STORY OF A GAY COUPLE

email dated March 4, 2020

Hi Project,

I have been reading your forum for several years and I find it particular because there are several original and very unusual messages.

I’m 42 years old, I’m single or in other words I don’t have a boyfriend, I only had one with whom I had a very complex but also very true relationship. I’ve never been too interested in sex, which on the contrary is absolutely fundamental for him. After me he had other boys but in essence it was just a series of illusions-disillusions. In practice he has never lived a truly symmetrical relationship, he didn’t experience this kind of relationship not even with me. He’s young, he’s 32 years old, but he is afraid of becoming old without realizing anything concrete on an emotional level. I can’t say if I still love him or if I have ever loved him, our relationship has always been very convoluted, indeed we have always said that we did not understand each other and that we were looking for different things, that we would have done better to find other people, etc. etc .. But that minimum of relationship that was there when we were together has never been completely lost. He kept telling me that he was interested in me only for sex, because he was afraid that I would fall in love and get hurt, and instead I would repeat to him, using the most varied expressions, that I was really in love with him above all sentimentally: our positions were so different that it was basically impossible to find any balance and in fact the thing is over.

Was ours a couple relationship? I just don’t think so and I don’t think it was even so at the beginning because I always had many doubts about the matter and I never really felt in love with him, as I would have liked, even if I kept saying to him that I was, and on the other hand he too was not in love with me as he would have liked. We were together, there was a bit of sex, too little for him and too much without feeling for me, basically there was nothing concrete between us, yet this “nothing” was not completely lost even after each of us has gone on his way, but even now our love, if we can call it so, is not a real way of loving each other but it’s a way to depend a little on each other, a sort of dependence because he considers me a friend with whom he’s allowed to have sex sometimes, always too little for him and always too loveless for me. In practice we go on as before but only in an even more diluted way, we meet once in a while, sometimes also after months, when he doesn’t find anything better (I know that saying so it’s a bit as saying a bad thing) or when I get depressed and I miss him and I call him in the illusion that there may be an even minimal emotional contact, because I still delude myself that it can happen.

I must say that in recent months I have felt a gradual cooling in me, years ago I missed him very much, that is, when he was not there I was really bad, but now, sometimes I prefer that he is not there, I feel more peaceful, I delude myself that he’s happy with somebody else and this is enough as an excuse to avoid looking for him.

Sometimes I try to put myself in his shoes and I realize that he’s not living well at all, and then I feel a bit of guilt because I’m now truly abandoning him to himself, I would like that between us there was also a minimum of emotional relationship, but he doesn’t want to know about these things, he tells me that he fell in love even recently, but not with me, and that the story seemed important but then the guy began to be jealous and obsessive (which are the same flaws that he reproaches me) and he felt caged and preferred to close the story because he ended up being too anxious. With me, he didn’t close the story but emptied it from within. He tells me that I never accept compromises and that everything must always be done as I say, but I think of him exactly the same. After him I kept away from sex, partly because of the fear of diseases and partly because putting sex in the middle creates a lot of problems, everyone has his own fixed ideas and fantasies, everyone has his way to live those things and it is very difficult to find a common space, and then I came to the conclusion that it is much better to put aside sex and cultivate only friendships, then, perhaps, if any of those friendships were to become deeper and if there was also a mutual sexual involvement, ok, I would be fine, but I don’t want sex without shared love anymore.

In certain situations one remains in the balance between the need not to be overwhelmed by rhythms that we perceive as something foreign to us and the illusion of being able to make others understand our way of life, and there uncertainties, doubts and oscillations begin, but little by little the oscillations fade away and you are definitely in the middle, without real involvement and without real freedom.

I can’t deny, though, that I can’t permanently get him out of my head. I wish he was happy, because then I would be happy too, but I would no longer like him to be happy with me because I know very well that such a thing is impossible. Unfortunately, over time, I’m increasingly led to think that he will not be happy with anyone. I got easily used to not having a couple life, but it is much more difficult for him, because even if he denies it, he needs a strong emotional relationship that is very difficult to build out of a couple relationship, but a couple life would not be compatible with his free way of experiencing sexuality.

Sometimes I think that among the straight people the presence of children dilutes all these problems, in gay couples, on the contrary, where everything happens only within the couple itself, certain problems end up becoming conditioning.

Use this email as you want but, if you can, try to answer me because it would help me understand many things that maybe I don’t understand at all.

Giulio

email dated March 6, 2020

Hi Giulio,

your story, if you consider it in the abstract, it seems the twisted story of a failure, but frankly it seems to me rather like a difficult love story, and of true love, I would also add reciprocal. It is evident that you are still in love with that guy but it is equally evident that he has never disappeared and that he considers you an important person. In his own way, apparently without affective involvement, it will perhaps be a partial, defective love, different from how you would have liked it, but it is anyway a form of love because it lasts over time and because it has overcome many difficulties that would have easily led to dissolution any superficial couple relationship. True love stories are always very different from how we had planned them, they are always much more problematic, much less linear but at the same time they have the persistence of reality. I don’t believe that your making love with that guy was “without love”, even if there have been many misunderstandings among you, it has never been an irreparable and destructive conflict. You say that you have created a kind of mutual dependence and it almost seems that you consider this fact something quite pathological, but there is nothing pathological, loving each other also entails this, indeed if this mutual dependence (note the adjective “mutual” that is typical of real couples) were not there wouldn’t even be a love relationship. This guy, after all, if he was only looking for sex, he could find it very easily elsewhere, but if he looks for it from you and he still does it after years, well, he probably doesn’t look for just that, he knows that you will accept and understand him in any case, that he can tell you freely whatever he thinks and that you will answer him by telling him whatever you really think. Affectivity can also be expressed through sex. Anaffective sex is ephemeral, it leads to change many partners not to build anything with anyone but that’s not what happened to you with that guy. His love is not exclusive, this could be a problem for you, but for some people exclusivity is not essential and it is possible to develop very serious even if not exclusive relationships, where, however, there is the problem of HIV risk.

Dear Giulio, I don’t think you lost that guy at all. The superficial stories quickly fade away and yours doesn’t seem to me to be a finished story at all, and I’m not saying from your point of view but from his point of view.

A hug.

Project

e-mail dated 8 March 2020

Dear Project,

you say that his is not anaffective sex and really I think it is not. In my previous email I told you that I had a very complex but very true relationship with him and this, sometimes, I tend to forget it. In fact, he trusted me, he also talked to me about extremely private things and I can’t forget this, he exposed himself to a judgment that could also be fierce and of rejection, that is, he risked a lot. He didn’t please me on principle, he was himself all the way. He knows that I love him and even when he treats me abruptly he does it with respect, perhaps also with love. I haven’t heard from him in a while and I don’t know whether to call him. Anyway, thank you for your answer, because you made me rethink him by putting aside my defense mechanisms. He has his strengths, there is no doubt, he never acted with me.

Thanks again.

Giulio

e-mail of 9 March 2020

Hi Project,

here we are all agitated by the fear of the virus, and I’m too, but I wanted to tell you that today happened something that I didn’t expect at all. That guy, and I would like to say or should say my boyfriend, called me last night and we were talking until almost dawn (the sky was already bright), he was serene and I felt happy, we remembered our first nights of love, reluctances and scruples on one side and the other. You must know, Project, that I believed that he would come to hate me for those nights of sex, because he was so much younger than me, and instead he remembered them as a beautiful thing, as moments when he felt completely free and accepted. He asked me if I had ever felt forced because he was afraid of having forced me to do something that I didn’t want to do. I told him that he was the only guy in my life, indeed the model of my ideal guy. He reminded me that he also has friends with whom he sometimes has sex, I told him that he had talked to me about it at other times, he asked me if it embarrasses me, I replied that it creates me concern about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and he added: “But, apart from diseases, does this fact embarrass you?” And I replied: “No, because I know that you really love me. You can love other boys too, but this won’t turn you away from me.” It was a very emotional and very rewarding night, totally unexpected and I felt important in his life. That’s all. I wanted to let you know. Obviously you can use my mails as you like better. Thanks again.

Giulio

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MY NORMAL GAY LIFE

I wondered what I could do for this forum after nine years since my forum registration. Nine years ago I came across this forum by chance reading a post by Ennis that even today excites me everytime I read it. He was 21  and I was 28 and I couldn’t help but see in his story my own story not as it had gone but like it should have gone.
At 21 he had been able to tell himself that he was gay and had found the courage to write in this forum. For me it was different. When I discovered my attraction for males I was only 17 years old. At that time the internet was not there and that bit of porn that I saw, I saw it secretly in the back of the newsstands or it was that porn that I happened to find on the street.
It may seem absurd now. It is so easy now to have images, video, information and everything else, but back then it was different. There was no one to talk about such things. You had no way to understand if your feeling was envy, curiosity or true attraction. I remember that then I started throwing my eye frequently in the bathrooms, I often went down to the station where it was easy to meet “people” like that. In short, it was really difficult to understand and the simplest thing ultimately was to retrace my steps. I talked about this to my female best friend, but then they were just doubts and remained such for many years.
The Internet has changed everything: access to porn, but above all to information. Reading about homosexuality from the point of view of other homosexuals is not simple. Homosexuality is often emphasized, made sclerotic in stereotypes. You can find the normality of being gay just  in a few places. I remember that I spent hours and hours reading the various testimonies, the responses and Project’s comments. The forum was a real drug. The more I I was there reading, the less I felt alone, the more I continued reading, the more I felt at home.
Then there were the fatigues, my personal fatigues, I mean those needed to overcome many of my resistances to go out in the correct way from a virtual space and open up to reality. 
I used to get angry with Project and with the things he used to write here, but in reality there are objective difficulties to reconcile one’s own being gay, not with the normality of friendship (old and new) but with gay chats and all the rest. I visited very little the gay environment, just enough time to win some of my objective and stupid resistance.
In those days I thought it was enough to go to see a gay-themed movie to tell the world that I was gay. Now I think about it and it seems absurd to me, yet it is a problem that I often read in the posts of those who have acceptance problems. We live with the idea that those around us have as their first thought find out what we are doing, but it does not work like that.
However the declared gay world has so many complexities that I thank with hindsight to have discovered myself when I was 28 and not  18. It is too easy to let yourself be drawn into that vortex of emotions, of meetings, of disordered stories, but it is very complicated to get out of them. Today I believe the path of homosexuals is more downhill. We talk a lot about homosexuality, it is almost imposed on the media level as “mandatory content”. In almost all television series for boys there is a gay protagonist or at least a gay friend. In other words, now things are very different. But I feel these times already distant from me.
Nine years after, I can only tell you that it ended well for me. Six years ago I met my current boy, with whom I live practically from day one. It is not all roses and flowers, it is no longer that storm of loving feelings of the first months, it’s everyday life, it’s normality, quarrels, hugs and awareness.
I remember exactly how it started, I remember that first meeting around in my city. I met my old friends and spent our first outing with them. That was the normality I needed. I was with him and my old friends always having a beer, laughing and joking all together. I remember We made love three days later. And I still remember the first time he asked me to come to my house next time. Cabbage!! [a common exclamation in Italian] I was preparing my thesis and I was in trouble, I had to finish it. I then remember that he came to my house and sat on my bed looking at his cell phone while I was writing my thesis. After a while he fell asleep. Then he helped me write the thesis, we continued to go out with friends who gradually understood. And shortly six years have passed since that day.
I’ve always been certain we’ll stay together in spite of the many moments of crisis, quarrels and difficulties of these six years. Every time, from some of his behaviors, I have always had an illumination that started from my stomach and not from my brain: we are bound together by an intense and deep thread!
Couple life is not always simple, personal stresses inevitably mingle up with couple life and transform the relationship. It is not easy to continue to stay together whenever your personal situation changes. Many problems are more material and concrete than one might believe, for example your work if it does not satisfy you, your house if you don’t like it, can become problems. I believe that beyond feelings, life as a couple is a vocation, a life choice. If you don’t have it as a priority, you will soon become tired of your life.
This is not the case for me. I spent many of my years crucifying myself because I couldn’t have a story, writhing in bed because it was always too empty. I believe that from life I don’t need anything else to be happy.
I told you this whole story as a personal testimony: a normal life is possible, a gay daily life too, and it’s also possible to put one’s own homosexuality in its right place. Homosexuality doesn’t create our identity, we are not homosexuals. Homosexuality only identifies our orientation, but has nothing to do with how we are made, with our problems, our needs, our visions of the world. But unfortunately the need to emerge, to fight against prejudices etc. it makes homosexuality something pervasive in our existence.
Now I can read the forum stories differently. I read them and I find only stories of guys, with their problems, their relationship difficulties, in short I see mostly the homosexuality in the background and people in the foreground.
Well I’ll stop here. I hope that in some way my story may be useful to you.
By Alyosha
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LOVE IN A NON-STANDARD GAY COUPLE

Hi Project, 
I read so many posts on the forum, especially the last ones, and in reading them I had the impression of finding in many guys a kind of resignation in accepting everything from the other (your partner or something more or less similar), something that often happened to me too and that, I must say, has led me to many disappointments.
 
I told myself that being gay is already a complicated and problematic thing, but being a gay like me, who in the end always adapts to the desires and needs of the partner, means to shoot oneself in the foot. I felt united to all those guys “no more boys and not yet men” who run after a beautiful and impossible companion because to put us in the same category there was the fact of being unlucky in the same way, and unlucky means without a pussy, and this says a lot.
 
[The original post is in Italian, in Italian “unlucky” sounds normally “sfortunato” but there is another word, very commonly used to express a quite similar meaning and this word is “sfigato” literally “a guy who as no pussy to play with”. In Italian “pussy” sounds “figa”. ]
 
But now, Project, I’m writing to you for another reason, I no longer feel like a weak person or a fool who accepts everything from his partner because he is unable to rebel! I no longer feel like a victim but not because I rebelled and changed my behavior, but because I realized that I was never a victim.
 
Things are not at all like I had begun to see them in recent times: I love him! I have loved him for years, we have been fighting and making peace for years but we are always here. Today my … I don’t even know how to call him, well, I’ll call him Puppy, my Puppy called me on the phone and we spent a lot of time talking, he told me about his boys (yes, it seems paradoxical but it’s true!), about his doubts, his fears and a thousand other things, then we disconnected because it was too late and after a few minutes he sent me a text message: “I love you!”
 
I can tell you, Project, that I felt in seventh heaven, I don’t care that he’s no more my boyfriend, because after all he never was my boyfriend even when we were together, for me it’s enough that he loves me as he always did. If I continued to believe in him it is not because I was a weak guy or a loser who didn’t know where to head and somehow had to delude himself but because I loved him and I knew that he loved me too.
 
I have always known that he loved me, one can tell me: “but it is ONLY a friend!”. ONLY? But such a friend, a true friend like this is one who really loves you! I cannot say that we have been together for 14 years, because it wouldn’t be true, but we have loved each other for 14 years and this is very true. We know each other thoroughly and the contact between us has never been lost.
 
I’m not in love with the Moon, Project, but with a real guy who has so many flaws but he loves me like no one ever did. And I fell in love with him not because I didn’t see his faults but because I felt he really loved me in his own way. I don’t want a perfect boy, I want him, or rather I want him to be happy. Today he told me: “Many run after me but then nobody wants me as I am, they all tend to be possessive, you don’t, with you I can afford to be what I am.”
 
With him, in other times, I lived a couple’s life, then that phase was over but the loving has not passed, and I was so afraid that it would pass, but it did not pass! Project, you may find it absurd, but I feel like a happy man! I’m not alone, I know that he is there, with all the load of contradictions and melancholy that he carries with him, but he really exists. Maybe I see him more like the brother I never had than as a couple partner.
 
Actually, as he says, I’m not possessive but it’s something that comes naturally to me, I don’t feel like a renouncer or a weak screwed by a partner who takes advantage of the situation: none of this, Project, I feel happy! Many guys would consider what I wrote to be pathological, yet it’s all true and my happiness is true too. I would be upset if I lost him, if he forgot about me, I would be terribly ill if he judged me badly, but I feel him close even after 14 years so as I’ve never felt anyone else.
 
From the outside it seems that in my story there is no reciprocity because we no longer have sex together, but nevertheless there is a deep reciprocity and it has happened to me many times to feel important and even irreplaceable for him. Sometimes when he calls me he is anxious, then slowly he calms down and starts to joke a little, well, those are really wonderful moments!
 
Over the years I have also learned many things about couple life and about myself. With him I found a balance and an affectionate reciprocity (without exaggeration and without too many words), which I never found with anyone else. Today I feel really happy!
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GAY COUPLES IN FRONT OF THE MOST DIFFICULT TRIALS

Here is an email I received a few days ago and it struck me a lot. I asked the author to modify the text just a little to guarantee the protection of the privacy of the protagonists, while leaving intact the meaning of the story. This is the final text for publication. I thank Luca for having shared such a shocking experience and I’m sure that this text will help many people to have a more mature attitude towards life. 
“Hello Project, 
My name is Luca and I’m 42. I recently read the post “a gay couple in a terrible ordeal” and it deeply moved me, also because unfortunately I didn’t receive the same solidarity … 
Towards the end of last year, I was diagnosed with a serious neurological illness and my immature ex, after more than three years of our story, left me and as a justification he adduced very artificial excuses. 
I’m not writing to ask for advice or to be consoled, but perhaps because a part of me hopes that by putting my story in black and white, I can stop thinking about it and feel bad, as if I were moving away from it, as if I dismissed it. 
I have already talked about my love affair with a gay friend and some other good friends, but perhaps it is easier for me to write to a benevolent stranger, such as you are, to get rid of this burden, because your possible negative judgment I think would not touch me too much. 
I met Alberto in 2015. Our story was born at the beginning simply by physical attraction, but I was immediately struck by his sweetness and vulnerability. 
Although he was a few years older than me, he gave me the impression of a little lost boy. 
He told me with much hesitation and shyness that he still lived with his family, that he had never had a boyfriend, only stories lasting no more than a month, and that he had always been dumped. 
The last man he had trusted in had told him that he didn’t think he could keep up with the pace of a story. 
I asked him why he had not looked for more serious stories and he replied that he liked sex and that he had only recently been looking for something more. 
There were all the alarm bells pushing me to get away with no delay, instead I remember that I hugged him for a long time, I held him close to me and told him that in my opinion the others hadn’t understood anything and that I wanted to continue to see him, because he was a rough diamond that just waited to be discovered by someone who knew how to enhance it. 
And I added that, if it was for me, I would have gathered all the troubled and problematic guys to fill them with affection. 
In fact, I perfectly was able to understand what it was like to feel alone, without ever having someone special to love and to be loved by, because for many years I had experienced the same sensations before living serious stories. 
I still remember the sense of loneliness that has always assaulted me when I was in the midst of the “normal” guys, when I walked down the street in the crowd of my small provincial town and it seemed to me to be the only gay guy existing, an invisible pariah. 
Slowly I managed to get him out of the dynamic of seeing us only for sex and we began to know each other better and he opened up a lot with me.
We overcame many impasses together, mainly due to his inexperience. 
After a few months of dating, however, I received a bad cold rain: one afternoon, without warning, he told me out of the blue that he was not convinced to continue, because he didn’t understand where the experience with me could take him. 
I was so upset and angry that I burst into tears and literally ran away, with the intention of never seeing him again, so I felt disappointed that I had wasted my time with a total immature. 
He did everything he could to regain my trust and obviously I gave up, because I was madly in love with him. 
I explained to him that obviously the goals of a gay couple could not be those of a straight couple, that we would certainly not have had children and that on the other hand I had never considered cohabitation, because due to my family and work situation I couldn’t choose cohabitation nor be a declared gay. 
However, I added that in my opinion the fact of learning to love each other and doing many things together, such as travel, would have been more than important and satisfying. 
After that episode, our relationship became much stronger, although of course – as in all couples – there were lights and shadows. 
I would indeed have wished that we could spent more time together with him, also because we didn’t live at a great distance from each other and, since I lived alone, my house was always free. 
I understood that he needed to rest and to have his spaces, but I wanted more opportunities to be with him. 
We used to see each other only an hour after work during the week and only on Saturday afternoon. 
Then there were also some weekends together and holidays (but only for a week, because due to his work he couldn’t do more!) 
I remember once he told me all excited that on the radio he had heard of the “unpaired” guys and that he considered himself this way, that is to say as a person who loved couple life, but felt also very well when he was alone. 
A friend of mine in hindsight told me that Alberto probably had “a double life”, but I didn’t want to believe it. 
Unfortunately a constant in our relationship was from the beginning that I always had to make the first move to kiss him, to caress him with a gesture of tenderness, to make love. 
I was always the one who was the first to tell him that I loved him, that he was beautiful, and he only used to echo: “me too, me too”. 
When I asked him why he behaved so, his answer was “I don’t know”, although he once told me that I wasn’t his type physically. 
Then I was always the one who organized our activities, who found things to do together, ideas for the holidays … sometimes it seemed to me that I was more like a tourist entertainer than his boyfriend. 
I would have liked so much for him to go out with my friends, but he said that with too many unknown people he wouldn’t feel comfortable, although I told him that my friends knew about me and we wouldn’t have any problems. 
In our life as a couple there were also misunderstandings and difficulties, but in three years they were never so explosive as to lead us to write the final word. 
And on the other hand, Alberto never showed me reasons for discontent, on the contrary he often told me that being with me had made him a better person. 
Many times he also wanted to say the fateful phrase “I love you”, but I used to block him by telling him that love is a very, very big thing, that to be such it had to go through many trials. I really used to think of love according to the formula “In wealth and poverty, in health and disease” etc. etc.. 
Without knowing it, I had been prophetic! 
Then came the diagnosis of my illness and, as you can imagine, the world literally collapsed on me. 
From that moment I began to feel like I was already dead and to break away from of all the things that had been important in my life until then. 
Unfortunately Alberto was not able to stay close to me and I realized that consciously and unconsciously I made it difficult for him to stay close to me and that I pushed him away. 
I gradually worsened from a physical point of view and all the while I kept asking him if he really felt like staying close to me and if he really wanted to witness my physical decline. 
I was the first to let him understand what the difficulties of staying with me would have been, I never hid my conditions, my uncertainties about our future, my unease. 
I wanted him to be with me, but I also felt selfish and inadequate because I knew we could no longer do the things we did together and that had made our relationship so beautiful and carefree until then. 
His response to my solicitations was invariably: “let’s see how it goes”, while I would have liked to be told “I’ll always be by your side” or at least I wanted him to change his availability of time and attention towards me. 
Did I asked him for too much? Should I have made explicit what I wanted to hear? I believe that in his place I would have done everything to make him feel good. Of course, you could argue that I hadn’t chosen a mature person as a boyfriend, so why should I have expected maturity? 
As a provocation I told him – and I realize now that it was a cruel childishness – how he expected the new boyfriend to be. 
Then one night I fell in the street and my life got worse a lot. 
If until that moment I had succeeded, even if with difficulty, in walking and driving and living in my own house, after the fall I had to go home to my parents with all the problems related to having to return to live with elderly parents and to depend on them (thank goodness I have never come out to my family in all these years!). 
For the entire period of my convalescence we felt by telephone, but you know how they say “out of sight, out of mind” … He came to see me at my parents’ house only once. 
Obviously there was no talk of vacations together, nor of other entertainment together. 
Then when I was better he came sometimes to pick me up at my parents’ house and we went to my house, always and only on Saturday afternoon. 
We used to make love, to pamper ourselves, but you can understand that an atmosphere of sadness and uncertainty hung on our story. 
I was no longer the same cheerful and engaging boyfriend as before, how could I have been? 
I often asked him what he thought and what he felt and he said to me: “nothing”, but I saw him a little absent, nevertheless in the messages we exchanged he wrote that it was always nice to be with me. 
As always, in our relationship, it was I the one who had to find the courage to arrive at a clarification and a solution, because if it had depended on him we would have gone ahead with this ambiguity for who knows how long. 
Up to 15 days before the end of our story he came to bed with me and up to 9 days ago he called me “love, angel, darling”. 
I think I wouldn’t be so angry with him if he was more sincere: can I understand that he was afraid of my reaction, but hiding the truth didn’t it cause both of us more suffering? 
So I wanted a direct clarification and when we met, barely looking at my face, he told me that he had thought about it and that he thought it made no more sense to move forward because the circumstances had changed, above all my attitude towards him had changed. 
He also added that he wanted to leave me not because of my illness, but because he knew that whatever he said or did would end up disappointing me, displeasing me, making me feel bad. According to him for the entire duration of our relationship we have always tried to do the best thing for each other without knowing what it really was and in any case for him it was impossible to be with a man who wanted him and at the same time didn’t want him. Besides he couldn’t understand what was going through my head if I didn’t tell him. 
I replied that I was very amazed, because due to my habit of telling always the truth, all my life, people have always told me that I’m an open book, that people immediately understand what I think and what I feel and, according to me, it was he who never answered with sincerity when I asked him how he felt and what he thought. 
Then he turned the omelet again, saying that we both didn’t communicate openly for fear of hurting each other. 
I spare you all the accusations and counter-accusations of that painful afternoon, I only tell you that at the end of our “clarification” he proposed me to stay friends, as if we could wipe out everything that had existed between us, assuming that simple friendship was enough for me. 
I explained to him that maybe I was just a friend to him, but for me he would never have been just that. I still felt strong feelings for him despite everything and I told him that I was truly sorry that for him it was so easy to slip into a relationship of mere friendship, also because this probably meant that in three years he had not shared my own feelings. 
He had abandoned me as a boyfriend, how could I trust him as a friend? I don’t think I could have endured any further disappointment and in any case the wound was too recent. 
In the days following the end of our story, obviously I felt really in pieces, but I began to resign myself to the idea that I would never see or hear Alberto again. 
Instead, surprisingly, he started sending me messages to ask me how I was. 
They were so-called “neutral” messages, in which he did not lean on feelings he was really feeling. 
At first Alberto had a nostalgic and regretful tone, he told me that he had reviewed our photos together and that he felt guilty, without explicitly telling me he wanted to come back with me. 
Mostly he used to tell me in general that he wished I was fine, which used to make me angry because instead I felt badly and he wished me “happy birthday”, a rather unhappy expression, which is mostly used with terminally ill or toothless old aunts. 
I understand now that maybe it was his way to make me feel his closeness, to somehow save our relationship. 
The fact is, however, that for me to hear it was very painful, it was hurting to feel treated with cold courtesy. 
For me to hear him it was a continuous reopening of the wound of our separation, a constant reminder that my past as a healthy and happy man would never come back, that he would never be my boyfriend again. 
Moreover it served only to place me in front of the sad reality that in my future I will be destined to the sentimental solitude. 
No one likes to get in couple with a chronic patient. The truth is that I will no longer have caresses, hugs, kisses from a person who considers me special and who thinks of me as something more than a friend. 
I explicitly asked him not to contact me anymore and so far, to my great relief, he has not made himself heard. 
What to say? I do not regret having loved him with all of myself and I will never stop loving him, I really think I love Alberto, even though he hurt me deeply and I have definitely removed him from me. 
His escape is a typical reaction of a human being frightened, partly understandable and justifiable and certainly suffered and problematic. 
However, I still feel a lot of resentment towards him, above all because he never wanted to admit to having left me because of my illness and also because in other respects I felt deceived and in a sense “used”. 
I realized that it was probably an experiment for him that lasted three years, and then I realized also that in a couple the unsaid and personal interpretations are more important than what is said and lived together … unfortunately all that I learned I will carry it into my grave. 
Illness allowed me to discern clearly who loves me and who doesn’t and I must admit with bitterness that the man on whom I poured so much tenderness and in whom I placed so much trust perhaps never really loved me.”
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DETOXIFICATION OF A 32-YEAR-OLD GAY GUY

Hello Project,
I’m 32 years old, and I think I’ve finished the so-called “most beautiful period of my life”, assuming there was ever something like that in my life. I look at the young boys, the twenty-year-olds, they are young, they are beautiful, they are full of wishes and hope, but I watch them from afar, they believe that sex can change their lives but I have already overcome this stage, I have had my experiences and in the end there is nothing left. I have been hunting guys on dating sites, I met a lot of them, I had sex with so many of them (prudently, that is, without putting myself at risk) and I came to the conclusion that it is good to think of something else.
With a couple of guys I even deluded myself, it lasted a few months, but then it all ended according to the general rule: better alone than badly accompanied! Every guy has his dreams, his ghosts, his pathologies, more or less evident, every guy follows his fantasy and the idea of building something together doesn’t exist at all.
Project, I don’t accuse others of doing so, because I’m the first who follows those rules, I’m the first one who isn’t so inclined to share his life. Going to bed with a guy, ok, some sex doesn’t hurt anyone, but then bye! I go back to my house, I don’t want to share anything with anyone. I should be happy to wake up in the morning near a stranger I know nothing about. Ok, we may have had sex together, but that doesn’t mean anything. What do I have to share with that guy? Our stories had nothing in common for thirty years, then we spent a few hours together and this should have changed our lives?
Project, I can also understand and accept that you don’t share my way of thinking, that you consider it stupid, but which would be the alternative? What should I believe in? The world of fairy tales no longer interests me, it is a bit like I had become indifferent to sex. I don’t know how long it will last but for the moment I want to be alone, I want to sleep a lot, I don’t want to think, I don’t want to chase unlikely dreams.
Project, I didn’t have bad experiences, I didn’t find guys who betrayed me or things like that, maybe I could change my mind, if I found (but I won’t look for it) a guy with whom there is another level of communication, then, maybe, I could change my mind, but I’ve been waiting for  the Charming Prince  for more than ten years now, and I’m tired of waiting.
There are so many better things to do! As you say, I could devote myself to the “others” in a generic sense, depersonalizing relationships, going out of the obsession that pushes me to know gay guys with the prospect of creating with them who knows what.
I also have longstanding straight friends, but I neglected them a lot, and what for? I neglected them to run after gay guys, wasting a lot of time without any result either for them or for me. With my family I broke off relationships years ago, since I became economically independent I left home … and what should I do? Should I go back to my parents’ house, even if they think I went to live alone to live with a girl? Because this is the level of communication that there is with my parents!
I left to try to be free to build my own life, I mean a couple life, but then what did I build? I became addicted to pornography for years, I had a bit of sex, which is nice only before, because afterwards it leaves you nothing! This was the meaning of my youth. Certainly there have been my studies, then my work, which is a concern but it is not really the obsession of my life, that is, it gives me something, at least economic independence.
By now the guys I have known I don’t even remember them distinctly, sometimes I confuse the story of one with that of another, they are “my ex-boys” but I consider them not as singles  but as a group, for me they don’t have a personality anymore  and I think they hardly remember me, but it’s not a big problem!
What is the use of living, Project? There is really no purpose. It’s a trivial thing. We are used to believing that we are special, that we have a profound meaning for others and for the world and instead we are nothing, just a little dust that will be swept away by the wind. Those who dedicate themselves to others probably don’t get anything, except in terms of self-esteem, but they certainly don’t lose anything, this is a great push towards love of neighbor!
I imagine what effect the reading of this mail can have in you. You’ll think that I’m depressed, inclined to renounce, disgusted by the world and by my fellow men, but it is not so, I want to look at other things, my life has been dominated for at least 15 years by the word gay, but this is not the only word in the vocabulary. I’m gay, but my being gay mustn’t become an obsession, I mustn’t find myself a partner at any cost and certainly he cannot be the first guy I meet in the street, I don’t seek any husband, I don’t deny anything and don’t reject anything a priori but I’m tired of chasing fantasies and thinking of having to settle for a bit of sex and with the risk of ruining my health.
I have never found a guy who loved me and on the other hand I have never been able to really love a guy, selfishness has always been the dominant value and this is not how married life should work.
You talked to me about “light couples”, that is without too many expectations and without too many obligations, but it’s not a thing for me, I need, or better, I absolutely need stability. Perhaps I have assimilated a model of a couple of almost matrimonial type or perhaps I’m not yet mature enough for a true couple life, that is for a couple life in which compromise and the search for quiet life dominate.
I wouldn’t accept my boyfriend making love with another guy, because I would like to be his boyfriend, not a friend of his. I’m not looking for a sexualized friendship, I’m tired of these things, I’d like a guy to share life with, but if I don’t find such a guy, I prefer to stay alone.
Don’t worry about me, Project, I’m fine, I’m not depressed, I started working on many of my projects, I joined a football club and I really like going there. Do you know why? Because they are all straight guys and when they talk about sex, they talk about girls and they don’t mind my own business. They welcomed me as a friend but we are “just” friends, it is so obvious that they are all straight that they are not at all a sexual interest for me, what we really have in common is the interest in football, everything else is part of their and my private.
I feel good in a hetero environment, of course, if there were girls too, it would be much more complicated but there are girls only in Sundays in the audience, in the gym there are no girls. It is as if I was detoxing myself from the excess of gay things, as if I were slowly releasing myself from an addiction. It’s nice to find a normalcy again.
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KEEPING GOING ON AT A MINIMUM LEVEL WITH A GAY GUY

Hi Project,
I write to you because I have exhausted the list of possible recipients.
It’s more a way to let off steam than anything else, if you are there and if the forum still works, ok, otherwise it will be like having put a message in a bottle that has been lost in the ocean, but anyway I would have lost just a little time writing.

I’m 36, friends … just someone, real friends … I don’t even know. There is a guy who interests me, he is not my boyfriend, I’m not in love with him, I don’t know if I would do anything for him, maybe not, but somehow I like him. Incidentally, I never understood those of “all or nothing”, lost lovers and things like that, for me the fundamental person is always and only one: myself.

I never had a real boyfriend, that is I never lived a couple life, I did a little sex, and just a little, but then no crazy enthusiasm. I’d like to be with a guy but first of all in order to fight a battle together, to collaborate in everyday life, even to have sex, but if we reduce everything to that, well, then this guy or that one it’s all the same, more or less. I was talking about the guy who interests me, … what can I say?

He fascinates me but I realize that a real dialogue is not possible, he’s always angry with the world, anxious, resentful (not with me, or at least with me only very rarely). Sometimes he calls me and I like it but I don’t understand why he calls me. What do you want from me? Sex? Project, please note that he’s a handsome guy and on the contrary I’m not handsome at all.

For him, it wouldn’t take too much commitment to find a bit of sex and sometimes it happens, when he has no one there is me always or at least sometimes available, certainly it’s not a problem for me, by now he doesn’t even make me more proposals, he tells me that I always say no (it’s what I usually do), but if he’s the first one to tell me in the face that he doesn’t want to feel bound, why does he look for me?

But then of the fact that he has other guys honestly I don’t care at all, but I wish he had more respect for me, for example I can’t stand when he tells me that the next day he will come to see me and then he doesn’t come, or when we have to meet but then he skips our meeting because obviously he has more interesting proposals. But all this, ok, it’s his business, I’m not his boyfriend, but a bit of respect, I don’t say loyalty, but he really should have at least a minimal respect. He tells me to call him and then he puts the answering machine and he never answers.

One day he asks me to drive him to another city, almost 200 km away, he could go by train, but he suggests that we go together, I insist on going with my car, he finally accepts. We leave early in the morning, obviously he doesn’t even tell me what it’s going to do. We talk a bit in the car, but he seems unnerved. We arrive at the destination, he gives me an appointment in the center for two in the afternoon, then he goes down to take the subway.

Obviously, at two o’clock he doesn’t arrive and not even at three o’clock, his phone is disconnected, he doesn’t answer until 9.00 pm, then he sends me a text message and tells me he had nerves and took the train to came back home. He must have left at least three hours earlier, but obviously he hasn’t warned me. I went back alone and I can say that the trip made me reflect!

I must regain my autonomy. At 36, I must understand that certain things make no sense. Note, Project, that I speak of a simple friendship, but even a simple friendship should be something minimally serious, otherwise one lives much better alone! Once at home I called him back and he told me he didn’t have time because he had a job to finish, and I also regretted calling him back.

Of course, solitude is a value! I know it very well, and then when he calls me we end up with clarifications and recriminations, he tells me that he can’t feel comfortable because of me, because I’m anxious and neurotic and I transmit my anxiety to him. I know that he has so many problems and also very serious ones, but if he tells me he was wrong to tell me about it, why does he call me first? But if he talks to me about something I have to tell him what I think about and not what he wants to hear and from there the piqued answers or better the total absence of answers.

We have two very different ways of looking at life, he tells me that I was born old and that I will be alone all my life, but then what will he do? He is now 31, and when you have had many guys it is like not having had one, but he thinks I will be the only one who will remain alone, he accuses me of reasoning like his parents, of avoiding risks even at the cost of living less intensely, he accuses me of always running away, of not deciding, of being ambiguous, of keeping one foot in two shoes. Why can’t I have a minimally serious dialogue with this guy without ending up in endless squabbles?

He is as he is, now I can only adapt, and then why does he get angry with me? Because probably when he talks about nonsense or sex all guys follow him, but when he enters the melancholic tone (which often happens to him) then no one listens to him or sometimes people give him reason just to make him feel happy.

I wonder, Project, what has all this to do with the fact of being gay? Certainly anyway there is some link, because I would clearly not be following a girl like I follow him, that is, putting apart also my dignity! But why do two gays end up having these problems? And then starting from things of life in general, which have nothing to do with sex or emotional life. But maybe all these things are somehow linked!

Project, I’m tired, very tired, I can’t take to repeat the same speeches over and over again, maybe I’m just old inside and I’m learning not to hope for anything and to let things go as they must go. I know it would be much more hygienic and healthy to end this relationship, if it is a relationship, but it is not easy even to end it. What problems! Ten years ago I used to think it was easier! And people are always talking about gay marriage! The real problem is being able to get along with a guy even at minimal levels.

Hi Project and if you are there, make you heard.

___________

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FROM GAY COUPLE TO ENLARGED FAMILY

Hello Project,
we don’t know each other but I know you a little because I’ve read the forum so many times and I still read it now and I think it’s my duty to tell you my story because you also have something to do with it.
I’m 32 years old, I don’t know if they are many but to me they seem truly many. I can say I’m lucky because life has been very generous with me. I have parents I love, who are getting old, but it’s inevitable, they never really made me feel alone.
I never had any problems with my homosexuality, or rather, I had no problems accepting it, for me it was an obvious and natural thing, I have been involved in a few stories, but of little meaning, just when I was very young, then I dedicated myself to work in almost exclusive and I put aside my emotional world for a while. I also met gay guys but, frankly, I didn’t feel attracted to them.
Then, when I was 26, I met a guy, whom I will call Fulvio here (because he is a bit red in hair [in Italian the adjective “fulvo” means “reddish”]). I met him at work but he wasn’t a colleague of mine, he was working for a company that lives producing semi-finished mechanical components for the company where I work. When we met, I have to say, I didn’t feel involved with him, for me he was just a guy I had met by chance and with whom I had absolutely nothing to share. For work reasons we had the opportunity to meet several times and so we started talking a little, but about everything and nothing in particular.
In hindsight I can say that he probably understood a lot more about me than what I understood about him. Still for work reasons we continued to see each other often and I noticed that when it happened, for me it was a pleasing thing and probably for him too, and so our mutual knowledge gradually deepened. He is a nice guy but not exactly a handsome guy, or at least he didn’t look like a handsome  guy to me, so I didn’t feel attracted to him in that sense. 
One day he was very angry, really furious, he was depressed, but very troubled, upset, aggressive, and he began to attack me, of course, only verbally. He unloaded his anger against me and I didn’t understand why. I must confess that for this reason I was uncomfortable, I did not understand the reason for his aggressiveness.
In the following days he didn’t change his attitude and then he disappeared, I never saw him again and I didn’t know what to think. I kept going to his company, always for work reasons, but in his place there was a middle-aged lady and I missed Fulvio. In the end I took courage and asked news about him. They told me that he had quit his job and that he never showed up again. I didn’t have his cell phone number, I asked the lady but she didn’t give it to me and I was very upset, but one day, while I was waiting for the lady in her office, I saw that there was an open agenda. Since I knew the guy’s name I looked for it and found it, I memorized the number and then, when the lady arrived, I acted as usual, as if nothing had happened.
When I got home I called him. He immediately asked me who had given me his number and I told him that I had stolen it, he started to set off his aggressiveness and attacked me badly and, shortly after, he closed the phone in an abrupt manner. I felt a total fool for having looked for him and I have been in a bad mood for most of the evening. Then, at around 11.00 pm he calls me back, apologizes, always a bit brusquely, asks me if I live alone or if there are others at home, I tell him that there is no one, he asks me where I live exactly, I tell him where and he replies that he will come to my house after a few minutes, I just say: ok!
He arrives, looks around, then asks me: “Why did you look for me?” I tell him that I hadn’t seen him for a few days and other such banalities. He stops me and says: “People don’t steal a phone number if there is no serious reason!” I feel a little put at the corner and I try to digress, he apparently changes the subject: “Do you have a girl?” I answer him: “No! And you?” He hesitates, then says, “No!” But he goes further: “So why did you look for me?” I reply in a deliberately neutral way: “Because I was fine talking to you.” Then he asks the question I never wanted to hear: “Are you gay?” I feel terrible embarrassment, but I say to him: “Yes” and I immediately add: “And you?” He waits a few seconds and then says: “Yes, but I don’t want a guy.” I answer him: “But I’m not in love with you, you’re not my type, you just seemed like an interesting guy … ” He interrupts me: “And what do you want from me?” I tell him that if he comes under my home at night there will be a reason, he looks at me with a defiant attitude: “You think you have understood everything, but you didn’t understand a shit! You only make me angry!”
Well, our relationship began like this, in practice somehow as a fight. Nothing tender, nothing affectionate, absolutely nothing sexual. He stayed at my house until after two, I suggested he could sleep at my home, obviously not in my room, but he didn’t want to hear about such proposals. His behavior destabilized me. In the following days I called him on the phone several times but he never answered. After a week he came back to my house late at night, I thought he wanted to talk a little, but he asked me if he could stay the night and he retired to the guest room and in the morning, very early, I heard he was closing the door of the house, I went to see, he had left and had left a note, with only written: “I’ll call you”.
Our relationship proceeded this way, apparently without a goal and without meaning. I didn’t understand anything about him, I didn’t know anything about him. I wondered why I had got into such a mess, I felt used and at the same time marginalized. Then a traumatic event intervened, but not at a psychological level, right at the physical level: I had a serious car accident and ended up in the hospital in a reserved prognosis for a few days. I don’t remember anything of those days, I only know that when I woke up, or better at my first re-emergence to consciousness, I had my parents and Fulvio around me. Then they told me he had been there every day as long as they allowed him to stay by my bed.
My recovery was slow, it took me almost three months to get back into acceptable conditions, that is to walk more or less normally and he stayed three months at my house to assist me, day and night, and the first times it must have been something really heavy. But he didn’t just assist me, he sat next to me and we talked a lot, he treated me with affection. Slowly I learned to understand his world, and it was a difficult world, so difficult that I didn’t believe that such a world could exist.
We slept in the same room, I on the orthopedic bed and he on a cot. I asked him why he had quit his job and he told me that he didn’t quit his job but they fired him because one of his bosses had tried something sexual with him and he had sent him to the hell. He told me that he stayed at my house also because he could no longer pay for the room because, without a job and without money it was absolutely impossible, and therefore he had also taken the opportunity to find a temporary accommodation. This speech struck me a lot.
He told me very briefly about his family, if we can call it this way. His father hadn’t recognized him and, in practice, he almost never saw him, his mother died of an overdose when he was a child and he was entrusted to his grandmother who lived with a very minimal pension, then, just a few days after he turned 22, his grandmother died too, he had just found a job and shared a rented room with another guy, but shortly they fired him and he had to leave the room.
Fulvio is extremely proud, he has a dignity, he has never talked to me about money and this means that, if he stays with me, very likely he is not there for money or to find an accommodation, even if he tells the exact opposite. Among other things, in the last period of my convalescence he found another job. Precisely for this reason we were forced to arrive at a clarification. He told me he could be autonomous again and that he would leave. I began to be afraid, I knew I could not ask him to stay with me on the grounds of economic utility because such a thing would have infuriated him. He didn’t want to depend on anyone, he said to me: “Now you don’t need me anymore.”
It was precisely to respond to that statement that I told him I had fallen in love with him. He looked at me right in the eyes and said, “Don’t lie! I know that it’s not true!” Then I had to correct my sentence: “Well, I think I could fall in love with you, but, please, don’t go away!” He stared at me for a few seconds: “At least you didn’t say lies.” And he stayed with me. I feared that he wanted to set a deadline, for example that he would say to me: “I only stay a month.” But I immediately noticed that he had set no limits, but obviously I pretended I hadn’t noticed it, and said nothing about this. Our life together began this way.
With the new job he had big problems, they wanted to fire him because he didn’t want to close his eyes in front of very deep forms of malpractice if not of real scam. Then he changed job and the new job was widely better, requited more time but was even better paid. For a certain period (two or three months at least) I thought that Fulvio had found a guy, because he spent a lot of time away from home, I was worried but I didn’t have the courage to ask him anything, I saw him very tired, stressed, almost physically destroyed by work.
At one point I thought that he really had serious problems because he was home only at night and for a few hours, I could no longer bear not knowing what was happening and I asked him what he had. He looked at me, he meditated for a moment and then he said to me: “It’s right for you to know it: I have a boyfriend, if you want, I pack my bags today and leave.” I stopped him and told him: “Ok, you have a boyfriend, but why are you so stressed?” And he replied: “Because Claudio has huge problems and we are trying to solve them, I work from morning to night, I do double shifts and I can hardly see him …” That’s what he told me about Claudio, then he added: “he’s a boy refused by his family and who is coming out of bad circles, who ran away from his city because he was really afraid of the criminals who forced him to … well, you understood … “
He told me that Claudio had a bed for rent and that he didn’t work because he was in very bad shape. I told him: “But make him come here! With a minimum of sacrifice this house can be enough for the three of us, then we’ll see what we can do.” He looked at me quite perplexed, then said: “Do you realize what you are saying?” I replied: “Maybe not perfectly, but let’s not waste time, let’s go get him.” Claudio was really upset: skin and bones, two hours later he was at home with Fulvio. 
I gave them my room that had a double bed and I moved into the small room, they didn’t want to, but I forced them. The same afternoon we took Claudio to a very good doctor who prescribed him a series of tests and explained to us how to do in order to make Claudio be taken on charge by our region’s health service, since he comes from another region. Obviously Claudio also did the HIV test and since he hadn’t had sex for quite some time, the window period had also passed. The test gave negative results and we calmed down, after a few days we had all the clinical results in hand. In practice, Claudio carried the consequences of an untreated bronchopneumonia and full recovery would take time. Everything else was in order. 
Claudio was then 23 years old, he was very tall but he already had a bent back and was very thin. We took care of him and saw him slowly bloom again. Fulvio was madly in love with him and seeing them together aroused great tenderness in me, with me they were absolutely natural and casual. Sometimes we used to watch television together, I in the armchair and they crouched together on the sofa. I, who in theory should have been jealous, I felt happy to see them like this.
Almost five years have passed. We still live together, we are now a family, they are a very tender and very real gay couple, I don’t know what I am, at the beginning I was a bit of a nanny, now I’m “only” a true friend who loves them. Now Claudio also works and we share all the expenses, they have placed it as a mandatory condition to continue being together. My way of being gay is certainly strange but nevertheless I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world: their happiness is my happiness!
I have to add one more thing that seems very important to me. One day I was at my parents’ house, I took courage in two hands and told them the whole story. I didn’t know how they would take it. My father looked me straight in the eyes, then he stood up, he said to me: “Come here!” And hugged me tightly, then he exchanged a look of understanding with my mother and told me: “Sunday the three of you must come to have lunch here with us!” There were no other comments of any kind. On Sunday, when Fulvio and Claudio came to my parent’s home, I tell you it almost with tears in my eyes, my parents were just as happy as two kids and Fulvio and Claudio had a great time. Now every now and then mom goes to my house, cleans the house and brings us something already cooked to eat. Fulvio and Claudio have a beautiful relationship with my parents, in practice we are an extended family.
That’s all, Project, of course you can put the email where you like better because there are no identifiable elements and the names have been changed. Fulvio and Claudio greet you, they too have heard of you!
___________
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