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A Little Reflection

Well, it has been about five months now since I’ve moved out on my own after my split with John. I have to say the first few months were very rocky. I felt lonely and without direction. Over time though I’ve begun to feel more grounded. I’m starting to feel at home in my new city and have started dating again. Over the next few weeks I plan to write some of my thoughts about post break-up life and dating again. Today I want to meditate a bit on the break-up and my relationship with my ex.

Throughout the whole ordeal I felt really uneasy about talking about the break-up with anyone but him and our counselor. I kind of feel like there is a trap in the way our culture expects break-ups to happen. They are supposed to be messy with people getting angry at each other, placing blame, and complaining to their respective friends. But, those expectations for how a relationship should end didn’t work for me. I didn’t want to be perceived as either a victim or a bad guy, nor did I want John to be perceived that way either. I was reluctant to tell friends about my dissatisfaction and ultimately reasons for calling it quits. I didn’t want to categorize John as “the bad guy”

This isn’t to say that the break-up wasn’t immensely difficult for both of us. Though I ultimately decided that the relationship wasn’t working and that we should call it quits, I still loved John. I hated to see him hurt, and I know that I was the one causing that. At the same time I didn’t see him capable of making the changes that would allow me to feel fulfilled in the relationship. It wasn’t so much about our actions and words as how we engaged the world on a base level. Fortunately, through it all we remained civil and committed to treating each other with respect.

Now, seven months since the split, John and I are still friends. We took in some of the cultural attractions together last weekend and we maintain pretty frequent communication. I feel pretty lucky.

How about you, what sort of relationship have you maintained with your ex(s)?


Getting to Know You: Where in the World

After talking with Rodolfe and reviewing some of the older comments on this site I started to realize that I have quite a few readers from places other than the United States.  My experience with intergenerational gay relationships is definitely an American one.  I imagine many of our experiences around the world are very similar, but I love that through this medium I get to hear different perspectives from around the world.  However, that got me wondering, where exactly are my readers from?

So, tell me, where are you from?

Getting to Know You: pt 3

My last blog entry brings up a great topic of a “getting to know you” poll.  I know lots of gay men that have been married only to come out later.  Perhaps it’s just a characteristic of my part of the country or city.  I’m curious what the experience is of my readership is; have you ever been married?  are you still married?  Remember, all poll responses are anonymous.  For a look at our last poll and links to previous polls check out Getting to Know You pt 2.

What is your marital status?  (For the purpose of this poll, married means to a person of the opposite sex.)

Getting to Know You: pt. 2

Earlier this year I posted the first in a series of polls designed to help me get to know my audience better.  Getting to Know You: pt. 1 asked about your age, and it was interesting to see the breakdown of the ages of the visitors here.  I have posted a few other polls in the past, most ask questions about gay issues.  But, but this new series throws into that mix questions about you, my readers.  I encourage you to respond to all my posts with your questions, thoughts, and responses.  But if you’re uncomfortable with that I hope you’ll at least consider responding to these anonymous polls as they come along.  Ultimately, I hope this feedback will help me become a better blogger, better able to respond to issues that interest you.

Our second getting to know you poll is about sexual identity.

Please, feel free to leave further comments or expand on your response to today’s poll.  Also, below you can find links to other previous polls.  If you haven’t in the past, feel free to participate in or respond to them as well.

Questions on Infidelity

Coming Out Intergenerational

Would You Marry Your Partner

Greatest Age Difference With a Partner

Questions on Infidelity

Recently the blog DoWhatYouLike had a post that posed several questions about infidelity and how we defined it.  You can see their original post here.  In responding to the post I ended up writing a comment that could almost stand alone.  I decided to repost that comment here and see what other people thought about the topic.

I think this question is a lot harder to answer than you might first think, and really depends on the couple. I recently read Dan Savage’s book The Commitment and then a few other writings on the topic of monogamy, fidelity, non-monogamy, and infidelity. Gay male couples (and some straight couples) don’t necessarily define fidelity by sexual exclusivity. It is the emotional commitment to their partner that they find the most compelling. However I think some are comforted by monogamy, finding that sexual exclusivity is the bellwether for a healthy relationship. However that might not be the case and it is a facade for problems that lie beneath the relationship. My point here is that there are different understandings about fidelity between different people and among different couples, and what works or is appropriate for one couple might not work for another. The most important part of broaching the touchy subject of fidelity is good communication. An individual in a couple needs to let their partner know where they feel comfortable placing the boundary of the relationship. If a husband is getting too emotionally close to a female coworker then that needs to be addressed. It’s not necessarily that the relationship needs to change, but that discussing the relationship can enhance the level of trust and understanding within the couple. Fear and recriminations are one of the greatest threats to the health of a couple.

Tell me. What are your thoughts on fidelity?  How do you/you and your partner define fidelity?  Is it fair or even possible to place the same criteria of fidelity on different couples, gay or straight? Also consider participating in the poll below.

Getting to Know You: pt. 1

I am now in my tenth month writing this little blog about intergenerational gay relationships.  I’ve written more than thirty posts, received almost forty comments, and have received more than 16,000 unique visits to the site.  As a WordPress blogger I have some fundamental resources to see what interests my readers and who you are.  I see what posts get the most visits, what search results bring readers here, and what other sites link to mine.

However, I still feel like my visitors are a bit of a mystery to me.  I have posted a few polls in the past, most ask questions about gay issues.  But, I’m going to start throwing into that mix questions about you, my readers.  I encourage you to respond to posts with your questions, thoughts, and responses.  But if you’re uncomfortable with that I hope you’ll at least consider responding to these anonymous polls as they come along.  Ultimately, I hope this feedback will help me become a better blogger, better able to respond to issues that interest you.  Our first getting to know you poll follows.

Coming Out Intergenerational: a Poll

portalOver the Christmas holiday I returned to the American South to visit my family.  This was the first visit back since I came out to my parents and told them about my relationship with a man more than forty years my senior.  I plan to write a post about my experience of coming out to my parents, but I want to take a little more time to reflect on my most recent visit.

In addition to this visit, John and I recently watched the film Milk.  In it we see Harvey Milk imploring his gay compatriots to come out, that only by being visible will the gay community make any political progress.  In one scene he almost forces one of his campaign aids to call his parents to come out.

Combined, these events have had me thinking about and reflecting on coming out quite a bit lately.  I first started coming out to friends about ten years ago.  The first person I told was a mere acquaintance, a young woman that lived in my freshman dorm.  Over the years I’ve found it easier and easier to come out to people.  But, I remember having a very difficult time coming out to friends from high school that had known me a long time and it took me a long time and a change in personal circumstances to finally come clean with my parents.

For those of us who are attracted to individuals who are significantly older or younger than ourselves, an additional challenge is thrown into the process of coming out.  I had lots of friends to whom I had come out to, but never told them about my attraction to older men.  After I became involved with John, I realized I had to, in a way, come out a second time.  I had the same sort of anxiety telling these friends about my attraction to older men as I did when I first came out.  However, by far I worried most about my parents’ reaction to my intergenerational relationship.

For you, who do you think will be, or was, the most difficult to tell about your attraction to individuals of a much different age? Feel free to leave a comment as well as respond to the poll below.