The Men In My Life: Secrets
I have officially dated three men in my entire life: two of them for less than 6 months, but one of them made it to two and a half years the first time and one and a half years the second try.
I met my ex in college. I had randomly heard of him, because he had previously been with a mutual friend. He was also very active in a club my friends belonged to.
One evening, I followed a friend to one of their club fellowships and I met him. He was attractive in a none beautiful sort of way. It was his aura, his eyes and personality more than his look that I was most attracted to. For the next few weeks, I ran into him more than I ever had in the preceding three years I had been in college. With about one more year to go, I was looking forward to meeting a nice guy who I could build a life of something with. He was that: a nice guy.
After several random conversations, at random coincidental meet ups, we finally decided to give dating a try. We exchanged numbers and found out how common our lives were.
He was an orphan.
I was an elder sister, and I deeply felt the need to not just protect him but love him. And that is exactly what I did.
I am not a gullible person, never have been. I feel the need to point this out because, just like him, you might not understand why I loved him so much. I don’t understand why as well, but I did and I won’t apologize for that.
I joined the Club, because of him of course and not long after we started to get physical, goodnight kisses turned into touch and months after that sex began. It was possibly the best sex I had ever had, but at that point I had no yardstick for measuring.
I fell in love with all that we were. The many days off campus settling our misunderstandings and thanksgivings we shared with his adoptive family made me fall in love with them as well. And these two things combined made me see a future for us.
We both had it all figured out and then he graduated and went to another state for masters. In the first year, we made things work. I traveled to see him. Met all his new friends who seemed to think him obsessed with me. They liked me because they liked him and I liked that. I liked that they liked me and that he had new friends.
Those trips felt like mini honeymoons and we enjoyed them thoroughly. Saying good bye and going back to school was always the hardest. Six months down the line, with factors beyond our control, we broke up. The factor was him. He wasn’t interested anymore. He was getting feedback from a few of his club members that I was hanging out with another guy. I hadn’t been with anyone apart from him, so I was surprised.
I didn’t understand his insecurity and continued to convince him that i was satisfied with loving him, and i meant it.
We talked about it when he came back for summer and he stood by his decision for us to test the waters and see what the world had planned for us, individually that is. I said Okay.
I wasn’t okay, but i said okay.
About fifteen minutes later, I found myself on the floor of the bathroom in my apartment. The shower kept running on me and I gasped for breathe under heavy tears and the hot water from the shower.
There was nothing I could do but cry and that was what I did. I spent the two years it took me to move on in four stages: the first stage i cried, heavily; the second i spent writing songs and lyrics about our love; then i started to acknowledge the anger I felt, noticing his lack of respect for our love and everything else I could about him and our relationship. Finally, I tried moving on by having whatever kind of emotional relationship I could, while also trying to stay off sex.
About a year after, we started to talk again. He needed help to get through a professional exam, so he called me one random morning. I had recovered from feeling broken, so I embraced my kind heart and called him every morning he had exams to give him support and encouragement.
When he came home for Christmas, we spent every day doing things we used to love. Going dancing, eating sushi and Making music. He produced music part time.
I discovered he kept tabs on me and I could tell he wanted me but he didn’t make a move. I respected that and maintained a cordial non-sexual relationship with him. After a while, I got tired of being drained and being emotionally used by the man I still loved, who wanted a friendship that was like a relationship without any form of commitment and I couldn’t be that anymore.
So, this time I left. I went ahead to kiss a few boys and meet a few gentlemen who were never good enough to become boyfriends or didn’t think I was good enough to be their girlfriend.
Two and the half years after we broke up officially, I had graduated, interned at a music production firm and gone ahead to become a song writer full-time and a budding musician part-time.
It was September, his dad’s remembrance anniversary, and I wanted to send him love, so I decided to call him. He picked the phone, informing me he was moving back home and would like to see when he gets back. He had been thinking about me, he said. We met up at one of our favourite cafés for coffee and desert and got talking.
I had met a guy, but just like all the ones before him, he was not a sure thing, so when he asked for a second chance, I said yes.
And so round two began.
Round two was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life, but I didn’t know it for over a year.
We had thanksgiving again with his adoptive parents and they welcomed me like I never left, in fact everyone seemed to expect that I would be back. His nieces, nephews, cousins and two other siblings. We had family dates and sleepovers. My family liked him, knew him already from the December we had explored the city together and they accepted him. Not only because they were happy that I finally brought someone home for the first time ever, but because they liked who he was as well.
He had just moved back so I pulled strings to get him an assistant producer job at the production company where I worked and everyone seemed to like him very well. So, when I got a better job offer at a rival firm, I said yes without being worried that he would lose his job, and he didn’t.
We spent day and night together on my previous job, but with the new job, we continued to spend our evenings together. He showed up and everyone liked him: family, friends and my new work folks.
He was charming, a good guy and my support system and I cared and loved him so much.
We had a few fights with day offs and that was a usual thing with us. He had panic attacks when that happened, and he seemed to always need a break from his usual routine, which I always respected and gave him. Everyone knew this and he had been this way since I first met him at his club’s fellowship.
They had a reunion and everyone was so glad we were still together. They disturbed and teased him about putting a ring on my finger and he said that was his plan; he was on it.
I loved him so much. The fact that I could trust him, that he was nothing like my father and that I knew every part of him made him the person I wanted to spend my life with. I wasn’t one for premarital sex, so knowing I could just keep exploring sex with one partner who was loyal to me meant a lot.
Six months into my new job, I had to transfer my pension account and information to my new firm as I got confirmed as a full staff. I went to my old job like I seemed to do a lot still. I was a regular because I always showed up to have lunch with the boyfriend.
As I headed towards finance, I stopped by to say hi to an old friend in human resources who had just resumed from leave, but he wasn’t on his seat. As I was about to leave, I heard light conversation by the fire escape stairwell.
Inquisitively I pushed open the door, slightly enough to see my boyfriend kiss a colleague. My world crumbled.
In shock, I closed the door, went to Finance and got what I needed. I met up with him later that day.
It wasn’t even a real kiss, just a peck. Maybe I misread or misjudged it. It’s not possible, I kept thinking.
A few weeks after and I couldn’t let go. As he walked to his car to get groceries we had gotten from the market earlier, I picked up his phone and unlocked it. We were that open to each other. I had his password, so I shouldn’t even doubt him right? But still I did.
My instincts had been telling me something was wrong, and I had been praying to God to reveal anything that could scar my reputation as my album was set for release on all major platforms in two weeks. It couldn’t be coincidence that I saw something that seemed as if, and had a feeling that felt as if.
As I scrolled down and searched messages with my name in them, I saw conversation he had with his friends about me, how we were in a good place, how he wanted to marry me, how he was happy. I smiled at those messages and for the first time in a few weeks I was truly happy.
But then, curiosity kept my mind wandering, wondering what really happened that day. I searched a couple more words, like sex and a few messages came up which I emailed to myself.
That evening, we had a good time. We made food and I left for home.
As I settled in bed, an hour past midnight, I sat up to read one of the conversations I had sent to myself from his phone.
And it confirmed my fears: he was gay.
And yes, his colleague was a guy.
He had Grindr on his phone, he had planned gay threesomes and he was doing the most when it came to being gay. And this wasn’t only a sexual thing for him, not that it really mattered but somehow it did. It was emotional. The messages I had sent started from the year I had ended our friendship to around the time he moved back. From all I read, it seemed like he was very much into and in love with some other guy, a small time rapper.
Just like that, tears that could fill a river started to run down my cheeks.
I can’t explain in words how i felt, but i would guess it is equal to the pain of losing a close member of my family.
How could he be gay? How did this happen? How did I miss it? What did I miss? We spent every hour together when we weren’t working? My heart pounded, and just as I summoned courage to call him, I realized I had left my charger at his and my battery had run out from re-reading the chats. I tried to sleep but it eluded me. I tried to keep crying but somehow the tears were finished. That was the day I realized that there are different kinds of silence; the one that filled my home that night was really loud.
I waited till daybreak, got dressed in whatever clothing I found on the floor of my closet and drove to my previous workplace.
He saw me drive in, so he came downstairs with his charming eyes and boyish smile. “Miss your charger or missing me” he said. And with all the strength that I had, I fought the need to just keep pretending that I didn’t know what he was. I wanted to keep pretending so that I don’t lose what felt so much like the good thing. I said my first words since I found out “We need to talk.”
He twitched a bit, and as I walked us to a park near the office building, I told him how I went through his phone and asked him the hard question, “Are you gay”.
He respected me enough to lie the first time, and pin it on a gay colleague the second time, and claim that another gay colleague downloaded grindr on his phone when I asked him about that. I called him out and I told him I had my facts and he needed to cut the lies. He did.
He accepted defeat and said the words that broke me even more, “Yes, I am gay’.
In that moment, he tried to hold me, to beg me. He wanted me to react in madness, to throw something at him or slap him or hit him. But all I could do was run, not far away but run to a point he couldn’t touch me. I cringed every time he stretched his hands to hold me, I ran every time he tried to grab me, I called him a fag and cursed that day I met him. I asked him why he came back, when it started, which of the people around me he had been with, who knew—all that my brain could ask. The answers made it harder and made it easier at the same time.
His answers gave the situation a history and background and it made everything we had ever shared—tears, doubts, love, sex and money—a fraud.
I asked when it started and how but of course I didn’t trust his answers. I called him out for being selfish and I kept thinking I needed to get tested.
Nobody in his family knew. I know this because he said it. Also, after we broke up, his brother called to convince me to stay, telling me to forgive him whatever it is. When I said no I could never, he became suspicious.
He called me one mid night after, begged me with God and asked me to tell him the cause. Was he in a cult? Was he in a gang? Was he committing fraud? Every time I said no, his suggestions became bigger until he hit the gay suggestion, I said no then said yes. I needed to tell someone, so I chose his sibling, someone who loved him as much as I did.
The proof I saw showed he had explored homosexuality before we got back. It was against my beliefs, so I didn’t care when he said he hadn’t been with a guy since we got back together again. I couldn’t believe the best pretender in the whole world. Nothing could have made me think of him that way, He always showed up and he knew my stand on polygamy and on loyalty.
That same week, I stepped into a clinic and got tested, I was negative and grateful.
I could start again, without fear.
However, I couldn’t start again without being afraid that the next person would be a liar or pretender just like the ex.
I couldn’t tell anyone, because I didn’t want to be “she who dated a gay guy for so long and didn’t realize it,” neither did I want to be associated with any form of gossip, if it didn’t already exist. No one in my old life could keep such secret, so I didn’t tell them. Luckily, I had his sibling and a new friend I could tell.
I do not believe in bisexuality. I believe in straight people and gay people, so never would I think him bisexual.
To me he is a gay guy who trampled on my kindness and played with my heart.
The lesson I learnt, and the word I keep holding on to is, your actions are not a reflection of me.
Thank you for the lowest point in my life.
I’m tired of keeping your secret, you can have them back now.