My therapist finally raised the topic of relationships. She began by asking if I was okay discussing the details with her. After mulling it over for a minute, I realised I didn’t care. Sure she was heterosexual and there was some resistance on my part initially about discussing such issues, she is a therapist and everything said within the four walls of that room are confidential. In any case, I do know that I’d rather have a female therapist than a male one (unless he’s gay – then he would go to the top of the list!). After talking about my ex (enough said) I told her I was seeing someone casually and she asked if he made me happy. While I answered that he did for now, inside I wasn’t sure.
I met him a few months ago online and connected with him. He was good-looking, decent, smart, had a crazy sense of humor and we could talk about so many things. When we actually met, the connection deepened. We started seeing each other once or twice a week and would chat everyday. However he came with his own baggage – he was recently out of a decade-long relationship with the first man he’d ever slept with and was having tremendous trouble adjusting to single life. His ex had cut him off and he missed this man who had been a huge part of his life for so long. Sometimes he said he didn’t know how to be without his ex and felt he couldn’t move on if they didn’t reconnect in some form. Obviously this was not someone looking to jump into another relationship. But as I kept seeing him, against my wishes, against my better judgement, I began to develop feelings for him. I tried hard to resist but the more we saw each other and spent the time together, even doing mundane things, the harder it became. On my side, I wasn’t sure if I was really ready for anything considering my recently ended relationship.
Then I had a really bad flu, which ended up with me being referred to a big hospital, seeing multiple doctors, having many blood tests and being detained as they wanted to make sure it wasn’t malaria. On my way home, I felt crushed, alone and sad. He called me and when realized that I was in bad state though I tried to hide it, he told me he was coming over to my place to spend the night, that I didn’t always have to be strong, that I should let him be strong for me. After this, my feelings grew exponentially and I began to think about a future with him. We continued down this path but he asked me one day if I would be okay if nothing ever came out of what we had. I thought I would be but as time went on I realized that I wouldn’t be happy if out ‘thing’ went nowhere. He also kept seeing other people which I started doing as well to try to keep things casual (and partly due to his urging) but all it did was make me feel empty. In addition I ended up hurting someone else in the process, someone I shouldn’t have been involved with in the first place. I remember telling this person that I wasn’t emotionally available and I didn’t want to waste his time. At that point it dawned on me that if I couldn’t waste someone else’s time, then I shouldn’t waste mine also.
I told him we needed to stop seeing each other. It wasn’t enough that he had feelings for me, if he wasn’t ready to act on them there was nothing I could do. In the end, I wouldn’t want to share someone I care about with others, and I wouldn’t want to be with someone who would like to share me either. It was hard to make this decision and even though I know it’s the right one, it doesn’t give me much joy. We are trying to be friends because we really do enjoy each other’s company but sometimes it’s hard to see him with other people. And though I know that I feel hurt and sad and all the things people feel when they are in such situations, I know these feelings shall pass.
I’d be ecstatic if they could pass right now.
January 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm
It’s definitely not an easy situation to be in.. I’ve been there myself, where I’ve done my best to just be friends with someone I’d previously had feelings for. It’s not easy, as the attraction to them as a person (and sexually) doesn’t go away, but hopefully will allow for a deeper and more meaningful friendship. Stick in there.
January 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm
Thanks Martin. It hasn’t been easy at all, especially as it seems easier to have sex than make friends these days. We’ll see how it goes.
January 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm
Yeah I know what you mean. These days sex seems so easy and throw-away, whereas true friendship much more difficult to find let alone maintain.
January 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm
Hopefully, those feelings for him will pass…and soon! A very honest reflection, my friend. Thank you for publishing this. A reminder to us all about the evolution of life and love. 🙂
January 31, 2014 at 6:39 pm
Thanks Roger 🙂
David J. Bauman
February 1, 2014 at 5:15 am
I admire your vulnerability. Many of us have been in this kind of situation, and I know, it’s painful. When the feelings were too strong, I honestly had to step away from the friendship. But when I fall, yeah, I really fall hard. Still, my very first bf from 17 years ago, he and I reconnected online, and then in person and we have a solid friendship without all the angst and awkwardness. I wish I had proof that it doesn’t have to take so long, and for many it doesn’t. I guess the important thing is to be thankful that we’ve had the chance to feel and care, and be cared for. I know, the words sound good, feel right, but don’t nourish quite enough in the moment, do they? Perhaps it will help to know that you have been a help to others just by sharing this.
February 1, 2014 at 5:45 pm
Quite ironic you admire that because I don’t think the world of gay men is kind to those who any signs of being vulnerable. I know today I don’t feel as terrible as I did yesterday so I know these feelings are slowly going away. But yes, it’s good to know that we can still feel/care even if in some situations it’s not exactly comforting. It’s also good to know that we have a real chance of being friends. Thank you David.
February 1, 2014 at 5:55 pm
In depth self disclosure is not always easy to put forth. I also admire your willingness to do so. I believe it’s true, as you said, that in time it shall pass, and I say that only because I’ve had a similar relationship. What helped me, was I spent time concerned about his welfare rather than mine, it took the focus away from my misery, and I recovered from it all as a stronger person. Today, he and I are the best of friends. Best wishes on moving forward D.C..
Curious, did your therapist have any response to this?
February 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm
Interesting question. She felt that I was making a good decision but warned me that it wouldn’t be easy. She also wondered if I could be of some help to him on a platonic level since I admitted he was having personal challenges. This is sort of line with your experience I think..
February 1, 2014 at 10:19 pm
thank you for your honesty, and your courage. indeed, doing the right thing in your heart/mind, may not ‘feel’ good. best wishes in your ongoing coming to terms with this.
February 1, 2014 at 11:02 pm
March 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm
Reblogged this on Embakasi Reloaded.