Posts Tagged situation

Nearing the End of My Rope

Tensions were high between CK and I. Nearly every night, we’d find something to argue about. Although it didn’t always result in an explosive fight, there always seemed to be some kind of noise in the background. The honeymoon was officially over.

FightWhen we woke in the morning, CK apologized for the night before, as did I. As we got ready for work, we both agreed underwear was not something we should be fighting about. After making us breakfast, we ate, showered together, got dressed and made our way to the PATH.

A day prior, CK got tickets to see Hot Chip in Brooklyn from a coworker . He asked if I was interested in going. We had already planned to head to Brooklyn to visit Hip since he was recovering from his second hip replacement surgery, so I said, “Sure. Why not?”

StarbucksCaramelWhile we were at work, we nailed down plans via text and phone. Since I finished much earlier than he did, I hopped on the subway and made my way to his office. He wasn’t quite ready yet, so I asked for his coffee order and hit up Starbucks. I didn’t sleep very well the night before, so I needed something to keep me up and give me the energy to be a fun date.

While riding the subway out to Brooklyn, I asked CK if he requested the time off to join my family on vacation. He reacted to the question as if this was some big surprise. I’d only been asking him about it for a solid month. When he asked me to take time off and book a flight to Miami for his nephews birthdays, I did it without question. Now that I was asking him to take time off to be with me and my family, he didn’t think he could get the time off. I was p*ssed! I found it quite selfish. If he’d requested the time when I originally asked, we wouldn’t have gotten into the argument that ensued. As I said, we seemed to be fighting about everything.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe rest of the ride wasn’t pleasant. It grew to far higher proportions when we got off the subway. I wanted nothing more than to get right back on the subway and make my way home. I no longer had any interest in going to the concert, and I told him that. It takes two to fight, so I take half the responsibility, but he was being rude and treating me in a way I wasn’t willing to subject myself to. As a result, I skulked behind him as we walked through Prospect Park. As he yelled at me for not helping him navigate our way to the concert, I shouted back, “Fine. Just go without me! I don’t want to go anymore. I’m not going to have any fun.” I wanted nothing to do with him or Hot Chip.

I think he understood I was serious and responded by apologizing. “Can we just get past this tonight?” he asked. “Do we have to sacrifice our entire night over this fight?” I didn’t want to just put on a happy face and grin through it. I was angry, and to be honest, I wanted to go home out of spite. The concert was something he wanted to go to, and just as he didn’t put in the effort to come with me on vacation, I wasn’t going to come to the concert. I realized how unproductive this would be, so I agreed to go (not before numerous attempts to make my way back to Hoboken).

ConcertWhen we finally made it in to the concert, CK bought me a few beers, and we cut through the crowd to watch the concert already in progress. Surprisingly, I started to have a better time. Admittedly, I’d never heard of the band before we arrived, and I didn’t recognize any of their music. The fighting ended, and CK was being affectionate. We even made a few friends while moving from place to place among the crowd and managed to bum a smoke off some nice guys.

When the concert was over, it was far too late to visit Hip. I felt really bad considering he was the original plan and reason for the trip to Brooklyn. I wasn’t thrilled we sacrificed his visit for a concert, but in the end, it was CK’s decision.

On the walk to the subway, we found ourselves in a situation once again that birthed yet another argument. When we were a safe distance away from the situation, I began to calmly explain how p*ssed I was at him. Once again, he didn’t think it was a big deal and almost brushed it off as if I was overreacting. I didn’t care. To me, it was so much more. I told him explicitly how much I didn’t like these types of situations, and he completely disregarded those feelings. I don’t think he consciously acted in spite of my request — Quite the opposite. I don’t think he was thinking at all.

After arguing about the matter the rest of the way to the subway, I decided I wasn’t going to engage him in conversation any longer. Clearly I wasn’t getting through to him. We rode the subway with a large group CK decided to befriend. I wanted nothing to do with them. When he asked me questions or tried to introduce me, I simply ignored him. If he wasn’t going to take my feelings into consideration any longer, I wasn’t going to regard his either. I began to wonder if this was something we’d ever get passed. Maybe we were just inherently different. Maybe he would never be able to see things through my eyes. I began to think about what it would mean to end things. Obviously that would be my last resort, but I began to prepare myself for that possibility.

FriendsArgueI was also in a tough spot because I was spending the night at his place. By the time we resurfaced in midtown, CK finally realized I was ignoring him. He started to get irritated by this, and yet another fight broke out between us. This time, I didn’t care. I went nuts. I didn’t care who saw us fighting or what they heard as I laid into him. We argued back and forth about the severity of the incident at hand for some time. He didn’t realize it, but as each of these incidents came up, my tolerance for them dwindled more and more. Toward the end of the argument, I think CK finally got a clear idea of the zero tolerance I had left. I’m not the most bending person (and that’s an understatement), but this was one sticking point I wasn’t going to bend on. I didn’t care how small the infraction. He had a choice, and he needed to pick me.

He finally understood my stance and apologized for everything. He didn’t think this fell under my umbrella of discomfort. He finally understood that nothing in this realm would be acceptable to me. We were able to civilly walk the rest of the way back to his place, but the conversation was certainly nonexistent.

When we got back to his bedroom, I brushed my teeth, stripped down to my boxer briefs and climbed right into bed. CK finished what he needed to do before bed and climbed into the opposite side of the bed. That night, we didn’t go to bed fighting, but there wasn’t a lot of love in the bed either.

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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…

balance-rock-feather_zps9de02a2dWe 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).

Blogger

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.

HobokenPier13A 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.

TattoSleeveRolledUpS’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.

AirplaneSeatImmediately, 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.

QuestioningManPerhaps 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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Raw Chicken and Video Games

After a tumultuous weekend, it was back to work on Monday. Both CK and I had very busy days, and we didn’t find much time to chat. But, before we went to work that day, we decided to spend the night in Hoboken.

I finished work at a reasonable hour, so I decided to hit up the gym for some lifting and a quick swim. When I finished my swim, I called CK to find out what time he was expecting to leave work. I was about to head home and make us dinner for the night. Something seemed different. He hadn’t reached out to me all day, and it was now 8:00pm. When I finally got him on the phone, he seemed distant at best.

It was then I learned he had other ideas in mind. It almost seemed like he was looking for a night apart. I was wondering if he was beginning to have doubts about us. I couldn’t figure out his motives, but it felt like something was up. When I told him I wanted to see him, he asked if I would be willing to come into the city to spend the night at his place. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. I had it in my head we would be spending the night in Hoboken all day. I hadn’t packed an overnight bag and had already traversed the Hudson twice. I had the ingredients for dinner sitting on my kitchen counter.

He pointed out how much of a pain it was for him to come to Hoboken, and I pointed out how it was just as difficult for me to make my way back into the city for the same reasons. We began arguing about the long-standing issue. Whenever it was my turn to come into the city, I did it without complaint. When it was his turn to travel, he often managed to slip in subtle complaints or excuses for why he couldn’t make it. I didn’t feel like he was meeting me half way, and I let him know it.

Although I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t quite agree with the situation, I decided to relent and come to him. I wanted to see him, and that was more important to me than the inconvenience of a short bus trip. This would allow him to continue to work while I made my way in. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to see him that night.

I went home, showered and packed the ingredients for dinner to take into the city. Hauling raw chicken into the city didn’t make the most sense, but it was economical and faster than many other options. I was also taking raw pork ribs with me, as I was planning to make myself lunch for the following day.

I slung a heavy bag over my shoulder and hopped on the bus headed for Hell’s Kitchen. When I arrived, I received a warm welcome from CK at his door. He flung his arms around me and gave me a giant hug. I was truly happy to see him. We had a rough patch only a few days earlier, but I put all that behind me. I wanted to get back to us — Back to happiness.

He took my bags from me and brought them into the kitchen. I began prepping dinner and my lunch for the following day while he sat at the counter digging into work.

When one of his two roommates came home, we all began chatting about the third roommate in his absence. There was always a plethora of things to chat about when it came to him. He was like a walking carnival. Every day was a new adventure with that one. He didn’t lead a double life. It was more like a quintuple life. He was one shady mo-fo, and every day was a new shocking story of what new ruse he was trying to pull.

When dinner was ready, we sat and ate together in front of the TV. CK was very appreciative that I made dinner so he could continue to finish his work. I was happy to be sharing a meal and a nice night with him. I liked taking care of my man every once in a while, especially when it was so apparently appreciated.

When we finished eating, CK finished his work. We had about an hour before bedtime, so CK suggested we play some video games. This isn’t something I’d done in six years at best. I wasn’t very good at video games because I never played them, so it was always a frustrating situation. I don’t like things I’m not good at. I warned CK of this before we got started because I didn’t want the night to result in an argument.

We began playing, but CK wasn’t giving me any directions on what I needed to be doing. As long as someone gives me the tools necessary to do something, I can usually manage, but if I’m going in blind, it won’t end well.

It didn’t take long before I got frustrated, so I sat there with the controller in my lap while CK continued to play. When he realized I wasn’t playing, he paused the game to question me. I explained how I didn’t know what I was doing, and I think he finally understood. He took me through a short tutorial, and I was back to being happy again. Now that I knew what I was doing, I was even able to beat him at his own game.

When 11:30 rolled around, I made my way to the bedroom. I asked CK to join me, but he wanted to continue playing. So, I left him to his own devices while I brushed me teeth and got ready to go to bed.

When I was ready to climb between the sheets, CK was still in the living room playing video games. I came into the room and was very blunt. “Can you please come to bed? I didn’t trek into the city so you could play video games all night. If I knew that was what was going to happen, I would have stayed in Hoboken,” I declared. I know it was a bit heavy-handed and melodramatic, but I was very put off by his actions. He got the picture and joined me in bed.

I was happy he came to join me and thrilled to be falling asleep in the arms of the man I loved.

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The Walls Closing In

One weekday, CK and I woke at my apartment, and I dragged him out of bed to toss around the medicine ball while we watched TV before work. I was motivated and a bit stressed, so I wanted to work out. We talked about working together to get our bodies back in shape before summer ended. It was miraculous I got him out of bed so quickly.

The planets aligned for us on the TV too. His favorite talking head, Rachel Maddow, was on my favorite talking head’s show, Real Time with Bill Maher. That was something we could both agree on.

When we were done working out, I made us some very healthy and delicious eggs for breakfast, if I do say so myself. Of course, because of our morning workout, we were a little delayed. We showered and got dressed quickly. On the way to the PATH, I wanted to grab a coffee, but CK was running later than he’d liked. He protested, and when I saw a long line, I passed. When we passed a second Dunkin Donuts, I told him I wanted to swing through. He’d apparently had enough and said goodbye on the spot. He wasn’t going to wait for me, and rightfully so. Better judgment kicked in, and I accompanied him to the PATH instead, where we rode together to his stop and gave each other a kiss goodbye.

Not only was I motivated to get my body in shape but also motivated to get my career in shape. Work was evolving drastically for me. I’d just taken on a new role I created for myself after chatting with my boss a few weeks prior. I pointed out our missed opportunity in the social media department and described how I could fill the void. After all, I had some experience in the social world (even though I couldn’t exactly show him my “portfolio”). I thought this could be the ticket to my future. Finally, I found something I could turn into a career instead of a job that generated me a paycheck. Something more than where work was just something I did between my time off. It wasn’t going to be easy, and there were bound to be a lot of speed bumps. However, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.

That morning, I was really thrown a curveball I wasn’t expecting. I was called in for my review, and it was less than stellar. I had anticipated this, and it’s the main reason I approached my boss with the social media proposition in the first place.

Just when I didn’t think it could get any worse, I learned my boss was altering his role at the company as well. He was taking a far less active role, and it didn’t bode well for me. My day was heading downhill fast. Little did I know, but it was about to turn kamikaze. Not only was my boss taking on a lesser role, but we were also merging with another company.

My heart was in my throat for the remainder of the day. My first reaction was fear. Would I be a redundancy? Would I be laid off? As much as this was just a job for me, I needed it very much. I couldn’t even bring myself to text CK or call my family. I was very afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, the list goes one…

After that day came to a close, I woke the next day with some clarity. My next reaction was motivation. The fear began to wane, and I realized I needed to put all my efforts into my new venture. It wasn’t easy to get there, however, it was much easier to get through with the support of my man. I’d told him everything that was going on. He talked me down off the ledge when I was worried I’d lose my job and made me feel much better about the situation.

The fear wasn’t completely gone, and I needed an outlet for my stress. The coworker who left to work at CK’s company asked us to meet her for happy hour at the Standard Biergarten. I had been texting CK that afternoon and asked him to join us. He was being cryptic about what he wanted to do, and told me he may have to work late. I could tell he wasn’t really feeling it, but I really wanted to introduce him to my coworkers. He missed her going away drinks a few weeks earlier, so when this opportunity finally rose again to meet my coworkers, I was pretty persistent. He wasn’t digging it. He had a long day, and he wanted to go home and relax. I was really disappointed, but I also understood. We made plans for him to come to my place for the night when I got home.

Shortly after hearing he was heading home, we decided to leave the biergarten. I tried calling and texting CK, but I got radio silence for two hours. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, so I decided to lace up and head out for a run. I needed to clear my head and work on my body again. I still couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t responding to me at all.

After my run, I finally got a text telling me he was heading my way. I started to make dinner, and when he texted me asking for a ride, I decided to go radio silent. Sure, I know it was petty, but I was in the middle of making dinner. I also didn’t appreciate him not getting back me when we’d discussed I’d call him when I was heading home.

When he arrived all that no longer mattered. We were both in good spirits because we were there to hug and comfort each other. That’s what it really comes down to at the end of the day, literally. I loved him, and he made me happy.

We sat and ate dinner together, but when I put my hand on his thigh, I felt something sticky/slimy. I pointed it out to him, and he didn’t have an explanation for it. My overactive mind immediately went to work connecting dots. Was it lube? Was that where he was for the two hours I couldn’t get ahold of him? I could go on for hours.

In turn, I got quiet. I was deep in thought and wasn’t quite sure what to say. After we ate, we sat on the couch watching TV. After some time, I suggested we head to bed. I was exhausted, and my head was spinning, but he wasn’t tired. Of course, we both fell asleep on the couch, waking up around three o’clock in the morning, finally moving to my bed.

I tried to put all doubt out of my head. Worrying about it would do no good, and I realized I was making quite a bit of a leap. There was a bigger picture here. I loved him. I won’t say that I squashed all doubt in my mind, but I managed to push it deep down so it wouldn’t continue bubbling up…

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Goodbye to a Closer Long-Distance Friend

Today is another Fast Forward Friday!!!  

Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real-time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!

Back to your special edition of One Gay At A Time…

On Friday, my last night in San Francisco, I made plans with Swinging D*ck to come to my hotel. We talked about grabbing dinner before staying in for the night. However, he casually invited me to come out with him and his friends when he realized he had to go out for a friend’s birthday. I was apprehensive since it was a torrential downpour outside. It hadn’t rained for three months prior, but now it was raining for three straight days. This trip was turning out to be an epic fail.

I graciously accepted his invitation and waited for his call to tell me where to meet them. Hours passed, and I didn’t hear from him. I was all dressed up with nowhere to go. I decided to run out to grab dinner at In-and-Out when dinnertime passed by. That’s when I finally got a text. He told me they were going to Lookout in a bit. He would text me when they were leaving, and I could meet them there.

I ate my burger in my hotel room and made my way outside to hail a cab. Luckily I wasn’t out in the rain too long.

When I arrived, I made my way to the second story bar and began looking for him. After two minutes, and noticing a lot of men scoping me out, I found him in the crowd on the other side of the bar. I walked over and said hi with a big hug. He introduced me to his friends. They were all very nice. I wasn’t sure exactly how much they knew about me.

I ordered a beer before I was told we would be moving on for the night. It was back out into the rain. Apparently, we were headed to a house party for the remainder of the night but not before popping into a liquor store for some beer. We hopped in a cab and made our way to the party.

It was slightly awkward because I was now a friend of a friend of the host. I was hoping everyone would be okay with my attendance. Luckily, only the entrance was slightly awkward. After that, I was in my element. I talked with my friend, his friend, and many other men at the party. It was the biggest sausage fest I’d ever been too. I think there may have been two women there versus the fifty gay men.

I met some interesting people and one very sexy man who looked a lot like Steve Pasquale (Sean Garrity) from Rescue Me. Swinging D*ck is a smoker, and when I drink I’ve been known to smoke the occasional cigarette, so those were nice breaks where we somewhat stepped away from the group and could talk more. He really was a sweet, intelligent guy. I learned a lot about him talking to him on Skype, and I only wanted to get to know more.

The night was beginning to draw to a close. For one, I had a flight to catch in the morning. Secondly, the birthday boy/host was ready to hit up the bars. Everyone was getting kicked out. S.D. told me he had to tell me something when we got outside. We walked away from the party to find a bodega to get him cigarettes. As we did, he took the opportunity to confide a big secret he’d been walking around with.

He pointed out to me how standoffish he was the previous night, how he had to leave early and how he changed plans from coming to my hotel that night. Then he told me all this wasn’t because he wasn’t attracted to me — Quite the opposite. The reason was because he was HIV positive.

My heart immediately sank, and not in a selfish way. The compassion I felt for him in that moment was so great, I can’t even begin to explain.

Apparently I know very little about HIV. He told me he’d been “positive undetectable” for a year and a half now. I never heard that term before, but deduced its meaning from its name. I also did the math in my head and realized he contacted it just after he started talking to me on Skype. I put two and two together and realized that’s why he was so depressed when I was talking to him. My heart was breaking for him.

He explained that he is on medication, and the doctor told him he would lead a very normal and full life for the remainder of his time on this planet. I was learning a lot about the treatment for HIV. I realized I needed some education, and I was happy I had someone so amazing to teach me.

A large part of me wanted to cry and give him a big hug because I couldn’t imagine what he was going through all this time since being diagnosed. The larger part of me was upset because he felt he couldn’t just tell me outright from the start.

He didn’t know how to tell me, nor did he want to. He thought I would treat him differently or stop being his friend. I told him he needed to give me more credit than that. He was an amazing guy, and nothing changed between us.

He started to explain his strange behaviors I wasn’t even noticing. When I asked him back to my room, he was very leery because of what might happen, but he still wanted to be with me. So, he agreed. When we were fooling around, he said he was purposely taking more time to please me so I wouldn’t even have a chance to please him. When I went for it, that’s when he really said he had to get going. It wasn’t because he wasn’t attracted to me. It wasn’t because he didn’t like me. “I think you’re amazing,” he added. It was because he was scared. I understood completely.

When I asked him to come to my room a second night, he talked to his friend about it. “I don’t know if I can tell him,” he told his friend. His friend told him to do whatever he felt comfortable with. He actually invited me to come out with them that night in an attempt to set me up with his friend. Looking back, I did feel as if I was being sized up as the night progressed. However, I was not feeling him in the slightest.

When we were at the party, he encouraged me to go with the guys who asked me to come with them for some fun because it would get him off the hook. I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in them either, however their compliments were always welcome. 🙂

I never noticed all this, but I jokingly reprimanded him for going through all those charades instead of just telling me as a friend. Of course I would understand. I told him about all my skeletons. I would have hoped he’d feel comfortable telling me his.

We continued to walk to the bar everyone was heading to. He told me about how he contracted it and how bad the situation was. He admitted that’s why he was so depressed when I first started talking to him. It all made sense now.

When we arrived at the bar, it was time for me to say goodbye. I had an early flight, and it was already two in the morning. We talked a little bit more, gave each other a big hug, and made out a little bit. It was hard saying goodbye. I felt we had so much more to talk about. But I needed to go. We kept coming back for just one more kiss before we finally parted ways.

As I walked towards my hotel searching for a cab, I thought about what just happened. My heart was still breaking for him that he had to go through that. I wish I’d known sooner so I could have been there more for him. I was so proud of him for finally finding the courage to tell me. I was starting to think he just wasn’t into me a little bit, but that’s not important. What is important is that I have a friend I love dearly and will always be there for, no matter what happened to him. I just hope he knows that!

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Closure

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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Breakfast 2.0

I continued my walk of shame north on Seventh Avenue. I was still dressed for a night out from New Year’s Eve the night before. I didn’t care if anyone judged me. I was in my own world. No one else existed that morning. I was utterly alone in a city of millions.

I continued to try to reach Boston through text and by phone, but no dice. Since I was going to be near his apartment, I thought I would reach out to Broadway. At the very least, I could kill time with a visit until Boston finally decided to get back to me. I called him, and he picked up after a few rings. I asked him what he was up to and told him I wanted to swing by for a visit. He was still in bed and said he needed a few minutes, but he told me to come by. I told him I was walking from the 20s, so there was no rush for him to get out of bed.

When I arrived, I walked right up to his apartment. It was like old times — A blast from the past. It’d been months since I’d been there, but it felt like yesterday. I knocked on the door, and he greeted me. I came in and sat while he finished getting ready for the day. We sat on the couch, and he asked how my New Years was. “Tell me stories. You always have good stories to tell me,” he added. I told him what I did the night before. I gave him the cliff notes because I didn’t want to belabor the point. The wound was still fresh and bleeding. He shrugged it off and suggested we go to the diner for breakfast. I kinda loved that about him. He knew how I felt about it, so he did his best to brush it under the rug.

I agreed to go to breakfast, but I told him I’d already eaten. I would keep him company, and we could catch up. It’d been since the summer since I’d seen him.

Breakfast was nice. He told me about the party he went to the night before and all the guys he was pursuing. As usual, he was very passive about it. “I dunno if I really want to see him again…” he’d say. He’d find something completely superficial to judge the guy about so he wouldn’t have to put in the effort.

Since Smiles’ birthday gathering, we gained a mutual friend. We learned this from Facebook. The guy who I palled around for the night had been at the party Broadway went to the night before. They interacted, but it wasn’t a positive interaction. Broadway was remotely interested in this guy, but apparently he gave him the cold shoulder. This really turned him off, but I assured him my birthday buddy was a really great guy. If I’d been single that night, I probably would have asked him for his number. Broadway wasn’t sold.

Ironically enough, Smiles and I were almost at this party. It wasn’t until Smiles learned of the over-priced charge to enter that he decided we were just going to the house party. It was crazy to realize Broadway, Smiles and I were all swimming in the same circles in New York City. Apparently the gay community was pretty tight, even in a big city. It put it all into perspective. It also made me realize the picture of myself I painted when I let a stranger suck on my neck and face in front of the guy I was dating.

I wasn’t feeling very talkative, so I did a lot of question asking and listening. When Broadway finished his breakfast, he asked for the check. He wasn’t feeling well, so he wanted to go back to bed. I checked my phone, and Boston still hadn’t gotten back to me. I guess I wouldn’t see him before he left the city.

I walked Broadway back to his apartment and said goodbye. Something I learned from him was it is okay to kiss an ex on the lips when you see them. When I first came out, I was fascinated by how often gay men kissed each other. This was completely foreign to me and not something I was comfortable with. Even if I travel in a big gay pack, I don’t think I would be kissing my gay male friends. But, I felt comfortable kissing a man who I had kissed over a hundred times. So we exchanged a kiss and a hearty hug before I made my way to Port Authority to snag a bus back to Hoboken.

While I walked to the bus, I texted Smiles: “Since I have the day off tomorrow, can we do something fun?” I was hoping I could do some damage control and get us back on a happy track.

It wasn’t long before I received a simple text in response: “I have to work tomorrow.” I was already picturing a Monday afternoon with me sinking deep into the couch by myself in front of the TV. I was very disappointed, but it’s not like I had anything to say. I was the one who royally messed up here. I was going to have to deal with the consequences.

Later that evening, I talked to Boston on Facebook. I told him what I did and how things played out. We didn’t talk long, but promised to come back to the topic when he had more time.

I had time all day to assess the situation. Why wasn’t Smiles mad? I realized I wasn’t happy about this. It hurt even more. It showed me quite clearly how little I meant to him. I didn’t see any way to recover from this. I was pretty sure our relationship was over. And, since I’m pretty much a high schooler in the gay dating world, I hopped back on adam4adam.com and Grindr that night to see what was out there. I wasn’t throwing my line into the sea, but I could at least swim around and see what kind of fish were out there…

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Chauffeur

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.

I joined him upstairs and tried my best to assist. When he was ready, we got back into the car and set off for the airport.

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…

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Popping the Question

Another night went by, and I was still in the dark about where I stood in Smiles‘ eyes. He had to be somewhat interested, otherwise why would he be sticking around. However, the question remained, was he interested enough for me?

Out of nowhere, Smiles asked me to come with him to see a Christmas play in New Jersey. One of the men he worked with on his movie wrote a spoof on the Nutcracker and thought to ask me to come with him.

I was so frustrated! I was getting mixed signals in every direction. He didn’t invite me to casual Christmas parties, but he invited me to be his guest for a stage-play. I graciously accepted the invitation, but informed him I had a doctor’s appointment I would have to change if we wanted to get a ride from his friends instead of taking the train.

I managed to change my appointment, so I planned to just make my way to his apartment when I finished. I called him as I walked out of my office, but he told me he was still working. I had nowhere to kill time after the doctor really, but I didn’t exactly feel welcome to go down to Smiles’ apartment and hang out while he finished what he needed to do. I figured I would walk around Union Square and try to find something to kill time.

My appointment ended later than expected, and when I called Smiles after, he told me he was wrapping up work, and I could come by. I asked him if he wanted anything from Starbucks and walked towards his apartment.

We didn’t have a lot of time before we were supposed to be picked up, but just enough time to chat a bit and move a few more of his boxes to his storage unit.

When we got picked up, the driver/writer asked me what my connection was. “I know [Smiles],” I responded. I was purposely ambiguous because I myself would like to know the answer to that question. When he asked for clarification, Smiles spoke up and said, “We’re dating.” I was happy to hear him say it publicly for once, but I still didn’t quite know what that meant. At least it was verbalized. He then elaborated as to how long we’ve been dating. He pinpointed it to around the time of the NYC screening of his film. In my mind, I did the math. That was about a month after I met Smiles. Apparently I was one month ahead of him as far as our timelines were concerned. I’d already journeyed out to The Hamptons to see his film once before that night.

The rest of the ride was casual. Smiles even playfully reached his hand down and tickled my crotch. “That’s going to make for an interesting car ride,” I said to him. Smiles sat between myself and one of his friends I’d met twice before. Some in the car were joking about Jersey, and it was interesting to see Smiles defending it now that I’ve given him a more positive opinion about it. I kinda got to know his friend a little better, and I thought he was a good guy. I liked knowing that I could get along well with one of Smiles’ best friends.

When we arrived in the town, we all went out to dinner. It was pleasant, and I met a few new people. Over the course of the meal, somehow it came up that Smiles used to be a dancer. He’d taken classes throughout childhood. This was news to me. Even his good friend didn’t know about it. When I went to make a comment, Smiles jokingly shushed me out of embarrassment. He told me I wasn’t allowed to bring it up again.

We got to the theater and took our seats. Our group was all over the auditorium. Smiles and I were nowhere near anyone else. Before the show started, we cracked a few jokes and made some sexual innuendos about the Nutcracker on the stage curtain. I liked the playfulness I was witnessing in Smiles for once.

The show was far from good, but I had fun with it. I wasn’t expecting a Broadway hit. Smiles was nonplussed.

We got a ride back, and swapped Smiles’ friend for another. When we were getting in the car, Smiles had the friend sit in the middle. I’m significantly taller than anyone in the car, so I wasn’t going to sit in the middle, but the fact that Smiles wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice to sit next to me I found VERY off-putting. I sat next to a stranger, which I’m comfortable with, instead of the man I was dating for an hour-long car ride.

I became the topic of conversation once again. This time it was about my origins. They were surprised to learn I grew up on a farm. “Oh. A farm boy. Better hold onto this one [Smiles],” the driver exclaimed. The rest of the ride home was casual as well. They were kind enough to drop us at my apartment since Smiles was spending the night.

It was late, so we immediately began to get ready for bed. “What’s with you and the purple underwear?” he said. I informed him it was navy. I showed him my one pair of purple underwear and said, “This is purple.” I continued with, “What? Don’t you like it?” He told me he did. He was just surprised I had such colorful underwear. I hardly find navy boxer briefs all that arresting, but I went with it.

We hopped into bed and spooned for a little while we chatted about a few random things. I wasn’t going to see Smiles for some time after that night because of the Christmas break, so there was no way I was making it through the night without getting my answer on where we were. Somehow the topic of chatroulette and manroulette came up. I explained to him how it worked and told him it was how I met the first guy I dated.

As time passed, we turned out the light. We were still snuggling when I finally built up the courage to say, “So where are we?”

“Somewhere between Hoboken and SoHo,” he joked. I responded, “That’s an avoiding answer if I ever heard one.”

After a pause, Smiles said, “I can’t be in a serious relationship right now. When I am, I put a lot of myself into it, and I can’t let myself do that. I need to concentrate on my career right now. But, I really enjoy hanging out with you and spending time with you.”

I took a second to absorb what he just said to me. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it also wasn’t a crushing blow. My response was: “I was pretty much okay with whatever answer you had for that question. I just needed to know where I stood. I would like to continue to move forward, but I’m not in any rush or anything.” He knew I wasn’t thrilled with his answer. I don’t know if it was out of fear I would leave or if he truly was concerned with my feelings on the situation, but he added, “If it becomes a problem, let me know.”

We cuddled some more and went to sleep. I was relieved to finally have the answer. I felt a huge weight lift off my back. I was also horny. I tried to seduce him. “If you keep rubbing me, I’m never going to fall asleep,” he retorted. I quickly quipped, “Maybe that’s what I’m going for.”

I didn’t keep putting up a fight. I knew it was useless. He was stubborn enough that he’d certainly win that battle. I made myself comfortable to sleep and tried not to dwell on the news I’d just received. It was time to sleep. Worrying about what he said would only get in the way of that. Tomorrow was another day…

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Being Supportive

After our night galavanting around the village taking in the Halloween sights, I felt like I made a half step closer to Smiles. We hadn’t completely closed the gap, but seeing him two days in a row was a good step. We finally added sex to the mix again, and I was watching him slowly open up to me. Maybe this relationship did have potential. Maybe I just needed to be more patient.

When it comes to relationships, my major downfall is over-thinking. Luckily, I have friends. And, I have you, my faithful readers. (Oops! Did I just address the audience?) Anyway, even though I don’t have a therapist, and at times I think I need one, I have my friends.

One of the guys I swam with in college, “J,” is a dedicated reader. So much so he harasses me when I don’t post on time. You can all thank him for keeping me on schedule. We’ve been through a lot together. He was almost one of the first people I told I was gay. On my ride back from telling my parents, I met him for lunch. I planned to tell him, but at the last minute I chickened out. I was waiting until I saw him again to tell him the news, but that didn’t happen until a few months later. I am constantly reaching out to him for advice and using him as my sound board. He’s more of a help to me than he realizes.

I have a wide array of friends and different reactions I can expect from them. Some I turn to for sex advice, like my friend who knew all about my philandering on Martha’s Vineyard, even when I was trying to cover it up. Some I turn to when I’m suspicious, like A, however some of those make me unnecessarily more suspicious. Some I turn to who I know will support whatever I’m saying, like D and K. J always gives me a fair and balanced viewpoint of the situation. Boston always gives me the harsh reality dose I need sometimes. Even Broadway weighs in sometimes for advice. And nothing makes me happier than when I get advice from my readers/newly found cheerleaders.

I take everything they all say, put it through my own filter to make decisions on how to proceed. They’re all great and I appreciate them all.

Many times Smiles would tell me about conversations he had with his ex to keep him centered and sane. He was finally reaching out to me to fulfill this role, and I was thrilled!

He sent me an email asking me to call because he didn’t have my phone number. I called, and he explained how he got a replacement phone from Verizon and it was defective. I joked it was the user and not the device that was a problem. He was using a very old clamshell phone he’d used years ago.

He also told me he was in the middle of a breakdown. He had a lot of frustrations, many of which stemmed from work. Luckily, this was something he was opening up about to me recently, so I was able to give him some educated advice. He has a problem seeing things in the small picture. Too many times he looks at the big picture too soon and gets overwhelmed. I did my best to calm him down, and I think I did a fair job. Apparently, others were giving him contradictory advice to my position, but I stood my ground once again. I asked him what he really wanted. If there were no restrictions, what would make him happy. I questioned why he was settling for things just because he thought it was what he was supposed to be doing. It seemed like he was taking my advice to heart.

He told me he was going out to get ice cream instead of going for the run he planned on to exert his frustrations. As he read aloud the flavors in the cooler, I encouraged him to pick something indulgent and go home and have at it. He was stressing a lot and needed to take the time to relax. Sometimes I wonder if he forgets to step back and have fun.

When he got back to his apartment, he was feeling better and was ready to dive into his pint of Ben and Jerry’s. He thanked me for the pep talk and said goodnight.

I went back to watching TV on the couch, but I had a smile on my face. He turned to me in a time of need. I finally felt needed and appreciated. I wanted to be more integrated into his life, and this was a step in that direction. I sat there thrilled a the new development.

Was this the foundation of a relationship?

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