37 Years and Counting

So the 37th birthday is fast approaching.  I’m officially late 30’s now.  No longer can I refer to myself as "mid-30’s".  Of course, in the gay world, I’m reaching the daddy stage.  Another 10 years and I’ll be considered obsolete.  Not that I give a flying fuck mind you.  I get a giggle out of how we perceive age in Western culture.  It’s as if the idea of having shiny new possessions has transferred itself into our collective consciousness regarding self-image.  It doesn’t help we are constantly bombarded by images of the young and beautiful.  Images re-enforced with the message that if you want to be accepted you have to look the part.  As my English counterparts might say, "bollocks to that!"  Age is a state of mind.  You are only as old as you feel.  And frankly, I don’t feel that old.  And never really being someone who "fit in" in the first place, I’m not about to start trying now. 

I was teasing my buddy Urswine Addiction the other day about being an old man.1  It suddenly hit me that my own birthday is fast approaching.  I look back on the span of years that is my life and it doesn’t really feel like 37 years have passed.  I’m sure focusing so many years on just surviving has something to do with it.  That said, I think there is more to it.  I don’t feel 37.  Hell, I barely feel 30.  Maybe it is because my life is still in a bit of flux.  I’m still looking at changing gears career wise.  And lord knows, I’ve struggling emotionally in the last 7 years.  Do these things play their part in my feelings of "not old"?  I do wonder.  I mean most guys my age are settled by now.  I’m left to wonder if my late start in life has helped me hold onto my feelings of youthfulness.2

In the end, I guess I really don’t care what it is that makes me feel so young.  I like it and that is enough.  So I’m not young, buff, and hung, anymore.  Big deal.  My life has only improved as I age.  Sure, there have been setbacks.  Plenty to speak of actually.  But isn’t that the point?  Shouldn’t we care more about a life lived than a life perfect?  So,I have a few less hairs on top, a few more hairs elsewhere, and a handful of wrinkles sprinkled in for flavor.  As the ever fabulous Miss Coco Peru once said, ‘I earned it bitches!’

Of course, don’t mind me.  I’m just a doddering old fool spouting off nonsense in his old age.  Turn the page to something shiny and new.  Ahhhhh!  The bliss of forgetfulness.  teehee

  1. He just turned 30 this past week. []
  2. I thought it was a made up word.  However, according to Google, someone beat me to it already.  Damn!  There goes my idea to get rich quick. []

The M Word

Perfectlyflawed asked about my specific views on monogamy. Adam also recently referenced an article on his own blog about the same subject. After doing a search thru my blog files, I realized I’ve only given partial answers on the subject. What better time than the present to put it into a post? I had to really condense it though. There are so many aspects that come into play in relationships however, I’m trying to keep the topic about monogamy.

First, let me list out a few axioms which I firmly believe to be true1 and represent the bulk of my argument.

1) Commitment and monogamy are not the same thing.
2) Intimacy and sex are not the same thing.
3) Men, by genetic disposition, are less inclined to bond emotionally with their sexual partners.

Just from the above mentioned ideas many often assume I am against monogamy. Not true. My argument is that monogamy is possible just not probable for most gay men. Big difference. I am against applying monogamy out of personal insecurities, irrational fear or as a form of control. We also often forget what works for one may not work for others. We project our own morals or ideals onto those around us. A very natural human trait. However, it is our reason that should save us from false ideologies. What works for one may not work for all.

If one looks at most species in nature, monogamy is not the norm. That is not to say it cannot be. There are some species that often form life-long bonds with one mate. Again, possible? Yes. Probable? No. Back to my little axioms.

1) While monogamy is a type of commitment, it is not all encompassing. The failed assumption I encounter is that you cannot have one w/o the other. IMHO, we get this concept from a paradigm designed for opposite-sex couples to propagate the species.2 And, considering we are bombarded with this relationship model practically from birth, it is no wonder many gay men fall into the assumption they too must follow the same model. Commitment to share your life with someone involves a lot more than sex. Sex can be a big part of that but by no means the only part.

2) While intimacy and sex can be very intertwined they are also not mutually inclusive. From my own perspective, intimacy often involves very non-sexual acts. I often find this to be a big issue for gay men. Out of loneliness, I think many of us are really searching for intimacy and using sex to get it. It can be hard to separate one’s desire or lust from the need for companionship and/or emotional fulfillment. Now throw in varying sex drives and you see yet another failed assumption.

3) Men as mammals have lower levels of the chemical in their brains that causes bonding with sexual partners.3 That is not to say all men have the same levels. Libido goes hand in hand w/this argument. For some, like myself, with a strong libido, sex is more of a constant need vs a random occurrence. For others who may have lower sex drives, it can relate more to intimacy vs carnal satisfaction. Neither is wrong or right just different. Now put the two together as often happens. Who’s needs should come first? The person with the higher or lower sex drive? Is it fair to ask one to do without because the other just isn’t interested? Well, if he really loved me, he’d be faithful. Relationships are supposed to be about mutual fulfillment, emotionally and physically, not one-sided controls.

What about the children?” Forgetting for a moment we aren’t talking about children, children shouldn’t be exposed to the sexual exploits of adults (regardless of sexuality) until they reach a level awareness that usually comes w/puberty. However, when children are involved one should be putting the needs of the children first. The rather obvious failed assumption here is that children only thrive in monogamous relationship models because it provides stability. Well, I guess the thousands, if not millions, of us who grew up in totally dysfunctional families can prove that little assumption wrong. How many of us grew up with parents who hated each other but stayed together for the sake of the children. The reality is children rarely grow up even in heterosexual relationships only being influenced by their parents. What about Uncles/Aunts, Grandparents, and family friends? All of these folks often play a vital role in the development of children. Children need love, acceptance, and support. It doesn’t really matter so much where it comes from as long as they get it.

Now figure in a variety of variables like a complete lack of gay role models, environment, childhood trauma/abuse, upbringing, religion,4 the stigma of being gay, etc you begin to see how really complex it can be. Is it any wonder we as gay men struggle to find meaningful fulfilling relationships?

Instead of creating labels, limits, and controls for relationships or prospective ones, we should take the time to be honest. First and foremost, we need to be honest with ourselves about our desires, drives, fetishes, etc. Forget what you think you should be or is expected of you and admit to yourself what it is that really floats your boat. Then comes honesty with your partner(s). If you can’t be honest w/yourself or your partner, you really aren’t ready for any type of relationship, open or otherwise. We often see the fallout from such lack of honesty thru “cheating”. Lets face it, if your needs aren’t getting met at home (emotional or physical) you often find it elsewhere. That or it manifests in other ways like poor health, depression, etc. Either way, you are doing yourself and your partner a disservice.

Here is where I sort of go off topic a bit. Open or closed, relationships are hard work. Many of us rush into relationships w/o really being able or ready to handle it. No shame there. Loneliness can be an ugly and bitter emotion. But to truly conquer it, we have to reach a level of self-acceptance and respect that is not always easy. We need to love ourselves before we can truly love another. We also forget, humans are fallible. We make mistakes. Love without room for forgiveness, isn’t really love but control. I can only love you if you do this or don’t do that. Sound familiar? And just because many men rush into an open LTR5 w/o taking the time to understand it doesn’t mean it is any worse (or better) than a closed one.

Does this mean you might find less prospective mates? Of course it does. But, you are finding less because you are refining your search to those better suited to you vs anyone who expresses interest.

Let the “oh no he didn’ts” begin!

  1. IMHO,they are documented fact but for some, them is fightin’ words! []
  2. This planet is suffering already from overpopulation so there is no real fear of extinction. []
  3. I know the name of the chemical but having a brain fart on how to spell it at the moment. []
  4. Actually, religion shouldn’t count because monogamy was added to most religions much later. However, religion does play a big part in how we get our view of relationships. []
  5. People often assume having an open LTR means a complete free for all. Relationships can be open or not in a variety of ways. []

Still Learning

I guess I’m still evolving as a human. A good sign I’m sure. *I’m also feeling long winded tonight*

A lot has transpired lately between TFA and I.1 A huge chunk is hard to discuss as I do not wish to violate his wish for privacy. However, there are things in my head I need to force into the open so it can receive a proper beating from my id. Most of you following my love life know it has most definitely been a rocky road. LOL The last break up and several the jump starts in between make for interesting reading if nothing else.

My capacity to love is almost boundless. That said, one of my biggest shortcomings is I often feel like it is not enough unless that love is returned. What an ugly road that leads too. To love someone unconditionally means to love w/o limits and w/o the need for validation. Don’t get me wrong, we all need a little validation from time to time. However, that is a huge jump from needing constant validation of self thru the expression from another.2 I have no doubts that TFA came into my life for a reason. I am being given a chance to examine my behavior and shortcomings. I can either improve upon them or continue to wallow in self-doubt.

With that in mind, I am discovering I can let go of my fears. TFA has a lot on his plate right now beyond just worrying about his connection to me.3 He will often withdraw when things are particularly difficult or he is struggling. Bouncing around the planet every few days does nothing to give one a sense of comfort either. Anyway, when he withdraws my reaction is to begin doubting my self-worth. I’m realizing more and more what a waste of effort that is. I feel very strongly for him. As I sit here contemplating, I’m hit with the realization I’m not concerned if he loves me back. Oh sure, I’d like it if he did but that is beyond the point. For the first time in my life, I find I’m not needing validation for the way I feel. I feel the way I do and that is enough. I find looking on it this way significantly diminishes my fear of loss or rejection. I feel almost free in a way. Is it possible I am truly learning to love unconditionally? Wouldn’t that be one for the record books? No, I’m not so foolish to think this little epiphany will solve everything. Yet, it is a very startling and uplifting outlook on my future.

TFA sent me an email tonight apologizing for his recent bout of withdrawal.4 He often does when he has a chance to process things and comes back to his feeling of comfort. It actually tickles me that I’m able to see the pattern and not react to it. I’m digressing. . . I responded back with a reply that may soothe him or blow up in my face. I’ve been holding back a lot of how I feel and trying very hard not to project my own issues onto him. My reply tonight had a lot to do with how I feel. I am proud to say I was able to express it without the implication that I need his love in return. And frankly, it is not the outcome that is important to me. It is the honest expression of my feelings without any expectation that is important. If he bails, that will be on his terms and will not change the way I feel. I can still come away knowing I am learning to love without limitations. I can hold my head up and be confident in myself and know that no one else need justify my feelings other than me.

*I’ve come back afterwards to add more here*

After letting my comments above stew for awhile, I find I’m in an incredibly good mood. What a very free feeling it is to find myself letting go of a fear that has plagued me my whole life. It is not gone but it is my hope I am learning to move beyond the hard-wired emotion. Fear is a base emotion originally meant to protect us. However, in the world today it often serves just the opposite. To think I can finally rise above it is a very empowering feeling. I used to say in my old journals that “hope springs eternal”. I don’t think I ever truly believed it before but I definitely think I do now.

  1. You’ve read the parts I choose to share. What is lacking are the private posts of me having pity parties. []
  2. Try saying that five times real fast. []
  3. I am starkly reminded of my own situation a few years ago. It was no easy task going thru a breakup, moving twice in 30 days, the death of my father, and a struggling financial setting. []
  4. He is currently in Athens []

Up or Down


Vacation last week was very uneventful after TFA left. Well, that isn’t exactly true. We had a little drama but it was mostly self-induced. I learned something about myself though. For all my growing these past 4 years, I still have a ways to go.

The night before he left, TFA walled himself off from me. I could literally see the barriers come crashing down. He withdrew from me for a few days afterwards and it drove me nuts. The why doesn’t really matter as we’ve already worked thru it. It was only indirectly related to me. After talking about it later, I think we’ve crossed the last hurdle between us. The reason I bring it up is because what happened afterwards. After he left, I felt miserable. I started thinking some pretty negative thoughts and acting on my old fears. One of the biggest fears I struggle with is “am I enough?“. I know where it comes from so no need to beat that horse again. However, it is a fear that has plagued me my whole adult life. Sometimes to the point of crippling my ability to move beyond it. Surprised?

So I found myself thinking familiar thoughts. What did I do? Did I say or do something out of line? Was I overly attentive? Was I attentive enough? Did he change his mind about how he felt about me? Was he disappointed? Did I not measure up? Basically, I was beating myself up wondering what I had done wrong. For two days I put myself thru this. Being off work only made it worse as I had nothing to distract me.1 However, the morning of day three I snapped out of it. Reason and sanity prevailed.

I remembered I am a good man. I have my faults, sure enough. However, I have worked very hard to be a good man and to have the qualities in myself I desire in another. I have a lot to offer someone. And, my ability to love is boundless. If he can’t see or accept it, for whatever reason, then that isn’t my issue at all. So I gave up on my little pity party and felt better. No matter what happened, I was confident in myself again. The irony was he called me right after and told me what was going on. Turns out, it had nothing to do with me at all. 2

When I was younger, the pity party would have continued. I would not have snapped out of it. This incident has shown me I have, in fact, grown quite a bit. I still need some work but hey, don’t we all? lol I’m a little proud of myself actually. I’m beginning to look beyond the old fears and actually take stock in my own self-worth. A nice feeling.

All this coming up has shown me something else. I’ve fallen for him. Maybe not the deep abiding love that comes from being nurtured and reforged over time but love in its infancy. The line has been crossed for me. A good feeling but a scary one.

  1. Well, there was the new Ratchet & Clank game. []
  2. Ok, that isn’t true either. His developing feelings for me were involved but not the heart of the problem. []