I REALIZED I WAS GAY AT 26

Hello Project, I don’t know who you are and to send you this e-mail I opened a new e-mail account that I will use only to write to you, if you answer me. I know that maybe it’s an excess of prudence but that’s what I did. Call me Alex, although obviously it’s not my real name. I don’t deny that I don’t feel comfortable writing an email like this in which I tell things that nobody knows but I think it’s still worth writing them because Gay Project helped me a lot and my story can be useful to someone. 
I am 27 years old, since some months I live on my own, far from my family of origin. I have a permanent job that I like and I am economically autonomous, in fact the others respect me and have a good opinion of me. Let’s say that from the outside I look like one who has achieved his goals and in a sense it’s true but inside myself for many years I felt like a failure. I thought that in my life I would never have done what I wanted but always something else. I would have liked to study Physics but I studied Economics and it is thanks to that that I found a good job, I wanted to work in Milan where my parents live and instead I ended up living in Bologna where I found my personal autonomy, in short I always did the opposite of what I wanted but in the end I felt good. In one thing I felt like one who had failed to build anything and it was the emotional life. Reading your website made a lot of ideas clear to me. 
I considered myself 100% heterosexual until I was 26 and I had no reason to think otherwise, but none at all. I’ve never been with a woman but I did my fantasies on women even if they were never great things and sex for me has always been in a minor tone, I mean I have never had the mania of these things, I heard from others extraordinary things about sex that never happened to me. So sex for me was an unimportant thing and I did not understand what could be overwhelming in it but even the individual sex was something that didn’t excite me so much. I had also tried with the hetero porn sites but they seemed to me absurd things. Up to 26 years I never thought of a guy, but really never, the broadcasts on gays seemed to me things from another planet. 
Up to 25 years old I was practicing sports and with my team mates we took a shower together but the thing for me was completely indifferent. I really thought I did not have a sexuality. The girls told me that I was a nice guy but they did not fall in love with me, when I tried something they moved away from me and I was very disappointed. I don’t think I would ever be able to woo a girl and it certainly never happened. 
Things have changed for me since September 2008. I started working in another city, where I rented a little apartment near my workplace and in the place where I worked I met also a guy who was a year younger than me, let’s call him Max. Even he lived in a mini-apartment, but far from where I was, about half an hour by car. We were hired on the same day and I met him waiting at the door of the CEO to know his destination. I was there for the same reason. We waited more than half an hour, both him and me very timid and normal, and then we were both fearful of the new work environment, the first job for me and also for him. He enters first, I wait, after half an hour he goes out and they call me. I go in, they give me the letters of assumption and summarily explain that the next day I should take service, in practice, in a place very close to my house. I was happy. 
I go out and see that Max is in the antechamber. He was waiting for me. I liked it. He had no car. I ask him where they sent him, he tells me that they had sent him to the other side of the city, near his house, or at least not far away. I’m sorry, a bit. I tell him about my destination. We exchange mobile numbers. It was eleven o’clock, he proposes to have lunch together, I say yes, but it’s early. I invite him to my house but he prefers to take a walk, it’s a beautiful day and I don’t take it badly. We walk a lot, then lunch in a fast food restaurant. He asks me if I have anything to do. I say no. He asks me if the offer to go up to my house is still valid. We climb into my mini-apartment. There is a single double bed. He takes off his shoes and lays on the bed, I sit on the only chair and we talk. In practice he always talks about the fact that he was practicing sport, about how much he loved his grandparents, that he no longer has, about any songs he listens to, about what he expects from work and many other things. I listen to him with pleasure, he is nice, casual, then he says nonsense, he laughs, in short it is a pleasant company. 
After some time I realized that we never talked about sex or love, never, as if the subject didn’t exist at all, but then I didn’t notice such things. In the evening we took something at the fast food and then I accompanied him to his house but I didn’t go up. I was happy to have found Max. I didn’t feel alone even though I was in a city that I didn’t know at all. In short we have become like brothers. 
Ten days later it had become normal that we were always together until the evening or on free days, but the night we stayed each at his own home. After a month we also started to sleep in the same house and in the same bed but all without any implication of any kind at any level, we were just like two brothers, no mutual embarrassment and no sexual thoughts neither on my part, nor, I think, on his part. 
The first idea that the thing could have a different meaning arose in me when a colleague began to court Max. It was something that I could not stand, it bothered me, not that she did it but that Max could spend time with her. He treated her politely, probably he was not interested but I was afraid he was. One evening he tells me that the colleague had proposed to him to go out with her. I ask him: “And what did you answer?” He tells me that he said he didn’t feel like it. At that point I breathed a sigh of relief and I must have made a face very happy. Max looked at me and said: “Don’t worry, it will never happen!” At the time I made the face of the one who understood and I changed the subject, but that phrase started to turn around in my head in an incredible way. In the evening he stayed to sleep with me, I tried to resume the speech and he was evasive, he just told me: “Don’t ask too many questions …”. 
That’s when I wondered if Max had fallen in love with me. I completely excluded that I could fall in love with him, but I considered a possible thing that he could fall in love with me. I wondered what I should do, whether to cut off relations with him or simply not to sleep together anymore, even if nothing had ever happened between us. Anyway I did not tell him anything and everything, between us, went on exactly as before, we continued to sleep together in the same bed or at my home or at his and nothing happened. 
As the days passed I ended up putting away the idea that he was gay, it seemed absolutely impossible. I said to myself: if he’s gay, why does he remain totally indifferent? In the end we are together in the same bed. Is it possible that a gay guy in such a situation doesn’t try anything, even at a minimum level? However, judging by his behavior, it didn’t seem to me that he could be gay. In practice months have passed in which we have lived together and for his part there has never been a slight mention, never a speech, not even vague, nothing! A beautiful morning I wake up before the sound of the alarm clock, there was enough light in the room, he is asleep, I watch him carefully. He’s nice. I want to caress his face but I don’t, but he is just beautiful, serene, an image that I will never forget and that’s where I had the first physical reaction looking at a man. It had never happened to me before, it was the first time ever. I was disturbed. I said to myself: what’s happening to me? I got up and went to put myself under the frozen shower. 
At first I was convinced that it had passed. When Max got up, everything went as usual and I was very happy that it did not happen again. I was looking for every possible motivation to justify what had happened: the heat, the fact that I had had no sex on my own for a few days and things like that and the fact that my reaction had not been repeated made me feel comfortable. For the whole working day nothing happened. In the evening I had to go to his house but I made an excuse and I didn’t go there, I was afraid it would happen again. He did not tell me anything, after all I had been alone at home other times. I spent the night alone with the idea that it could still happen, I saw the TV, I was a bit on the internet, then he called me in chat to ask if everything was fine and it happened again even though we were talking only about work. I greeted him quickly because I did not want him to continue. 
I was really upset, I tried to distract myself but I could not and I did something I had never done before, I drank two cans of beer one after the other and, stunned as I was, I went to bed. I was beginning to think that I would have liked him next to me and at the same time that I would have to move away from him and that if I was at that point it was his fault, because his company had ruined me. In short, I hated him and loved him. Since then I started to remove him, probably for him it was a tremendous blow but he did not say anything and tried to do as if between us things had not changed. The more I walked away the worse I was and then I began to desire him, that is even at sexual level, with everything this implies. I told myself it would be over but I knew it would not be like that. The phase of removal, let’s say, lasted almost two months.
He was friendly with me when he met but it happened rarely and only when the company forced us to common activities, but at a private level we did not see each other anymore. The separation not only did not make me overcome my feelings for Max but put them clearly on a sexual level. By now I had totally renounced the idea of being straight but I had to keep just for me the fact that I was in love with Max, we were now like two strangers, or at least I thought so. It was during those days that I started looking online for gay sites and, after seeing things of incredible misery, that made me feel really bad, I discovered Gay Project and it was a fundamental discovery that really opened my eyes.
One day Max and I come together to a meeting, he asks me: “How are you?” But he asks me it in a very serious way, just worried about me. I tell him that I have problems, he looks at me straight in the eyes and squeezes my hand, from outside only a greeting, for me much, very much more. I tell him: “Do you want to go to my place in the afternoon?” He says to me: “Sure!” He comes immediately after work. I feel a terrible embarrassment, his physical presence puts me in a very strange state of mind. I feel very excited, even sexually, but I’m afraid to say things out of place, to hurt him, to offend him. Result: after hours of interview attempts I don’t say anything. 
He asks me if he can stay for the night to talk a little more, but I insist to take him back to his home. I take him back home, we don’t say a word all along the journey, the embarrassment feels very strong. I come back home. He calls me on the phone, a few words and long silences. We close the phone with nothing done. The situation has been going on this way for more than a month, but I could not take it anymore. An afternoon he comes to me, I had never seen him like that before. He doesn’t ask me questions, he only tells me: “Shut up and let me talk. . . ” I listen. He only tells me: “Alex, I fell in love with you!” I don’t know what I did at the time, I was happy but also upset, I did not expect such a thing, after several seconds I replied: “Maybe me too. . . ” But I added that such a thing had never happened to me and that I felt strange. 
It was the first time that we talked about us in a truly free way. Max and I had arrived at this point, now we knew each other even the most intimate things and everything had been absolutely simple. It seemed incredible to me that such talk could be made in such a direct way, but really it happened. He told me that when I had left him he had been very bad but he thought I had left him because I had understood that he was gay from the speeches he had made and he didn’t want to intrude into my life because basically even if he saw me as straight he loved me the same and he did not want to make me problems and so he had accepted to step aside. In short, he took me for straight and I took him the same way. 
We have confessed our mutual sexual interest but also the embarrassment about the possibility of having sex with each other. He too is rather inhibited. We decided to go very slowly. That night we just went to sleep holding hands. But even shaking his hand was beautiful, it was also a physical contact and transmitted a strong emotion. At a certain point I say to him: “Max, I feel excited” and he tells me: “Me too. . . but does it embarrass you?” I answer him: “No. . . and you?” He says to me: “Not at all, but just the opposite. . . “. Max had never been in love with a guy in his life, just like me. It was March 29th 2009 a day I will never forget. 
Project, Max and I consider Gay Project a bit like a second home, truly a unique thing on the internet, and in the way of seeing of these guys, Max and I find ourselves very well. Nobody knows our story, not even our families know it, because they probably would not understand the true meaning of our relationship, but we want the guys who read your sites to know it. Neither I nor Max would ever have imagined a life like the one we are now living and yet we really are living it. It is not easy neither between us nor on a social level but we have passed hard tests and we are here to testify that, if two guys love each other, happiness for them is possible. Thank you for what you do, Project, and never give up!
___________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-i-realized-i-was-gay-at-26
Advertisements

GAY LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE OVER SEXUAL BIASES

Hi Project,
I would like to have your opinion on a problem that has kept me (for years) in a state of uncertainty. I try to describe the situation in summary. I am 45 years old, my ex-boyfriend (even if this expression is definitely unsuitable in the concrete case) is 29. He is my ex, of course, he had his stories after we broke up, but in the end he could not be comfortable with anyone; he is a guy who has had a very difficult past with moments of deep depression but from all this, or at least from the worst phases of all this he seems to have come out.
We constantly maintained a relationship even when we were no longer a couple. He is a bit neurotic (perhaps a lot) but between us there was always a special feeling that went far beyond sex. I think he is a person of superior intelligence, even if he has always underestimated himself. In studies he lost time for reasons related mainly to his depression and his neuroses, but in the end he obtained excellent results, anyway, apart from the results of the studies, 
I see that he has a profound interest in his field (typically scientific) and this causes him also anxiety because when he applies a lot to his studies and has the impression of not understanding exactly what he is reading or of failing developing the hypotheses on which he is working, he goes into crisis and in those moments is likely to nullify everything. Over the years, however, I have noticed that these crises are always less profound and that they don’t destroy him any more as they did a few years ago. 
I don’t know what he will do in his life beyond studying (which is the thing that seems most suitable for him); until now he has accomplished much more than what he himself would have imagined at the beginning. I want to emphasize that I love him deeply and that there is a communication between us that I have never experienced with any other person. When I stand next to him I never know how to behave, even if now I feel less conditioned. 
Among us there is also some sexual contact, it happens rarely but it happens, especially now that he has not had a boy for several months. I, by my nature, tend to create relationships that are first of all emotional and this happens above all with him who is so much younger than me. I often tend to reassure him, to tell him that I love him, which is very true and he knows very well, but the real problem presents itself on the sexual level, which for him is fundamental. 
He has always had the fear of being put aside because sexuality in him produces almost a kind of frenzy and he is afraid that all of this can put his partners in crisis, and sometimes it happened. I have asked myself many questions but then I realized that his attitudes towards sex are conditioned by his past and I ended up thinking that there was nothing to be really alarmed about. I also had the idea of moving away from him, but only in some very particular and very rare situations, but in the end everything has always been overcome and I think that our relationship, strange as it is, is still very strong. 
He asks me for sexual behaviors that would not come spontaneously to my mind, they are things that don’t upset me at all but a little contrast with my way of being. He says that I have to be authoritarian, hard, that I must use strong manners with him, that I have to humiliate him and it baffles me a bit, sometimes I try to do what he asks me for, but for me it is a game, because being with him inspires me an extreme tenderness and I feel led to embrace him and certainly not to be aggressive or to humiliate him. 
Sometimes he considers my attitude as if I didn’t want to understand the meaning of what he asks me for. We have talked about these things a lot and it is clear that when he asks me for harsh, punitive behaviors towards himself, the memory of his first experiences plays a fundamental role. I would like to remove him from the memory of those experiences and I would like him to enter into the dimension of sexuality made of tenderness and mutual affection, but I realize that the weight of memories for him is very strong and that his vision of sexuality, now at 30, is still deeply conditioned by his first experiences. 
Sometimes it’s like he wants to be punished for something that he has to see absolutely as a fault, for example, the fact that after the end of our relationship as a couple, he had had sex with other guys. I never thought that these things were a fault because I thought that finding a boy who loved him could be fundamental to his life. He is not my possession, he is only a person whom I love and who loves me and I am sure of that. 
The point is this, Project, what should I do? Follow him as he wants or keep an intermediate line, that is to do a little as he wants but without neglecting to tell him that I love him? And then I wonder if my trying to remove him from his memories is a right thing or if it’s just an attempt to force him to close a bracket that for him it is not closed at all. It’s a bit as if he wanted to relive with me, but clearly in a dimension also emotional, some of his old experiences, perhaps reliving them in a different way could free him from the obsessive presence of those contents. 
I would like to emphasize that he has had and still has problems because he has lived a difficult life, but he is not a pathological case. I am happy that he considers me important or at least really a friend and, frankly, if he disappeared from my life I would feel damned alone. Sometimes when he speaks to me about his studies he fascinates me even though he is always ready to point out that things are not clear as they seem. Now I see more self-esteem in him, even if self-esteem has never been his characteristic note. 
I am very fond of him because I feel him very similar to me, I am not a scientist and I lived a very banal life until I met him, but in many of his attitudes and in his ways of reacting I identify myself deeply. He never cheated me, he is generous, rough but also affectionate. I would not like anyone else next to me because we more than a couple are a family. When he calls me I feel happy even if I never know how to behave. 
Years ago we often argued and then we behaved as if nothing had happened, now we do not argue practically any more and the dialogue no longer seems a hard confrontation but a way of telling each other our emotions. I am enchanted by how he manages to manifest his need for sex in a simple and direct way; I don’t know how to do anything like that, but he knows very well that being close to him it is happiness for me and he knows that this is a certainty that will not fail.
I’m waiting for your response, Project, if you consider it appropriate, put this mail in the blog. I have attached my skype contact; I’d like to talk a little with you.
Leonard
___________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-love-and-acceptance-over-sexual-biases

A GAY GUY IN LOVE WITH HIS PROFESSOR

Hi Project,
I arrived at the forum http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org through a link in one of your blogs. I congratulate you, because it is a very well done forum and there are many answers that cannot find elsewhere. It is a pity that search engines do not index it properly. I saw that the blog in Italian, however, is very indexed, but for someone who does not speak Italian, having a blog in English would be very important. Insist and try to move on, sooner or later you will succeed, at least I hope so.
Now I come to the reason for this mail. First of all you will ask me why an email (and a timed email address) and not a post on the forum. The answer to me seems almost obvious. I want to preserve my privacy as much as possible and I need to understand how things really work before trusting you.
I am almost twenty-three years old, I am a student of scientific disciplines in a large university in a city in Northern Europe, where I live. In my university there are also gay associations, the climate for gays openly out is rather favorable, but my problem is that I’m not out and I don’t want to come out because this would create some problems in my family (and not only) or maybe more than some problem would cause me some embarrassment. I know many gays who came out; here, in fact, coming out is not a problem, with several of those guys I get along very well but I would look for my way of being gay and soon you will understand why.
The university gay associations are quite serious and I have nothing against these things, but, there, sexuality becomes a social fact, a topic of conversation, something that must be shared and there are inevitably standards that I don’t fully recognize. I try to explain myself better, I don’t fall in love with my peers but with adult men, my classmates consider me hetero because with them I have classic friendships like those between straight guys, because my university colleagues don’t attract me sexually, while some of my professors are also a sexual interest for me and obviously a similar speech, in a gay university association, would sound rather strange. I did a little investigation among the gay guys I know and there is not even one who has interests similar to mine, so I preferred to leave aside gay university associations.
Needless to say, I feel very lonely, partly because I cannot talk to anyone about my true life. And then I stand aside and avoid getting involved directly. I study a lot, I have good results, but unfortunately I don’t have an affective-sexual life, I live only with fantasies and projections.
Last year I was included in a group of six students, coordinated by a forty-year-old professor who is not only very good but also beautiful. Sometimes we were in the laboratory for four hours at a time. Once we put on an experiment that was supposed to last for six days in a row and had to be monitored without interruption, day and night. My five colleagues only came in the morning, I offered to stay there and monitor the experiment and, in practice, I stayed in the Institute a week in a row, day and night. The professor often came in the afternoon and sometimes even stayed until after midnight. For me, seeing him was a real happiness, we talked almost exclusively about the experiment, I proposed a change and tried to explain the reasons for it, and he listened to me with the greatest attention and then decided to put into practice that change and this made me immensely pleased. The last two nights, he came to the laboratory and brought dinner for him and me and we had dinner together. At the end of the experiment he asked me to do a small publication with him to describe the experiment and its results. He told me that we would work together for three days and that it would not be a big deal.
The publication of the article with my name after that of the professor created a terrible situation of embarrassment with my colleagues who considered me an opportunist and a social climber, but in fact they too could participate in a much more concrete way to the management of the experiment.
My relationship with the professor was excellent, but obviously, as far as I was concerned, it was not just a collaboration of study and research, I had fallen in love with the professor, even though I did not know anything about him. He is not married, I certainly know that. He is often around both in Europe and in the USA. I saw him always go around alone, but I don’t know much more. With me he was perfectly at ease, but also very professional. In the many hours spent together we only talked about the experiment, there was never even a nod to the private life. Now the period of the research group is over, sometimes I see the professor going up and down the stairs of the Institute, sometimes I go to greet him in his office and a couple of times he also invited me to lunch at the cafeteria of the Institute, but there was never anything that went only one inch outside the perimeter of the professional relationship. On social networks he doesn’t have a profile, I have his email, but it’s the official one of the university. I don’t know what to do, Project, I’m in love with him but I’m afraid of making trouble. 
Very sincerely I think that he completely removed the emotional life and now has devoted himself totally to the science, but I have the vague feeling that science is just a way to avoid thinking. I have a vague feeling that he is gay and, despite all his ostentatious professionalism, I think that I’m also a great temptation for him. I had this feeling several times, I could not even tell you a specific reason that drives me to think so, but some small smiles, some sentences started one way and ended in another, too long pauses and certain ways of looking away, made me think a lot. Do I have to take the first step or I have to wait to be out of the university, if I ever get out of it, to do a peer-to-peer talk with him? I believe that something similar to what happens to me happens to him, but roles are reversed. I am too young for him according to the “standard model” and he is too old for me, but the standard model does not always have to be valid. There are many things that that model does not explain. 
Of course, at university a professor cannot be compromised with a student, because it would actually be too risky, and a student cannot declare his love to a professor.
Sometimes I’m tempted to risk everything and I think I could win my bet in the end, but I don’t want to put him in embarrassing situations. That’s why I keep going on like this. On the threshold of a relationship that could be beautiful, and in my opinion it is not only an abstract hypothesis, but we both lack the courage to take the first step without return, both for opportunity and above all for the fear of being answered with a refusal. It’s my first love and I’m afraid of burning everything in a hurry. Now you can understand how I feel and what I can experience. I dream of my teacher every night, but I don’t dream of him in the chair but in my bed, this has now become a kind of obsession … What should I do, Project? Has it ever happened to you to see situations similar to mine? If you think it is appropriate, please publish the email, because it is quite neutral. 
G.O.
__________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-gay-guy-in-love-with-his-professor

GAY LOVE BEFORE AND AFTER

Hi Project,

I have read many articles on gay couples, from those of a scientific-sociological type to those of gossip, to those of couple sexology, in those articles we can find everything: sex, sexual fantasies, the possible accomplishments of those fantasies, social roles, tolerance and of course beauty and charm, etc. etc., but in my opinion we always lack the fundamental element, that is loving each other really. Loving will also be a matter of sex, I don’t deny it, but in my opinion it is much more.

I don’t know why with some people it happens and with other people it doesn’t happen at all, but loving each other means first of all to respect each other, to understand each other, also in one’s own diversity. The other is not another myself, in him I don’t love myself but something different that I feel similar, sure, but not identical, I love his freedom even when it pushes him away from me, I love his being different from me and his loving me in spite of everything, a love that enhances me and makes me feel alive, appreciated, gratified.

Couple is good only when you really love each other, when you want the good of the other, when his happiness matters more than yours, but to love each other it is not necessary to be sexual partners.

I had a beautiful story with a guy I loved so much and who loved me so much, we’re not together anymore, but we still love each other, because the respect, the affection, the understanding that existed between us have remained the same, sexual exclusivity has failed, and yet we continue to love each other, even if he has a new partner and then, who said that you can love only one person at a time? If my ex needed me, I would do anything for him, because I love him, and I’m sure his current partner would not be jealous and would be the first to push me in that direction, among other things we know each other and estimate.

The only thing that could have put in crisis the relationships between me and my ex-partner would have been the deception, telling one thing and doing another, but that’s exactly what has never happened between us.

Legal obligations cannot create feelings. I never understood the guys who hate their ex-boyfriends, if they hate them “after” it means they didn’t love them “before”. I always considered my ex a great person from all points of view, I totally trusted him. Now we are no longer a couple but I continue to consider him an excellent person, I have not changed my thought about him because we are no longer a couple. In my opinion, we all, and in particular we gays make ourselves fascinated from the traditional model of marriage, which contains objective absurdities.

I try to explain better: when a man and a woman get married, at least when they marry with a religious rite, they promise eternal love, meaning for love not only respect and dedication but even exclusive sexual involvement and in promising something of this kind they commit to guaranteeing something that is not in their power. I can promise respect and assistance in case of need, these are the things I can promise, as for the exclusive sexual involvement, which is not a choice but is something free and spontaneous, I can at most say that that involvement exists now, but since it is not a voluntary act, I cannot promise anything for the future.

But perhaps traditional marriage is independent of love, does not oblige me to love a person for life but only to abstain from sexual relations with other people, which means that it forces me to behave absolutely not spontaneously. Now, perhaps in the hetero field such behavior can make sense because there are the interests of the children to be safeguarded, admitted and not granted that it is better for the child to have a parent legally committed to sexual fidelity, which seems to me to be all absurd, or at least I consider it as an undue simplification because it aims to guarantee forcibly what is not coercible. But for a gay couple, with no children, the marriage model makes no sense, because the only thing that matters is love, which is different from sexual fidelity.

I am not a boy, I am 55 years old and my ex-partner is just a little younger. Two years ago I had a heart attack and I was in danger of ending up badly. I no longer had close relatives and I was entrusted in practice to voluntary associations. I had not said anything to my ex-partner so as not to create any obligations of any kind.

He came to know that I was in hospital from other people and he immediately came to see me at the hospital. It was summer and he was on vacation with his partner. They broke off their holidays and came to me right away, they both came, and they did the shifts so as not to leave me alone until I was discharged from the hospital, then they came to stay at my house, they just moved to my house, as long as I have been convalescing, that is, for about two months and returned to their home only when they saw that I could be self-sufficient and, even after, they came often to see me and still do.

I saw that my ex was happy and that his partner was a very serious man. I felt loved by them. I know that this is not the kind of love that generally people consider more important, yet for me, this kind of love was the only real push towards the exit from my problems, that is the only real push towards life. I add one thing: since then we spend the holidays together and I can only say that we are fine.

Thirty years ago I would never have imagined such a situation. Thirty years ago I had many models in my mind and I dreamed of things that seemed beautiful to me, but they were totally unreal and I was not able to value the things I actually had. Then, slowly , I began to realize and understand what it really means to love each other. I understood it, in practice only as an old man.

Think, Project, that when I decided to separate with my ex-partner, I thought we would not see each other anymore, because in my opinion, the alternatives were just two: or perfect love (the fable) or total indifference, if not even hatred. But it was not like that at all. I never felt betrayed or cheated, I never thought I had thrown away the years of my life, none of this, simply, I learned to understand how beautiful can be live a relationship that remains a relationship of love, of respect and mutual affection, even when sexual attraction fails.

I am not an advocate of free love in the sense of experiencing sexuality superficially with the first guy you can find and just after Bye-Bye! No, none of this, but love is free and, if it is true love, it doesn’t fail even when sexual attraction vanishes. I tried to tell my experience to young gay boys but they looked at me with suspicion, as if I were a pathological case, for them there are a lot of models and I think this is the reason that causes them so much dissatisfaction. If I deeply internalize the models of fairy tales and confuse them with reality, I will end up being always disappointed by reality.

Reality must be understood, we must learn to see its positive sides, which are many even if they are not so evident. It took me years to overcome the behavior patterns of the matrimonial type but I can say that now I feel much freer.

I must say, however, that I don’t believe that my experience is easily generalizable, because my ex-partner is really a special person; if I were in love with a superficial person, incapable of true feelings and conditioned to the point of having to react always and only in the standard way, probably in those schemes I would have become entangled too. I do not want to be a teacher, because I was extremely lucky, but I have to say that my out-of-scheme experience was not a failure and it was in practice the discovery of a new world, much less conditioned and much more authentic. If you think it’s appropriate, publish this email, maybe for someone it could be useful.
Laurence

__________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-love-before-and-after

GAYS AND SPECIAL FRIENDSHIPS

This post is devoted to an often underestimated aspect of interpersonal relationships and in particular of gay interpersonal relationships, namely the value and meaning of deep gay friendships.

To introduce the topic, I quote a mail I’ve received by a thirty-two-year-old guy.

“I don’t have a boy, that is, I don’t have a couple story in the sense that this expression commonly has. I have had occasions but it was not exactly what I wanted. Bet just on one person, if things are fine, can lead to happiness, but if things go wrong or just don’t go good as hoped, it leads to long periods of stress when the relationship crises and slowly falls. I have experienced such things a couple of times and, frankly, I don’t intend to repeat it. I don’t know if this is a renunciation, a way to put apart the idea of finding love, but frankly I don’t think so. The myth of the ideal companion of the so-called blue prince does not convince me and frankly I think that my personal well-being depends essentially on me and on what I do more than on another person who should give me happiness, or rather the other person can be important, but if the relationship works, the story must be built together and one cannot expect everything to rain from the sky with the arrival of the blue prince.

At present, as I said, I don’t have a boyfriend, but I have a special friend with whom sometimes there is a bit of sex, but it happens rarely, we are essentially two friends who love each other, who appreciate and respect each other, who understand that they can very well have each one his own live, but first of all we speak clear to each other, we don’t tell lies, and I think it is for this reason that our relationship goes on. Since the last meeting when we had sex, two months passed, in these two months a couple of times we had sex by phone, I know it looks shabby, but it has never been so for us, it’s useful to confirm us in the idea that there is also that kind of interest between us, but I would like to emphasize that it is not for sex that we are, so to speak, together. Our relationship is based on other things, which, viewed from outside, may seem stupid and of no significance, such as our way of communicating security to each other about the fact that we continue to love each other, and above all, to speak clearly. When he felt the need to stay with another guy, he told me it the simplest way. I frankly knew that this fact would not crush our relationship, which went on, for a while without sex, but with the same mutual attentions, with the same emphasis on the idea that we are happy to be together. He has spent a long period of trouble with the university and has lost a couple of years, if I have to tell the truth, this fact has created me many more problems than the fact that he was with another guy, a very serious guy who really loved him. When he came out of the negative period and began to study, he made me know, without much emphasis, that things had changed for the better, because he knew that this would make me immensely happy. I believe that at the base of our relationship there is the certainty that we will continue to love each other, of course without any kind of constraints, but we will certainly continue. I know he will not forget about me and that there will always be our highest sincerity. When I hear him by phone, I really want to close the phone call pointing out that I’m very happy to have spoken with him, and I’m really happy, he is less expansive, but he knows I’ll always be fine with him. In fact, we’ve known each other for 10 years now and our relationship has never really gone into crisis. In short, we are a certainty for each other. I do not know if this means being a couple, in a way we are, but only in a way.”

Another testimony can highlight the central value of the so called small things.

“Dear Project, for me today it’s a beautiful day! A few days ago I had a chance to know a little closer a beautiful guy I knew even before but very superficially. We talked and he somehow surprised me. I asked him if he had a boyfriend and he told me no and added that he wasn’t looking for boyfriend but for something else, that is, he was looking for real friends. I don’t doubt that this answer has cooled my enthusiasm a bit, but then we talked about so many things and I appreciated a lot what he said. We talk many times on skype, we joke, we’re together for hours, but we always say that it’s just a friendship. I find it difficult to consider him just as a friend, for me he is much more, but he insists that we are only friends, although friendship is not at all trivial, certainly there are no sexual prospects but I realize that he in a way loves me really. He told me one thing that made me think a lot: “I’m gay, but I’m just looking for a true friend, you are a very good and affectionate guy, and I’m fond of you but I’m not in love with you, I’m just fine with you” I wondered what’s the difference. Is the difference in having or not having sex? I don’t know what to think. One night he comes under my house unexpectedly and we go for a pizza and then we stay in the car talking, I think we’ll have some sex, but it doesn’t happen, I tell him I’d be expecting it but he answers: “I told you, I’m just looking for a true friend, if you’re not ok with this, you have to tell me clearly.” I think I offended him and probably he wouldn’t call me again, but that’s not the case, after three days he comes another time under my home, I come down to him and he tells me, “Just friends?” and I tell him, “Ok!”

A third interesting testimony comes from a forty-year-old single who created a relationship of friendship with a fifty-year-old single.

“He’s ten years older than me and he did his experiences, but I also had my stories, and as a result we tried to avoid getting together like a couple just dreaming to realize what we hoped for, we chose to stay on low profile things, simple but real. We often call each other on the phone, we often talk about work, because we work in very similar areas, mostly when we feel in times of difficulty and when we need to vent a little. He has problems with his older parents and has to deal with them because he has no brothers or sisters. I see him rarely, I can hear him by phone every day, but we never end up in ritual or repetitive phone calls. We start from work problems and then talk about anything else. Occasionally I propose a pizza, but rarely we can go really to have a pizza because he is bound by the family and then we talk by phone only and sometimes talk just a little. We never talked about the possibility of transforming our relationship into a true couple relationship, first of all because it would not be possible for logistical reasons and then because it is a hypothesis that really does not interest either him or me. We just feel that way. So things work. There is the phone call at least once a day and occasionally there is a pizza, but when there are serious problems we always talk and even for hours. Perhaps it will be an attempt to remedy solitude, but somehow it works and we experience the positive effects of such things. He tells me that he feels quiet now, that he no longer has the feeling of having failed in his life, that he has recovered a prospect for the future so that he will not age completely alone. I tell him I feel comfortable with him, and that’s true. Certainly this was not my dream of so many years ago, but my dream had nothing real, while my friend (I do not even say my companion) really exists and is a fundamental point of reference.”

These three documents, which represent different but not standard ways of experiencing gay affection and sexuality, are quite common situations far beyond what people believe; are actually three different answers to the crisis of the traditional couple model. Relationship models inspired by traditional heterosexual marriage have been in crisis for many years in the same heterosexual field and the attempts to apply them to the homosexual field have proven to be functional in a relatively small percentage of cases: stable and rigidly monogamous homosexual couples exist and in the time of HIV it is certainly not a negative fact, but gays who no longer seek a couple’s relationship of that type are now very numerous. New models are being formed, as the three mails clearly show. Let us now try to understand what is behind these new models.

It is first noted that sexuality is not the determining factor of the relationship, in some cases it is present in a sporadic way, that is, it is not excluded a priori, in others it does not explicitly enter into the relationship and is indeed deliberately kept far away. The basis of these relationships is the affectivity, and the central value is always speaking with the utmost clarity, namely, not hiding anything from your friend-companion. Sexual fidelity is not a founding element, but the honesty in declaring one’s own feelings is it.

Secondly, the absence of formal ties is often stressed: the relationship is totally free, it resists precisely because it is wanted and renewed day by day. Paradoxically, stability stems from the absence of formal ties.

Third, affectivity is cultivated through a series of reciprocal attentions that show an interest to the person of the companion. That interest may be sexual, but it can also be simply affective, it can sometimes result in a love without sex, in a relationship that is an “almost family relationship”.

The apparent internal weakness of such relationships makes them more rare and more stable than almost matrimonial relationships based on sexual fidelity. In other words, in order to create affectivity-based relationships, you have not to conform to models but you must have a certain experience of affective life, but that is why, when these relationships arise, they are the result of a well-meditated choice made by people who have now gone beyond mythical visions of couple’s life.

__________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-special-friendships

THOUGHTS OF A GAY OVER 50

Hello Project,
you wrote so many things on gay guys! Just an infinity. In many of those things and in many of the stories you’ve published I’ve found something I’ve experienced, but I think you miss something, which is perhaps trivial, but for me today represents the last stage of my being gay. At age 51, dear Project, I feel I have come to the destination: I don’t have a companion and I never had one, I dreamed it, that’s true, but I never worked hard to have one, and if it was that is to say that my interest in the couple’s life was, in the end, quite superficial. If I see really nice men or guys, I still look at them, because they are objectively nice, but now I have no more fantasies about couple’s life. I have my stability, my work, my banality, my daily life, and really I’m not looking for anything else.
 
About ten months ago, I met unexpectedly a guy a lot younger than me, who was not yet thirty, and for a while we have been dating, but then I realized that it was he who wanted our relationship to go on and that I hadn’t the interest that should have had. It was a difficult situation, he wanted us to go on but I just didn’t feel like it, I would have liked it to be a quiet friendship without any other implications, so I would have accepted it but he wanted something else and didn’t understand that in those things you cannot pretended. We went on for a couple of months and then our story was over, and I’m a little sorry because he’s a good guy, but I wouldn’t go back to those days. Here it is, my state of mind now is this, I want to be quiet, I’m convinced that basically I can live better alone, in theory it’s also possible that I make a meeting of those that upset your life, but these are only theoretical hypotheses.
 
What’s left of gay at age 51? A bit of porn, just when I want to, which in practice means at most one night a week, a bit of masturbation that same night, and that’s all. Perhaps also the pleasure of reading some themed books, which tell gay stories that end up well. Obviously I have nothing against other gays, which for me are just an unknown planet, now my interests are more vulgar, now I think about making money but not to get rich, something that will never happen, but to have a quieter retirement age. I often think myself at my present age, as the caretaker of another older myself, when I will really need a caretaker, caring for myself! It’s a bit like a form of social security, I’m working more today to be able to repose more quietly tomorrow. I have read stories of men much older than me, but athletic and used to having to do with guys. Frankly, these things seem to me pathetic: there is a time for each thing and the time of the hormones to the highest level has been a long time since! I do not feel one who threw the sponge but one who does not want to pretend to be what he is no longer.
 
What puzzles me is that a serious friendship, which for me would be great, actually does not seem to interest anyone, that is that a sexless relationship, at my age, is considered pathological, more or less the typical behavior of a loser. But I think that what I read on the web about these things is not the attitude of gays but only of those who are deluding or want to delude themselves to have eternal youth. When I was 40, I was already out of a lot of situations, and I had the clear feeling that the time to fall in love was over. Now that I’ve passed the 50s, the feeling has become a certainty that is corroborated by the facts. I don’t know if I’m a pathological case, it might also be, but I stopped experiencing illusions many years ago and I think I live a lot better.
 
I like to read your forum, it’s very well done and it’s about real things. If you want, post this mail too, perhaps someone like me could appear looking for a quiet friendship, but probably if someone appeared, I would retire in good order as it always happened. 
 
Hi Project and thank you for everything you do.
__________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-thoughts-of-a-gay-over-50

A TRUE GAY BETRAYAL

Hello Project,
I was very impressed with our last night’s interview and I’ll explain why. You are older than my father and not a few years older, but you are serene, you are not neurotic, you have no angry shots, don’t panic as he does, don’t pretend to change people. I realized that you think in a way different from mine but you didn’t try to impose your point of view and in essence tended to resize the problems, make them become something normal, common things to deal with, but nothing special. You’re reassuring.
 
Tonight I tried to think about what we said last night: you think my doubts are unfounded and that with Mirco there is a solid relationship, that is, it is not at all a thing instrumental to sex. I tell you right away that I think you are right, though for me, to take my doubts out of my head is not easy, they are a bit like a trickle that creeps in depth and is likely to put everything to a crisis, although it is probably only one of my neuroses, a kind of fixed idea that wears me out and that I would like to completely overcome.
 
In fact, I have asked myself several times why he has always been looking for me, because I’m certainly not the best, with me he has always felt free to pull out all his neuroses because he knew he would be accepted anyway and then, especially in the most recent time, he has let go to some affectionate word, it happened seldom but it happened, he has always trusted me completely and this struck me and strikes a lot. He has never had inhibitory brakes with me, he has slowly come to accept that there are also different ways of seeing sexuality between us, he is much more hot, more carried by sex, I am much more for pampering and affection, at the beginning such two worlds seemed irreconcilable, then, step by step, we found  a balance, it was not the earthly paradise but it was something. If I reflect on what there has been between us, well, I cannot say I’ve ever felt frustrated, and presently I have some certainties, I cannot even hear him for a dozen days, but then he gets in touch. When we argue, what happens often, in a way very repetitive and almost ritually, we do not meet for a couple of weeks, but then he reappears, just as if nothing had happened, I tell him that I’m delighted to hear him, which in the end is true, he answers a bit embarrassed, because he doesn’t want to talk about affectivity, but I’m convinced that he is happy to know that he can count on something.
Over time I had learned something, or rather I had passed a block: in my adolescence I was convinced that to really love each other a monogamous relationship was needed and that the so-called betrayal would represent the last beach of a gay couple. I was just convinced, then I saw the story of a friend of mine, a hetero guy, Louis, who married and after a few years divorced but didn’t break his relationship with his wife, they continue to meet and every one has his own stories but they have remained in touch despite everything, they still help each other when it’s necessary and, in a sense, they are still in love. The thing at first seemed to me strange, contradictory, almost impossible. I had in my mind the myth of the exclusive couple, of belonging to each other all life long and so on, etc., and yet I had the sight of the fact that loving someone doesn’t mean exclusivity at all. I was looking for justifications in the idea that at affective level things might work even so, but at the sex level the exclusive relationship was indispensable. Then I ended up to talk about these things with Louis and he told me it happened that even after divorce he sometimes made love with his ex-wife. I asked him, a little puzzled, if the fact that she had another man made it difficult and he answered something I would never have expected, that his ex-wife’s companion knew how things were and left his wife free to behave as she wanted. I would never have imagined such a thing. Louis added that, clearly, both he and his ex-wife took all possible precautions, so as not to create problems as unwanted pregnancies or possible illnesses. I asked him if he often had intercourses with his ex-wife, and he told me that in a year it would have happened 4 or 5 times.
 
The reflection on Louis’s story had started my brain. I was wondering what I would do if Mirco told me he had a another guy … the idea frightened me, but I had been trying to get used to preventing the effects of any such eventuality. Then, a good day, in January 2016, I asked Mirco if he had ever had other guys and he told me that “now” (in January 2016) he had no other guy, but that word, “now”, put me in crisis, did that word “now” mean that he had had a boy before? I tried to ask him and he said that he had one while we were together and that then a thousand scruples had come to him, not because of infidelity, but because he could have been risking me, but he showed me the outcome of the test, one test done at that time and one very recent, both negative, and he told me that this was the only time he had had another guy. He didn’t tell me everything because he was afraid to lose me. I asked him if he was still in touch with that guy and he told me no, because that guy didn’t want to meet him anymore and left him because he said he was too neurotic. I asked him if that guy knew about me, and he replied that he knew I was his ex-boyfriend, but not that we were still in touch.
 
After this confession, I must say that I felt betrayed. I completely trusted Mirco and suddenly I found myself in a state of betrayal that I didn’t even imagine. He looked at me a bit worried and then told me: “It happened but I didn’t do it anymore.” I confess that I felt in a great difficulty. After all, he had really betrayed me, had betrayed my trust, it was not like Louis’s story, Mirco had played dirty. Yes, it was true that he had admitted it, though he could still pretend, but he had betrayed me. That evening we greeted differently than usual, I felt frozen, manipulated, I wanted to be alone, I didn’t want to know anybody anymore. 
 
After 15 days, the longest interval between two contacts with Mirco, I had no news of him, I was panicking, the rage for betrayal had abundantly diminished and I started to feel the void for the absence of Mirco, but I did not call him anyway. The third week without Mirco was really bad, I thought I was definitely alone. After 25 days he called me. He just said, “How are you?” I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t answer, I was silent but I didn’t  even close the phone. He said in a very hesitant voice: “I’m here at the door of your house, would you like to walk a bit?” I just said, “Come on.” He got up and we hugged very tight. Getting him back in my arms seemed to me like a miracle. We have been so at least ten minutes. Then we sat on the couch, he leaned on me and we have been there in silence for a long time to feel the heat of each other. I no longer cared about betrayal, in the end it was something that had made us stronger and I still had my Mirco, and saw his neuroses with tenderness, no need to talk, we understood each other even without saying anything .
 
Of this story I didn’t speak except with Louis, who heard and told me that the love that resists in time is the only true and that Mirco made a mistake, of course, but never stopped loving me. With other friends who are just talking about cheating and betrayal, I don’t even want to talk about my story, for them I would just be the idiot of “cheated and happy”!
If you like, post this mail on the forum. I’ll call you back in the next few days.
 
G.B.
__________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-true-gay-betrayal