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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tonight I feel overwhelmed by thoughts of tenderness. My ex called me this afternoon to tell me that he wanted to make love with me. It’s not a strange request, sometimes it happens. He came to my house, as beautiful as the sun, we are not kids, I am 42 and he is 31, but if you saw him you would be entranced. I think I’ve never seen a nicer guy! I don’t describe the evening, you can only imagine it, to say that it was sex it is reductive, I would say that it was just a form of total tenderness, of intimacy, of wanting to be there. We are not a couple, Project, he has his life, he sees other guys, but I don’t think he is acting with them as he does with me. The meaning of his making love is never reductive, it involves you.
Generally, years ago, after having spent an evening making love with me, he experienced moments of rethinking, rejection and deep melancholy. Maybe it happened this time too, but it was a barely perceptible melancholy, we went together to get a pizza, a very rare event for us. He didn’t want to be accompanied home (he lives very close to my house). The atmosphere was very sweet, perfect. I looked at him, I was enchanted, I looked at his clear eyes, I listened to his voice, I saw him much less neurotic than other times, a bit melancholic but also available to smile at least a little.
I wondered how it is possible that he finds gratifying to make love with me, whot is certainly not the best option. It is true that he has other guys, but he doesn’t belong to anyone, he needs to be accepted, wanted for what he is. Now in my room there is his scent and I feel happy. Years ago we have been together, like a classic couple, but only for eight months, but in substance, later, we never separated. He calls me when he wants and knows that I would never say no to him, not out of generosity towards him, but because I’m fine with him, I’m totally fine. I’m not jealous, I’m looking for love and I don’t think that the fact that he loves others succeeds in stealing something from me, and in fact every time we see each other we don’t have to patch anything up because there’s never been a rip.
I cannot say that he “knows that I have always been faithful to him”, because this expression is meaningless, he has been my only true friend, partner, and lover, for years now, in my life there is no one else, and my faithfulness costs me nothing, it is something natural, I’m not searching for experiences with other guys, I know I will not lose him, I know that sooner or later he will contact me again and I don’t feel at all alone. He treats me with respect and affection, he knows that he can trust me! When I really needed him, he was next to me.
The sex, the real one, that is, what makes you feel the guy really close, I learned it from him and he had patience because I was a problematic learner. He tells me that I don’t put him in a crisis because I never say no and at the same time I do not give sex an absolute value. He tells me that in a couple, a guy fixed with sex is enough, but if I make comparisons between his way of being fixed with sex and the way of considering the sex of some that I knew before him, the difference seems to me stratospheric. He asks, he insists, but he doesn’t force me, he tells me he wants to see me convinced. Lately he also sometimes tells me incidentally that he loves me and such things are new and somewhat unexpected, but he never tells me it when we have sex.
It’s been ten years since I started to hope him to tell me “I love you!” And now it begins to happen. He asks me if I would do the same things I do with him with other guys, he asks me such questions because he knows the answer very well: he is he and the rest doesn’t exist, it is not a way of speaking. Today he told me something that I liked very much: “in sex, the best thing is to see the other who lets himself go totally freely”. He in sex is loose and spontaneous, unpredictable, I’m sometimes tired, not because of him but because I’ve worked all day, and he understands it and tells me he doesn’t want to force me to do anything I don’t want to do, and it’s exactly so and so we just stay in bed until we fall asleep.
So many times I feel full of complexes in front of of him, as if I were not able to truly correspond to his needs, because if it is true that I never say no, I never even take the initiative. I know that he also needs something else and I don’t have to be possessive. Sometimes I thought that, paradoxically, in my way of having sex, he could especially like the hesitations, the indecision, his ability to be a teacher, which he does with extreme sweetness. The early days I feared that he might get nervous if sometimes I said no, and sometimes it happened, then over the years he no longer limited himself to asking me to understand him, but he was the first to understand me and avoid insisting. Our relationship has been going on for more than ten years and shows no sign of weariness. I still have the fear of disappointing him, and it is in a sense symmetrical to his fear of insisting too much.
I don’t know if it has been him who has changed me or it was me who have changed him, probably both are true. Apparently our relationship is based on sex, but things are much more complex. When he calls me he tells me that he wants to be with me, that he has his life but that he doesn’t want to be without me, because he doesn’t see reasons to limit himself, since it’s he who wants it. He does not really like stupid speeches, those that people do just to say something, if he has something important to tell me about, he doesn’t use half words. Sometimes, years ago, it happened that he got angry with me, now it almost never happens, he just desists, but without claims or frustration. I just wish he smiled more, because he’s always serious, he always has a veil of melancholy in his face.
He has achieved great professional successes and in his world he is an esteemed person, yet he doesn’t give these successes any value, he sees them as a way not substantially different from others to earn a living, it is as if his life were elsewhere, especially in the world of affections, but in that world has received a lot of rejections and has encountered a lot misunderstandings. Frankly I cannot understand how a guy can do reject someone like him, perhaps it is precisely the attempt to force things and to build with him a classic couple relationship that eventually destroys the relationship itself. If you ask him for an absolute monogamy, you try to put him on a leash and certainly love cannot be built on obligations.
If you don’t ask him anything he is likely to give you his soul, but if you try to constrain him in some way, then he goes away and doesn’t come back anymore. I don’t understand jealousy, Project, to love and to possess are very different things. I love him, my friends tell me that I’m happy with too little things, but it’s a stupid phrase, I love him, I want to see him smile, I want him to be happy, I want the veil of melancholy that he carries become thinner and thinner, until it disappears completely. It took me many years to understand what I was looking for and to detach myself from models that substantially are not mine.
If our relationship really went into crisis, if there were any real misunderstandings, then yes I would feel bad, but such things never happened. In many things he is very different from me, I am calm, often undecided, I am used to long times, he is a decisionist, instinctive, neurotic, anyway we have been for many years a point of reference for each other. He always told me about the guys he fell in love with, and basically he knew that nothing would change between us.
He never told me that he was in love with me, he just shyly starts to tell me he loves me, but I know it’s different, and it’s not different in terms of sex, I think the real difference is in terms of acceptance. The guys he had fallen in love with wanted to change him at their image and likeness, he, after all, would have been forced to play a role in front of them. I want him as he is because he wanted our relationship founded on total clarity: “I tell you what I am, if you want me, take me like I am, otherwise it is better that each one goes his way.” Now after so many years I feel him closer than ever before!
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Hi Project, I’m sorry, but more than an email addressed to you, what I’m writing is a tribute of gratitude to a guy I’m learning to love. I have never appreciated the guys who think too much about sex and I lived more of dreams and tales than of reality, I felt quiet this way, almost detached from sex, then, at 34, things changed for me,
I had never had a boyfriend and I wanted one, I know that it seems like a childish reasoning, but I still thought so at 34, then I met him (let’s call him Mark), he was 11 years younger than me and he was a really beautiful guy, we met by chance for work reasons, then we began to chat on skype. It struck me very much the fact that it was not me the one looking for him but it was he the one who was looking for me.
I wasn’t looking for him because I thought that he couldn’t really care about me but instead it was precisely what happened, I felt courted, wanted, let’s say it: loved. Between us we talked a lot, Mark trusted me and I trusted him, it was a very nice thing, or at least it seemed to me so, then slowly we got to have more and more physical complicity among us even if there wasn’t really sex. When he understood that I would accept it, he told me clearly: “I want to have sex with you and you understand it very well, but I don’t want you to fall in love with me, because I’m not in love with you, you attract me a lot on a sexual level but I’m not in love with you, I want my freedom, I need something else too.”
This speech has frozen me, but anyway we have continued to see each other and talk a lot about very intimate things. He had had and in a certain sense he still had other guys who he sometimes met to have sex, he was also in love with one of those guys, but this guy didn’t appreciate him too much: sex yes, but no couple life.
In short, after putting the cards on the table without hiding anything both from his part and mine, we decided that we could try, I asked him to take the hiv test before starting and he accepted, then he told me: “I will not have sex with other guys for two months, so you can feel comfortable, I would never put you at risk, and anyway I’m cautious … “
We did the test (me too) and then, one evening he came to my house. Well, it was an unforgettable thing, we were perfectly comfortable, we knew each other very well, even at the sex level. I never thought that spending a night with a guy could be such an engaging experience. In the morning I had to go to work and he to the university, I told him a few things that seemed to me to be sweet and he stopped me. “Don’t tell me such things! You don’t have to fall in love with me, don’t forget that for me it’s just sex, it’s real sex, serious sex, but I’m not in love with you, I’m not your boyfriend.” I expected a similar response.
For the two months of which he had spoken to me, we had sexual contacts practically every day, towards the end of the period he told me: “Next Saturday will be the last night I come to you, there is a guy I fell in love with and I want try to see how things can go on with him …” I replied: “Ok, it was in the pacts, but don’t forget me.” He smiled at me and hugged me tight. Then I didn’t see him for a few weeks, but he called me on the phone every two or three days, even if for a few minutes, he didn’t disappear.
The story with that guy went wrong and we started to meet again, he told me that he occasionally went to another guy and that he couldn’t give me the safety of the first time in terms of prevention but maybe he would like, sometimes, to sleep with me, without sex, only with a little intimacy, and so it was, but even so I was fine with him, and I began to feel in love, but he told me: “Don’t tell me sweet words, I’m not your boyfriend, if you fall in love with me you’ll feel very bad.”
We continued these sporadic contacts, we can say “without sex” or with zero-risk sex, then there was another two-month period of exclusive sex between us after the test, it was beautiful, but inevitably came to an end, and he went back to have sex with some of his friends once in a while and sometimes even being with me when he felt the need. In addition, anyway we never lost contact but by now I had very clear the idea that he would never be my boyfriend.
And here begins the second part of the story. I’ve had big problems of which I prefer not to talk. My friends came to see me and repeated the usual speeches of circumstance, some have just turned away and I haven’t heard them anymore.
I hadn’t heard from Mark from a few days, then he called me, I told him how things were and there I understood what it means to have a real friend. I was alone at home and I had not told my parents anything about my problems so as not to make them worry, he came to my home the same afternoon, he immediately realized that the problems were serious and I couldn’t handle them by myself. He moved to my home, put a cot near my bed and slept there. He took care of everything: relationships with doctors, supply and administration of medicines, paying bills, doing laundry, in short, everything.
One day, when I started to feel better, he told me that he had taken the test and that maybe doing a little sex would have been good for me too and that I could feel comfortable because there were no risks. So we resumed having sex and the thing went on quietly for three months, then I told him: “You told me that you were not in love with me …” And he replied: “I’m not in love with you but I love you”
Now I’m much better and I’m autonomous again, he’s come back to his house and every so often he comes to see me “without sex”, he has a guy with whom he seems to have built something solid, I see him calmer, less neurotic . Well, I can say that I learned a lot from him, above all I learned that sex, even it is not the couple one or the one made when you are in love, can have a deep emotional value, and then I found a friend that I think I will not lose anymore.
Mark I love you!
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I think I’m more or less your age, or maybe I’m a bit older than you, I read some of your very melancholic post. You did a lot, you could have done something wrong, but only those who do nothing make no mistakes. I have never had online sites, such things are not things for me, but somehow I have also spent some very melancholic periods and I have thought several times I had done everything wrong, as you say, that I “have done damage” but then I have realized that it was not like that.
I would like to tell you a story of a relationship, as you call it, intergenerational and I tell you why. Looking for things that talk about intergenerational relationships I came across the forum, I discovered your manual Being Gay and I read the chapter dealing with these things and I was very impressed. However there is an aspect that is practically lacking at all and is that of the evolution of these relationships over time, you speak of the inevitable anticipated widowhood, and you’re right, however, you forget the fact that before you get to that point there are years to live, there is not only the phase of falling in love and that of widowhood but there is a phase of progressive maturation of the relationship and it is precisely on this that I would like to draw your attention, perhaps to exchange with you some ideas and to induce you to expand the discussion on “Being Gay”. This is not a reproach but you, Project, tend to see things with the eye of the younger partner, but a manual dealing with being gay can make sense even for an elder.
I start from my personal experience, which follows quite well the progresses of these relationships as you have outlined them. Between me and Leo (this is not his true name, but he would have liked to be called so) there is a huge age difference, 38 years. We met when he still had to get out of the school, I was an old man even then, and I was counting down on when I would retire, I had my friends, obviously I had never had sexual relations with anyone and I had practically archived the problem. My peers did not like me very much, the guys between the ages of 20 and 30 fascinated me but I strongly perceived the generational gap, I practically lived only for my job. I had some friends, work colleagues, actually just a couple, I esteemed them a lot, but they didn’t know anything about me, they had children and grandchildren and sure not enough time to spend for me.
My story with Leo started in an absolutely unexpected way, I was in the car and I stopped at a traffic light when I heard a bang. Leo had crashed with his bicycle into my car, he had also made a little damage on my car but with the blow he had fallen to the ground. I went down and pulled him up from the ground and sat him in the car. He told me that he would pay me all the damage, but I told him: “Meanwhile let’s go to the hospital, let’s see if there’s something broken” He admitted that the fault had been his, but my damage was really minimal. I loaded the bike in the car and went to the hospital, he asked me not to say that it was a car accident but only that he had fallen from the bicycle, when he arrived at the hospital he thanked me, asked me the phone number and gave me his and told me he would call me for the damage. Then he entered the emergency room. I waited for him outside.
He came out after almost 5 hours, I asked him if he had traumas or something broken and he said that there X-rays showed nothing. I told him that I would have liked to take him home, he started talking about the damage and I told him it was a minimal thing and that an extra scratch on my car (an old car) wouldn’t change anything. In the car he asked me if I knew someone who could fix his bicycle and I told him I’d have found someone able to fix the bicycle and I would have brought it back to him. He didn’t know whether to accept, then he told me: “Ok! Thank you.”
Three days later I bought a new bicycle, because it was impossible to fix the old one and I brought it to him. When he saw the new bicycle he immediately told me he couldn’t pay it and I told him that he did not have to pay anything, I thought he would be happy and instead he told me. “No, I cannot pay for it and I don’t want a gift like that.” I felt uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say. I just replied: “Ok, sorry, I didn’t really want to offend.” I reloaded the bike in the car and left. I thought it was all over. After almost a month he calls me, he asks me how much I had paid the bike, I tell him how much, he replies: “Ok, if you like, take it to the pyramid when you can” I took the bike to the pyramid and he gave me the money and told me: “You made me work for a month, but maybe it was worth it.” After the story of the bike we started to hear from each other often.
Then the sexual phase began very gradually, which lasted a little over three years, in practice, I feared that sex could destabilize our relationship, on the contrary I learned from him how much it can be important when it is something really desired by both partners. Then the thing went to fade, it was not completely lost and here began my scruples and the idea that Leo was wasting time because of me. During the university period he lived his stories, he spoke very little to me about such things but none of those stories ended up supplanting our story.
He was in crisis with his family, he spent critical moments with his studies and he has been very close to the idea of abandoning everything, he lost a lot of time, especially at the beginning, then he started to lengthen his pace, he concluded very well his studies and now works in a field that keeps him in tension, in short, he works and earns money but the work is certainly not his realization. He doesn’t have a partner, he has many friends and occasionally, when he can, he goes to visit them in various parts of Italy. Between us we are in a phase that I would call familiar, the relationship between us has nothing to do with a classic gay couple relationship, we are like father and son and it is really a beautiful thing.
Among us sex is a possibility left theoretically open, which in some rare cases is realized, but increasingly rarely and is in practice only a way that he uses to make me understand that he doesn’t feel repulsed by me, but now certainly sex is no longer what sustains our relationship. We often talk on the phone, we also tell each other the deepest melancholies, when he sends me text messages, sometimes (not always) he concludes with “I love you!” And it is not just an expression of courtesy. Now Leo is 32 and I’m really an old man, I turned 70 recently, Leo is quiet, he calls me, he comes to see me, he doesn’t have a stable boyfriend but I see him serene. I can’t deny that I still have a thousand scruples because I think that perhaps I have moved him away from a couple life with a peer and I could even have ruined his life, not by my choice but because I offered him an easy affective reference.
He has never seen things this way, what he tells me about it is more or less this: “I didn’t feel bound by you, I tried to build other stories and a couple of times even with guys I was in love with, but then it did not work with them, while so many years have passed with you and nothing has ever collapsed. You didn’t stop me, you haven’t conditioned me!” In essence, now, Leo considers me a father, when we go around together people always take him for my son. I can say that I like this phase of our relationship very much. It is suitable for my age, it is not a renunciation, it is not at all, I feel in the right dimension. I see him often but not every day, because we don’t live together and also because he must have its freedom, because he could find tomorrow the boyfriend he hasn’t found up until now (and in a sense I hope it happens),
but I feel him close to me all the same, we no longer ask each other questions, everything is spontaneous, there is no longer the risk of making mistakes.
Of course we are no longer a couple for a long time but we love each other. Leo, who is always very serious and almost professional with others, is affectionate, tender, I would say also happy when he is with me, and he seems to me quite serene and I think he feels completely at ease. Seeing Leo serene is a dream that has come true, maybe I would like better to see him happy with a guy who loves him. I think that now I can calmly leave this world too, because I see happy the only guy I really loved and who loved me. I believe that an intergenerational relationship that arrives at this stage gives the best of itself. There will also be widowhood, of course I hope as late as possible, but I somehow realized my dream of being father and Leo found a dad who loves him unconditionally! In practice we have built a family. I am grateful to Leo because he gave a radical change to my life and led me to be a happy man.
Since he was a guy, Leo has sought love and this has not only happened with me. Often people have tried to ask him or rather to impose him some conditions, to create obligations beforehand, to bring Leo back to the more or less classic rules of the couple and it all ended before starting because you cannot take him on a leash, he was born free, he cannot depend on anyone, to love you he needs to feel free. Now I feel a bit like an old dad and I start trusting him more than me, if I have to make a serious decision I consult with him, and he, instead of immediately giving me an answer, makes me speak to understand what I would do, and then, in practice, he always tells me that I’m right. Only on one thing he is a despot, on my health, I spontaneously tend to stay away from the doctors and take a somewhat fatalistic attitude, that’s why he books my visits and takes me to the doctors. I know that these are the attentions usually reserved to an old man, but to an old beloved man. I’ve never fixed the scratch that Leo made with his bicycle on the trunk of my car, when I see that scratch I smile and I feel like a happy old dad.
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I am writing this email because I need a quick and concrete advice. I’m 22, I’ve always been interested in guys older than me, but not too much, I mean 30-35 years old. I state that in practice until a short time ago I lived dreaming and following fantasy. In practice for only a few months now I started looking for a partner with the classic app that everyone knows and you don’t like at all.
One evening a guy 32 years old contacts me, he is not so bad, after so many scarecrows, he seemed really a nice guy, gym-goer, dynamic, a guy ok, that is the kind of guy I like. We talk a bit and everything seems ok, polite, no sexual allusions, doesn’t ask nosy questions, in short he doesn’t seem bad. We go on for a while always on the chat, then it comes the proposal to meet each other, I accept but in the morning, in a public place where there are many people and so on, etc., that is, I take all the precautions because I don’t know how much I can trust him.
We meet at the station, in person he’s better than in the picture, well dressed, not a ceremonial suit, but elegant, in short, one who cares about himself, the hair well done a very short beard, in short all the characteristics of one ok. We go to the bar, he offers me a cocktail, at the most I would take a cappuccino or an orange drink, he asks me if I want to go with him for a ride out of town and tells me that his car is parked nearby, but I tell him I just wanted to take a walk with him to get to know each other better, he is clearly annoyed by my answer, he doesn’t seem the type used to being told no.
We continue the walk, at lunchtime he wants to take me to a restaurant but I don’t accept and I don’t go, he is clearly unnerved but holds back his aggressiveness. In the early afternoon we say goodbye, I follow him, in practice I follow him, he doesn’t even realize it, I see the car, a remarkable BMW, I write down the license plate number, that could be useful.
In the evening he calls me back, he seems calm. The dialogue in chat between us goes on. Slowly I begin to trust him, I agree to go to lunch with him and he chooses restaurants in my opinion a little too cheap for him, to allow me to pay in the Roman way (each for himself), because I had put this condition. A month passes, all without sex between us, then he proposes me to accompany him to another city for work. I tell him that’s fine but always paying everything in the Roman way, and booking rooms in the hotel is up to me. He is very annoyed by this fact but eventually accepts.
While we are in the car he changes tone and begins to talk about sex, but he does it in a way that I don’t like at all, he does as one who is accustomed to claim something from others and I cannot stand him, I point it out to him, he makes a big sigh and says, “Ok, no sex!” I had booked two single rooms in the hotel so as not to stay in the room with him, “strangely” he didn’t expect it. He comes into my room, then goes to the bathroom to take a shower and leaves the phone on the bed, a cell phone identical to mine.
A message arrives, I open it and read it: “You’re a piece of shit! You have to disappear from my face!”, I wrote down the name and the number then I see that there is a frequent exchange of text messages with that person, as I still feel the water flowing I read a some emails and I understand that it was an exchange with his former boyfriend. My boyfriend (let’s call him so) was threatening his ex to get something from him but it was not clear what. I heard the water close, I erased the last message and put everything in place.
He comes out of the shower I don’t tell you how … what he had in mind was clear but I felt something strange in all the story, I told him I just didn’t feel like it, he pretended not to understand and he put himself naked in my bed, I took immediately the key to his room and went to lock myself in his room. I think he took it very badly. The next day at breakfast he looked like a beaten dog, then he went to the business meeting for which he had come and I waited around the city and I called his ex, I told him that he didn’t know me and that I had met his ex via the usual app and I wanted to know what kind of guy he was.
He was very cautious at first, then he let himself go and told me that he too had a terrible crush on that guy, but that the guy had something that he could not bear at all, he was violent, he had slapped him several times, nevertheless the guy had always pretended nothing because in practice he was afraid of his former boyfriend who was used to threatening and demanding. After this phone call that did nothing but confirm my doubts, I went to the hotel, I settled the bills, paying also for his room, I took my suitcase and I went to the station, I bought another sim for the phone and I destroyed the old one, then I came home by train.
I don’t know what he thought and frankly I don’t care to know, but one who uses to slap a guy who is in love with him is not a gay but an asshole! I also deleted the famous app. Thanks to my prudence he doesn’t know anything about me, not even my last name, I asked the hotel to keep it reserved. Perhaps sooner or later we will meet again in the streets of the city, but I will not even answer him.
The story is this. I had some doubts because I immediately trusted his ex and I didn’t listen to him, but I think I did very well and avoided very unpleasant situations, if he had felt authorized to slap me I would have thought very seriously to put a knife in his belly.
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I was really pleased to be able to talk with you last night, I absolutely needed it and I enthusiastically welcome the idea of summarizing yesterday’s speech into an email that you can then enter in the forum.
I am 31 years old, in my life I have always been convinced of having a thousand problems, from the idea that I would never find a guy who loved me at the idea of not being physically and psychologically up to a serious partner and many other things. For those things I felt bad, I felt like a nothingness and I thought I had experienced the worst, the most problematic situations of life, then I met a guy and slowly, gradually, we began to love each other. I don’t know what brought us to get together but it happened.
For a long time we couldn’t live together because we didn’t have the chance, in theory we were only two good friends, but in reality we were a couple. We didn’t see each other every day, and it happened that maybe in a week we saw each other only once, but when we were together we felt really well, we learned to love each other, to understand each other, to trust each other.
I thought I had found my serenity and surely he too thought it, but suddenly he started to accuse some disorders, he went to the doctor who sent him to the specialist and he did some very thorough instrumental examinations and it became clear that my boyfriend had a very serious health problem. I don’t go into details, but it was really a bolt from the blue.
At the moment he has quite bearable disturbances, but it will not always be that way and we have been told it, now he has begun his path of illness, which, apart from the gravity of the thing in itself, will create great problems even with work, because he is employee of a large private company and when he will have to go to the hospital for therapy he will be absent from work and so he will risk dismissal. Fortunately for me I have a good job and if it were to serve I could give him a helping hand.
At the moment he has not said anything about the illness to his parents, who are elderly, have a lot of health problems and live with him, he doesn’t want to alarm them, but sooner or later they will realize that something is wrong.
My parents know my boyfriend, who has been to my house many times with them, but they thought he was just a friend of mine. Some time ago, my father, who is 70 years old, looked at me in the eye and said: “I see you’re not quiet, what’s wrong?” And I told him everything, that I was gay and that my boyfriend was sick and he hugged me and told me: “On me and your mother, you can always count and for anything.” I felt a little comforted but I’d have preferred that it was my boyfriend to feel comforted, but he can’t even talk with his parents.
My father asked me about the hospital where my boyfriend goes, and about doctors who take care about him and he said they are serious people, he knows those environments because he too has had oncological problems, now under control.
I modified my working hours to be close to my boyfriend as much as possible, I accompany him to work and I go to take him back, I always accompany him to the hospital, the doctor who takes care about him has been told that we are a couple and didn’t make a grimace. My father at one point called Steven on the phone and Steven came to my house for lunch, it’s something quite usual for us, but this time my father told Steven something that he didn’t expect: “Louis told me everything and we (i.e. he and my mother) thought that you and Louis can feel more at ease enjoying your privacy in this apartment, I and my wife can go to a little house we have in the village nearby, which is only 15 kilometers from here, but your parents would remain alone and maybe they would take it badly, I don’t know … What do you think about?” Steven was puzzled and didn’t know what to say and I too, actually. He should have left his parents’ house and it seemed unrealistic. My father, given the perplexities, didn’t insist and said only: “The proposal is always valid, if you decide to put it into practice, it is done in two days at most”.
When I took Steven back to his house and we parted, he thought that if he had been with me in the same house he would have been calmer, even for the illness, because his parents knew nothing and in case of need they wouldn’t have known what to do. He told me: “I have to try and get my parents to accept it, but they also have my sister and they wouldn’t be alone anyway … let’s see what happens.” After not even a week, my parents went to live in the village and Steven moved to my home. He was happy to be with me, it was also a way to realize a dream, but at the base of everything there was a terrible melancholy. I saw Steven smiling and seemingly quiet but I was worried about the passage of time, everything seemed to me ephemeral and frighteningly unstable.
At the moment the situation is this, Steven goes to the hospital for checks every two months, the doctors don’t talk too much, they decide what to do step by step, I bring inside me a terrible anguish and I think about what Steven is experiencing, we speak about everything, but not about the disease, which means that he is trying to remove it and not to be too much conditioned by it.
I feel embarrassed especially for sex, I swear, Project, I never know how to behave, before we had never had problems, it all came spontaneously, now to launch the idea seems inappropriate, but in the end this is also a stupid problem. He occasionally takes the initiative, we rarely get to sex, in most cases we just smile and move on. It’s different for cuddles, now there’s a lot more tenderness than before, a little to compensate for the decrease in sexuality and mainly, I think, because now we have our intimacy, we have our own home and we can nestle one against the other to see the television or just to feel that we are there and that we love each other.
Project, I would never have thought of having to face a situation like this, which puts me to the test in a violently emotional way. I am terrified of the future, doctors don’t encourage but don’t even discourage, talk about the phase of therapy towards which you are going but never talk about long-term prospects. I don’t ask questions when we go to the hospital together. Steven asks some questions and I try to memorize the doctor’s answers and to put together the pieces of the puzzle to understand something more. We have decided not to read Wikipedia and let the doctors do their work.
Sometimes in the morning I wake up next to Steven and I start to pray for Steven, and I have never been religious, but now I find comfort in the ideas of religion. Of this I cannot talk with Stephen, not so much because he is radically rationalist and unbeliever, but because for him it would be like a further confirmation that I consider his health problem insurmountable. He too, in my opinion, doesn’t see any favorable prospects at all, but he never talks about it. Sometimes, when we hug, I wonder what he is thinking but obviously he doesn’t say anything. Those moments of silence are very intense, our way of shaking hands is already very eloquent. This too is being gay and I had never imagined it.
Now I realize how absurd the problems I had a few years ago were, now I took a bath of reality that put me in touch with human nature in its fragility. I’m learning very hard lessons, I only know that I love Steven, and I will never leave him alone, I don’t want to think of a future without Steven, this idea is terrible for me and makes me cry, because I see Steven who calmly shakes my hand, I hear his voice a little hesitant and I also see him smile, it is he who tries not to make me think and to give me courage.
Now we are at this point, Project, and no one knows what is to come. I feel profoundly melancholic, I feel like a feather carried by the wind. My parents try to be present to calm the atmosphere a little, they treat Steven as if he were a son of theirs, this consoles a little, but the underlying terrible melancholy remains. I love Steven also because he has a dignity even in this situation, and doesn’t close himself in himself, on the contrary he accepts to share his anxieties with me, without too many words but with a lot of love. I stop here, Project, because I can’t go on.
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I read the chapter on the intergenerational relationships of the manual Being Gay and I was amazed first of all because you have treated the subject, which is generally never taken seriously even by gays, and then because what I read corresponds quite well to my experience, in the sense that I saw in many documents quoted on the manual the same doubts and the same attitudes that I had myself, and then I noticed that here and there scattered in the forum, I can see traces of intergenerational relationships in some way similar to what I experienced and I’m living even now.
I am 56 years old, my name is Peter, I’m not yet old and all in all, physically, I’m still quite handsome (even if I should not be the one who says it), I’m sporty, I do sports regularly, I’m attentive to nutrition and until today I have not had serious illnesses, this pushes me to consider myself somehow still young. Of course, ten years ago I was already a mature man, but at that time I was really almost a young man, people believed that I was much younger than I really was, and at the age of 46 I met Dario (fancy name) who was 19. I, gay, or rather a gay who had put aside the idea of finding a mate, because for me being gay, at that time, it meant just finding a partner, anyway I had almost stopped looking around.
One evening I was invited to a graduation party, I go there because I knew the guy who had graduated. While I was there Dario arrives. Saying that he was beautiful it is reductive, I had never seen a guy like him, with a smile so bright, tall, blond, with blue eyes. When I saw him I thought only one thing: “What a beautiful guy!” I didn’t even think of approaching him, it was obvious that he was very young, I was only sorry to be too old. I did everything to distract myself and think of something else. I have not danced, because I never dance, I chatted a bit with the guy who had graduated, then I sat to observe.
Dario too didn’t dance, he didn’t court girls, it was the girls who were courting him, the guys didn’t even really consider him. At one point he looks me straight in the eyes, I feel like a very strong twinge, he leaves the group of girls and comes to sit next to me and tells me: “I know you’re bored! I see it!” I just smile a bit, then we exchange a few words, he notices that I’m almost embarrassed and introduces himself, I do the same, we talk a few more minutes of this and that, then he pulls out of the pocket a piece of paper, he writes his name on it and his cell phone number and passes it to me, then asks me: “Can I have yours?” I say to him: “Of course!” but I must have said it with the light in the eyes, and he replies with a wonderful smile, then returns to the small group of girls, who complain that they have been abandoned, he says that he had to say hello to an old friend (me), and returns to his previous conversations. Shortly before midnight he sits down next to me, asks me if I have a car, I say yes and he asks if I can take him home, I say to him: “Of course!” And this time too I must have told it with a lot of enthusiasm. He answers me with his usual smile. He greets his friends who thought he would stay with them until late, then we leave.
He lives far away, but not too much, 20 minutes later we are at our destination. During the trip at the beginning we talk about banalities, then, when we are almost at the destination, out of the blue he asks me: “Are you gay?” I feel my face burn with shame and embarrassment then I answer: “Yes! … ” before I can add anything else, he says: “Me too!” But he adds that it is late and that he must go home but that he will call me soon. He greets me without even shaking hands and beckons me to leave immediately. I perform.
As I go back to my house I feel dazed, I would never (and I say never) thought that something like this could happen: a 19-year-old guy who out of the blue asks a man 46 years old if he is gay and asks him it because a few minutes of dialogue were enough for him to understand it. Of course my fantasy starts to run at high speed, but then I say to myself: “What are you thinking about! Stop there! Dario is a boy!” At home I do everything not to think about him, but I feel distraught because he is not just a guy, a lot of girls run after him and I think also guys, but he confronts me with that sharp question : “Are you gay?” … and he is gay too …. Why does he ask me it? He can have all the guys he wants … why does he tell me it? Also his friends would have given him the passage in the car but he had asked for it no one else than me.
The day after he doesn’t call me, and I feel in bad shape, I had waited for that phone call but it hadn’t arrived, I was really depressed, completely on the ground, I felt like a fool and felt deluded. After midnight he calls me and says: “I didn’t call you to see if you would have called me but you didn’t call me! You probably don’t care about me!” We talked almost until dawn, it was evident that there was a total complicity between us and not because we were two gays. He told me that when he went to visit one of his friends he was fascinated by this friend’s father and he described him to me, but in practice he didn’t describe that man, it was me the one he was describing, and added: “But he was hetero …” And after a few seconds he added: “But you are not!” Now the speech was clear. We began to see each other every day, without sex, we talked a lot, we went to go shopping, we used to eat a sandwich together, he was happy, I thought that in that way, I mean without sex, we could have gone on forever, but I was wrong. He saw farther than me and in a few months we got to have sex.
His involvement was total, my somehow reticent, I had begun to love him because between us there was not only sex, we talked very much, he was looking for a comparison but he had his ideas in mind and had a very strong personality. We told each other our lives even in the most intimate aspects, my life was basically a void, there was so much imagination but nothing real, while his was much more complicated, things that I never imagined and that have conditioned him a lot.
I felt I was not the best for him, but this seemed to him to be quite relative, he fell in love with young guys several times and I often encouraged him, but those stories didn’t last long and finally we came together apparently just for reasons of sex but actually because between us there was a form of deep symbiosis. Sometimes he called me in the middle of the night and told me to go to his house, I went there, he went down into the street and we stayed in the car, he started crying, told me about his disappointments, then we made love, but in the end he repented and felt dirty, he wasn’t angry with me but with himself, but he needed to be accepted, loved, he also told me of disturbing aspects of his personality and he did it thinking that I would go away but I not only didn’t leave but I thought he really was trusting me without reservation. Now Dario is almost 30 years old, after a course of studies initially not simple, conditioned mainly by emotionality, he is now finishing his PhD in a very particular scientific discipline and is really appreciated by his colleagues and so he also regained a lot of self-esteem, which has always been his weak point.
He recently lived a long and serious love affair with a guy he was deeply in love with, but in the end that guy dumped him and he felt very bad. During that time we saw each other a lot less, now we have started seeing each other again almost every week, on Sunday, we spend the day together, we talk a lot and we also do a bit of sex but everything is very natural, we don’t ask ourselves too many questions. With me he is really unleashed, which I don’t think he does with the guys he is in love with, it is as if with those guys he especially sought the affective side and with me the sexual one, also because those guys are looking for him especially for sex while I I’m looking for his proximity and human warmth, and even for sex, of course, but sex has never been my obsession. When I’m with him I try to limit the contacts to non-risky behaviors or to those at very low risk, he initially seemed puzzled and used to do a little scene before sex because he felt braked, but then he ended up accepting limitations rather willingly, or at least without too many problems. He doesn’t have a boyfriend but I think he has other people (few and always the same) with whom he has sex from time to time. He says he doesn’t love emotional relationships and only seeks sex from me, but in fact, after 10 years, we continue to see each other and when we are together we are really free and happy at all levels. We know each other well both sexually and in personal history. I’ve never talked about this story with people I know, never at all, I live alone, so I don’t have problems with the family, I just have to be a bit careful my gossipy neighbors, because it happens that Dario comes to my house even late at night and leaves the next morning.
Basically, about this story I cannot talk with anyone, I mean talking directly about myself, but it happened to me once, only once, to hear a talk on this subject made by guys I think were gay, and I was very embittered, they pronounced ferocious judgments, rulings without appeal without understanding absolutely nothing, they had their gay couple model in mind and everything that was not on that track they considered it pathological. With Dario I don’t live anything like the gay couple relationship they have in mind, but I live a relationship that makes sense, I don’t feel frustrated at all nor did I feel jealous when he had a boyfriend, between us there is also sex, but I think it has above all the sense of the confirmation of the fact that there is an affective relationship between us of which we never speak, but perhaps it is better, because it is not the words that count. I would not want anything different from what I receive from him.
This is the relationship between us, but it has been working for 10 years now, it is not a fairy tales story, but frankly I wouldn’t change it with anything in the world. I think of him a thousand times a day and I don’t think only of sex but I think above all of his successes, his self-esteem, his dignity, the fact that he built himself by himself, that he never enslaved himself to anyone or anything, he never felt fascinated by money, he has never hurt anyone. And then, if I think he trusts me (and on the other hand I trust him the same way) I feel proud. I think that our relationship is really a way to love each other, a way that is absolutely out of scheme but it’s a way. The thing I have always admired most in him is his clear speech, not using too many words and saying even brutally what he thinks. In practice we have never quarreled, we said goodbye dozens of times but then we forgot it because the sense of being together was strong beyond any convention.
In conclusion, Project, what do you think about?
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