There is a gap between my vision of myself and the reality of self. I am much more conservative sexually and in relationships than I would like to think of myself. In marriage to a woman, I definitely chose a by the book closed relationship; faithful to each other until close to the end.
Having moved out of my marriage a year and a half ago, and dating men for the first time since college, I am reevaluating my position on love, marriage, relationships, sexuality, and partnership. I have jumped in fully to the gay world and been on a lot of dates over the past year and a half. I do not know if I am overly picky or narrowly focused but I have not met a lot of men I want to go on second dates with. I have met a few that I wanted to spend time with, but then again, not a lot I want to develop a more permanent relationship with.
So what do I want in an ideal world? I want a partner, possible husband, lover, and spouse that I could see myself being with for the rest of my life. Yes, the fairy tale view of love. I think it is possible. In many ways, as a newly minted gay man, I do not think that I have some of the baggage other gay men have from years of being out. My baggage is more from the years of being in a straight marriage, and all the traditional values that I had embraced. But I also have a wonder and pleasure in newly exploring the gay world that I do not see in men who have been out for years.
I would like an open relationship. I think that ideally, I do not want to be committed just to one person. I like the idea of having multiple lovers and partners. I could see having one primary partner, but being able to share with that person in an open way. I think that with the right primary partner, and a level of honesty between us and pleasure and being turned on through hearing about what occurred with a third partner, it could be a model that would work.
What will get in the way in my own historically narrow view of marriage and relationship? In the past, I have picked fairly traditional values and lifestyle to follow. My choice of a wife was a person who saw marriage in a very traditional, exclusive, committed manner. Can I really break out at this point in my life? I hope so. I think so.
Historically my relationship to my sexuality has not been good. I have taken primary attractions and urges towards men and bottled them up and locked them down. I feel in many ways like I missed my sexual prime and am left with a body that is not functioning the way it once did, which makes me unsure of myself and embarrassed. Meanwhile, there is so much more to sexuality than reaching an orgasm, and there is a lot of pleasure in playing and exploring, which I do not find myself shy about.
I find that I am afraid to ask for what I want in a sexual relationship and scared of something rougher and more urgent. I am too passive and look for another man to take the lead. I want to be more aggressive and driven in my sexuality. Because of my height, 6’2” and build, other men expect me to be the more aggressive partner, while I look for them to be more aggressive. One friend told me that while he liked being aggressive, he also liked to be passive at other times, and did not want to settle for just one mode. I can understand that and want to let my more dominant aggressive sideshow.
So what stops me? Fear of being different. Fear of not measuring up. Looking for approval from the outside world. Afraid my partner will turn away from me, when I ask for what I want, in disgust or dislike. Fear of too much passion or emotion, of being overwhelmed. Fear of being out of control. There is a voice in my head, which may be my grandmother’s, saying, “That’s not very nice.” when I step out of my calm, steady demeanor and go for something more aggressive, rougher. I flirt with, imagine, a rougher more aggressive way of being sexual with a partner but in reality, find it hard to deliver. Can I get there? Maybe.