On August 24 2001, I celebrated (God willing, as long as nothing happens in the next 9 days!) my very first anniversary. My first yearly anniversary! And what a year it has been!
If you couldn't tell already, I'm writing this month about relationships and commitment, so I guess it would be best if I tell you all about mine! I met Brendan at band camp at the end of August of 2000. We were both incoming freshmen, walking away from everything familiar and into a whole new world, the world of college! A new world where we could be anybody. I can't honestly remember my first impression of Brendan, but I do have some very odd memories. He stood next to me in our formation. I don't remember talking to him a whole lot, but I did notice his very nice butt during stretches. LOL. The next evening after dinner, we got to talking, and walked around campus for awhile. I'll never forget the joke he made about working at Arby' s (It had to do with a pirate. ARRRbys. Get it?) A few days later, I found out that Mr. B was gay and had a huge crush on me! Moreover, most of our other friends at the time knew, but didn't say anything to me. When I found out, my reaction was THANK GOD. I felt the same way. Later that night, I let him drive my car. When he handed the keys back, I held on to his hand just a little longer than usual, and he got the message.
Brendan and I found each other at the exact moment in both of our lives that we needed to. We had both come out of very difficult relationships and situations.
Now, I wish I could say everything was perfect, and skip to now, over 525,600 minutes later. Our relationship grew and moved VERY fast, which I have learned is exceedingly dangerous, and the cause of many problems later. We were committed to each other completely, or so we thought. October rolled around and we decided it would be a great idea to get engaged. Yes. Engaged! That lasted until about December, when over Christmas break, we cheated on each other. Not one on the other, both of us. Within days. It was this time we decided to back off on the engagement thing. Spring semester passed and so has summer, not totally perfectly, but there have been far more good experiences than bad, and I'm very optimistic about our relationship in the future, but only if we take it one day at a time and are totally honest with each other.
I've met a lot of fine queer people over this summer and previously in person and on the net. A big problem I see in our "community" is a lack of and fear of commitment. I discussed this with my boyfriend recently. As far as he is concerned, we're almost 20 years old and should be all ready for that big commitment of dating someone for the long run.
Obviously, we aren't always mature. We don't know even ourselves fully enough to be a solid rock for someone else to hook on to.
This is very apparent all over the web at least, and I'm sure more in person in larger areas. You know what I'm talking about. Random sex, one night stands set up on a whim in the gay chat room on yahoo. Not only is this dangerous physically (so many STD's, so little column space) but mentally. We give our bodies up to a moment of pleasure with another person, only never to see them again.
Now, the question is: Why? Ok. Obvious answer. Just how to put it delicately. Okay, we're horny. But it goes deeper, at least I think it does. (get your minds out of the gutter. Not like that!!!! Anyway, why the fear of commitment?
I think I may have stumbled upon the reason. Inexperience. Unlike the straight "community" most of us haven't had the opportunity to go out in High School and even earlier to experience dating and learn what things are all about. I certainly didn't at least! We didn't get to start having significant others in 6th grade and have heart wrenching playground breakups. It was no better in high school, either. The best that we can do is hook up for a fleeting moment of sexual exploration and then fear the consequences and implications as we discover our sexuality. When we finally meet someone, we dive in head first, and wind up smacking ourselves off of the bottom of the pool. That is, it takes so much hiding and repression to get through our teenage years that when we finally do have a relationship, it moves far faster than a straight relationship. It's a lot like two 6th graders discovering dating. But, we give into physical desires our teenage bodies demand and don't pay a whole lot of attention to whom they are with. It's a warm body to hold, and that's way better than nothing, right?
All of this leads to a lot of broken hearts that could have been avoided if the couple had only gotten to know each other before saying the "L" word or getting nekkid. And, even more of a fear of commitment and getting hurt once again.
I've identified all of this through my own past mistakes, and come to find that the key to a lasting, loving relationship is to take things slow, and be honest. Don't settle for someone just because they are there, but be with him or her because you love them and genuinely care. Everyone goes thru breakups sometime, its totally inevitable. But, it will be far less painful to break it off with someone you decide isn't right if you don't jump into bed with them the first night. Hopefully, by the time our children and children's children are growing up, the world will get over homosexuality as being an issue and we can all have normal dating lives as we grow up.
Now, I want to end with the fact that I've not totally followed my own advice. I just hope that ya'll can get something out of some of the things I've observed over the years. And finally, I don't regret any of the things that have happened to me, because I've also learned that we learn from everything we go thru!
On a more personal note, I'll be sure to include the play by play of my boi and I moving in together (in just a few days from the time I submit this!) and my surprise anniversary plans You can find out more about that a lot faster if you check out the journal section on my page!
Until next time
Rob, 19, is a college sophomore at Clarion University and currently majoring in Music Education. His purpose for writing is to share experiences that will be helpful to queer and questioning youth all over, so he really REALLY loves feedback. You can reach Rob by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on AIM at cuchoirboy. His home on the web is http://www.geocities.com/zekefreke. Ciao.