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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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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GAY GUYS AND THE ANXIETY OF WAITING

Dear Project,
it was good for me to talk to you last night, but the underlying concerns remain and I hope that in the end they can vanish, because if it didn’t happen, it would really be a nightmare. 
One considers certain things always distant and almost impossible, then you realize that it can happen, and that the fact that it doesn’t happen to you personally in the end only consoles you a little. It can happen to the people you love and if it happened it would be destructive. 
You tried to get the guilt complexes out of my head, somehow you succeeded because those were not really problems, I know very well that, whatever happened, it is not immediately attributable to me, but this doesn’t make me feel better.
We will have to wait another few days and I pray to God that there will be no terrible news. Of him I spoke only with you, in complete anonymity, first of all out of respect for him and then because my friends would understand nothing, for them when a story is over, is over, if a guy is your boyfriend, then you have some duties, but if he is no longer such you are totally free, but for me it has never been so. He is no longer my boyfriend for years now but I love him anyway, and thinking that he may be sick knocks me out. 
For a long time we didn’t hear each other, and I was quiet, that is, I thought he was okay, then he called me with those doubts on his mind and put me in crisis. My guts are contorting, I’m afraid, afraid for him. It’s not a rational thing, waiting for the results it has a bad effect, and if it’s so for me, I imagine how it can be for him. We had talked so much about being careful, not getting into trouble, but now he has doubts and has physical problems. I can only stay close to him because being sick and alone must be really terrible. 
With whom could he talk about it? With parents? Mh … no, not really possible, to his partners? They would dodge him like a leper. Project, at the moment these are all hypotheses that could very well be completely wrong and I hope they are, but I feel anxious, worried and I don’t know how to make him feel better. We have a series of medical checks in the near future and I can only hope that there will be no bad news. 
He could also have problems that have nothing to do with sexually transmitted diseases, but I see him in crisis, he is not in his normal state, it’s true that anxiety can be destructive, and I hope that it’s only that. We loved each other, then he started to look for something else, and I can understand him, but between us there is still respect and a deep affection. 
Project, I feel the anxiety of waiting, the exact opposite of a rational attitude, even if we have planned everything in the way that seems most rational, I feel uneasy, I have the feeling that human life is carried by the wind like the leaves. For what little I can, I have to try to be close to him, if I let myself be taken by anguish I make him feel even worse. Project, I was amazed by your attitude in chat, you didn’t trivialize as people do, you didn’t say the classic: “you will see that it will be nothing” no! You said to me: “However things go you have an irreplaceable role” and this phrase has remained in my mind.
I embrace you strongly, Project, I’ll call you back on skype in the afternoon.
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GAY COUPLE AND CATS

And well … and what have I to say? … I’m ashamed to talk about these things, these are our own things, they are private things and then why should I talk about it with you? So you write them and then someone reads them? … and what does Peppino say? Did you ask Peppino about? …

Well, he always says yes, he never said no to anyone … he’s a good man, no, no … I really can say this … he’s a really good man … but sometimes he exaggerates a bit … now in our building people take him for crazy, but he’s not crazy at all … no, no … it all started with the story of cats … yes, yes, cats … we had a cat, just one, to keep a cat at home is something that many do, then he came with another cat, a newborn kitten, he says that that the kitten was abandoned, had no mother, and would have made a bad end … and what does he do? … He thinks that he can be the mother … yes, yes, the mother of the kitten, yes … do you believe that a newborn kitten is like an adult cat? … he had to nurse the little kitten with a dropper and not once … seven or eight times a day … in short, the story was that he put aside whatever else and took care only of cats …

Then, when the little kitten had not grown up yet he brought me another one … and what was I supposed to do? We took also this third cat! And what should we do? I told him … and what do you want to do? Did you become a cat-keeper? You must think of me, not of cats! If I was a cat you would take care of me even more than how you really do … but now you have to think of cats! … And he felt like a beaten dog and I said: And smile a little! On! You are my cat-keeper! … In short … we have arrived to have eight or ten cats at home … eight! Did you understand? … Alright then! But this way he was happy … and what had I to do … in short, we took them …

Then another story came to his mind … that there were other cats at the municipal park and that nobody thought of them … so I said … “Listen Peppi’! … but it is not that now we want to bring home all the cats in the city?” And he said: “Absolutely not! … You don’t even have to think about it … ” … but the fact is that now the little kittens had grown big and he used to go out in the morning to bring food to cats at the municipal park … and it is not that he brought the leftovers … no , no … in the evening he cooked … yes, yes! … He cooked especially for cats and all good stuff that I would have eaten it too …

Now you know how it is people here … in short, that they are always busy but not with their own business. They saw him go out with the bags in the morning and they all knew where he was going … when he passed by they said: There, see there? The cat-keeper is there! … and I had become the friend of the cat-keeper.

At the beginning he used to leave the food for cats near the building in the center of the municipal park … then once they put a fine on him … because they said that he used to dirty everything … in short, that there was danger that the rats would arrive … in short, 150 euros! Did you understand?

But do you believe that those of the municipality have ended it so? … certainly not, that those employ so many people, a lot of people that are there without doing anything … and because people called him “cat-keeper” … what did they do those good people of the municipality? They sent the social worker … a woman … but I told her … “But what are you looking for here?” That I never thought it was for cats, in short you have understood what I thought … and what had I to think? .. So she began a preach … and hygiene … and the house dirty … and spy behaviors … exactly so … but what? That it was she the spy … not my little Peppino, who has always been a good Christian! …

So you know what the social worker did? … she gave me a book … and said that the municipality had done it … but now it was not really a book … in short, a small thing, a booklet … the Handbook of Eco-cat-keeper! Eh! Yes, yes! … the Eco-cat-keeper Manual … did you saw what they do at the municipality? … and then people say that municipal employees do nothing! … So just to start the conversation I told her … “But if you ever have to give me the cat feeder handbook you would have to avoid arguments such as spy behaviors”, but she was getting nervous, in short, we took this booklet … but that was a crazy thing! And it says he had to clean up before putting the food … and then he had to collect everything, everything … saucers … in short, everything … and it said that if the cats left excrements nearby he had to remove them with the shovel, and had to put them into a closed bag, but then it says that you cannot throw such waste in the dumpster … in short, what had he to do? Had he to bring excrements home?

Now they have made that law that if you have a dog and the dog poops on the ground you have to collect it from the ground… and that’s okay … but now also that of cats? But how is it that before, when Peppino did not go there, there were excrements on all sides and no one worried … and now that he goes there the social worker comes out of the blue? She certainly doesn’t go there to clean, she only comes here to annoy us …

Three or four months ago Peppino got sick and was hospitalized for 15 days … My god! How terrible have been those 15 days! … I didn’t understand anything about cats … he was at the hospital, but he didn’t worry about what illness he had … no! He thought only of cats … do you understand? … And what could I do? … in the morning and in the evening two hours and two hours with him at the hospital and all the other time I was cooking for the cats, to keep those at home, that those were about ten, and then I had to go to the municipal park … to bring food to the cats that were there … and clean up first and clean up after …

And then there was a policeman at the park … who was there just because he had to check that I did everything according to the cat book … and what do you want to do? … there are so many jobs in this world … and he had to control me … he was always there!

Then Peppino came out of the hospital and thank God everything went well … and I felt happy! Yes, I had some little things to do but he was the chief of the army! He took all decisions … you know those things that you have to understand if the cat is sick … if you have to take it to the vet … that little pension money we get monthly we spent it all to feed the cats and take them to the vet …

But now all this story what does it have to do with you? … Ah, ok, … Now, look around! … Are there cats at home? … Neither one! Peppino took them to the board … as there are the boards for Christians … there are also for cats … and do you know how he was convinced? … Well that’s another good story … in short, one day another social worker comes … that when she said “social worker” I was already closing the door in her face … I said to her: But another time with the history of cats? She looked at me and said: “What?” … the social worker of history of cats had nothing to do with her! …

She told me that it was for an application that Mr. Giuseppe had sent to the municipality … but what application? I didn’t understand anything! I told her: “Excuse me … but what question? I don’t know anything!” She pulled out a card, which was just as Peppino writes. So in the end she told me that he would have to show up at the hospital’s pediatrics on Monday morning and she left me a card … then she looked at me and told me: “But did you understand correctly?” Exactly her words … And I replied that I am an old man, and I’m also an invalid, but I’m not stupid … well … and so she’s gone …

When Peppino came home with the bags of cats, looking at that card he become more and more cheerful and then he explained it to me … he said he had sent the application to be a volunteer at the hospital … I told him: “But what can you do? You’re not a doctor, you’re not a nurse … you cannot do anything! … but what are you going to do there? You can only annoy them” … I told him just like that … well, you have to see how he became dark, it seemed that the world had collapsed on him … and what had I to do? … well, it was too hard for me to see him this way and so I told him a little bit of good things, you know, what you tell when you have to be forgiven … I told him he was a good man … that Peppino is really a good man, that it’s always better for Christians that for cats … that also those are poor beasts … however, but the Christians are another thing! Then I told him: Would you like a coffee? … We never quarrel, but when there has been some disagreement … because in many years there has been some disagreement … when we made peace we had a cup of coffee together … In short, we had this coffee and he was newly all happy … that when Peppino is in a good mood it’s a beautiful thing to see! …

Now he didn’t know anymore what he had to do with cats … those at the municipal park were alone before and would have been alone even after … but he sent a nice letter to the social worker and explained to her everything clearly, that he couldn’t anymore care of the cats and that she should have taken care of the cats herself … the social worker! She would have to became cat-keeper herself! Then he thought of our cats … I told him: let’s keep one! We have always kept a dozen cats at home … even they are beasts deserving care! … And he told me that cats carry diseases and that you cannot work at the hospital and keep cats at home … and now the world has turned up-down!

So he did so much and said so much, that our dozen cats have been settled all of them: three or four by people in the building … he said that so he could see them, four or five other, the younger ones, by our friends and two or three to the sister. Those he had given the sister were those who were the sick ones and had to be more looked after … I will not tell you how the sister reacted! She said: “Do you want to give me some cats? … but at least give me two cats cats! Not those who can’t even stand up! But Peppino … was about to devour his sister! “You must love the beasts, that if you treat a beast this way, when it will be your time the others will treat you the same way!” … well in the end the sister has taken the old cats … and now Peppino has already gone to annoy his sister many times because he had to know how the cats were! …

Well, then he did the medical examination … they found a little bit of high blood pressure and the doctor said he was lucky that they measured the pressure and now he takes some pills … some small ones for the pressure … anyway they accepted his application and considered him suitable … He was frightened that they could not accept him for the story of the pressure … then they made him attend a course … and what an interesting thing it was … I too have looked at all the things they gave him … you know, all the things of hygiene and then how the hospital is organized and how to receive the relatives … in short, all such things … but there were a lot of bad things about the diseases of children … there were certain … my God! But in short, you must know some things if you want to be a volunteer … and then if he has to work at the hospital he must know how to behave … then, after the month of the course, because it lasted four weeks and he was there three afternoons a week …

In short, after the course I don’t tell you what he did on the first day he went there, he had not slept for three days, always thinking he had to go there … he was all stunned so that in the morning it was I the one who had to make coffee, he could hardly stand up and I said, “But now that you go to the hospital why don’t let yourself be hospitalized? But don’t you see that you cannot stand up!” But he looked like a spring, jumped on one side and the other … I accompanied him to the hospital but he didn’t let me in and we said goodbye by the gate. I went home and I prepared lunch … something very appetizing … because he was doing something important … at least that was how he considered it …

When he got home he couldn’t refrain from talking … and this and that … he had found what he wanted to do … that we don’t have children, that if we had had children, they would have become old too … that he was at ease among the children that they called him grandfather and he was happy … but also told me how some sick children were … My God! How does Peppino find the courage to stay there? Those things are bad, are just things that make you heart hurt … what you say? … an old man … and that’s fine! But a baby! Jesus! But why? Those haven’t even started …

So let’s leave aside the bad stuff … in short, Peppino was really happy … then he got the idea! He looked at me and told me: But why don’t you come you too tomorrow? I thought he wanted me to go with him … and I said: “Okay, let’s go tomorrow together” … And he smiled at me but you had to see! He made himself red rand gave me a kiss … something that is really rare between us … I was asking myself: “How is all this history?” Then I understood … Peppino wanted me to became a volunteer too! … but I hadn’t understood anything! … and now? And what could I do? I couldn’t tell him: Look! You didn’t understand anything, I thought I had to accompany you and not that I had to do what you do … And no! And how do you do? A thing like that? … and no! Peppino a thing expected and I … what had I to do? … So I told him that the next day I would send the application form. He was happy … but now, you don’t have to tell Peppino about this misunderstanding … no! Otherwise you put me in trouble! You don’t have to write this! If you don’t want to make me really angry! … So, we understood each other? … okay …

So I was saying that then I sent the application form but I have not been considered suitable … now if it’s good or not good I don’t know, but in the end I think I would have been well there … yes, yes … ok, it’s over this way … all right … well I had done it for him … but I too somehow liked it, before I didn’t have such idea, but then, slowly … So now Peppino goes there three times in the morning and three times in the afternoon and I stay at home … I have to go to the municipal park to take care of cats there … but he bought me a plastic suit … when I come back I have to wash it right away … you know, the hygiene! … but now it’s me the one who takes care of cats … and do you know how he calls me? When he comes home he tells me: “You are my handsome cat-keeper!” … And smiles happy … and what had we to do? But now he’s really happy …

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