I have never been one to worry about finding that special person, subscribing as I do to the idea that you will meet the right person when you are supposed to meet them.
But I am questioning whether by waiting for a person who may never appear I have wasted opportunities for meeting that special someone or let people go because they did not match my idea of a long term partner.
Don’t get me wrong, I have tried meeting people out on ‘the scene’, I have joined various clubs, societies and exercise classes hoping to meet other gay guys, I have also signed up to various dating sites – all with varying degrees of luck – but I have never met that person who I felt I wanted to be with long term. And I am sat here now feeling old, left on the shelf and lonely!
This was something I recently posted on the site of a support group I belong to, whilst feeling low. One of the replies I got was from a guy who I have met only a couple of times and really boosted me. He said “If only you could see yourself the same way that the rest of us see you. You would have so much more confidence and would believe in yourself much more!”
It made me wonder how I am perceived by others and it also got me thinking about situations where I do feel confident and have self-belief.
I find it funny that if you put me in front of an audience, be it a class of children, a theatre full of people, a crowd when performing in a routine, or even a camera (with the hope that people will view the resulting video), then I can perform. I can entertain, educate, inform and express myself with, I like to think at least, a good level of clarity and confidence.
But put me in a social situation I am a very different person. I shrink, I shrivel away and do my best to fade into the background and not be seen. Especially if it is a group of people I only kind of know, or any large group situation. And there is a part of me that wonders whether I do this on purpose as some sort of defence mechanism.
This has hugely affected my social life, obviously, as well as any potential romantic life.
I have been hurt in the past, emotionally. I have felt the stabs of unrequited love. I have had people laugh in my face when I have asked them out. I have had so called friends steal away men I have loved, just because they could. I have stood and watched and smiled through the pain as men I have loved have kissed others.
I have learnt that if l do not put myself in situations where my heart can get broken, then it never will.
The only trouble is, is that I think perhaps I have become like the White Witch from in Narnia, or the Tin man from the Wizard of Oz. My heart has become stone, icy cold, or possibly even non-functioning.
My first loves were all straight guys – non-starters from the off! The first guy I had an actual physical relationship with dumped me like a sack of potatoes after we slept together, following two months of what I called dating and he called ‘getting to know me’, telling me he actually already had a boyfriend who he was in love with – he was his lobster (Friends reference) – and just wanted to see what it was like with someone else!
The next guy I fell and fell hard for was a total tease. When he had had a few drinks he would flirt with me something chronic, but the following day he would all but ignore me. One night we had been out together drinking and he had got with a guy at the club but did not want to go back with him so needed me to walk him home, which I did, being nowhere near as drunk as he was. When we got back to his place he basically stripped off and asked me to get into bed with him. This was less than an hour after he had been snogging the face off this other guy. By this time I was fairly sober and refused, made sure he was feeling okay and left. I will never forget the feelings as I walked away from his place that night, looking back and seeing him at his bedroom window, waving at me.
I often quote a line from the musical RENT, which is an amazing musical and you should see it if you ever get the chance, “Forget regret or life is yours to miss”. But if I am 100% honest with myself, walking away that night is the single thing I regret doing most in my life so far.
For a fair while after this I did not see him. When I did next see him he was in a committed relationship and all the flirtatiousness had gone from our relationship and soon we drifted apart. He is married now, or at least was the last I heard, which was almost ten years ago now!
And it took me a good five years to get over him because the feelings I had for him were, and indeed still are, by far and away the strongest feelings I have ever had for another person.
I got over him, as much as I ever will, by cutting myself off. By not putting myself in the potential path of romance, this was aided by some hefty health issues resulting in a kidney transplant in 2010. One major side effect of this was that I also lost all contact with the gay world in real life. I have no gay guy friends, no one to go out with, no one to relate to and no one talk to.
Since then I have tried to build myself up again, tried to put myself back out there, in harm’s way, as it were. As I said in my post to the support group, I have joined clubs and societies, I have tried my hand at online dating and I have even ventured out into Soho on my own once or twice. But all to little avail. I did get hit on in a bar in Soho last year, but was not physically attracted to the guy.
I did develop what I thought to be a budding relationship with one guy who I met at one of the groups I joined. We flirted for several months, went for drinks in a group, but when I asked him out it turned out he had a boyfriend and he subsequently moved away, taking my heart with him.
So once again I am back at square one, forming attachments to those out of my league, those who I have no hope of getting with and, in some cases, those who even though we have met and have some connections, probably do not really know I even exist!
And because I know, or at least perceive, I have no chance with them, I do not get as emotionally involved as perhaps I once would, meaning when it inevitably does not happen, I do not suffer as much.
So here I am, feeling old, left on the shelf and lonely!
But perhaps confidence is the answer.
Perhaps I need to try and see what others apparently see.
Perhaps I need to try and use the situations where I am confident and translate how I am then to how I am when trying to meet guys.
After all, one of the sexiest things I have ever seen in a guy is the right amount of confidence!
I am a thinker, watcher, smiler, laugher, YouTube content creator, writer & part-time teacher!
My YouTube channel can be found at:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaPfRtDp5552wTwriVZ0_9g (Jay’s Jabberings)