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.
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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