend’s car and the rest of the day off, I decided to run an errand I’d been neglecting. I took a route home that allowed me to stop by Michael’s to pick up a large panoramic photo I had framed. All that alone time is NOT good for me. It’s a sure to produce over-thinking and slight depression. I really didn’t know how to proceed. There was a fork in the road, and I wasn’t sure which road to take.
I decided to make a stronger effort to engulf myself with my friends. I wasn’t going to give so much of myself to Smiles, and in turn, I would fill that void with friendship. After I ran my errand, I went home and watched TV on the couch. I needed to distract myself with some form of entertainment, but it wasn’t working. I was still thinking about what I was going to do. I hopped on Facebook while watching TV and got a message from N: “I miss you buddy.” I hadn’t hung out with him since we broke up with the exception of my holiday party. Maybe it was time to give friendship with him another chance. I hit him up to see what he was up to. He was going out that night and told me he would keep me in the loop regarding his plans so we could hang out.
I know Smiles was settling in the with family, and I wouldn’t expect him to call. But, it would be nice if he called, even if just to let me know he landed safely. That night, I never heard from Smiles…Follow @onegayatatime