In my prior post I described some of my thoughts and feelings as I approached beginning divorce mediation with my wife. Before finalizing and posting my last blog post I made sure that I had a conversation with my partner to share with him what I was feeling and thinking. I did not want him to read intimate thoughts and feelings that touched our relationship for the first time online.
We were out on Sunday for a long morning walk. After talking about many other things I brought up my upcoming divorce mediation and talked with him about the thinks I had written in my last post, but not yet published. What I love about our relationship is that I am not afraid to share some very intimate and difficult things. I am not afraid that he will hear about my uncertainty, fear or confusion and run for the hills. The way he listens and takes in what I have to say has me love him more.
One of the things that makes our relationship work is that we both have had long term relationships before. Me a twenty year marriage and him two long term partners. This is so important. I have met many gay men that have never had a long term relationship, and have a completely unrealistic understanding of how relationships work. If you can not share some of your messy, unkempt, interior life with a partner or spouse, then you can not have a truly intimate, honest relationship. Conversely, the more you can show yourself, warts and all, and still be loved by your partner, the more you can develop a wonderfully intimate relationship.
A set of thoughts has played out quietly in my mind for years about gay relationships, dating back to a book I read when I was fourteen years old and trying to make sense of my homosexuality. The book was, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask. Some of the ugly messages of the book that have stayed with me until this day. These message include the following: gay male relationships, unlike heterosexual relationships, fade quickly. The attraction of two men in relationship grows stale after a short time. Gay relationships are nasty, ugly things filled with backbiting comments, snide remarks, infidelity and coldness. Two aging men together is a sad thing to behold.
It is hard for me to believe that the horrid depiction of gay life from the early 1970’s still impacts me today, but it does. That book hurt my life and in large part hard coded my perception of the gay world at a young age. It drove me to look for ways to change from being gay for many years. The book set me on a path that was hard to change. Even now, as an out gay man in every part of my life, that hateful book still has hooks in me.
But I have the counterpoint to this ugly and dated perspective: it is my relationship with my partner. He will read what come next and blush, but onward we go. On weekends we often stay together at my apartment. We cuddle, make love, kiss, and hold each other before bed, often falling asleep together, but at some point in the night he will move out of my queen size bed, which we are too big for, and to my guest bedroom for a good nights sleep. Usually I awake the next morning before him. I will make a cup of coffee and settle on the couch with my iPad to read the morning newspapers. I position myself strategically on the couch facing the stretch of space that separates my guest bedroom and the one bathroom in my apartment. I eagerly wait for him to awake for what I think of as, the perp walk. He stumbles out of the guest bedroom naked, rubbing his eyes, walking towards the bathroom to pee. I love seeing his talk frame, hairy chest and adorable ass. After a year and eight months together, I still find him incredibly sexy. Nothing has faded. Nothing has grown stale. In fact, the opposite has occurred. As we have become more intimate and close, our sex has grown more exciting, explorative and sexy. Sorry honey, but the blog readers needed to understand this part of the story.
The book that colored my youthful perception of the gay world so horribly was wrong, again. As much as I have changed in the coming out process over the last five years, I keep finding more ways I need to change. Seeing an antique vestige from 1972 that had lingered in the recesses of my mind and giving it some light and air is the counterpoint to it remaining.