… two milkshakes and a packet of jelly-tots later.

In the darkness of an empty room I read recently late one night that the three most common mistakes for the average gay men in a new relationship are too much-too soon, monopolization of each other’s lives or moving in together for the wrong reasons. And while at the time all of the above seem like perfectly natural things, this above average gay man realised that these mistakes would never be made on principle.  The internet has become a repository of useless information and perhaps if Napoleon had had access to it the winter of 1812 may have ended slightly differently.

After a particularly unsettling week of treading water I had reached my emotional tether. Knowing there was little I could do about work the only thing to regain some kind of control was to call him. Leaving the last message on his voicemail I hung up and let go. Unexpectedly he returned the call and we spoke things through until we had gone full circle and reached the point we had a week earlier when we lay naked, spent and eating dark chocolate at 2am in his bed. We agreed to meet the coming Saturday to have a conversation that had come far too soon in this relationship-game-whatever but was now overdue.

If I arrived fashionably late, then my new guy was very fashionable indeed. When you do business over breakfast, lunch or dinner the polite form is to wait until you’re half-way through the meal before you get onto the topic at hand. We started before our coffee had arrived. The well practiced thoughts from the night before seemed empty and I spoke instead from my heart to someone whom I didn’t quite love but couldn’t bare not having in my life. When I was done he smiled but remained silent. The silence pushed him to admit that I had said everything he was thinking. And wanted.

The Eskimo have hundreds of words for snow and we have even invented three times as many for a relationship. But the more words we invent the harder it becomes to define things properly. As I sipped my iced chardonnay late Friday I started to think about a world where you can date without sex, screw without dating, and in the end keep many of your sex partners as friends long after the screwing is over. As a realist who doesn’t believe that you can get everything from just one man, without losing focus from the object of your affection, I couldn’t help but wonder what really defines a relationship?

Growing up many of us look to our parents as role models for the relationships that we most want or try to avoid. But when that model neither works nor applies to you where can we turn to? More importantly with the recognition or same-sex unions and legal rights are we trying to fit our lives into a prescribed mould as a way to fit in rather than stand out. Part of the blame lies with the gay couple themselves. In not being honest upfront the breakdown that occurs towards the end because of unmanaged expectations or insecurities and emotionally immaturity adds to the cynicism of impossible relationships.

In jest my new guy often tells me that I’m a player saying all the right things at the right time. And while no truer word has been spoken in jest – underneath I can see what he fears most – that these words are just that. Like the many others that he’s heard before, the abyss between promise and delivery has grown in every relationship he’s ever had and I’m no different to the last boy that broke his heart. But with no more words to be spoken between us … the only thing left is for me to keep my promises. I may not have miles to go before I sleep again in his arms but it will be a long road to trust.

And somewhere between breakfast in Bedfordview and slowing down for some fast-food in Fourways on a lazy summer’s afternoon, I found myself in the passenger seat listening to a forgotten hit by Roxette and realised that I had started dating again. And while I wasn’t painted right, in the moment with his hand on my thigh and him glancing every now and then at me with that smile on his face, I was certainly feeling like everything was alright. It might not be what I was wishing for but now that I’ve stopped trying to make it into something it’s not – and just appreciating it for what it is – I’m somehow more optimistic. After all they might be baby steps but at least we’re heading in the same direction.

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One Response to “… two milkshakes and a packet of jelly-tots later.”

  1. Hi. I love your blog. So glad it’s still going.
    Not on facebook. Life is too short.

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