I am a red-blooded man and I have a lot of sex. I’m not afraid to say it. Often times it’s mediocore. Sometimes it’s bad. And on a few occasions, it is mindblowingly fantastic! One of those happened last week. I have a regular sex buddy that I hadn’t seen in a while. Work and an overly active social life were making it difficult for me to drive to his place. Last week, the universe aligned and I found myself in his bedroom having an amazing time. On the drive home, I got a text from him where he said those dreaded three words, “I love you.”
I always dread it when I hear or read those words, especially when I know I don’t currently and probably won’t ever feel the same. Do I lie and say the words back just to ensure I keep getting laid? Or do I say nothing and hope it’s fine? Or do I do the honorouble thing and tell the truth, risking the end of a rather pleasant sexual relationship? I resent having to make this choice, especially post-coital in the middle of the night on my way home! And I especially resent having to make that choice because I always make it very clear when I embark on any kind of relationship with someone what I want from the relationship. I learned a few years ago to put everything out in the open as quickly as possible. This is perhaps a bit of a vain attempt not to lead someone into heartbreak and hurt. I call it vain because this assumes that every person I come into contact with is going to develop deep feelings with me. But, what can I say, I am a very lovable person.
Back to this particular night. I chose not to say anything until the next morning. I called him before I went to work and laid out all my cards. I reiterated that my feelings hadn’t changed since we first started hooking up. We couldn’t be more than we were. I told him it was up to himto take the next step. I haven’t heard from him since, and you know, that’s ok. We had a great run. My sex life continues. I just hope I haven’t turned imto my worst nightmare; a 30-something cynical gay man who doesn’t believe in love anymore!
I’ve had four serious relationships in my life. In all but the last I was younger than my partner (significantly so in one instance). In my last one I was the older party. I was never in it for the money and my most recent ex boyfriend didn’t need or get any money from me. Just because there’s an age difference between two people doesn’t mean that monetary transactions are the basis and binding force of the relationship. I’ve always been able to provide for myself in every relationship I’ve been in; and to some extent, I expect my partner to be able to do the same. Don’t get me wrong, I love being spoilt with romantic gestures. These gestures just can’t be forced.
The reason I’m saying all of this is that I’ve been accused,through the grapevine, of paying my ex-boyfriend for sex. I know the stories didn’t originate from him. Whoever has spread this ludicrous story obviously doesn’t know either of us very well. If they did, they would know that for both of us love, sex and money don’t mix. I know our relationship was unexpected and unconventional and full of internal drama, but the love was real. It may be hard for anyone who was on the outside looking in to understand how and why we got together and stayed together as long as we did. But for them to automatically turn to the idea of me paying for services rendered says a great deal about our community; specifically how younger guys are treated by older guys and the expectations younger guys have of older guys dating them. It disgusts me that money is the first thing that people think of. What about the mutual love and mutual respect that two people may share. I know not every relationship between partners of different ages is the same as mine have been. However, painting them all with the same brush is unfair. I was left enriched emotionally and matured. I had experiences with my older partners that opened me to the possibilities of what a relationship between two men could be. I was left a better man. I hope I had the same effect on my ex.
That’s my rant for the day done!
The past two weekends have been filled with almost non-stop revelry for me and my posse. It’s been a fun blur of drink, dance and… the dreaded ex! Because Harare’s gay community is really small, you are inevitably going to bump into that ex you may not be completely over. Cue the awkward conversations. The surreptitious glances. The jealous evil-eye at his next conquest. And of course the excessive drinking so that you appear cool and unaffected by his presence. Never mind the fact that he’s probably going through the same emotions. But in that moment all you can think about is yourself. You feel stupid for still having feelings for him but unable to stop caring for him and seeking him out. You secretly hope that you’ll ‘bump’ into each other in a quiet corner, the romantic orchestra will burst into a triumphant love song and you’ll run into each other’s arms and fall into long passionate embrace (all transgressions forgiven and forgotten). But, alas. Life isn’t a Hollywood melodrama. Life is opening yourself to love in the full knowledge that the love can quickly turn into pain and heartache. You can’t truly love someone until you accept that. This love, this relationship is for right now and any promises of forever are liable to be broken.
My motto in life has always been if they ask, answer. But some of the questions people ask are just too ridiculous and offensive to deserve a response. My boyfriend and I were entertaining a bunch of my friends and talking about life and love. One of my male hetero friends asks us, “So who’s the man and who’s the woman?” I’m sure the look on my face must have scared him because he very quickly began to apologise and try to make the situation better. He failed dismally! Seriously hetero population, between my boyfriend and I, do either of us look like we have a vagina between our legs? If you’re not sure, here’s a clue – we’re both gay and don’t like vagina. Asking a gay couple that question is playing to hetero-normative stereotypes of the world and quite frankly that pisses me off. My partner and I are exactly that, partners. The beauty of a true partnership is that our roles are fluid and dynamic and change to fit the situation and our whims. That’s where a gay couple are lucky I guess. Being two men or women in a relationship already breaks the gender norms that society tries to put people in. We are free to define our own relationship and our roles in whatever way suites our needs. So once again I will reiterate that I’m not the woman in the relationship and neither is my boyfriend; we are partners and that, my friends, is the definition of love.
I’ve been blind-sided. My boyfriend, remember him – we’re calling him Kay, told me last night that he thinks he’s not gay. Oh, but he still loves me! How the hell am I supposed to respond to that? We’ve been together for nearly a year and half and he springs this on me right at the moment when I was ready to ask him to spend the rest of my life with him. It’s something we’ve gone through before and something we got over before. But am I supposed to go through this again and again? Am I supposed to believe that he really loves me or is he just staying with me out of pity? I don’t want to be that guy. I know I said before that I would let him be with somebody else as long as I knew that he loved me. But now, I don’t know. Living in this country means that there’s nobody I can talk to. I mean, he’s my best friend as well as my lover. How am I supposed to discuss this with him? I feel so lost and alone right now.
It’s been a while since I started this blog and a lot has happened. I’ve been frustrated by the job market and living in my parents’ home has been challenging. It’s not like they don’t know I’m gay, but knowing and knowing are two different things – if you get what I’m saying. I’m starting to feel like I did when I was 16 and that was not a good time for anyone. And going back to that time in my life is not what I expected.
My other big frustration is my relationship. My boyfriend, let’s call him Kay, is sexy, smart, funny and so full of life. He’s also younger than me. I’ve never been the older guy in any relationship and that puts so much pressure on me. I guess I just don’t know how to deal with that. He’s also still questioning his sexuality, and hasn’t fully accepted who he is. When we started dating almost 6 months ago, he said he was gay, although he’d been with a lot of women… but then so had I. Now he’s saying that he’s bisexual. I’ve never wanted to date someone who was bisexual or still questioning. I think I’m a supportive partner and I always want the best for my partners. I want Kay to be happy and if that means that I have to watch him enter into a relationship with a woman then that’s what I’ll do. I love him dearly and the thought of him with someone else is breaking my heart, but it’s something I’m willing to do. I sound like a glutton for punishment. But then again, why should anyone care…