How I Realized My Boyfriend Was Gay
Being heartbroken and twenty-three, it was easier to pretend that Timothy was gay, and not that it was something about me, something I lacked, or that, the saddest notion of all: sometimes love just dies. But the truth was, despite my father being convinced otherwise, Timothy wasn't gay; in fact, these days he lives quite happily in Brooklyn with his current girlfriend.
But it has always been a long-standing joke amongst my friends and family that if there's a gay man within a reasonable radius, I will fall in love with him. Despite being raised by two parents who have been in love with each other since they were 16, I have a fear of commitment. It's not so much the commitment, per se, but the fact that someday things will end, items will be boxed up and there will be arguments over who brought what to the table, and who's going to leave still in tact.
However, if you fall in love with someone who isn't going to love you back, there's a level of subconscious safety. Yes, a part of you won't be fulfilled, but there's that self-preservation that some us need to get through the day. Or at least that's how I felt for a long time; losing Timothy taught me all the good stuff is worth the loss no matter how detrimental it is.
I was a freshman in college when I fell for Andrew*, and fell hard. He was tall and skinny and wore thick black-rimmed glasses, like Rivers Cuomo from Weezer -- and considering I had had "The Blue Album" on repeat for about two years at that point, I was quite certain Andrew was the lad for me. He lived in the dorm across from mine, and not to be creepy, but my window looked directly into his. I wouldn't say I was stalking him, I just wanted to know the pretty boy who wore grey corduroys every day.
By second semester, we had friends in common and we were being invited to all the same parties. Once he knew my name, it no longer seemed strange that I sat in the window smoking cigarettes every Thursday afternoon, waiting for him to walk by. Andrew, despite being easy on the eyes in that charming indie rock way that has always won me over, was also the funniest person I had met up until that point in my life... or maybe it was the crush blinding me.
It was the liquid courage that came in a red plastic Solo cup one Friday night that had me brazenly pushing Andrew into a dark corner of a party and kissing him. I remember my friend was DJ-ing that night and mixing a cross between porn stars moaning and Ace of Base skipping "I Saw the Sign," when Andrew kissed me back.
I kissed him a lot in the weeks and months that followed, but that was it. Even the few nights we had sleepovers, it never went further than him running his index finger under the back strap of my bra. I'd offer to remove it, but he'd insist it was sexier on ... it "added mystery."
Although I was not very experienced in the world of sex, I was no longer a virgin, and as a freshman who was enjoying the first year of true freedom from my parents' watchful eyes, I was ready to delve into my college experimentation with gusto. Andrew, however, didn't seem to be interested in anything but kissing. I even once asked him if it was a religious thing; he assured me it wasn't, it was instead, a respect thing. Respect was nice and all, but I wanted Andrew, I had to have him, and when I pushed the topic, he pulled back, the make-out sessions became less and less frequent, and one day he was just gone.
At nineteen it's hard to understand that it's not about you, so I immediately went inside myself and tried to figure out all the things that were wrong with me ... especially when he found himself another make-out buddy within our circle of friends. By the time sophomore year rolled around, I had moved onto Joe, and Andrew and his dark-rimmed glasses were a memory. Joe wore Chucks and a navy blue T-shirt that said "Nerd" on it. He satisfied my "looks like a lead singer of a band" crush requirement ... and he liked to do a lot more than kiss.
One afternoon when a bunch of us were laying in the lower quad of the university, someone brought up Andrew and how he had come out to his friends and family over the holidays. It was early spring, and I was weeding through the grass looking for a perfect blade to use as a whistle when I heard the words "came out."
"I'm surprised it took him that long," said Joe. I was confused.
"What do you mean?" I asked, "I've been with him. I'm pretty sure he isn't gay."
"Andrew has had make-out sessions with half the girls on this campus, but it's my freshman year roommate, Daniel, whom he was sleeping with at night."
Honestly, I was shocked. I wasn't offended or hurt or upset, nor was I ignorant or selfish enough to think that I had had any hand in his sexuality. Granted, I'm not a perfect specimen of feminine beauty, but I was educated enough to know the difference between nature versus nurture, even if I had skipped the majority of my psychology 101 classes. Andrew just didn't seem very gay to me.
If we went through the stereotypes, sure those lined up, but every boy I'd dated before him and since then could be assumed gay if stereotypes held any weight. As I lay there, I was sad. I was sad that he felt he couldn't tell me, and truth be told, I was also sad that I definitely would never be kissing those lips again.
I saw Andrew every once in a while around campus before I graduated; we'd make small talk about what albums we were listening to, or the new couches in the student memorial building, but we never talked about the few months we dated or the fact that he was gay, even though he was then dating another boy whom I had locked lips with back in the day, too.
I realize there is no comparison between me -- who kissed a few boys who turned out to be gay -- and to a woman who has built her life with someone who comes out later in his, so I would never dare to insult anyone by putting my experience even in the same category. All I can say is, while I'm sure part of me would feel betrayed or tricked if it happened again, I know once I got around the fact that it wasn't about me, I'd be angrier for the person I love for having to betray themselves. In my opinion, that's where the real tragedy is.
Relationships in general are difficult enough without having to put restrictions on whom someone can and can't love, if you're lucky enough to find happiness, the details below the belt shouldn't come into play.
Andrew, by the way, is now happily married to a man, and I'm happy for them both. Although I am a little jealous that someone gets to kiss Andrew forever, not many can kiss that well. Lots of practice does, indeed, make perfect.
*name has been changed.
Amanda Chatel is a freelance writer and the snarky lass behind The Angry Office Manager, a sometimes inappropriate and mildly offensive blog that was once about her former office-manager days but has evolved into a ranting and raving of this and that. She is a frequent contributor to The Gloss, Untapped New York, and writes the music column "Neither Here Nor There" for Sick of the Radio. She lives in New York City with her dog, Hubbell.
More about relationships on MyDaily:
She Found Out Her Fiance Was Gay
I Saved My Husband's Life
Dating Advice from JWoww on "Jersey Shore"
Around the Web
- What Drives Men Away and What Attracts Them - YourTango
- Bill Clinton: It's Still the Economy, Stupid - The Daily Beast
- Do You Want to Know When Your Friends Run Into Your Ex? - The Frisky
- Would You Marry Someone Who Didn't Have a Job? - The Gloss
- And the City That Has the Most Sex Is ... - The Stir, CafeMom
- 3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Makeup Sweat-Proof This Summer - BellaSugar