Friday, July 27, 2012

I Came Out to My Kids

Just a quick update: I came out to my three kids (18, 14 and 12) about an hour ago.

After having a mini-meltdown this afternoon where I felt totally unprepared to take the plunge, Dean helped me pull myself together.  Even with his support, I was still incredibly nervous as I prepared to drop the bomb.

It went very well. Actually, it couldn't have gone better.

One of my goals was to make sure the kids understood how much I love Gabbie.  I left no doubts about that in their minds, yet I still got their full support to find happiness with anyone I want.

I've dreaded this coming out moment for years.  I'm so happy it's over.  But I'm even more happy that it went as well as it did.  There might be ripple effects later, who knows, but I feel very confident about the future.

I got a big surprise too.  My oldest son came out as bisexual.  Now I wonder if he's going to want to gossip with me about hot men.  He already told me that I should "go out to some clubs and start meeting men."  Really??? Wow...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Over the Edge

I was completely infatuated with Dean during our first few weeks together.   No matter what I was doing or who I was with, I was always thinking about him.  It was hard not to!

The thing is, infatuation is a dangerous state of mind.  It's like an entry drug to obsession.  So, as fantastic as it was to constantly daydream about Dean, I hoped my irrational fixation on him would quickly mature into something more meaningful.

I don't know when infatuation began to change to something deeper.  Probably by our fourth or fifth date.  That's when we both began to question whether we were spending too much time in bed.  Neither of us wanted a sex-based relationship and we were both beginning to wonder if that was the direction we were headed.  We decided to change things up a little and made plans to do other things, as well as spend quality time between the sheets.

As our relationship evolved, my conviction that Dean was my One did not. I remained firmly convinced that he was my perfect match, and in fact, I'm still convinced to this day.  I suppose I could decide later that I've been delusional this whole time, but I don't think that will happen.  We've spent enough time together that if I was going to have serious doubts, I'd be aware of them by now.  Instead, I strongly feel that he's as close to perfect as he could be and still be human.

There are a few obstacles that stand in the way of a "happily ever after" life for Dean and me.  A small one is that he continues to be more work-obsessed than I'd like.  He's been really good about trying to balance work, his kids and me, but the jury is still out on whether he can permanently change his workaholic ways.

A bigger potential obstacle is Dean's lack of sexual and relationship experience.  As this blog documents, I have a fair amount of experience with men.  All that history makes it easy for me to KNOW, without any doubt or uncertainty, that Dean is the right guy for me.  Dean, on the other hand, can't possibly have that same conviction about me.  He's sown no wild oats and he's had almost no other lovers.  Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but I'm pretty sure there will come a day when he'll wonder if I'm the best he can do.  For him to feel that way would be totally understandable and, for that reason, I have no anxiety about it.  I am who I am, I'm totally committed to him and to our relationship, and if that's not enough to withstand whatever curiosity he might have in the future, then there's nothing more I can do.  One thing I'm adamant about is to never take him for granted.  Gabbie accused me of not appreciating her enough, so believe me, I'm determined not to let Dean feel that way.  He gets total dedication and commitment from me until he throws me out.

If Dean can continue to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and if he decides to keep me around for a while, then there are three immediate obstacles to a "happily ever after" life for us:
  • Gabbie and I need to live apart
  • I need to come out to my kids
  • I need to tell Gabbie, my kids and others that Dean and I are together
As some of you will remember from My Big Gamble, my living situation was been...unconventional.  Not only have Gabbie and I continued to live in the same house for 18 months after separating, but a few months ago her loser boyfriend moved into his own room in the house.  It's been extremely cozy.

Allowing Charlie to move in has greatly benefited me.  For one thing, the kids have gotten to intimately know him and now they either dislike or despise him.  Even my oldest, who has been the most patient with him, doesn't like him.  The two younger kids have been far less charitable.  They frequently voice their dislike for him and that has created a huge wedge between them and Gabbie.  The problem isn't so much that they attack him and she defends him, it's that they attack her and she retaliates.  It's a very sad dynamic, one that I continually push both sides to change.

A few weeks ago, when the situation with Dean began to show genuine promise, I realized that I couldn't expect him to commit to me while I was still living with Gabbie.  So, I set a deadline for myself to tell her that we needed to move apart.  Then, quite unexpectedly and just five days before my deadline, Gabbie announced that living together wasn't working so she was going to move out and give me full custody of the kids.  I think she was hoping they'd beg to her to stay, but none of them did.

Her plan to move out is already happening.  Two weeks ago she and Charlie signed a lease together (puke) to rent a nearby studio apartment.  Last week he moved into it.  Gabbie plans to spend the next several weeks slowly moving her things over.  I don't know when her "last" day with us will be.  Originally she said mid-September but I wouldn't be surprised if it's sooner.  I don't think we'll mark that day in any significant way, but it will be very bittersweet for me.  Losing her is not something I ever wanted to happen, however, I've come to accept that it has and we all need to move on with our lives.

Anyway, thanks to Gabbie, I easily accomplished the first item on my 'list for Dean.'  The next one is: coming out to the kids.

I've been trying to spend as much time with Dean as possible, and because it's a 60 mile drive each way to see him, when I go, I'm gone for a minimum of five hours but I prefer eight or nine.  Different circumstances have helped me camouflage the fact that I'm dating him, but now that it's been two months since we met, I'm running out of plausible excuses to disappear for large blocks of time.  So, for as much as I'd like to say that my confidence and pride in my relationship with Dean has made me want to come out to my kids, the main reason is that I can't keep making up new lies every weekend.

I would've run out of excuses a few weeks ago but Dean's been traveling a lot this month and that's given me a reprieve.  I made my last excuse this past weekend, and now I have a period of three weeks in which to get my sh*t together, because during that time Dean will be out of town.  My plan is to come out to the kids within the next week.  I don't want Gabbie to be there, but I do want to tell all three kids at once, so making my big announcement is mostly a scheduling challenge.  At least that's my excuse if I get delayed.

The truth is, I don't really want to come out.  I don't feel ready and I probably never will.  It's not easy to flip a switch and change everything.  And although I'm confident it's going to go well, I view coming out as my greatest failure as a parent.  I'm sure lots of you will think that statement is ridiculous, and I hope to agree with you in the future, but for now, that's how I feel.

Anyway, for as much as I'd love to drag my feet and ignore my deadline, I also realize that I just need to take the plunge.  I need to go over the edge and accept that my life will never be the same again.

Assuming that I survive the jump, my plan is to lie low for a few weeks and give the kids time to adjust.  Then, when Dean is done traveling, I'll tell the kids and Gabbie that I'm starting to date.  Those 'dates' will partially explain my long absences on the weekends. At some point thereafter, whenever Dean is comfortable, I'll start talking to the kids about him.  I really can't wait for that day to arrive, because when it does, the hardest parts of my journey will be over.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Date with Dean

My first date with Dean was a coffee date.  It lasted three hours and would have continued much longer but I had to pick up my kids.

It was a perfect first date: fun, relaxed and friendly.  The conversation flowed easily, without any awkward pauses, and the more Dean talked, the more I wanted him to say.

Some of you might remember that I was beginning to wonder if I might be asexual.  I'd been on a dozen decent dates but never felt attracted to any of them.  With Dean, there was an instant attraction that grew more intense the longer we talked.  In fact, when it was time to say goodbye, the sexual heat between us could not be contained; before we parted we had a short, hot make-out session in my car.

It was amazing to want Dean so badly and to feel like he wanted me too.  It was an awesome first date.

The thing about first dates, though, is they can be deceptive.  When you're "in the moment" you can do, say or think things that you later question.  Second dates tend to be "more real" just because you're more relaxed with each other.  If Dean really is my One, I thought, then our second date would be a good indication of whether we were destined to be together - or not.

One of my concerns about a future with Dean was his ridiculous work schedule.  If it took him more than three months to schedule a first date, how long it would take him to schedule a second one?!!  The answer: three days.

Our second date began the same way our first date ended - with a hot make-out session.  I came to his apartment and he greeted me with an eager kiss.  That kiss lead to another and in an instant we were going at it hot and heavy on his living room futon.  After about five minutes, he said in frustration, "Argh!  This futon is too uncomfortable.  Would it be ok if we moved to the bed?"

I haven't given Dean a proper introduction, and now that he's suggested that we move to the bedroom, this is probably a good time to do so...

Like me, he's 45 and he has three kids.  Two of our three kids are only a few months apart in age.  He's been divorced for three years and was married for about fourteen.  He fooled around with a number of guys in high school but never thought he was gay because of his religious upbringing.  He was a good church boy, who sang in the choir, which is how he met his wife, a good church girl.  Of course his attraction to men never went away and after struggling with it for many years, he eventually accepted himself as gay.  A short time later he told his wife, then his kids, and filed for divorce.  Interestingly, his wife was very supportive of him.  She knew their marriage wasn't right and was thankful to know the truth.

Since coming out, Dean only briefly dated one guy.  He fell for him right away but soon discovered that the guy had lied about several important things. To have the relationship crash and burn so fast was a major disappointment to Dean.  However, instead of moving on to the next guy, he buried himself with work.

When he told me that story, I was somewhat surprised by his decision to come out.  Why turn your kids' lives upside if you're not going to actively date?  "It was important to me to be honest and to live an honest life."  Interesting.  I certainly never felt that way!

When it comes to sex and relationships, I've had a lot more experience than Dean but a lot less than the typical 45yo gay man.  My longest 'real' relationship with a guy has been nine weeks, but if you count a friend with benefits situation it was seven years.  I fooled around with a lot of guys in my 20s and early 30s but the last time I was regularly having sex with a guy was more than nine years ago. It's been so long that one of the dating rules I set for myself was to wait until the fourth or fifth meeting for sex.  I really didn't want to get in the habit of turning dates into hook-ups AND it had been so long, I knew I'd be all thumbs.   If I attempted sex on the first or second date no guy would ever call me again.  If I waited until the fourth or fifth date, I might get a second chance.

During our three month email courtship, Dean and I talked about whether sex-on-the-first-date was something we'd do.  Neither one of us would, we said, and we agreed that waiting until the fourth date would be best.  Which brings me back to Dean pulling me into the bedroom only five minutes into our second date: based on our earlier conversations, I totally expected that we'd stay clothed and enjoy some good old fashioned making out.  And that's what we did...for about 10 minutes.  Then our shoes came off.  Then our shirts.  Then our pants.  Socks.  Underwear.

It was so crazy to want someone so badly but to simultaneously wish we weren't naked.  It was fantastic to be in delirious rapture but also frustrating to be thinking, "it's too soon, it's too soon."

Whether it was too soon or not, it didn't matter.  Dean was hot and being with him made me giddy with joy.  There was no way I could resist him.

Because we were quasi-virgins, I expected our sexual repertoire would be pretty simple.  Lots of body contact, some frot, definitely some oral and probably some mutual stimulation to finish.

We did all that, and more.

It turned out that Dean, the guy who said he'd only bottomed once in his life (and that was 25 years ago when he was a drunk teenager), wanted to go all the way on our second date.  I couldn't believe it.  No sex until the fourth date and now that???

As shocked as I was, a short time later that was exactly what we were doing.

And wow, were we doing it well!  I think there's a straight sex cliche' about "sliding into home plate."  Well, that's how it felt to be with Dean.  I'm far from being a very experienced homo, but within my limited experience, I've never seen someone take to bottoming so effortlessly.  And to say that he "rocked my world" is a huge understatement.

Our date was seven hours long.  Five of those were spent in bed.  It was a remarkable day, and not just because the sex was so awesome.  We spent a lot of time talking and cuddling and getting to know each other better.  Being with him was so easy and natural that the conversation flowed through a whole variety of subjects.  Probably the most interesting thing we talked about was marriage.  Not just to our wives, but about, maybe, someday, possibly, getting married to each other.

Seriously??!  Who is stupid enough to talk about marriage on a second date?  Apparently we were.

Our third date was three days after the second one.  It was a five hour date, three of which were spent in bed.  But before going there, I proposed that we go together to be tested for HIV.  This was something my boyfriend from a very long time ago had wanted to do, and the idea always stuck with me.  Call me strange but there's something incredibly romantic about going together to be tested.  It turned out that Dean, without any prompting from me, thought the idea was extremely romantic too.

Once we got our negative results, we went back to his place and reached new sexual highs together with no barrier between us.

As I drove home from that date, it hit me that Dean was one of several men.  Either he was stupid, reckless and a player, or, he was stupid, reckless and naive, or, he genuinely liked and trusted me.  Yes, I had tested negative for HIV but the antibodies don't show if you've recently been infected.  And, wearing a condom doesn't just protect against HIV, it helps prevent many other horrible diseases like Hepatitis and genital warts.  Dean literally put his life at risk when he chose to bareback with me.  What kind of man makes a decision like that on the second date?

A man who sent me over the edge.

I'll tell you what happened in my next post.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Destiny Challenged

It was an experience I never expected to have.  People talk about feeling a spark when they meet the right person but I always thought I was too analytical to allow myself something as ephemeral and spontaneous as that.  Yet that's what happened.  Sort of.

I say 'sort of' because I don't want to label what I felt as a spark.  That term doesn't seem accurate.  My idea of a spark is an instant electrical connection between two people, something mutual and sexual.  Physical attraction is key because without it there is no sexual aspect to the spark.

What happened to me was different than a spark, for a number of reasons.  First, it happened during a telephone conversation.  Second, it happened without meeting the guy.  Third, it wasn't based on physical attraction because the pictures I'd seen hadn't particularly excited me.  Fourth, it wasn't mutual.  Fifth, it wasn't electrical.  Hmmm.  Now that I'm writing about it, I see that what I felt wasn't a spark at all.

The best way I can describe it is as a realization, a 'click' - but not the kind of click where you feel instant rapport with someone.  It was more like an "aha!" moment when you're doing a difficult task and you suddenly realize that if you do this, that and the other, your problem is solved.  Or, it's like when you're doing a puzzle and you have a sudden burst of inspiration from nowhere and it causes you to put exactly the right piece in exactly the right location and as you do it you realize that finding that one piece will make finishing the rest of the puzzle simple.

Finding Dean made the puzzle of my life seem simple.  He was the missing piece, The One, and now that I'd found him, the other pieces would easily fall into place.  Or so I thought.

All that stood in the way of destiny was actually meeting him.

And the small matter of mutual attraction.

Because of work demands, Dean scheduled our first meeting more than three weeks in advance.  Knowing that I'd have to wait 23 days to confirm my 'big realization' was slow torture.  The days dragged by.

During the long wait I tried to subtly woo him, especially by email.  He told me that he did a lot of writing for work so I saw that as an opportunity to share some stories about my past.  I thought that would be a good way to 'show' him who I was rather than 'tell' him.  I also hoped he'd reciprocate and that sharing our tales would ensure a good first meeting.

I can't be certain if I charmed him with my emails (ha!), or, if I just got lucky (much more likely), but about a week before we were scheduled to meet he told me he had an opening in his schedule.  Could I meet him in four days instead of eight?  I felt like I'd won the lottery.

Conventional dating wisdom says that when you meet someone for the first time you should have reasonable expectations, otherwise you're likely to be disappointed.  I didn't care about conventional wisdom.  This was an exceptional situation - I knew Dean was destined to be the most important man in my life.

The more rational part of my brain wasn't going to accept such silliness without a fight.  How could I think a man who was so work-obsessed would be a good match?  If it took him three months to spare me an hour, how long would it take before he'd schedule a second date? And what about physical attraction?  Our email and telephone conversations were fun, but I couldn't be certain I'd be physically attracted to him until we met face-to-face.  And even if I was attracted to him, there was no guarantee that he'd be attracted to me.

As the days ticked by, the battle between my crazy, confident intuition and my skeptical, rational brain waged on.  Then, just two days before we were supposed to meet, I got a lucky beak.  Two of them, actually.

In an email, Dean told me that he liked my pictures on Facebook.  Facebook?!  I rarely log in there.  What pictures is he talking about?  Hopefully not the ones from freshman year of high school!  I immediately logged in to see what he meant and as I was doing so, the dim light bulb above my head flickered a little: I wonder what pictures he has on his profile?

As I mentioned above, I wasn't especially excited about the pictures he'd posted on the dating site.  They weren't very good and he was wearing sunglasses.  His Facebook pictures, however, were high quality and very clear.

We all have our 'type', that certain look that instantly turns us on, our favorite look above all others. Well, Dean had that look for me.  If I had seen him on the street, in a bar, in a crowd, kissing a woman, doing anything with anyone, anywhere, I would have been captivated by him.  I'm tempted to describe how incredibly hot his pictures were, but it's unlikely that many of you share my taste.  It seems that most middle-aged guys prefer a beefy, masculine look.  That's ok, I get the appeal, but I much prefer "cute" wholesome, preppy guys.  Someone like Ryan Kwanten.

Dean was so much my type that the minute I saw his pictures on Facebook I was drooling over him just as much as I'm drooling over this picture of Ryan now.  To say that I was "more excited than ever" to meet Dean is a huge understatement.

The second lucky break was a confession from Dean.  I was so concerned about his work-a-holic nature that I put him on the spot and asked if a second date would take three months to schedule.  "Well, maybe, but work is not always as crazy as it has been these last few months.  Besides, there's another reason why I didn't want to meet so quickly...I've been trying to lose a little extra weight.  I think I qualify as gay fat and maybe even gay obese."  Those were sweet words to hear because they explained why he'd been stringing me along.  It wasn't because of work, or an undisclosed boyfriend, it was because he was concerned about what I'd think of him.  He's hot and he's worried about impressing me?  How much more perfect could this guy be??

The two lucky breaks pretty much obliterated my rational brain's attempt to keep my sky-high expectations in-check.  As the day arrived for our auspicious first meeting, I expected nothing less than mind-blowing fireworks.

As I've said in other posts, I've liked every guy I've met but I didn't really feel sexually attracted to any of them.  As I drove to meet Dean and the final minutes of my fourteen week wait ticked down, I wondered if my expectations had become totally delusional.  What if there's something wrong with me?  What if we have no chemistry?  What if he's not attracted to me?

Dean arrived at the coffee house before me.

He was sitting outside, and instead of looking around expectantly, he was looking down at his phone, with his back to me.  Although I couldn't see his face, I knew it was him just by looking at the nape of his neck; he had exactly the kind of nape I would most want to nuzzle.  Seeing that bare strip of skin from behind was all the proof I needed.  He was indeed The One.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Destiny: Real or Imagined?

In my last post I wrote about a guy who caught my attention on a dating site.  He was my exact age, had three kids who were near my kids' ages and he'd only come out of the closet three years ago.  Although those things would normally make him pretty appealing, other parts of his dating profile, including the fact that we lived 60 miles apart, put me off any romantic interest in him.

The guy said he was open to meeting but couldn't do so for a few weeks because he was temporarily working long hours.  He promised to get back to me the next month, which he did.  Then he put me off for several more weeks, again because of work.  But this time he started an email exchange.  At first his emails came slowly, then progressively faster.  His "cold then hot" behavior had me confused - all I wanted to do was meet and ask him about his dating experiences now that he was a gay single parent.  I couldn't understand why he wouldn't spare me an hour for a cup of coffee.

Eventually we spoke twice by phone.  The first conversation was very short.  He called late in the day and I had to leave to pick up my kids.  He seemed normal enough.  Mostly I was glad just to make some progress.  Maybe if we weren't going to meet I could at least talk to him about his experiences by telephone.

After the first phone conversation we played phone tag for another full week.  Grrr.  Then FINALLY, nearly three months after I first messaged him, we had a real conversation...

We talked for about 40 minutes.  He was at work and a co-worker was nearby listening to him, even so, he was pretty chatty.  As much as possible, I tried to direct the conversation toward his coming out, his dating experiences and how he balanced raising his kids with work and his personal life.  Not surprisingly, he said he didn't have much of a personal life; since coming out had only dated one guy and that was very briefly.

As our conversation became more personal we talked about growing up, our sexuality and getting married to women.  He was raised in a very religious household and was in denial about his true sexuality until shortly before he came out.  He found it fascinating that I had always known I was gay and yet had gotten married anyway.

The more we talked, the more natural and effortless our conversation became.  I found myself really liking him in spite of my concerns about his profile and the way he kept stringing me along.  I hadn't expected to be so taken with him. Then, late in the conversation, something even more strange happened.  A sudden cold chill swept through my body.  I don't know what triggered it; it wasn't anything specific he said and it wasn't a particular thought I had.  All I know is that for a nano-second I was unable to see, hear or speak.  I felt very confused.  I didn't understand what was happening.  Then, the realization that first hit my body crossed into my mind: I was having my first real conversation with The One.

As my regular readers know, I'm a very analytical thinker.  I've been accused of over-thinking the minutia of dating by more than one person.  I've even tried to dissect what a "spark" feels like.  So, I'm not going to be polite about saying this: putting a label as audacious as The One on anyone is ridiculous -  especially after only a dozen emails and a 40 minute telephone conversation. And yet, as I hung up the phone, I had no doubts about what I knew.

For the rest of that day I did my best to 'talk myself down' from the high I was feeling.  "It's all in my imagination."  "It's wishful thinking."  "It's one-sided."  "It was just a telephone conversation, meeting him will change everything." "It was a one-time adrenaline rush."  "Tomorrow you'll think much more rationally."

Much to my surprise, when the next morning arrived, I remained convinced that what I felt was real.  The one allowance I gave myself was that the guy, Dean, almost certainly didn't have the same epiphany I did.  But that didn't matter.  I knew I was right and I knew that it  was only a matter of time before he came to the same conclusion.

I'm crazy!  I'm stupid!  I know!

Faced with the problem that I knew the big secret and he did not, I had to decide what to do next.  Say something?  No, he'd think I was a nut job.  Wait for him to figure it out?  How long would that take??

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that destiny is destiny.   Pushing, pulling, begging or cajoling don't make a difference in the long-run nor are they necessary.  If I was Dean's One there'd come a day when he'd realize that too.  All I had to do was be myself and let nature take its course.

Although I was feeling extremely confident, I was still very impatient to meet; I was more antsy than a 4 year old girl on Christmas Eve.  Every email or phone conversation gave me hope that he'd finally set a date.

He tortured me for another two weeks, then, finally, the heavens parted and at long last he gave me the date when we would meet - a Wednesday afternoon - in three weeks.  THREE WEEKS???!  Wow, did I have to bite my tongue hard when I heard that.

I silently clenched both my fists and my teeth, then said in a very cheery voice, "That would be great.  I'm glad we finally have a date set."

Did we actually meet?

I'll tell you what happened, and what didn't, in the next post.