The Straight Enigma
This article was first published on the www.thegayuk.com in 2020
Falling in love with the wrong person can be a difficult and painful thing to experience. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, this can be even hard because unrequited love is always the worst. I know many of you out there will have been through this at least once in your life. I've been through it too, on more than one occasion. You could say that I'm a masochist. I put my heart through that much trauma I'm surprised I've not given myself a heart attack.
The first one was very traumatic. It lasted for about four years, and ultimately it cost me a lot. I lost close friends. I lost my integrity, and it also took a real toll on my mental health. I've always been honest with you; this time, I'm going to be brutal. For some, this will be a difficult read, but I think for some of you, you'll be able to relate and if this helps one person to understand that this is a normal part of life, then I've achieved what I wanted to when I started writing this.
It seems to be a rite of passage for gay men to fall in love with straight men and there is undoubtedly a social stigma that comes with it, that should it ever become public knowledge, is difficult to shake. People don't seem to grasp that you cannot help who you genuinely fall in love with, it's not a choice you make, it's a feeling you struggle with for months, sometimes even years and it sends you into a spiral that you have no control over. You're made out to be a predator because it was always you that initiated everything. The other person hasn't done anything wrong. You are a walking devil.
When you are in the thick of it you think about that person every single day; there is not a day goes by where you feel your life could be so much different. A part of you in your head tells you to grow the fuck up and move on, put him out of your life, and deal with it. But it's your heart that overrides that situation, hanging on every word they say. Over analysing a simple text message, seeing how many ways you can take it, has he dropped a hint that maybe he feels the same way about you? You drive yourself insane. It did me.
It's been a long, and difficult road to get over that guy. It's not been easy. It's difficult to watch people around you fawn all over them and boost their ego, while you are wanting to scream across the room, screaming inside because you what they're doing is breaking your heart. Your heart races a thousand beats per minute. They just don't see it, or do they? Are they thriving off the attention they're receiving? Are they playing a sick game with you; that twists and turns your insides, and manipulates your head without you comprehending?
The hardest part is covering. You do your best to hide in public when you're around your friend, you laugh off the jokes that deep-down inside is tearing you apart. You watch them play their games, and you just want to scream stop. The worst thing about it is that people can't see inside your heads. They can see this smooth and sometimes icy exterior. They don't know your hurting inside. You try to tell your "close" friends about it, but they don't seem to understand, they just see the blatant front they're putting on. They don't honestly believe that someone is capable of doing these things you're telling them. You start to see these people in a different light. People become blindsided. They only believe what they want you to see.
You try to block it out with new relationships, but in the end, you end up committing self-sabotage, because you know that deep down inside that this person is nothing compared to the guy you want but can't have. You mess around and hurt perfectly lovely guys because they're not him. You can't shake what you feel for him, something else comes and smacks you round the face that proves you are still in fact madly in love with them; or at least you think you are.
In the end, you don't blame them for feeling that way. They don't want to change their opinions about them. You're made to feel like an outsider. People who you thought were close, best friends even, you look at them differently. You don't know how to deal with it. You want to run. Run far away as possible. When you're in the grasp of an obsession, sometimes it's the only possible escape. The strength comes from staying and fronting it out. When you've mastered this, then you can begin to say to yourself that you've got this. It's at this point to start to reclaim control.
Looking back now, this was a period of my life when I desperate to be loved, and this went on for four years until I got truly over him. I've not had any interaction with him for about five years now. It's times like these when I re-evaluate the past and my life. I start to think about how I've changed. If I saw this guy again, five years on, and being the more developed and mature person, I am now, what would I say to him? I guess I would say; Cheers; I learned from that experience, and It's made me a more resilient person. I have come through this experience, and I've closed the door on this part of my life, and going forward in my life, it's going to make me a more well-rounded person, and it's going to impact my relationship with men.
Straight men are an enigma for gay men. We want what we can't have, and we go through periods of having feelings for people we shouldn't. These feelings aren't just a one-time thing. They can come out of left field sometimes. About a year ago, I reconnected with an old friend that I'd not spoken to for a very long time, and certain feelings have started to resurface. There's a certain sexual tension between this new guy and me, and we've made out on a couple of occasions when we've been drunk. It's unrealistic for it to be anything more than this, and I know this. The rational part of my brain understands and accepts this, it's the other side that sometimes has a louder voice. We have to learn not to listen to that side as much and focus on living in a present state of rationality. I think the more I've grown as a person, the stronger I've become, and I see things in a completely different light.
I look back on this saga with mixed emotions. Hindsight is twenty-twenty. I look back with a sensible, level head that I've got now thinking "Wow, Al; you were an absolute IDIOT". Why did I waste the best part of a year on a guy that was not even worth my time; get some self-worth and some self-respect? Why did I do it? I guess I could say I was young. Frontal lobes aren't developed. I had zero self-esteem. Maybe a part of me didn't see that I was worth more? Perhaps I was yearning from the attention and acceptance that I couldn't see everything with clarity. I also look back and think; this guy really did a number on my head – but; in the long run, it probably did me a huge favour. It's made me stronger.
I now know what I am worth and what I want in a relationship and a romantic partner. I don't want somebody who is going to give me the run-around, fuck with my head and always hurt me; and nobody should settle for this. We are worth more. So if you are in a similar situation to the one I've been in, then give yourself the time to heal and remember your worth, because you are ten times the person that he will ever be and remember; you will get over it, and you will be a much more resilient person for it.