After our week in the “country” house, as CK liked to call it, it was time to utilize our city abode. It was in no shape, however, to be lived in. Sure, the new bed was delivered, the delivery of which was a bit of contention between us, but the bed was surrounded by towers of boxes.
The day the bed was delivered followed a week straight with CK. There were errands I needed to take care of I never got to do when we were together. Because of this, I dropped CK off for the bus and told him I would meet him in the city later. I was trying to be productive with my time, rather than waiting for the bed to be delivered with him. Looking back, we probably should have just done them together, but at the time, I didn’t want to subject him to my boring burdens.
We were both eating dinner when I cooked at my place, so there’s no reason I should feel guilty dragging him to the grocery store. Going forward, I learned to shed that guilt quite easily. But on the flip side, this meant I would be going to the grocery store with him on the other side of the river. That seemed like a much better arrangement. I was beginning to resent that I had to do the responsible duties while he had all the fun, but that wasn’t fair to him. He never turned me down when I asked him to help me, but in reality, I never asked him in the first place. I couldn’t resent him if I didn’t give him the chance to delight me. There were lots of not exciting things we would both need to do, like cleaning our apartments, that while not fun at all, they could be completed much faster with both our efforts in tandem. Our lives were blending together, and I loved it. It wasn’t smooth, but I loved it.
On the flip side, since we were spending so much time together, I was finding it hard to make the time to work out. My body was paying the price, and as a result, my self-esteem plummeted even lower. I needed to start running again. I needed to get back in the gym and start lifting again.
This posed the challenge of a delicate situation. CK proposed that we work out together. I knew I was a far better runner than CK was. That’s not a dig against him at all, but put simply, I ran cross-country in high school and swam in college. In order for me to get results from my workouts, I needed to push myself, and I needed to push myself hard! I wouldn’t be able to do that if I was holding back to run at CK’s pace. I didn’t want to insult him or his abilities, but I wasn’t sure this was something we’d be able to integrate.
Regardless of this, I decided to make an effort to give it a shot. When I told CK I wanted to go for a run one night, he wanted to join me. We both got ready and walked over to the west bank of the Hudson to run along the trail. As I predicted, we clocked a pace much less effective than I was hoping. I decided I needed to speak up. I was met with the response I had dreaded. He took insult to my comments that I needed to run faster. I didn’t know any way to navigate this without creating a conflict. He took it personally that I was insinuating he was holding me back.
As a result, he played the role of the martyr and told me to take off. The result of running at our own pace was what I was hoping for, but the hurt feelings and passive-aggressive response was exactly what I was hoping to avoid. I tried to talk to him about it to make it a discussion so there would be no hurt feelings, but he wanted none of it. He’d rather I just go, so that’s what I did.
While I ran, I thought about how to deal with the fallout of this. It made sense to me that we work out together, but we needed to do it in a way that benefited us both. I was going to resent it if I wasn’t getting the full potential out of the workout, and that benefits no one. That’s when I came up with a solution:
When we ran together, we would start out together at a warm-up pace. When I was sufficiently warmed up, I would pick up the pace and run ahead of him. When I felt I was half way through the workout, I would turn around and pick him up on the way back. When I overtook him, I would slow down to a cool down pace. I thought it the perfect solution.
It’s also basically what we were doing. When I turned around, I quickly came to find myself right behind him. As we ran, I proposed this new idea, but he still wasn’t having any part of it. I realized I was in a losing battle, and this would have to be addressed later when his ego healed.
Working out in the gym was also a whole other battle. When I go to the gym I like to be by myself. I do not treat it as a social excursion. I am there to work out and go home. I don’t even like spotting someone when they ask me for help. I resent it because I am there for my workout, not theirs. I don’t ask anyone else to spot me. I am not a trainer or an employee. Why should I be “working” at the gym? I know this sounds very antisocial, and that’s exactly what it is. I’m not the biggest fan of lifting. I see it as a necessary evil. I want to get in and out of there as quickly as possible.
When CK asked me to lift with him all the time, I was very hesitant. I loved him, but I was so used to lifting by myself. I knew if we did this together, I would get cranky, and it would start a fight. I was trying to save us from that. I also liked to go to the gym during my lunch break at work, so when he would ask me to hit the gym with him in the morning or the evening, I wouldn’t want to. I would want to use that time for far more fun things.
It was going to be a delicate balance, trying to integrate our lives, but eventually we would find equilibrium. Both sides would have to make sacrifices and concessions, but both sides would benefit from each other as well. Needless to say, CK was the first guy I’d gone to these steps with. It was new territory for me, but it was certainly exciting as well!
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Relationships aren’t easy. No matter whether you’re friends or lovers, each relationship is accompanied by its own set of issues. When you introduce sex into these relationships, things get exponentially more complicated.
Tuesday, I engaged in unprotected sex with M.E. It happened in the middle of the night in the passion of a moment, however, there is never an excuse. People’s lives are at stake. I tell you about the poor decisions and the mistakes I’ve made because I hope you can learn from them.
From that morning on, I was on damage control. I’d already talked to him about what transpired between us, and we agreed to get tested and share our results to ensure we were safe going forward. I called a doctor’s office and made an appointment that Wednesday following work to have an STD test.
As I walked into the doctor’s office, I noticed a few other men sitting in the waiting room. I had never been to this facility before. I was curious if they were there for the same thing I was. I began to wonder what was going through their heads. Were they petrified? Were they already infected? etc. I myself began to worry a little. I wasn’t particularly worried until I walked into the waiting room. There was nothing I could do at that point, so I tried to calm my nerves. The only good part about this was it made me quite ready to fill a cup with my urine sample. They also drew blood and told me to call in three days for my results.
Now, it was the waiting game. I couldn’t do anything and would have to wonder for three days.
That night, I had plans with P to go see Silence, The Musical. After my tests, I walked all the way downtown to meet her for dinner near the theater. Dinner was very nice. I got her caught up on all the latest action in my life. She’s always incredibly supportive, even when I make poor life choices.
We went to the show, and about two minutes in, I noticed how attractive one of the male actor/dancers was. It was a small theater, and any time he was on stage, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. When they came out for curtain call, he caught my eye, and we made eye contact. There was a bit of an awkward moment, but I was crushing a bit.
I wasn’t intimidated because I’d already dated someone who worked on Broadway. This was Off-Broadway. I didn’t think twice about what I was about to do. That night, when I got home, I decided to do some research (and when I say research, I mean stalking). I pulled out the Playbill and looked to see if I could find him on Facebook. Much to my surprise, he was on there. I decided to message him. What the hell, why not? What did I have to lose?
I’m sure you’re wondering who this is, and I really hope this doesn’t come off incredibly creepy. I myself can’t believe I’m about to send you this. (And, something tells me I may not be the first).
First off, I came to see Silence tonight and thought you were incredibly cute and incredibly talented. Your mother must be so proud.
Second off, I have no idea if you’re single or even gay. But gay or straight, single or taken, I’d love to strike up a conversation with you. On the flip side, I fully understand if this makes you uncomfortable.
Anyway, with nothing to lose but a little dignity, I thought I’d give it a shot. Hit me back if you’re interested in chatting some time. If not, enjoy the flattery…
Then, I noticed he was a friend of Broadway, the guy I dated for ten months. I pulled out my phone and texted him to see what their relationship was. His response was, “Who is that?” I explained who he was and how they were Facebook friends. “Oh yes. We audition together. HOT!! You dating?” I told him, “No. I just cold called him on Facebook after seeing his show… LOL. We’ll see what happens. Think I creeped him out?” He felt I did creep him out, but I explained how I had nothing to lose.
Sadly, I never heard back from him. It just wasn’t meant to be.
Much later that night, I received a text from the guy I had sex with when I cheated on N. We’d been texting a bit recently after noticing each other on Grindr. He asked if I was up. I replied, and he asked if he could come over. Apparently, I was getting a booty call. It was about 11:30, but I didn’t see the harm. After all, I did fantasize about the first time we had sex quite often. It was something my mind went back to many times. This isn’t because of the cheating. It was simply because the sex was that good.
He came over, and I could tell he’d been drinking a bit. He immediately commented on how crazy it was that my new apartment looked exactly like my last. He began taking his shoes off before hopping on the bed with me. He immediately began making out with me interspersed with conversation. He never got closure with how messed up things ended between him, N and myself.
He wanted to talk a lot about him. I would have been fine if N never even came up in conversation. I learned they got together once after I told him to take a hike. It was hysterical how much their accounts of this encounter were completely different. The only commonality was how much disdain they had for each other. At one point he mentioned how dirty N was. I asked him to clarify as in physically or as in naughty. He then went on to describe a particular body part that would only have been encountered during sex and how disgusting it was. He then went on to tell me they never had sex. He told me N just gave him a blowjob and he finished on his face. He pointed out his surprise I ever dated N. N’s account of the story was they met on the street. After seeing him, he couldn’t believe I would hook up with someone so ugly, let alone cheat on him with someone of that caliber. All I could do was laugh my a$$ off in my head. These two were ridiculous. I was so happy I cut things off with both when I did.
After the N conversation concluded, he really wanted to have sex with me. He mentioned how amazing it was the last time we hooked up, and he told me he hadn’t had sex with a man since the previous summer. I told him how hot it was last time we hooked up and how I referred back to it many times in my mind. With that, the clothes began to strip off.
Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. We were intertwined in each other’s embrace making out. I found myself lying on my stomach with him on top of me. I knew he would try to penetrate me, but I wasn’t game for that. The last time he did that, I sprang from the bed because he did it with no preparation and full force. I wasn’t about to let that happen again. He tried and tried, and I never relaxed to allow entry. I think he got embarrassed with his fumbling, and he made a comment. I complimented him and told him he was too large for me. We switched positions, much to his chagrin, and now I was the one on top. He was on his back, and I put his legs up on my shoulders.
He told me how much he enjoyed me inside him because I hit his prostrate just right. With that, I slipped inside him. It felt amazing. It was just as good as the last time I played over and over again in my mind’s eye. He loved it too. After a short while, he finished on his abdomen. Seconds later, I alerted him I was about to finish. He replied, “I want you to shoot inside me,” and I did. For me, this was a first, and it felt incredible.
I’m not sure why, but I had no problem finishing this time. It completely came naturally and without over thought. I felt amazing and incapacitated all in one. We lay there next to each other speechless for a minute before even moving or talking. We were in euphoria.
When that wore off, I became the topic of conversation. N told him about the blog when everything went down. He told me he read part of it and still didn’t understand why I wrote it. He also asked this story not make an appearance, but I find it too important to exclude. He pointed out I was looking for a boyfriend, and that was not what he was looking for at all. He pointed out how I was going about things all the wrong way if I wanted to find love. I explained to him all my trials and tribulations and what I was looking for in the end. He fully understood.
Then he made a comment about how stupid we were to not use a condom. I agreed. I’m sure he was far more worried about the situation than I was since I finished inside him. Apparently, with everything I’ve been through, I still didn’t learn my lesson. I wasn’t being responsible.
This was my wake-up call. I’d hit rock bottom. I’d gotten so reckless with my life. I needed to stop before I did something that could end my life. What was I doing? How could I be this stupid? This wasn’t how to find love — Having unprotected sex with the guy I cheated on my ex with. No more excuses. No more Grindr hookups. No more strangers. If I wasn’t finding love, I would be single and celibate for some time until I got myself under control. This was my turning point.
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Saturday finally arrived. Smiles so graciously found time in his busy schedule to meet with me to discuss “us.” I wasn’t in a combative mood, but I was resolved in the notion that I wouldn’t be a doormat for him anymore. I had a lot of things I wanted to say to him, but I didn’t rehearse them in my head. I wanted my emotions to speak for me.
I knew how I felt, and I knew how he let me down. I was so disappointed in him for simply trying to back away from our three-month relationship instead of just speaking to me like a man. I was embarrassed for him.
We decided to meet at Doma Coffee Shop. Ironically, it’s pretty much where our relationship started (after a failed date at Employees Only). I had a few places to go in the city that day, so I took the motorcycle in. It was a nice enough day I could get away with it with a few layers.
After I parked my bike and walked toward the shop, I noticed Smiles was just arriving. We shared an awkward hello. I think he may have been going in for a kiss, but I gently turned and just gave him a hug. I had no interest in giving him any more of my affections. I’d already given him enough.
We went inside, and he ordered his coffee and began to pay. I wasn’t expecting him to buy my coffee, but it was interesting he didn’t even offer. He found a table for us to sit at while I ordered my coffee.
I joined him at the table, and we awkwardly chatted about work for a bit. Surprise, surprise — Our conversation revolved around his job once again. I was trying not to enter this meeting bitter or with a superior attitude. After all, it was a week earlier I was kissing another man in front of him. I wasn’t above him in any respect.
He talked about his business partner who was in the news at the time. Because I stay well-informed, I knew a lot of the story about the man’s current situation that Smiles did not. So when he was complaining about the man not getting back to him, I informed him of the news of the day and his new partner’s involvement in it. He was shocked to learn some of the details I knew. We were about to break up, and I was still keeping Smiles up-to-date on the goings on in the world at the time.
When that conversation got stale, Smiles kicked off the “us” conversation. He led with his thinking on the “situation.” He told me he recognized he wasn’t putting as much of himself into the relationship as he could have and how that wasn’t fair to me. He pointed out his priority of focusing on his career currently, and his schedule didn’t allow for a relationship. He acknowledged the possibility of his being partly responsible for my actions on New Year’s Eve. Over more conversation, I realized he thought I might have been acting out or doing it on a subconscious level.
I reiterated for him how little of the end of the night I remembered. I was on the verge of tears as I explained this to him. I told him I never would have done it had I been sober. I told him I didn’t initiate the kissing, but I also didn’t stop it immediately. I told him that I would like to think I stopped it relatively quickly, but I have no idea because I don’t remember a single moment of it. I think Smiles wanted to know the motivation for the make-out session. He half asked a question and then stopped when he again realized I didn’t recall any of the end of that night. I apologized emphatically and acknowledged how horrible what I did was. I choked up as I told him it was one of the worst things I’d ever done in my life. I could see that it did in fact bother him. The morning after, he told me he was okay with it, but now, I knew he wasn’t.
Sadly, it made me feel a little better knowing it upset him. It showed that maybe he, on some level, actually did care about me, even if just a little bit. At least I knew he felt something toward me.
I transitioned into more conversation of how we would move forward. I told him I was pretty much on the same page as him as far as ending our relationship. I told him I wasn’t getting enough of what I was looking for from him, and it was a direct result of his priorities.
I told him how hurt I was that he would just drop me after three months. I really stressed that point. I told him I felt so disrespected that he would just stop texting and calling like a switch, as if I wouldn’t notice or I would be okay with it. It really did hurt, because in my mind it nullified our relationship. It showed he didn’t respect it enough to give it the attention it needed, even if it was coming to a close. He told me it was because he needed time to think about what he really wanted and how he wanted to proceed. I told him he didn’t need to cut me off while he thought about it, and he acknowledged his fault.
In the end, we were fine. The whole conversation lasted roughly a half hour. He was on task and had things to do, so when the conversation was winding down, he stood and said, “Shall we go?”
We walked outside and began to part ways. I turned back and said goodbye. I also told him to call me to grab dinner sometime. Just because we weren’t dating didn’t mean we couldn’t be friends. He responded, “Sure thing sir.” I thought that was an odd response, but I’ll take it.
It was an amicable breakup. I’m not sure if I got the closure I needed. I still felt like he used me and doubted if he ever really cared for me. I never got an answer if my suspicions were true. I wondered if he’d been with other men while dating me. I wondered if he met someone else. All questions I would never get answers to. I think that is the hardest part about a breakup — The blow to the ego. We take fault and feel there is a flaw in ourselves, even if that’s not the case at all.
I would recover from this breakup relatively quickly, but I certainly would walk away with a few new scars and a few pieces of luggage to my baggage pile. I would try not to let it affect me too greatly, but then again, you can only control your emotions so much.
Hopefully, as one door was closing, another would soon be opening…
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