Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why stay in the closet when you can find real love?

My friend Greg has an interesting story that he is allowing me to share.

To put his story in context, here is some background information about him:

He fooled around a little with other boys when he was a young teenager, but the first time he had "real" sex with a man was last September. He was 39. Prior to that event, he had not had sex in nearly four years. His wife had issues with depression and lost all interest in sex in her mid-30s.

During the long dry spell Greg fantasized about men. Yet, he had never really been with one.

Curiosity eventually got the best of him so he started to read Craigslist M4M ads.

After weeks of back and forth email exchanges that didn't go anywhere, Greg finally met up with his first guy. Naturally he was nervous at first but once he relaxed he realized how much he enjoyed sex with a man. Until recently, he described that first experience as "the most amazing of his life."

It was a one-time hook-up but the experience was such a watershed that Greg KNEW he was gay. A week and a half later he came out to his wife. She was (and is) very supportive. At some point they'll divorce but they're not in a hurry because they are parents.

As you might imagine after so many years without sex, and then experiencing something amazing, Greg was ready to make up for lost time. He began hooking up with a variety of men. He had no problems finding them.

When we first started corresponding by email several months ago, Greg was having a lot of fun with his freedom. At one point he took time off from work, checked into a hotel and spent the better part of a week meeting different guys. That was about six months after coming out to his wife.

A month later, with somewhat less recreational time, Greg was playing with a smaller field of men. One was Mat, an east European guy, 37, good looking, nice shape, about 6' tall, nice uncut dick and sandy brown hair. A second was Carl, 31, about 6'2", slender build, but worked out, pretty damn good in bed. And a third was Jon, 35, 5'11", 180, brown hair, a hot bottom.

Greg found these guys on-line from various places. He had also been exchanging pictures and texts with a few guys from Grindr, several of whom were barely legal.

I've never seen a picture of Greg but from all the attention he gets, he's obviously a good looking guy.

Toward the end of April Greg arranged to meet one of the guys from Grindr. He told me, "I am meeting someone tonight. I'm all excited about it. Like a girl who got asked out. This will be the first time I've actually met someone off of Grindr. And we're meeting for a drink, so it's almost like a real date. We chatted quite a bit via text and he seems pretty cool (don't they all, at first?)."

The next day, I asked Greg about the date and he replied:

"Well I met the guy last night. His name is Ronnie. He's cute. Tall thin guy, which I'm partial to. He's not fem, thank God. I'm always worried I'm going to end up having dinner with some bitchy queen. We ended up going to a couple of different bars and eating dinner at one. The date lasted 4.5 hours. We really clicked. He's really easy to talk to and we share a lot of interests. But he mostly talked about his experiences being gay, whether that was his family's reaction, or him jerking off in front of 5 strangers at a porn shop.

"We didn't hook up, which was cool. Other than my one and only platonic gay friend Ian, I never meet up with guys without some kind of sex.

"I got the impression he was into me. First off he checked me out pretty thoroughly when we first met. The next sign was his touchy-feelyness. Then he asked me if he could be frank with me. I thought "Oh boy, here it comes; "you're nice, but I'm not into you". But instead he said "You're good looking, You look way younger than 40, you're smart, funny, and seem to have things in order. You won't have a problem finding a long term partner." I thought to myself "Aren't you nice, where do you want me to blow you? In the bathroom or in my car?"

"At the end of the night we were sitting in my car and he said "Let me ask you this, would you be interested in hooking up sometime?" I knew exactly what he meant, but I wanted to ensure we were on the same page, so I asked "When you say 'hook up', do you mean sex?" He said something like "Yeah, but I mean I get it if you don't want to, it's no big deal. I just thought I'd float that out there."

"I said "No, I'm good. Anytime. You're pretty hot." Then I said "But I kinda like going out like this too, so if we can somehow manage to do both without fucking things up, I'll be happy." He said "cool".

"So I'm going to email him a day or two and we'll see where things go.

"Now the cog in the system is that he has a boyfriend. They have an open thing. So most likely we're not going to fall in love an buy a condo in downtown. But he said that his BF is busy a lot and they don't hang out all that much. So I don't know if he's trying to replace him, or just have a little fun for the time being.

"We were both pretty honest with each other. He told me quite a bit about himself, even some non-flattering stuff. I told him I have a few FBs on the side and he's cool with that. I guess I must gush when I talk about Jon because I said like two or three sentences about him and Ronnie said "You have a thing for him, don't you?" Busted. I'm such a little girl."

I emailed back with a few questions about Greg's expectations for Ronnie. He answered:

"What is he looking for? I suspect he's looking for a second boyfriend
with no intentions of leaving the current one. On more than one
occasion via text or Grindr or in person he referred to his bf as
"always busy". What that means, I don't know.

"He also could be fishing for a third in their relationship. I don't
know what I would think about that. He did ask me if I'd ever been in
a threesome. I said no. He told me I should try it. I thought he was
trying to sell it a bit, so I wouldn't be surprised if he brings it up
again.

"If none of that happens and Ronnie and I just grab a beer from time
to time, I'm cool. Plus the occasional blow job would work."

That was at the end of April. Nearly a month later I asked Greg what was happening with all his fuck buddies and whether he was getting laid soon. Here's what he said:

"Jon, well we all know about the drama surrounding Jon.

"Ronnie, yeah. It has been a long time. What the fuck is up with that? Apparently he's still sick. Last time he emailed me to tell me he was sick (Wednesday I think) I started to think he's lying. How fucking sick can a person be? But if he didn't want to meet he could just as easily stop emailing me. Or he wants to meet, right after he finishes fucking every gay guy within 80 miles.

"Maybe he really is sick. If so, I hope he gets better soon. I really want to see what he's packing.

"Oh, and don't forget, I still have Mat too. He's in Europe for the next few weeks, so no new developments.

"So no sex for me this weekend. Last action I was was with Jon on Wednesday. It was kind of hot. That's why I have a problem letting him go. He's got the nicest ass. Damn him."

A few days later Greg sent me a short update: "Ronnie and I did communicate via text on Thursday. We're going to meet early next week. I guess he's finally cured."

A week later, another update: "How's Ronnie? I have no idea. I'm thinking that he's not going to call me. Maybe I'm just being paranoid but I just have that feeling. We did text each other last week, but he didn't pin down a date or time or place to meet. Since then I haven't heard anything. Maybe he's lost interest.

"Oh well. There's always Jon, right?"

The very next day, Greg told me:

"Okay, so I was wrong about Ronnie. He texted me last night. We went out. Had a great time. We were seriously flirty with each other. Still no sex. What that fuck is up with that? I don't know if I can have a non-sexual relationship with a guy anymore. JK. But he is kind of driving me crazy. I really want to get inside his pants. The anticipation is killing me. Maybe he just knows how to push my buttons.

"While we were talking in the parking lot before we went our separate ways, I was talking, and he stretched, slightly lifting his t-shirt up. I saw the waistband of his underwear so I said "Abercrombie". He said 'What?" So I repeated "Abercrombie" He gave me a strange 'i don't know what the fuck you're talking about' look. So I said "Your underwear, it's Abercrombie & Fitch" So he says "Oh, yeah, it is" and lifts his t-shirt up to expose his abs. I think I said "Oh God" or something and I blushed like a school girl. So he said "what were you saying a second ago" and I had totally lost it, because all I could think about were those abs. So I said "I don't know you made me lose my train of thought." He told me I was cute.

"We were out until about 3:00am. I'm getting too old for this shit. I'm trying my best to stay awake here at work.

"Today I got a Facebook friend request for him. I was a little scared at first. You know, the whole worlds colliding thing. But then I figured what the hell. So now I have my first out gay friend on Facebook. This is huge for me."

Eight days later:

"We went out again last night. Still no action. What is this? 1955? But in all seriousness, I had a great time. I'm not sure where we're going. He sends some pretty strong signals, but there there's that whole boyfriend issue he has. He texted me after the date saying he really likes me and enjoys spending time together. Then he attached an emoticon that was a puckered smiley face blowing a kiss.

"Hmmm. What does that mean? He wants to blow me a kiss? Then he's really flirty, touchy feely, and sexually suggestive. But then we don't do anything. I'm confused.

"We seem to relate to each other. We can talk for hours, about anything. Generally our dates last a long, long time. Last night was from 7pm to 1am."

A week later:

"I did get with Jon on Sunday evening. It was actually good. Still nothing there besides sex.

"I saw Ronnie on Monday. We didn't get naked. If you remember, he does sort of have a boyfriend already. So there's that.

"But that's not why we haven't gotten naked. He asked me when I was going to make him my "Jon". I said whenever he wanted. He's going of town for a week so once he gets back we're planning on introducing our genitals.

"So no sex yet. But we did make out.

"And now I'm horribly confused because I think I might be falling for this guy, but he's already attached, and that's not what I want. But it is what I want. I don't know. I'm fucked. Part of me thinks I can not get attached. But I am getting attached.

"Here's the deal. He's falling for me, too. How the hell does that work? He's in a relationship and he's even used the L word when talking about his boyfriend. So I was thinking based on our interaction together, that he might be getting a bit emotionally attached. Then he wrote me an email telling me how he's falling for me and that he thinks everything happens for a reason, and he thinks that there's some important reason why the two of us have crossed paths, but he hasn't figured out what that is yet. Yada yada yada. What the hell am I supposed to do?

"So yes I am conflicted. I so want to have a real relationship with this guy. But that may not be possible."

Not quite another week later:

"I am falling hard for Ronnie and it's apparent that he's falling for me.

"We met last Thursday evening around 10pm, at the same place we usually do. He told me that anytime he's in that part of town, he thinks of me. After the bar closed we walked around a bit and talked. He had his arm around me. I think that's the first PDA with a guy I've ever had. It felt good. A little scary, cause I'm waiting for that beer bottle to bounce off my head, but it was still an amazing feeling.

"Then we went and made out in his car. I keep thinking about it and every time I do I feel like I'm in free fall. It was the most amazing physical contact I've ever had with another being. Seriously. Better than any sexual experience I've ever had. We made out for at least on hour and a half. Maybe it was two hours.

"Around 5am I asked him if he wanted to go get breakfast so we went to a Denny's. I ate, he had coffee. We sat there and flirted with each other. Then we went back to his car and made out some more. We finally went our separate ways at 8:00am. 10 hours. That breaks our own record.

"The next day he texted this:

'God, I miss you. Feels like a piece of me has been ripped away. You are incredibly special to me and I'm so lucky to know you. Hearing from you lights me up in so many ways! You've been on my mind all day Greg.'"

I told Greg that he probably can't think about anything beside Ronnie. I also asked if he would have guessed he'd feel this way about a guy just three months ago. Here's Greg's reply:

"I can't think of anything else. All day, all night. I even sleep with my phone, just in case he texts me in the middle of the night (he did Saturday night).

"Could I imagine being in this position 3 months ago? I still can't believe I'm in this position. I'm the happiest that I have ever been in my life. I have the love and support of my wife, who has been awesome recently. I have the support of several good friends, both in my real life, and online. I have a great daughter, who means the world to me. And now I have a man who makes me feel wanted and special. He energizes me in a way that I can't describe. He makes me smile, constantly."

A few days later: "Nothing new with Ronnie. The L word crept its way into one of his texts. He didn't say "I love you", but instead said "Love ya Bud" which is akin to "love you man"."

Ronnie was out of the area traveling for a week. Greg was anxious to see him again when he returned. I knew that first date after Ronnie got back was going to be a big one, and it was:

"So Ronnie and I met last night. We met at about 10:00pm at our usual place. It had been about a week and a half since we'd seen each other. We quickly fell into our usual conversation groove and all went smoothly.

"After the bar closed, we walked around a bit, arms around each other. We talked about how much we had missed each other and how much we like seeing each other. Crap like that.

"Eventually we made it back to my car which was parked facing a park. We made out. A lot. It got pretty hot and heavy. Basically we had our pants down, but still had our underwear on. So we were playing with each other through our underwear. I finally said "okay, I can't wait any longer. We have to do something. Today." He said he wanted to, so he agreed. After a bit of debate about logistics, we decided to go home to our respective houses and get a little sleep (this was at 3:30am). We parted ways to go home and sleep for a few hours, but not before we had this conversation (in person):

Me: Can I tell you something?
R: Sure
Me: This may sound stupid. But, I love you.
R: That's not stupid at all. I love you, too. I've been wanting to say something, but thought it might be awkward.
Me: Not awkward.
R: It's great to know you feel that way. I'm glad to told me.

"After sleeping for a few hours, I show up at Ronnie's place.

"Eventually we ended up stripping down to our underwear and getting under the covers together (HOT!). There was a lot of bumping and grinding with the UW on. Then finally: bam. He pulled his shorts off. Nice. Really nice. He's packing. Not that I didn't know that - but it was a beautiful cock. So that's all the incentive I needed to go down there and take care of matters. After about 10 minutes of that we switched. I took off my shorts, and he returned the favor. We went back and forth for a while, trying different positions, and generally worshiping each other's bodies. It was amazing, truly amazing. The entire time. About an hour and half later we "finished things up". Then we laid in his bed and spooned for a while. Awesome!

"Then we decided to go get something to eat. I drove, but he bought me lunch. It was nice. We had hot dogs. Lol.

"Neither of us wanted to part ways so we ended up going to Costco and he replaced a camera that got destroyed.

"Then we went to the mall and walked around. We checked out the iPhone4, like a couple of good gays. So we spent the better part of the day together. I took him back home at 4:00. The last thing he said to me as he got out of the car was "I love you".

"Best day ever."

I was in awe of Greg's experience. Here was something happening in a real life but it could have been a movie. I asked him if he could have expected anything like this ever happening to him.

"No, I didn't see any of this coming. I'm totally blindsided."

The next day Greg sent me an email:

"Last night Ronnie emailed me again. At the bottom of the message he said "Hope you're having a good evening. Not much going on here." Not much going on? I can fix that. So I texted him and asked him if he wanted to go out. He did. We met at our usual place and had a couple of drinks. Eventually we made it back to my ca and sat and talked and made out.

"He also told me he knows why I came into his life (he's big on karma and signs - everything happens for a reason). He told me that I came into his life so he could feel better about himself, accept himself. He said I've made him feel more comfortable with himself than anyone ever has. He told me I boost his confidence.

"I said to him "so why hasn't that been happening to you all along? You're a fantastic guy, somebody should be worshiping you".

"He told me he wants me to come over to his place and stay the night some time. I told him I'd love to.

"I told him I loved him, and I always would, no matter what. I also told him that I want to take care of him, protect him. He echoed the same sentiments.

"So we spent the last few hours holding each other. It was absolutely non-sexual, but very emotional. We seem to be connecting on more levels. I didn't know that was possible.

"We finally parted ways around 3am. It's hard to say goodbye."

Ronnie still has a long-term, live-out boyfriend who does not have time for him. Worse than being ignored, the boyfriend often belittles Ronnie in front of others. Normally I would hope that long-term partners could work out their differences, but in this case, I can't wait for Ronnie to dump his boyfriend. WHEN that happens, I expect Greg will want to exclusively commit to Ronnie and vice versa.

Think about Greg's history for a minute and then consider how dramatically his life has changed for the better over the past few months. Had I asked him just two months ago if he ever thought he'd fall in love with a guy, he would have said, "That would be good, but I don't expect it to happen."

As much as I try to be optimistic about the challenges in life, I honestly find it difficult to be upbeat about finding love with a man, especially after the age of 40. I know there are good guys out there, but aren't they all taken? Who's left over 40?

But witnessing Greg's story, step by step, has been inspiring. Now I know someone like me who actually fell in love - with a guy he met on Grindr of all places.

If I had any confidence that I could find real love as Greg has, I'd be a lot more motivated to find the door out of this closet.

6 comments:

  1. It's not fair to judge someone when you've only heard a one-sided story. Ronnie could be cheating on his partner and trying to justify his actions by bad-mouthing him. It seems to me that Ronnie is the one not staying home. Regardless of what the story is, I think Ronnie should part with his partner before getting involved with another person. There's a reason why he's still with his partner. Greg should think about that. As for you, Cameron, I think you should just drop that attitude about a guarantee for love. No one can be sure that he would or could find love; that is arrogant (not you, I mean that thought). You should be proactive and put yourself out there and be realistic. Good luck.

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  2. You know more than one.

    Love will find you when you least expect it. Three years ago I was exploring my sexuality (with my wife's permission) and I would occasionally meet up with a guy I met online. It would usually turn out to be a one time hook up. While the sex was fun, what I really wanted was relationship. But I was married and (at the time) had no intention to end that relationship. I had permission to play, but there were rules. One of them was don't fall in love.

    Then I met T and everything changed. When I set up the meeting, I thought he would be like all the others. I was wrong. He was special. It was his love that drew me out of the closet. It was my love for him that made me realize I could not longer live the lie I had been living for the past 40 years.

    Just about 2 and a half years later we are deeply in love with each other. Neither of us are interested in looking for anyone else. I am not going to predict the future, but I think he and I will be together a long time.

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  3. Cameron - this was a terrific post and I hope it shakes you out of your prior stance on the possibilities of finding someone to care about, not just have sex with, after 40, and while still in a marriage and with a family. Greg's marriage was open and so was he, and the world can bring us things when we are free to be ourselves and vigorous in trying to fulfill ourselves, with a lot of our own work of course and trial and error.

    You end your post with that indication maybe from just this one story, you see things a bit differently. And weren't you the guy just a couple of weeks ago writing with such certainty about knowing yourself and what the real possibilities you might have were? You have clearly been e-mailing him and following this tale as it evolved and so I think that also adds stronger reality to the experience for you. Thanks Greg for agreeing to share the story as in unfolded, and to Cameron for being able to ask that big question you have to grapple with yourself.

    This is a very new relationship so let us all hope it can continue as it seems Greg and his friend each have another partner to balance all with and this can present issues. And to the commenter above, your story helps show this can happen to more than just Greg, thanks to you also

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  4. Jim, I thought about you and T often as I was compiling this post. I didn't know the circumstances of how you two met, but even without that I have found your love for him to be quite inspirational. Tom (My New Life) seems to be very happy also. Chris (My Journey Out) I'm not so sure!

    Anonymous - You could be right about Ronnie, he could be a total player. But I don't think so. I think he's somewhat insecure and afraid of conflict. It's easier to have FBs than end a bad long-term relationship. At some point, sooner rather than later, Greg is going to have to push the issue of exclusivity if Ronnie doesn't take action on his own. It's too early to tell for certain, but Greg is the good guy so I am definitely rooting for him. As for my attitude - I love it when people challenge me with ideas - if there comes a day when I am single, I will put myself out there. I will have hope, but I am very much a realist so whatever happens, happens. That said, the fact that it was so easy and unexpected for Greg and Jim is definitely encouraging.

    Jayson - I have one word for you: provocative. If you want to come and ring my neck, you know where to find me.

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  5. Cameron:

    Thanks for considering my blog in this post. I will share with you ONE THING... Nothing happens overnight. While I was open and honest with my wife (of almost 20 years), it eventually ended up more like DADT... If she asked I told, but rarely offered info... Since we split 5 years ago, I have had FB's, BF's, another I thought was forever... and now Michael (going on 2 years)... There are no guarantees but I think gay "commitments" CAN be as strong as a Straight one...

    Fan forever!

    Tom

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  6. ps:

    40 ain't nuffin.... I turn 55 in September, just re-wrote my will, my Living Will, and added my first grandchild to my Life Insurance policy to ensure he gets a college education...

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