In my last post, My New Boyfriend, I responded to a reader's question of what physical qualities in a man make me catch my breath. In short, I described with a masculine, muscular, tall, bearish type man, usually with dark hair and eyes.
Yet, I have been known to veer away from this.
A few years ago, a man I met shortly after my divorce asked me if I had ever truly been in love. Immediately, someone surfaced from the recesses of my heart. "Yes," I replied.
This memorable man was the antithesis of what usually draws my eye; tall, skinny, blond, blue eyes with a wimpy mustache and slight overbite. To this day, he is one of two men I feel I fell in love with. (For the record, I did love both my partners, but I grew to love them, but that initial physical attraction was not there. A big difference.)
So, why do I feel I fell in love with this tall, skinny, blond? And why did he make such an impact on my heart?
Because we connected on so many levels; spiritual, age, education, communication. We did not set out to be boyfriends, lovers or husbands.
We were friends first.
We met around 1985 at a Gay Christian Bible study. He was searching for answers, and I had some. We hung out together, he invited me to his church's young adult volleyball night. Some of them knew he was struggling with the church and the closet door. The more time he and I spent together, not thinking about dating, sex, or romance, and just sharing, talking, and supporting each other (he was there for me when I came out to my family) the more I opened up and fell in love with him.
I finally told him.
He loved me, too. As a friend.
But, he did acknowledge we would have an amazing relationship, if....
Would have, if....?
Yes, those were his words.
I must give him credit, for he knew he wasn't ready for the type of relationship he saw we could have. He was still coming out, one hand still on the church door. He also felt he needed to explore himself more sexually. He said I didn't deserve that. I deserved someone who was ready to settle down, someone who had no more questions, someone who knew who he was. I loved him all the more for that.
At first, I wanted to wait for him. Eventually, I had to move on. And then away from him. We haven't spoken to each other since 1996 when we both attended a memorial service for a friend, and even then, some eleven years after I walked away, it still hurt.
Maybe my lesson here is not to focus on the package, but the contents. I would agree, but I also want to add there has to be some physical attraction, and some attention to one's own instincts. And this time, I will pay attention to both.
The Friend Zone is a tricky place. Yet, in my opinion (and experience) most of the successful relationships begin with friendship and then evolve into something greater. The idea, though, is not to limit oneself when meeting someone and that's not an easy thing to do, as many of us, gay and straight alike, meet someone and in the back of our minds we begin thinking of the possibilites: friend, lover, spouse, trick, none of the above.
Because I believe a solid friendship was lacking in my past relationships, I really want that this time.
I want my boyfriend, to be my boyFRIEND.