Posts Tagged scars
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.
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…Follow @onegayatatime