Posts Tagged sanity

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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We Kiss, We Make Up

When last I wrote about my budding relationship with Clark Kent and myself, we had gotten well past the honeymoon stage. We were trying to maintain a relationship across state lines, and it wasn’t easy. That being said, we were still seeing a lot of each other, and I started to wonder if maybe it was too much. I often wondered, maybe there is such a thing as too much of a good thing…

We needed to find balance, and that wasn’t going to be easy. We’d been dating four short months, but, in reality, it felt like we’d been dating for close to a year, even though we were still figuring things out.

That Thursday night, my old roommate was gathering with friends at the new waterfront biergarten in Hoboken for drinks to celebrate his birthday (which I was unaware of until deep into the night). I mentioned it to CK and asked him to join me when he finished work. He agreed, but he had to work later.

When I arrived, I didn’t know too many of my old roommate’s friends in attendance. I began texting and calling other friends to join us. P and S both responded, “On my way.”

As you can imagine, it takes a lot of time to write a blog, so I was utilizing my free time during the day at work to accomplish this. Apparently, my boss took notice to my poor use of free time since he wasn’t seeing any productivity coming from my time between projects. (Perhaps you can understand why I have been neglecting this blog for the past few months).

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This is relevant because I was also coming off a really rough day at work. I received my review that morning, and it was not positive. My only saving grace was a preemptive strike made a few weeks earlier.

I noticed an opportunity to take over our social media duties (which were being completely neglected) and asked my boss if I could take them on. During my review, when he pointed out my poor utilization of free time, I countered with the argument, “That’s why I approached you about taking on the social media duties.” I thought maybe I’d saved my a$$. He countered with, “I only wish you’d come to me about it three years earlier.” I was defeated.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, I learned later that day we’d be merging with another company. So, on top of a bad review, I was petrified of being labeled a redundancy. Two weeks earlier, my career looked to be shaping up. I was taking on a new role, and finding early success. My experience with this blog and other social media was really paying off. Now, it looked as if my whole world could be crumbling around me.

A majority of it was out of my hands at that point. All I could do was put my nose to the grindstone for the coming weeks. But, on a Thursday night, I needed to forget. That meant I needed more than a few stiff drinks!

I drank beer after beer while mingling with old friends and some new ones. I was having quite a good time, but I was missing CK. I was texting with him back and forth discussing his arrival.

When he finally arrived, I was thrilled to see him. He could be comfort after a rough day, and I was finally properly lubricated enough to have a good time and forget about work, enjoying a night out with my man and friends.

CK grabbed a beer and immediately dove right into the conversation with all of us. I was chatting with S’s roommate, and the discussion quickly changed to his tattoos and body piercings. CK was a bit fascinated by tattoos at that time. He detailed for me the elaborate tattoos he was dreaming of getting.

S’s roommate was very much Mr. Machismo. I wasn’t sure how comfortable he was with the whole “gay thing.” There was just something about his attitude and the way he carried himself that I didn’t think he’d be too comfortable. I never formally came out to him, as I’d only met him a handful of times, but I assumed S clued him in. I was very pleasantly surprised just how cool he was with the whole “gay thing.” He turned out to be quite a laid back guy. It just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.

The two quickly formed a bond. At some point in the conversation, the roommate started talking about his anxiety over having to fly the next. CK took it upon himself to aid in this situation.

Immediately, I was unhappy. My mood shifted abruptly. I shut down. I’ll never quite understand why I react in this way to these types of situations. I think it stems from striving to suppress my feelings at the moment so I don’t create a scene in public. The deeper question is why do I become so enraged in the first place?

This time, CK wasn’t exactly participating. He wasn’t doing anything wrong, however, aiding and abetting someone else’s wrongdoing was equally as bad in my mind. He was enabling behavior he knew I was opposed to. I wasn’t just feeling anger. I was scared. I was afraid I was going to lose him. We’d had this discussion time and time again. If we continued to have the conversation, eventually, he would be faced with an ultimate decision, and there was a chance I would be a casualty of that decision. All of my emotions tied back to this very thought. I was afraid in the end he wouldn’t choose me, and as a result, I would have to choose me. I’d have to say goodbye for my own sanity, facing my greatest fear in life, being alone, on top of losing a man I loved. Obviously, I never wanted it to come to that.

I managed to suppress this anger and feeling of betrayal. My mind was jumping back to all the other times we discussed this very topic. This was only exacerbated because I’d written the blog post about our night at Matinee that afternoon. One of those very conversations was fresh in my mind.

I managed to suppress all this until we walked in the door of my apartment, and then I unleashed. I told him how unacceptable his behavior was, and he was completely dumbfounded. He had no idea why I could be so enraged.

Angry BedOf course this only fed my fury. Had he forgotten all these other times we’d discussed this? Was I living a broken record? We argued extensively about this, and CK threatened to leave multiple times, making it to the door a handful of times.

We finally had a breakthrough at some point when he either feigned to understand my stance, or what I was so vehemently explaining finally sunk in.

We argued a lot about a lot of small things —Things I felt were very important. He felt I was trying to change him. I wasn’t. Honestly! I loved him. I just felt he needed to grow up in some aspects of his life. A person needs to adapt and evolve when entering a relationship, and I still wasn’t sure he was putting in the effort. I wasn’t trying to mold him into my ideal mate. I didn’t have a preconceived notion of who he should be. But, I felt there were some sacrifices he’d need to make to make me happy.

Perhaps I was the one who needed to change. In reality, we both needed to. Only time would tell if we could come to consensus on these types of issues.

Regardless, after fighting, we kissed and made up. Well, we more than made up. This was all followed by a lively romp in the sack. It was so incredible, we both finished at the same time for the first time. As we showered, we discussed our epic make-up sex. “And don’t think you can start picking fights with me just so we can have make-up sex buster,” I punctuated. We both had a good laugh.

No matter how much we fought, at the end of the day, I loved him. He made me happy. I loved that no matter how many times we fought, we always found a way to make up. I wanted to grow old with him, but the key word in that phrase for us would be grow…

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Matinee Street Team

CK and I arrived home, and after a night of shirtless dancing together, we were both ready to get down and dirty. Our night out with Old News was a little disappointing and frustrating for me, but I put it all in perspective for myself. CK loved me, and he came home with me. He no longer lived in the same building as Old News, and I hoped they saw very little of each other when I wasn’t around. I had no reason not to trust CK with him. After all, it was he who told me about their failed plan to move in together when Old News professed his feelings for him. We’d only been on a handful of dates at the time, but he felt comfortable telling me about their brief history.

Anyway, back to the good stuff. Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. We were barely in the door before CK started pillaging my body. He was stripping my clothes from my body as we both moved toward the bed. I got him down to his briefs before he shoved me backward onto the bed. He pounced like a jungle cat, and we began to roll around on the bed furiously. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other. They were exploring every inch of the other’s body.

At first he was on top, and then I was on top. Our positions changed by the minute. Things were incredibly passionate, and what ensued was the best sex we’d had to date. It was raw and sexy, passionate and dirty. We were both enjoying ourselves immensely, climaxing in turn.

We laid next to each other as beads of sweat ran across our bodies. The sex was HOT! We were both exhausted since it was late, and we had a long night at the club. We passed out like rocks until the morning.

When we woke in the morning, we had a busy day ahead of ourselves. We got up, showered and made our way out the door. I was starving. While CK was on his cleanse, drinking a shake, I needed real food. Since I was watching what I ate, we stopped at Subway on the way to his friends’ apartment. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this after the way his friend treated me, however, I was going to be the better man. I would kill him with kindness.

When we arrived, I got a tepid welcome from his friend. Hip, however, was thrilled to see me and gave me a big hug. We sat and chatted a bit about our plans for the rest of the day. Although his friend bought he and his boyfriend tickets to Matinee that evening, he decided not to go. Everyone else tried to convince him to come, to no avail. He wasn’t budging. Hip, on the other hand, wasn’t planning to go since it wasn’t that long ago he had hip replacement surgery. With some gentle prodding, we convinced him to join us. I was utterly thrilled. I needed a bit of a security blanket for this event. I was freaking out a little inside, and having another friend there would be key to my sanity. It also worked out for Hip and I because we were able to buy the unused tickets, but that’s another story for another time.

CK and I were on a schedule. Unbeknownst to me, CK had volunteered us to be a part of some street team for Matinee. I had no idea what he’d gotten us into. I already wasn’t entirely comfortable with the weekend ahead, and he wasn’t making it easier by surprising me with activities.

We made our way to Columbus Circle to meet up with a friend of a friend of someone he chatted with on Twitter. I still had no idea what we were doing, and CK wasn’t even waiting for me to cross the street. I stood on one side of the street watching him walk away completely oblivious to my lack of presence as he ran in front of cars talking on his phone. I was really starting to get annoyed. He wasn’t taking my feelings into consideration at all.

About 30 yards later, he realized I wasn’t there and finally turned around to look for me. By then, I was approaching him after the light changed. I don’t think my faced could have shown more apathy than it did in that moment. I asked him what we were doing and who we were looking for, and finally I got some answers, vague as they were. “We’re looking for a bunch of hot boys handing out flyers. We’re going to help hand out flyers or something,” he said. We searched all over Columbus Circle for these guys, even venturing underground to Equinox.

Finally, we managed to meet up with them. There was an adorably mismatched couple, a black diva and a Brooklyn hipster. While we waited for them to get their act in gear, I stood analyzing the couple. I was a little fascinated by them. They obviously both worked out a lot, but one was an energetic, tiny guy, and the other a soft-spoken, burly bear. I was very curious who was the top and who was the bottom, but I dared not ask.

Apparently, I was going to fully embrace the essence of pride. The plan was for us to canvas Hell’s Kitchen, handing out flyers to passersby while we made a ruckus to draw attention. We were outfitted with t-shirts, buttons, hats, large signs, water guns, flyers and more. I took a t-shirt and followed everyone else’s lead, customizing my shirt by ripping and tearing it. I felt very self-conscious, but I tried to embrace it. There was no getting out of this, so I needed to make the best of it. I took a large stack of flyers and started handing them out to every guy we passed and placed them on every surface I could.

Along the way, we made a few stops at stores and made some new friends. I was actually starting to have fun with my new street brigade. The burly bear still fascinated me. This wasn’t because I had a crush on him or anything. I’m just a people watcher, and I was noticing how shy this big beefy dude was. I also learned his boyfriend was one of the dancers on the stage the night before at XL. We stopped at Tagg to say hi to some guys selling apparel on the sidewalk in front of the store. They told us they had a free open bar and invited us to take advantage. I wasn’t ready to drink yet, but I thought maybe it might loosen me up.

We continued down Ninth Avenue, handing out flyers and stopping in more stores. While in Universal Gear, CK fell in love with a pair of booty shorts. The rest of the crew was ready to keep on keeping on, but in true fashion, CK was stopping to try them on. He decided he “absolutely NEEDED” to wear them to Matinee that night. Naturally. I went outside to hang with the rest of the crew while he stood in line to pay, telling them they could move on, and we’d catch up.

Eventually, CK emerged elated, and we were on our way. Hip joined us for the last leg of our journey. We had fun together, messing around until we reached our final stop.

I am delighted to say, I actually had a good time promoting. Normally, that sort of thing is my biggest nightmare. But, by embracing the experience fully, I was able to let go and have fun; I simply stopped caring!

When we finished our promotion journey, we made our way back to CK’s apartment to get ready. Little did I know what exactly that would entail, but I knew the night was only going to get crazier and more stressful from there.

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A Pointless Cancellation

When Smiles and I spoke on the phone Sunday night on his way home from a party in Connecticut, I asked him to come to my apartment for a special dinner Monday night. He told me he had to work, but he was going to leave early and we’d just eat a little later. I told him this was perfect since it would take some time to cook the roast after work.

I’d told Smiles about my standing rib roast before, and he didn’t quite get what it was. I explained to him the similarity of it what one might be served at a carving station at a wedding reception. He got a clearer picture, but it still wasn’t crystal clear.

I had a rib roast in my freezer with our name on it. I finally had a chance to cook it for us, and he was on-board. I was excited. It was a plan.

Monday morning, before work, I took the roast out of the freezer to thaw for that night. I planned out the accoutrements as well. I was very excited for our romantic night. It’d been a while since we spent time together. I wanted a night of beef, wine, couch, and bed. The thought sounded spectacular to me!

What excited me even more was the idea of my sanity back. I planned to ask Smiles that night where we stood. I didn’t need a title. I didn’t need to be his boyfriend. I just wanted to know where his head was at.

I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but that’s what my inner dialogue is. I get fixated on something, and it exhausts me until I get some closure on the issue.

Much to my chagrin, at 1:00 that afternoon, Smiles sent me a text with some bad news. “Looks like I have people coming tonight so I’m not going to be able to sneak out. I don’t think dinner at 11:00 would be the bet. Do you want to have an early dinner here in the city before he show?” Very disappointed, I agreed with a “Sure.”

I was p*ssed. It wasn’t his fault, but I was a little crushed since I was taking so much care to plan out the evening, and it all went to sh*t. He suggested we do it another night, but came up with a consolation prize. He suggested I come over to his apartment for dinner instead before the screening. I begrudgingly agreed to the idea since it’d been so long since I’d seen him, and I sent my roommate a text asking him to put the roast back in the freezer.

When I finished work, I made my way downtown to his apartment. When I arrived, I was shocked to be received with a nice big kiss. Maybe he missed me. Maybe I wasn’t just a seat warmer in this relationship. There was actually emotion behind that kiss. I was happy.

I was a little anxious because I was still planning to ask him where we stood that evening.

He told me he had food in the fridge to make and suggested we cook that instead of going out for dinner. He preferred that since he wasn’t feeling well, and he was exhausted. It made no difference to me. Asking him my question in the privacy of his apartment sounded like such a better idea than in a restaurant anyway.

I ended up cooking the pork chops and asparagus for the two of us since Smiles wasn’t quite himself. We sat and ate — Him at his computer chair working while he ate and me on the couch. Not nearly the romantic meal I planned for the evening. When we finished, I helped him clean up and put the leftovers away. He started getting ready for the rest of his night, and we talked about my plans. He asked if I was planning to spend the night. “Well, I guess the first question I should ask is if you were planning to come to the screening tonight,” he added.

This was the first I was hearing this. I was quite open to the idea, but I told him, “I have nothing for work tomorrow. You were supposed to be coming out to Hoboken, remember.” “Right,” he responded. I reminded him I’d seen the movie twice now, but if he wanted company, I would come with him. I asked if he actually watches the movie, or if he does other things during the film. He told me he usually watches most of it. Things remained unsettled as he made his way over to the couch to take a quick nap on me.

That was my opportunity to ask him my burning question. Every moment I tried to open my mouth, I froze. Nothing would come out. I was suddenly transported back to when I sat on the couch trying to tell my parents I was gay. The anxiety was making my heart pound out of my chest. I tried over and over to ask him, but I couldn’t muster the courage. I’m not sure what I was afraid of, but it was driving me insane.

After a half hour of this, it was time for him to get up. I asked him if he wanted me to sleep over, or did he want to get some rest alone. We made a final decision. It was better he get some uninterrupted rest that night since he was so exhausted as much as I wanted to spend the night with him. He told me, “It’s very sweet of you to offer to see the film again to spend the night with me.” I liked hearing that. He recognized the sacrifice I was willing to make to spend time with him.

With that, I said goodbye, and he made his way to the screening while I made my way to the PATH — Without my answer.

I was so p*ssed at myself for getting so worked up about a stupid question. What was wrong with me?! Obviously, I needed someone to talk to. I tried Boston, my therapist. I needed him to talk me off the ledge and help me make sense of the situation. I couldn’t do it on my own. We talked it over for over a half hour and he convinced me I had no choice but to blatantly ask him where we stood. We even helped me nail down the phrasing.

When I got to the other side of the tunnel in Hoboken, I got a text from Smiles telling me he was on his way home. His friends never showed. My blood was boiling. We cancelled our dinner plans for NOTHING. I still had no closure on where I stood with Smiles. It certainly was going to be a toss-n-turn kinda night…

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When Do I Get To See You Again?

I hadn’t seen Smiles in a week. The holiday break meant we’d be spending a fair amount of time apart. Time apart can be a good thing, but I missed him. I wanted to see him, and I was trying to do what I could to make that happen sooner than later.

Monday morning, I texted him asking if he could take the time out of his day to grab lunch. He was with his billionaire friend/client, “Back to you on that shortly,” he said.

In the middle of the afternoon, he called. He wasn’t going to be able to meet for lunch because he was still with his client, and even if he did finish in a timely manner, his brain was mush and he was a mess mentally. “It wouldn’t be fair to you because I would be a shell of a person, and I wouldn’t exactly be present,” he added. We agreed to shoot for lunch the following day, Tuesday, and he promised he would call me later when he had more time/sanity.

At ten after five, I received a text from Smiles: “Hey babe. How did your day finish up?” I told him, “Today, I didn’t do one shred of work other than sending someone a file. Getting ready to head home soon…” I wanted him to know I was heading home since he wasn’t able to meet up. I wasn’t going to hang around for the possibility of seeing him…

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You Make Me Smile

Over the next few days, I thought a lot about my relationship with Smiles. It was a constant roller-coaster. As far as relationships go, I am an infant. I’ve had all of five real relationships in my life, including this one. I was still learning how to be in one.

I needed to clear my head. For three days straight, I woke up early to run. It was the perfect way to start my day, I allowed me time to think without really being distracted, and I was able to work towards my spiteful goal of losing my pudge as Smiles so gently pointed out.

It was also beginning to be quite a busy week for me at work. Tuesday I worked until midnight. I talked to Smiles that night when I had a break to make dinner plans with him for the following night. Since I started dating him, I purchased a lot of Groupons for restaurants, so I thought it was time to start using them up. I was eating out at restaurants a lot more than I would have if I weren’t dating Smiles. This was the perfect way to lighten the blow to my wallet. As I left work, I texted, “Dinner tomorrow night maybe? Just leaving work (12:00) :(”

It wasn’t until the morning when I got a response: “Morning! Just getting this. I went to bed early last night. Dinner tonight works.” I explained the Groupon I purchased for Philip Marie in the West Village and asked him if he was okay with the choice. “Sounds good if you get off before 12!” he replied.

Later that Wednesday afternoon, Smiles called to make sure I was still getting out on time, otherwise he was going to grab dinner with some of his friends. I got where he was coming from, but it also felt a little like he was trying to get out of our date. I assured him I would not be working late. As the afternoon progressed, he asked about what time we’d meet, joking about “a blue plate special at 6:30” when I told him I’d be done around 6:30/7:00. We made plans to grab dinner at 7:30. I took the opportunity to slip a joke in there about his grandpa status and his ability to make it until 7:30, and he retorted by saying, “I’m stressed. It makes me sleepy. I’ll bring my cane.”

We sat in the front window of the restaurant, and after we ordered drinks, we dove into conversation. We talked about family and career goals among other things. He talked about his desire to be beyond financially stable so he could spend more time with his family. He is not originally from the Northeast, so spending time with his family isn’t the easiest or most convenient. He also talked about his desire to build an empire. He is very passionate about a lot of different business ventures, many of which are sound ideas. However, sometimes I worry he tries to take too much on his plate at once.

The conversation was great. It was a conversation two people in a relationship would have, not two people who were just dating. I joked with him, “You’re going to be the next Nate Berkus.”

Oooooo, did I get a look! Apparently, Smiles met him in the past, and isn’t the biggest fan of him as a person. “Okay. Note to self: Don’t equate you to Nate Berkus ever again,” I said with a smile.

When the waiter came to ask us about desert, Smiles started a conversation with him like he always does. He asked if we were his only table, and the waiter described his other table. It was a man and a woman who he suspected were on a first date. We joked about our date. While we weren’t on a first date, he was learning all kinds of new things about me, such as my penchant for Black Friday shopping. He took the opportunity to take a few playful jabs at my sanity while we all had a good laugh.

After we paid our bill, we started to walk the five blocks towards the PATH. Instead, we walked about eight blocks. That was about the time Smiles realized we’d gone too far. He questioned the situation, but I explained how I was enjoying the conversation and was willing to walk back up to the PATH if I needed to. We were standing in front of a liquor store while he finished the story he was telling. When he finished, I grabbed his jacket and pulled him in closer so I could kiss him. For the first time, I felt like we were really kissing. We exchanged many affectionate kisses before finally pulling away from each other.

At that point, he said, “Why don’t you live in the city?” I laughed and replied, “Was that a subtle hint? I’m not that far!” And with that, I walked away with a smile from ear to ear. I finally felt like we had moved beyond going on dates with each other. We were dating. We were in a relationship, and I was very happy!

When I got back to Hoboken, I sent a text, “You make me smile 🙂 .” Shortly following he responded, “That’s a good thing cause I ain’t so easy to like all the time!”

I was REALLY HAPPY with everything that night. I was getting the validation I needed. I was also looking forward to Friday. That was the first time I’d be able to see him next since I play volleyball every Thursday. That would also be when I would once again attempt to seduce him and attempt to roll around with him in bed…

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Last Minute Regrets

After my awkward date with Smiles, I felt I needed some change. The date was uncomfortable and the goodbye was lack luster.

Two guys had been reaching out to me on OKCupid, so I took the time to respond to them and try to set up a time to grab drinks. I shot them a text to see if they was available the following evening.

One of them, a guy who happened to go to the same college as me, responded informing me Wednesdays were the only day during the week that really worked for him. He was taking graduate courses, so he was quite busy.

The other guy texted me back to explain he was most likely available to meet for a drink when he finished work, but was unsure when that would be. He is a financial planner, so his hours are somewhat sporadic. We planned to touch base again at 5:00 the next day.

I had a lot of regret after setting up this date, but I tried to proceed with an open mind. All my friends encouraged me to date more people and not put all my eggs in one basket. I was finally following their advice. Smiles wasn’t exactly being the warmest towards me, so no harm, no foul.

When 5:00 arrived, the regret came flooding in. I didn’t want to meet up for drinks. I felt like I was cheating on Smiles. The planner sent me a text explaining he would be working late. He asked if I could meet for coffee at 9:30. I agreed, and sat with my guilt. It was already bothering me, and I didn’t even go out for the drinks yet. What if he tried to kiss me? What if he really liked me? What if I really liked him? This just goes to show you shouldn’t make quick irrational decisions.

As it got later, I got more nervous about the date. Not because of the date, but because of what it would mean for Smiles and I. I didn’t want to betray him. We hadn’t talked about exclusivity yet, but I was hoping we were moving in that direction.

I received a text that calmed my nerves completely. He had to cancel because he got called back into work. I was off the hook. I’m very grateful he cancelled on me, because the guilt would have really gotten to me. It’s just who I am.

I began to examine my relationship with Smiles. There were times he was completely affectionate and a total sweetheart. He really made me happy during those times. Probably far more than he realizes. I really enjoyed spending time with him, no matter what we were doing. On the other hand, when he would ignore me or not take me into consideration, I felt like such a small man. It really hurt to feel he wasn’t feeling about me the same way I was feeling about him. I wanted him to adore me the way I adored him at times. I felt like he always kept me at a safe distance. Not so far that I leave him, but not too close that I could ever hurt him. If we were going to proceed together, he was going to have to make himself more vulnerable and let me in.

I felt like I was part of his second life. He had his friends and acted one way with them, but when he was with me, he was different. He never integrated the two lives. Always separate. This is the reason I broke up with Broadway.

All this also helped me realize I needed Boston back in my life to talk me out of these crazy ideas. He is my sanity. I let my mind run wild after one bad date. He was always someone who could put me back on track and give me a strong dose of reality, not what my mind was conjuring up. However, he isn’t the easiest to get ahold of since he’s in he final year of school.

Smiles wasn’t talking to me much, so I would wait until he felt the need to talk to me. I didn’t go on the date, but I wasn’t exactly running back into Smiles’ arms. I was going to play hard to get a little bit…

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The Game — Hard To Get

As predicted, Monday was the day from hell. We had a huge pitch on Tuesday morning, so it was constant work until the end.

There was already no chance Smiles and I would see each other. However, we did get to chat on the phone briefly. He had to do work with his film, and I would be working until the wee hours of the morning to finalize the content for the pitch. I didn’t end up leaving my office until 1:30am.

I really wanted to see him Tuesday. I wasn’t going to be around the rest of the week, and whenever I have a long work pitch or long work trip, I look forward to decompressing with a sexy guy, even if it doesn’t involve sex. I asked him if we could do something, but he already made plans.

I was heading home Wednesday for my grandfather’s funeral. It was going to be a while before I got to see him again, and I was really disappointed. Things were really getting strained between us, at least on my end. We weren’t having sex as often as I’d like, and I was constantly on a roller-coaster of emotions. Smiles would pay a lot of attention to me and make me feel great, and then retract and shy away from me. I didn’t know how much more I could take it.

I decided I was going to play hard-to-get. I wasn’t going to text or call at all. If he still wanted to see me, he was going to have to put in the effort. I was at my emotional breaking point.

This was no easy task for me. I struggled with it. I carried my phone with me everywhere I went in case he tried to call or text, but it was silent. Part of me wondered if he thought it was a very personal family time, and he just didn’t want to bother me. But, the bigger part of me thought he had other things with which he was preoccupied.

Finally, Thursday he texted me to see how I was doing. It was progress. He was texting to check up on me, and I appreciated it. I texted him back after some time passed.

When Friday came about, he called and left a message. It was impeccable timing. I was just about to walk into the funeral parlor when my phone began ringing. After the viewing, I stepped out from the family gathering and called him back. We had a nice conversation.

The following day, I went to the funeral. Afterwards, I came home. I have awful cell service at my parents’ house. I finally managed to get signal by using the Wi-Fi. Ironically, right after I texted him, we lost power in the snow storm, so if he responded, I couldn’t read it if I tried.

I was home with no power, no internet, no phone and no TV. It had snowed about a foot outside, so we were trapped. On top of it, I was missing the Halloween festivities with my friends back in Hoboken. I wasn’t heartbroken about that, but I was disappointed. Instead, I spent the day shaking snow off trees so the branches wouldn’t break.

I was really feeling ignored overall by Smiles. The time away wasn’t a good thing for me. It was making me realize how little attention he was paying to me. I started to think about some of the other prospects I had spoken to. I could have pursued LES, but he was young and lived in an inconvenient part of town. There were a few guys who were still sending me messages on OKCupid. While I wasn’t seeking out anyone new, I maintained communication with them. I was now beginning to think about them as prospects. All I knew was I deserved better. Was I just jumping the gun? Was it still early with him? I personally thought we should have been over that hump, and if he was interested in me, he’d want to spend more time with me.

When Sunday arrived, my sister and I made our way back to Hoboken. It was a bit of an adventure with the snowfall and trees laying across the road. Once I got back to Hoboken, I hopped on Facebook. Smiles messaged me, and I learned he lost his phone. He told me about going out for Halloween and how he lost it. We made plans to grab brunch, and I made my way into the city. I didn’t forget about the lack of attention he paid me, but I tried to concentrate on the moment at hand. I was going to proceed with skeptical optimism. It was the only way I was going to keep my sanity.

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