The following is a long read. There’s a lot of ground to cover to help better understand the whole story. For those that have come here, please stick with me until the end. For those that know a specific part of this story, I also ask you continue as there are likely parts you don’t know.
While I have opened up at times either through here or various posts on social media, I tend not to mention too much about my past. And for what bits I have expressed, it had only gone out to a few people. There’s a few things that has occurred that aren’t exactly the best points in my life while other things are just things about myself I’ve stayed clear of mentioning due to concerns of how certain people would react.
However, it can be freeing to no longer hide these thoughts and feelings.
I’ve never talked about my dating life publicly if only because there really isn’t a life to talk about. The last time I went on an actual date was back in either my sophomore or junior year of high school. In short, it wasn’t going to work due to her living 20 miles from me and the lack of a car thing. (Public transit was a joke in Houston.) And honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I can’t remember any actual attraction between us. It lasted maybe a month at most. I did get to take her to a school dance so there’s that.
The closest I had been to finding someone who I believed truly had feelings toward me was my junior year of high school. A series of phone conversations that occurred gave me confidence this was the case. Before I could be completely sure, she moved to another part of the city. Once again, the lack of transit made it tough to see each other. Not long after that, communication between us was nonexistent.
During this time and for a good time afterwards, I’ve had a problem of misunderstanding the kindness and good nature of my friends to mean more. I would express my feelings to be informed that they didn’t feel the same way. And while looking back now I understand I could have taken these situations better but being a teenager, logic doesn’t exactly take center stage. In fact, this has led to a situation that could have ruined a real close friendship on multiple occasions, but I won’t go into that.
For the most part since then, I now know better that good friends are very likely being just that: good friends. Unfortunately, it also means I have no idea if someone is actually interested in or flirting with me. Because I’ve put myself on the defensive so much, I’m afraid to even venture a guess. The only way I’d know for sure is if that other person says something first or be really obvious about it. I’m really dense about this now. This defense has led to a couple of missed opportunities where a couple of women had noted that were interested in me but had already moved on because I never said anything. They just assumed I wasn’t interested.
After high school, dating just wasn’t in the cards. I tried to meet people (which consisted of messaging people on MySpace) but either I did something completely stupid, was strung along, and other reasons. I’m just not good at this.
Along the way, I did have a few flings thanks to the MySpace communication method mentioned above. (Just so y’all know I’m not a 35-year old virgin.) When you’re desperate, you’re desperate. But that’s all they were. Loveless flings with no meaning. Something to fill that void for that moment. To say I didn’t feel regretful afterwards would be a lie. Obviously not too regretful as I would do this a couple more times after the first.
Rewind back to high school. After being rejected once more, I was feeling really terrible. I began wondering if there was something about me that was wrong. I didn’t know what to do.
I don’t remember how I came across it, but I found a chatroom on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) for a group of people that all had a similar interest and felt the same way about a certain topic. That chatroom?
I’m not sure when it happened. If I had to pinpoint a time, I’d say somewhere between 7th and 8th is when I started to look at men differently. I remember at one point joking around with a friend (why is it always a friend with me!?), grabbing him by the shirt so I could sneak a peek at his chest.
I was definitely curious. But it’s something that wasn’t exactly really thought about day to day. I was still interested in women and would continue to pursue them. (Usually to disastrous results as noted above.) But between the recent rejection and the discovery of that chat room, something in me said I should move forward with this.
At the time, my brother was friends with someone who was openly gay. I began to make friends with him. I, once again, thought more of it than what it really was. It led to me being heartbroken. Again. (Looking back, I’m sure I was likely just trying to latch onto whatever I could and truly not feeling what I had thought I felt.)
Frustrated, I venture back into the chatroom. Instead of romance, hormones take control. Not a great combination. I didn’t care.
I eventually start direct messaging with a guy that is willing to go along. After a lie or two to my parents (who still don’t know at the time), I made the trip to his place. That night, I had my first sexual encounter ever and it was with a man.
That man was also a friend of my oldest brother.
Since then, I’ve never thought about dating a guy. The only encounters I’ve had with men were purely sexual and nothing more. And like with the women I’ve been with, the meetings were loveless and meaningless. Driven by nothing more than the need to fulfill my needs.
It hasn’t been until very recently the thought of dating men has floated around in my head. Specifically, it wasn’t until the poor reception I had with with online dating services. So what’s changed? Why now?
I just want to be happy.
There have been moments I’ve wanted to say certain things or make comments about men that I haven’t been able to in the past. I don’t want this barrier I’ve set up myself to stop me anymore. I want to be able to say that a man is cute and attractive. I want to say that webcomic about the men awkwardly discovering their love for each other is adorable. I want to say the things I’ve felt comfortable saying about women about men as well. It’s been frustrating having to hold back.
It’s not only that. At 35 years old, I’ve realized that whoever I spend the rest of my life with, I want it to be with someone who not only loves me for who I am, is not only someone I can call a friend, but someone who makes me one of the happiest people on earth. I want to be able to share and reciprocate those feelings and emotions to someone that wants the same.
There are instances I want to be doing something stupidly entertaining with someone that leads to us laughing hysterically. There are times I wish I could take someone out for a nice dinner. There are nights I wish I could spend walking, holding hands, and enjoying the night sky and each other’s company. There are moments I wish I could simply be cuddling with someone on a couch watching a show or a movie. I want my day to end and begin next to the most wonderful, incredible, caring person I know filling in the unoccupied half of the bed i sleep in.
If I have feelings for someone, why should I not follow on those feelings regardless of gender?
I simply want to feel free of restrictions.
So what about my parents? All of the above was written throughout the week before I told them. It wasn’t until this weekend that I’ve informed them. It went… surprisingly quick?
The biggest problem I had was trying to figure out the best time to tell them. There were plenty of times to let them know. Instead of checking out the sites in Austin, they just wanted to sit and chill. So there were plenty of times I could have said something Saturday. I didn’t.
Saturday evening, we went to dinner with a couple of my friends. As we completed our dinner and were leaving the place, I let my friends know that although I said I’d say something there, I felt like that could lead to an uncomfortable situation. Thankfully, they were more than happy to be there for me. Yet, I still didn’t say anything although there was an opportunity.
Time was running out. Sunday morning, the parents and I went out for breakfast. Plenty of topics came up but still, I wasn’t ready.
With about 15 minutes before they were to leave, I finally started to stumble out some words. I honestly had no idea where to start. So I first go on about how my dating life hasn’t exactly been very … well, existent.
Eventually, I finally get to what it is I’ve been trying to say. To paraphrase the actual conversation:
Me: “I’ve been hiding this for years, but I also like men.”
Dad: “So you’re keeping your options open, huh?”
Mom: *nods* “Hey. Look at this completely unrelated thing on Facebook.”
And just like that, we were on another topic. The one thing that I’ve been really afraid to tell my parents due to the uncertainty of how they’d respond was over in a matter of seconds. It was like I was telling them the sky is blue or water is wet.
This is an incredible relief. I feel silly now since they took the news like it was nothing. But in the end, it’s feels really good to let them know.
To those that made it this far, thank you for going on this journey with me, both in this telling of my life and for those that have been a part of my life. More importantly, thank you for any support you have shown and may show. In the end, I’m still the same awkward person I’ve always been. That hasn’t changed. And I don’t expect anyone’s opinion of me to change. (At least, I hope not.)
Do I truly expect to be happier after this? I don’t know. There’s only one way to find out.