When my ex first left, and I accepted the fact I was now divorced, something I never wanted to be, I eventually came to believe there was another relationship out there for me. I absolutely knew it would be better than my last one.
Now, I'm not convinced he's out there.
Nor, am I sure I want to look for him.
Or if he comes looking for me, am I ready for him?
As I watch the few single gay male friends I have navigate the treacherous waters of dating, I'm convinced I'm not ready to take the plunge. Nor will I ever be. Nor do I even want to.
Because who can say what the future will bring?
Before my ex left, I had no gay male friends in my life other than him. We had been in a few gay organizations, but over time we drifted from them and eventually from the friends we'd made there. So, now being single, I set out to make new ones. But where does one go to meet friends, while not looking for anything else? Social settings, like organizations, are one way. Volunteering would be a great way to meet people in a stress free setting. Yet, there is always that undercurrent of attraction, of something more possibly being there. And if it would develop, that would be okay. But, I didn't want anything more, at that time. Or, better said, I wasn't actively looking, but willing to explore what might happen. Bars and apps also offer the opportunity to meet friends, but there usually are hidden agendas, ulterior motives, and other surprises in these arenas.
I have made a few gay male friends in the nearly three years I've been single. As I met many of them via social networking like Twitter and Facebook, and even a dating app or two, most of them are long distance friends. While we've not yet met face to face, I count them as very dear and supportive friends. And, I'm not sure how actively the single ones are looking for that special someone. The few 'local' gay male friends I've met have also been great support, but are hardly what I'd call 'local' in the truest sense of the word as the closest one lives about forty miles away.
Of the ones I chat with more frequently, one had his heart broken so severely this last time, he said he was done with life, and wanted to end it all. Fortunately, his attempt was unsuccessful, and he is getting the help he needs. Another has dated a series of men who have either played him or turned out to be not quite the knight-in-shining-armor he thought they would be, leaving him hurt, broken and more disillusioned with each subsequent break up.
While I don't think I would end it all over a broken heart, I remember only too well how devastating it can feel to be hurt and broken time after time. So, I'm not looking to repeat that feeling again any time soon.
So, I'm not looking for a relationship.
Well, maybe I am.
With me, myself and I.
A single threeway, if you will.
I surrendered so much of myself in both my long-term relationships, I don't know who I am anymore. What do I like? What pleases me? What doesn't? What do I even want? (And yes, I am referring to both in and out of the bedroom.)
Relationships give us insights into ourselves, if we approach them with that in mind; what will I/can I learn about myself from this encounter, be it social, sexual or maybe more?
From my first partner, I learned anger frightens me. He would come home very angry at someone else, or something that happened elsewhere, and I felt responsible. I did whatever I could to make him feel better for fear he'd leave me, or worse.
From my ex, I learned I am too much of a caretaker, an enabler, a giver. And that I can't hurt someone else's feelings, so I stick it out to the very bitter end; often to my detriment. And, yes, even to his.
From The Man I Met, I learned I am capable of very deep romantic feelings for another man, that I am not emotionally dead, and that there are good men out there, if you are willing to look. Right now, I am not willing.
From The User, I learned I am not a plaything to be tied up and passed around and then handed off to someone else when he's through with me. I have way too much dignity to be used like that. I also learned that if the situation arises, I will end it. But, in this case, there were no feelings involved as we'd only just met and chatted a time or two, so maybe that doesn't count. But, the lesson does.
So, while I do need to meet men to get to know myself better, and figure out more of what I want from life and relationships, I'm still discovering and learning to appreciate the fine qualities I do possess. I am learning to enjoy being me, whatever that may be, and to enjoy being on my own, alone but not lonely.
Single, But Not Looking.
Actively looking, that is.