Tyler Curry's picture

The Laws of First Loves and Break Up Songs

 

The laws of love and attraction are nearly impossible to memorize. As you venture into relationships, they seem to bend and fold into shapes that seem quite different from what you believed them to be. Once you think you have figured out the map, the boundaries shift and directions change and you wind up just as lost as when you started. This is never more true than in a gay man’s first long term relationship.

We all float around in the wading pool in the beginning of our dating lives. That is, until we meet that one guy that leads us to plunge into deeper waters. The first date is magic, the first week is frantic and the first month is a blur. You let all of your friendships go for a while as you drift into couple-hood and cement your new status in laughter and sex. The first relationship is truly one of the great wonders of the world; both for its magnanimous rise and for its tragic dissolve. But when you find yourself in the rubble of the life you thought would last forever, how do you transition to a new relationship without post traumatic stress?

Truth is, it is impossible to realize that you are better off alone until you destroy something that started out good which has now become unrecognizable. And for a while, you think that you deserve to be left in the wreckage. But it’s through life after heartbreak that we learn that it’s always better to be single than to suffer for the one you think you love.

Whether it’s a year, five years or a decade, the dissolution of your first long-term relationship can seem like a soap opera that has been on the air well past its prime.

You ask yourself if its really over well after you know the answer. Your apartment that was once a shrine to your romance now seems like a prison that you’re not sure if you want to break out of. So you sit and you sulk and drink lots of wine, dragging the inevitable out like the ending of a Merchant Ivory movie. But why is it that in your first relationship (and maybe your second and third) you would rather remain in a losing game instead of throwing the match and gathering your strength until a new opponent comes along?

My first relationship ran just shy of the five-year mark. I was 21, he was tall and handsome, and we rarely fought. He was, without a doubt, my first love. We skated through the first two years with rarely any turbulence at all. But as I prepared for graduate school and we were forced to decide whether we should move away together or separate now, things got dicey. Deep down, we both knew it was a bad idea. But we loved each other and were too young and dumb to ever trust our instincts. So we packed our apartment and let the turmoil begin.

The dissolution of the relationship happened quickly. I was unhappy with his approach to life and he was sick and tired of me pushing him. It was always an unfair fight and the battles got ugly, but we stuck together because we both figured that even our unhappy relationship was better than being alone.

Of course, we did eventually break up. But not before we made each other go through our own version of a sappy Lifetime movie where love is lost. Today, we are both still great friends, and we still thank each other for showing us exactly what we don’t ever need to put up with again.

If someone is making you hurt, if someone brings on constant ache to the core of your body, then being healthy and alone is better than being in a relationship that is poison. Nobody likes a martyr and you aren’t suffering for the greater good, you are suffering for no good reason. Time goes on, pop music slowly becomes less painful and you realize that no relationship is ever worth suffering for.

A few people are lucky and meet the one that’s right for them early in life, but for the rest of us, it takes trying on shoe after shoe to find the right fit. Luckily, after each relationship, what you are looking for comes more into focus and what you will not put up with becomes painfully clear.

Yes, there is someone out there for everyone. But never fret over the time that you lost thinking that is was not the man you thought it was. The thing about soul mates is, they always have a few doppelgangers running around and deceiving people into loving them first. You may even be guilty of doing so yourself.

Love is out there, but it takes a few broken hearts to find it. However, once you learn how to bounce back from the first break down, it gets easier every time. Just find your break up song, a good stiff drink, and know that if your relationship was truly bad for you, you are on your way to being good.

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Comments

I find it sad that a few of the comments here are focused on the author's "looks" and not the subject matter. The first thing that came to my mind reading those posts was "bitter queens." 

Go to any gay event (no, it does not have to be a gay bar) and you'll see men of all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages in relationships. Sure, we don't know how truly "happy" they are, but it always confirms my belief that THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE FOR EVERYONE!

I have been in 3 long-term-relationships (which i define as 3+ years in a live-in committed relationship) and while the prior 2 ended badly, i learned so much about myself, how I make decisions, projecting expectations and most importantly - how i communicate (how i speak and LISTEN).

What's really ironic is that so many single gay men think that finding a partner is unique to the gay community - it IS NOT any different in the hetero community. The vernacular may be different, but the dynamics of dating and LTRs isn't. 

What's really sad is that most single guys look OUTWARD when bemoaning their single status, when, in fact, they should be looking INWARD!

If you don't love yourself (yea, i know, it sounds trite) you really can't fully love another. And loving yourself isn't ONLY about appearance - which most guys assume is critical. Why? Because you can effect change to how you look. But looks, clothes, etc are just how you present yourself to others. If your looks don't mirror your inner-self, then it's just a costume. 

Loving yourself, TRULY LOVING YOURSELF, starts on the inside. And for many guys, that may mean getting some help (ie: therapy) - and there's NOTHING wrong with that. Most of us can't (or don't know how) to look inside with a critical eye, so getting some help and perspective can really make the process easier. But that begs a critical question: DO YOU WANT TO REALLY LOOK INSIDE AND SEE WHO YOU REALLY ARE?  

So, instead of lashing out like so many "bitter queens" and bemoan how you'll never be happy, or how you "don't need anyone else to be happy" - CHECK YOURSELF before judging other's happiness (or their struggles to work towards a happier self)

nick91604's picture

I find it sad that a few of the comments here are focused on the author's "looks" and not the subject matter. The first thing that came to my mind reading those posts was "bitter queens." 

My comment had nothing to do with the author's appearance. My comment was actually an inquiry as to what the actual point of the article was supposed to be. Though my question was admittedly rhetorical as I got the impression from reading this piece that the author's point was to show he has experienced the elation of having a boyfriend and other gay men haven't.

What's really ironic is that so many single gay men think that finding a partner is unique to the gay community - it IS NOT any different in the hetero community. The vernacular may be different, but the dynamics of dating and LTRs isn't. 

I have to disagree. Gay men are a minority. We are outnumbered by male and female heterosexuals across the globe. Not to mention there are gay men I've met where there is simply zero compatibility nor potential for relationship.

"Yes, there is someone out there for everyone."   What utter bullshit.   Chance and circumstance sometimes contrive to make relationships impossible for people.   There might always be someone in the background for YOU, Mr. Curry...look at you.   I'm positive that your dance card is always full regardless of your quirks, pecadillos, and shortcomings.   This whole article is a testimony to the "know-all" attitude of those who don't have to struggle to even find a relationship, much less "try several on" like shoes.   Many gay men don't have options: it's be in a relationship, no matter what it is, or be alone.   I chose to be alone after struggling for DECADES to find one lousy relationship that ended badly.   Another article for "A-list" gays who have the option to be choosy and rumage through the pile until they find the "perfect fit."

nick91604's picture

What was the point of this article? To show that the author has experienced the bliss of having a boyfriend and other gay men haven't?

Pretty pointless article for the majority of gay men.

I think you should add that every relationship has its ups and downs and if your not gonna stick together through the downs you´ll never have something that really lasts 

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