Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wrap Up: Tim (#15)

It’s been a month and a half since I ended things with Tim and I’ve spent a lot of time considering whether or not I would write about why I broke everything off. Obviously, since I’m writing this entry, I’ve made up my mind.

We all have our fantasies. Our dream romances. Our Disney love stories. Tim was mine. I was Tim’s. Everything about our relationship seemed so surreal and too good to be true. We had met on vacation in a romantic tropical location. Our nights were spent dancing and drinking and kissing. We had fun. We were in the moment! There was passion! It was crazy and absurd. And then we were apart. And I missed what I felt while he was in Mexico with me. As time went on we used Skype and phone calls and texting to continue to indulge in our fairy tale. We sent each other care packages of gifts. We made playlists on iTunes and emailed them to one another. We quoted poets and sent links to YouTube music videos that expressed our longing for one another. We acted like long distance boyfriends, even though we had never been boyfriends in reality.

And it was fun. It was fulfilling and satisfying. I went to bed at night knowing that across the country there was a cute guy thinking about me. And that I would see him soon enough. And live near him within three months. It seemed so perfect. It was our own little RomCom.

We were both dreaming a future together and then trying our best to turn that dream into a reality, instead of living in the moment and feeling what we felt. In the physical absence each other’s presence all we could do was plan for what we wanted our relationship to be one day; and in doing so, we blinded ourselves to some screaming incongruities in our lives.

Tim and I have little in common beyond superficial subjects like TV, film, and music preferences, and the fact that we were in a long distance relationship with one another. The things that are important to me don’t mean much to Tim, and vice versa. There would be times when I would pour my soul out to him and discuss my dreams and plans and ambitions, and after doing so all he would be able to say is, “That’s good.” It wasn’t a false statement though. He really thought everything I was saying was good. He simply didn’t have a way to connect to what I was saying. Our priorities didn’t align. Our passions pointed in different directions. But we clung to the fact that we had decided that we wanted a future together, even if it meant forcing it to happen.

When the time came for him to fly out to Portland and visit me (as well as his aunt and uncle who live in the area) everything that I just described started to come to the surface for me. I began to disconnect from him and avoid him, because I didn’t want to hurt him. I had not been led into a blind relationship. We had blinded ourselves together in our pursuit for a perfect prince meets prince love story. But the day before his flight I decided I couldn’t lead him on any while. I had promised to always be honest with him and I had to tell him what I was feeling.

I described what I felt about blinding ourselves and creating a relationship out of nothing substantial. I expressed my frustration with our lack of connection on any sort of deep level. I told him I was sad to hurt him. In the end I asked him that we take away the title of boyfriend that we had been applying to ourselves for two months, because I worried it was influencing our behavior too much. Instead I wanted us to acknowledge that we had a great time together in Mexico and that we should explore what it was like to date while he was there in Portland. If we called ourselves boyfriends it would dictate our behavioral choices. For example, if we were boyfriends, when we saw each other for the first time in three months it would be expected that kiss one another. But what if we didn’t have the desire to kiss? Or if we were boyfriends and he stayed the night at my house, shouldn’t he sleep in my bed with me? And if he slept in my bed with me and we’re boyfriends, then shouldn’t we sleep together? Instead of behaving how we thought we should act, I asked that we behaved how we felt in the moment, the way we had in Mexico. It hurt him to hear me ask that of him. But I don’t believe it hurt because he was losing me as his boyfriend, but more because his fairy tale was being shattered.

In the end, he came to Portland and as I spent time with him I realized that my concerns had substance behind them. He was indeed the same sweet person that I had met in Mexico, and we didn’t connect on a very deep level at all. Our relationship was over before it really became.

I want to acknowledge that there is no one to blame in our situation. We both were trying to make our fantasies come true. We were both living in a dream. It took longer for him at the beginning to allow himself to live in the dream, and it was easier for me to wake up from it. But Tim is not a bad guy at all. He’s a sweetheart. And one day he’ll make someone a really happy husband. Just not me.

We’re still friends and trying to really navigate what that means. He’s actually picking me up from the airport this morning in NYC and driving me into the city. And at the end of the month we’re going on our planned trip to Disney World in Orlando. As friends. And nothing more than friends. It may be awkward but I figure it can’t be too bad in the happiest place on earth. Right?

100GD v2.0

Well hello. It’s been quite a while since you’ve all heard from me. And what a while it has been. I’m writing on a red eye flight to JFK Airport in New York City, as I prepare to start an entirely new chapter of my life. In the morning I’ll move into my apartment with my lovely roommate Talia and, after nearly a six-year absence, I’ll be living again the Manhattan. I’ve been on quite a journey to get to this point! Everything that’s happened in my life has served a purpose, however, and even though it took me a long time to return, THIS is the moment to return to the city. I feel like I’m standing at the doorway of the beginning of my life. Everything else was the prologue to this moment when it all begins.

Saying goodbye to my family and friends wasn’t nearly as difficult as the other times I have left them. When I moved to NYC for the first time as an 18-year-old freshman I remember there were tears caused by being on my own for the first time and so far removed from my parents and siblings. At the airport when I left for my two years in Paraguay we wept for the separation, uncertainty, and lengthiness of my mission. But today at the airport there were only tears of gratitude: for having the most supportive parents, siblings, family members and friends imaginable, for the past seven months that I was blessed to spend with them, and for the capability to follow my dreams back to the city. Aside from those tears, there is no sadness. No trepidation or apprehension about moving away. New York City truly feels like the only place in the world I’m supposed to be at this moment in my life.

Not only am I excited for the professional opportunities that are at my fingertips, but I’m also excited to announce that I have decided to begin writing again about my dating life. Friends, acquaintances, and strangers have expressed how much they’ve missed the blog and reading about my journey through the dating world of a gay 20-something. I have to admit that I’ve missed it as well. I’ve missed meeting new people and reflecting and sharing and learning. The three and a half months I spent writing 100 Gay Dates was fulfilling in so many ways, and the city is a perfect place for me to pick up where I left off and continue down the road of self-discovery.

As I begin the journey again I’ve decided to change the “rules” of the experiment a bit. It’s a fairly simple change, and one that will allow me to have an even more enriching experience I believe. There are no more “rules”. I’ll go on a date with any person who asks me out or with whomever I feel inclined to ask out. I’ll allow myself to feel and reflect. I’ll plan less and live more. In loosening the structure of the original rules I believe I’ll be able to open my mind even more and have a wider range of experiences. I may or may not reach 100 dates by the end of the year, and that too is ok. It’s still my goal, but with a four-month hiatus from dating in the middle of the experiment, it will likely be difficult to reach 100 by the end of the year. That’s cool. I’ll get wherever I get.

I expect myself to love equally and openly, not only others but also myself. I expect myself to shed insecurities. To maintain an open mind. To listen. To be willing to have a paradigm shift. To be more grateful. To smile. To give. To respect. I expect myself to have fun!

Let’s begin.