Friday, July 16, 2010

First Loves

What is it about our first relationships that makes us into people we don't recognize when we look in the mirror? Normally when we think of first love, we think of sweet things and a time when our lives are full of endless possibilities. But...when looking back, does anyone else have those moments when you ask yourself, "What the hell was I thinking?" I don't know if this is a universal phenomenon or really just something that pertains to me, but it seems that Our first loves have a way of becoming our moon and sun to the point where we behave in ways we might not overlooking glaring flaws in the relationship, ignoring our friends, and doing things that push us beyond what we thought we were capable of. First loves always teach us lessons by the mistakes we make within them. Oh snap Toto...I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...

I have a friend...who shall remain nameless...who has confided in My husband and myself about his relationship with an older man. At the time...they were having alot of trouble with honesty and fidelity. They met online at a dating/hook up sight and began seeing each other. Soon a relationship developed. Our friend was in his twenties and the other man in his mid 50's. The problems began when our friend began to get serious about this older man. The older man would frequently not bother to call our friend for long periods of time, would not introduce him to ANY of his friends or family except to refer to our friend as his "nephew" to others. He kept there lives very separate. He also got caught by our friend continuing to solicite hook ups at  the same sight where they met. Knowing what most of us do today, I'm sure alot of people would have had some hard words for anyone who claims to be their boyfriend and then treats them this way...many would move on to greener pastures....especially after catching your boyfriend cruising for hook ups on the same sight you met him on.

But my friend is in love...and it's his first....he's willing to ignore every warning sign and danger signal along the way because that feeling is so overwhelming. Ah well...When we hear from him  at all these days its all unicorns, butterflies, and bunny rabbits. Thats first loves for you.

I understand by now that you can give people the best of your years of experience and they will take your advice and promptly ignore it. Its happened all too often. You can't walk another persons path for them..they will do what they need to do and sometimes being a good friend means standing back and allowing them to...even when you see the warning flags they don't. Sometimes, being a friend is still being there when the poodoo does hit the ventilation device. Besides, I was no different.

All these events have made me think back to my first boyfriend. I was twenty and fresh out of the less than a month out. I was like a heat seeking missile looking for someplace to put twenty years worth of pent up emotion and longing...and I found it. He was a very good guy...easy to talk to...easy to be around...the kind of guy that could bring out the most frightened of closeted men. We liked the same things and often spent long hours talking about video games, comics and all the juvenile stuff  we both still love today. But..he was also the kind of guy who loved intellectualism for its own sake  and considered himself smarter and more experienced than me...and he showed it to me in a variety of ways.

In any conversation he would love to argue it around to its begining just for fun...leaving me frustrated that I had not been heard at all. Also, in any new thing I discovered and became excited about...he had already been there, done that and didn't care to discuss it any further...mind you we were only a couple years apart in age.

But the part that eventually led to a break up with him was that he loved to seduce people that were outside his bounds and take me along with him. I was fresh out of the closet and dealing with sex outside of my relationship was scary....a little shame filled...and exciting all at once. Now...several years away from that relationship I can see how I was manipulated by him. Wtith him I experienced many things outside the norm...and I learned from them. I learned much from him both good and bad.

I learned what it felt like to be in love on all levels...not only emotionally...but physically as well. It was the first time in which all the elements were present and I didn't know that it could feel like that. Dating women never held this level of feeling and passion. I learned what it was like to love someone I was friends with and what a relationship could be. I saw myself do and say things to him I didn't think even existed within me...and in that moment realised that relationships were not meant to be easy all time, but required work and patience. I learned that two men can definitely love each other with the same level of commitment that any straight relationship can boast...a fact that was a revelation for me then.

In the negative...I learned that I can be manipulated and that sometimes my instincts for people arent so sharp(in fact..they suck). This taught me to be wary of the motivations of others and that its not always a good thing to accept people at face value. I learned that I am capable of doing things my sixteen year old self would have paled to consider....and thus the lesson was to take responsibility for that part of myself and my actions. With him I learned the connections between sex and love. I was with him for over three years.

Now...I have always been something of a serial monogamist. There has never really been a time when I was a single gay man. That said...I don't think I have lacked for lessons in life. Its just that most of those lessons have come from those I loved. If not for my first love, I don't think I would have had the emotional equipment to be with my current husband...with whom I have grown exponentially more. I can never regret anything that has happened because it has all led in some way to the love I know today. Even the bad things about my relationship with my first love have a different meaning for me today. All I regret is the pain and hurt of how we ended. I still carry that lesson today as well....even though he does not believe that is so.

That is my story...somewhat abridged....My point being that the people we first love take us to places we didn't think it was possible for us to go...and they usually hold a mirror up to ourselves in a way we have not been accustomed to seeing. They often teach us not only about love but the realities of living it day by day after the honeymoon has passed... so I can never be judging when I see someone else dive off that same deep end that I swam in for so long.

ah well, thats first loves for you...

Until next time dear readers...


  1. "We always believe our first love is our last, and our last love is our first."
    -George John Whyte-Melville

  2. Written perfectly!

    My first love was with a girl when i was just 15, and it lasted 5 years. She gave me my first 'Taste' of love, but the taste was actually not as sweet as i thought. Moving out of this relationship and into a new, single 'Better' life, made me bitter towards her, as i realised i had been held back from doing things that others has already experienced in their teenage years. This Haunted me...I believe that the emotions and things that i am dealing with now, from 20 - present (22) are things that i could have dealt with muh earlier in my teens...But i am not one to regret, it happened for a reason!

    Love is different i believe in each relationship, the passion and stength however is down to the individual bond, trust, and connection you have with that person. The love i have now, i believe will remain sweet!

    Great read, Keep it up!


  3. It is not only first love, but all love. Every time we open our hearts to love someone, we become vulnerable, and from that openness we learn something. First love tends to be more intense, more complete, but if we love each time like we've never been hurt before, and hold nothing back, we learn each time. But this is true only for those who love with an open heart. For those who love by manipulation, by selfish aims, like your first lover, or the older man of your young friend, they will never learn, and never truly experience love.

  4. Great, now I'm all nervous and self-conscious. I've been w/ my current boyfriend (first relationship ever) for a year and a half and still going strong. I think our relationship is solid, but like I can't see the future ya know?

    Okay, that's basically my comment. Have a great weekend! :)

  5. I have a theory that gay people stay in their first relationship longer than they probably should, particularly if they didn't come out of the closet in middle or high school. They see their straight friends pairing up and dating and think "Why can't I have that?" Then, when they finally do date someone of the appropriate gender, they're just so excited to be dating and with someone, they overlook all the problems in the relationship. Maybe they're in love with the idea of having a boyfriend, they just don't want to lose that by confronting the problems. Or maybe they just don't know what dating should be like, because they didn't dated people of the right gender as teenagers, when most straight people learned how to be in a relationship.

    Either way, they'll put up with a lot more in their first relationship than they would in later ones.

    Well, that's my theory at least. Maybe I'm off-base, and this isn't something that's unique to gay people. But that's kinda where my personal experience lies.

  6. It all depends on the people, Sameer. The younger generation is luckier, with more open and opportunities earlier. And who knows, I have known older couples who met when they were young and stayed together all their lives. It's difficult to generalize but in general, I agree that the tendency to over-stay in a relationship, any relationship not just the first one, is directly proportional to the depth of the closet.

    Good luck with your relationship, Chris. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones. Only you and your boyfriend can tell for sure.

    By the way, every relationship has problems. It is not enough to say someone needs to end a relationship because there are problems. It depends on whether both parties are willing to learn from them and compromise, and stay together in spite of the problems. There are, of course, as Dr. Phil says, deal breakers, like abuse (both physical and emotional), drugs, unfaithful deceit, etc. In a way gay relationships never deal with these issues as much as straight ones for various reasons, and so many gay people stay in bad relationships longer than healthy for them. I stayed in one that, in hindsight, should have ended a year earlier - better yet, never got into it at all. I learned a lot about myself from that bad experience nonetheless. Live and learn. :-)

  7. Chris, Everyone, including myself worries far to much about the future...If the present is treating you well, and your still enjoying your time with each other etc, then fine. Let the future take its course. However if the present isn't being kind, then address it...I too am now in a serious first gay relationship and am 22 (your 21 i see)

    Sameer...I can relate to what you are saying and i have invested alot of my own time in making sure that whats happening now is right. Because i was 'in the closet' for so long, or maybe its just a personal trait I have, i found myself becoming obsessive with people. Not in a freaky way, but you know, falling to quickly, giving to much to quick etc. I was worried that this is what was happening with my current partner...And if i told you the story, God you'd think it was...the main point being i've moved to Brazil....I live in UK!

    I invest alot of my thinking in making sure that i am here because of the relationship, our connection, our bond, not because of your points mentioned Sameer, because your RIGHT, this CAN happen very easily. Thankfully, there are no problems i can see yet in our relationship, and i will be sure to address these if they arise. I have far more to loose than him (being here) and i will make sure that i don't loose it by being 'Blinded by love...'


  8. "Sometimes, being a friend is still being there when the poodoo does hit the ventilation device."

    Sorry to disappoint you, Bryan, but "poodoo" is Huttese for fodder (i.e. animal feed).

    I discovered it recently when I was writing something in response to the Vatican's recent decision to rank female ordination alongside paedophilic rape on a serious sin list. I intended to describe the list as "Papal bantha poodoo", on the theory that I would therefore not simply be describing Pope Ratty's latest outburst as a steaming pile of shit, but fictitious shit as that - a sweet (if not immediately obvious) extra degree of insult. Unfortunately when I double-checked the translation, I found out it wouldn't work: "fictitious animal-feed" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

    Five out of ten for effort though!

    (hmmm, isn't that the second time in recent months I've seen you &/or Jay make a Star-Wars related mistake? You guys may need to hand in your fanboy cards if this carries on!)

  9. Great entry. A lot of what was written resonated with me and my experience. I've never had a "first love" per se. Depending on how you define love, but given that I've never been in a relationship, not out of the closet, never done anything physical with anybody, etc. I'd definitely say I've never been in love.

    That being said, I've definitely had a crush. A strong one where I acted as if I was in love. Like what you wrote, you learn stuff about yourself that you didn't even know you had in you. I finally understood what they mean by "crazy in love". It would've been helpful to turn to somebody for advice (or they could smack sense into me lol), but I was and still am closeted, so I just had to deal with a lot of issues by myself. I'm glad though, because I came out a stronger and hopefully a more mature person

    I know I have tons to learn and experience still, but I feel I learned so much from my first major crush. Like you, I learned not to be overly trusting of people, and also still take the imprint of that "first" with me.

    You mentioned "serial monogamy". Did you decide that's how you were going to conduct your relationships consciously or did they just kind of happen that way Bryan? I feel your personality is similar to mine in that area, and obviously you're much more experienced in life than me, so I'm interested in your thoughts on it.

  10. I agree completely with Sameer, at least for my generation. I was extremely envious of my friends when they first started dating in High School because I realized I could not have what they did: a normal relationship accepted by society and my peers. Misinformation was so prevalent that I, to some extent, believed a gay relationship could never be as whole and meaningful as a straight one.

    By the time I got to college I had discarded much of that flawed ideology, but then realized that I was missing something that my peers had acquired: the trial and error experiences accrued over their Middle and High School years. I don't know how to ask someone out, nor how to engage in a relationship because I have never tried and either failed or succeeded. But I think there's an even graver disadvantage to gay people: exposure to societal norms through media.

    In all my 20 years, I cannot remember a single positive gay role model growing up until the movie "Brokeback Mountain," if indeed you can call that positive. Media is rife with examples of love stories and depictions of straight dating and stable straight relationships while at the same time bristling with negative examples of LGBT relationships (Dog Days with Al Pachino I would submit as such an example) when they’re willing to admit the existence of such people. Even worse, I just watched a short video that outlined how many villains in Hollywood can be seen expressing what society would label as LGBT tendencies (The Great Escape with the character Pierre and The Silence of the Lambs with the Buffalo Bill character).

    Thus simple things, such as holding the door or buying flowers, become complicated in a gay (or LGBT) context: Is buying flowers too feminine to do for a boyfriend and if so, then what do you do in its stead? Do you hold the door for a guy? Who pays for the date? Even though these questions are also being asked in the straight community, it’s not looked down upon for a guy to buy flowers for his girl whereas things are more uncertain in an LGBT context. If these things were as clarified as they are for straight people, then it would certainly make dating for everyone else easier (and less awkward).

    It certainly is true that things have gotten better for the younger generation, though I question to what degree. When I hear about some attempting to take their significant others to prom, it astounds me. At the same time, the simple fact that we’re hearing about them means these are exceptional cases, so there’s definitely room for improvement; I simply cannot see someone attempting to do so in my hometown. The issue of role models has also changed: Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patric Harris are now openly gay, and more movies with gay themes have entered mainstream media (Milk and the new The Kids are Alright). Again, their numbers are few and it takes especial effort to find out about them. The ever-expanding Internet also has brought a lot of opportunities, such as this very blog, but again opportunities have multiplied for adversarial forces (and ill-informed opinions) as well. Hopefully as society moves ever closer to tolerance (at a snail’s pace…) things will become better.

    Even if not, we do have one thing on our side: love. And love, as they say, conquers all.

  11. Isn't it amazing how we do things we wouldn't normally do for that person we love so much, especially at the fear of losing them. Then later we realize if they really loved us, they wouldn't have asked or manipulated the situation. But, we grow as we make those choices. Funny, I read this today because I was sharing with a friend of mine yesterday about who I believe to be your nameless friend and was telling her how he was just on my heart because of some of his videos and most recent video. I do hope he's getting the best from his relationship and not being hurt....he's got such a great spirit and I'd hate to see him crushed...again! But, he's lucky to have friends who care about him so much!

  12. I've done the stupidest thing you could do: I've fallen for a straight guy. I know you never really know, but it's the kind of person you just know is straight. It sucks when you biologically cannot be with someone.

  13. Love is foolishness, one that anyone would choose over all the riches in the world: for love is being eternally rich without owning a thing. Besides, I would rather play the part of the Fool than that of the King, for the Fool dies with a satisfied smile on his face, while the King departs this world weary, his furrows still cemented in agony.

  14. Given the complexities involved in a gay relationship, it is important to consider many things before getting involved. I have too signed up at many Gay Social Network but have been very careful while connecting with others.