My heart ached as I hung up the phone last Thursday. My ex, Mr. Boyfriend for my social media friends who may remember posts about him last year, and I had a conversation. Our conversation follows our breaking-up before Christmas, and in March I truly let go of him and have been open to dating other guys since. I will admit, there was a part of me that was hoping he would surprise me with flowers and show up in Orlando for a surprise visit. After our conversation Thursday, he definitely won’t be doing that, and I won’t be doing the same for him.
Now, to be clear, there was no yelling, throwing of phones, smashing wine glasses, or packing up all reminders and setting them on fire. Nope, none of that. No bad feelings toward each other. For a while after December, I kept trying to get angry at him but have no real reason to be. I believe we have both been honest with each other along the way, and we both shared that neither of us had any regrets. Our relationship was what it was and prepared us both for what we face, and the relationships we have, next.
My “next” will involve Daniel Craig I am sure… I know he will love the 12 mylar Hello Kitty balloons I sent him this morning…
I don’t have an extensive dating history. There were relationships with a few guys in the ’80’s, but those were rife with immaturity and bad decisions. Then, while in the church closet in the ’90’s and ’00’s I dated two women, both relationships were idealized and inhibited. I felt awkward with them most of the time. Great women, just not being true to who I am as a gay man.
“Mr. Boyfriend” was so different than anyone I had dated before. He, for all intents and purposes, was my first “true love.” I loved him from a safe and healthy place. I believe what we had was a life-giving relationship. I had not ever felt that mutuality, to that depth and expression, before. Our season together is closed but the beautiful memories of him, us, will always remain and brings a smile to my face.
One lesson I am pondering is that this was the first time since I have been “out” that I have not been afraid to be in love with another man. While in the church closet, I hid my fear of healthy intimacy with another man behind a “call” to celibacy and trying to mask my core relational sense of being by dating a couple of women. Instead of going through the various “rites of passage” with dating and the knowledge and wisdom that comes from those experiences. Fear and religious teaching caused me to check out of the whole process.
What I might have learned as a young man, I am now learning as a middle-aged man.
I’ve said before on social media that I feel like a teenager when it comes to dating and the thought of dating. I retract that; I am not an emotional teenager when it comes to that aspect of my life. I am a 48-year-old man in every aspect and love being my age. I bring plenty of experience, strength, and knowledge to the table. I am simply experiencing some relational life lessons, of the romantic variety, at what is the right time for my journey.
So, I have experienced my first love. Thank you, Mr. Boyfriend for loving me and allowing me to love you. You are a great man with a golden heart. I want nothing but the best for you.
Now I look to the horizon again, to see who makes me catch my breath; to find the man who when I look into his eyes we will both know we are home.
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