I spent time reading my first two posts here. I forgot how well I used to write... I did read a lot more back in the day. Now I'm addicted to TV shows on Netflix and Hulu. It's shocking to me that I have changed my views so much. So I guess it's worth documenting that.
My first post here was written after the second one. I just posted the second one a year-ish after the fact for the purpose of the blog. My aunt wrote me sometime during my final months in college. My "Saint to Sinner" post was after living and going into school in Salt Lake for a couples months. SO much has happened since then.
1 -- The First Real Boyfriend
I say first "real" because it lasted 14 months and I lived with him. My first one was 1 month and long distance. My second one was 4 months and mostly long distance. My third was local, but only 2 months and relatively unhealthy.
In June 2012, I was still in the "live kind of like a Mormon, but gay" mindset when I met my most recent boyfriend. I went to a birthday party for my cousin (who is also gay). My to-be-bf Ryan knew someone going to my cousin's party and decided last minute to go with a friend. I was a bit intoxicated and enjoying life. I don't remember details of our meeting like he does (he wasn't drinking I don't think). But the story he told others was loosely:
"I was just about to leave the party with my friend when I spotted this really cute boy in a green striped tank top. I yelled to my friend 'Give me one minute!' So I went up to say hi to the guy. 'You're name is Frank, right? I thought I heard you being called that.' No, I said, it's Brigham. 'Oh! I really thought it was Frank! Well, my friend really wants to go, but I want to exchange numbers with you.' We exchanged numbers, but I realized I didn't know how to spell 'Brigham' because I wasn't Mormon. Brig spelled it, we bid adieu, and I left."
There's a bit more to that story. Ryan had talked to a girl just before me just to get a closer look at me. I was probably just smiling and the world oblivious until he approached me. Another guy gave me his number, but Ryan was the only one that responded when I texted the next day. We joked often that this girl was the cupid of our relationship and stayed friends with her for quite a while. Ryan asked me out on a date to the Natural History Museum. He bought me dinner at his favorite restaurant, Vinto, then we went to the museum. We had a great time and conversation flowed. I expected to go to his place or mine after for a... nightcap. But he dropped me off like a gentleman.
The next date I asked him out (or in, to be technical). The museum inspired us to watch Jurassic Park together. So I made dinner and dessert at my place (I can't remember what), and we watched the movie. We cuddled during the movie, and at the credits, he pulled me in to kiss. The night eventually led to my room.
For nearly two weeks after that, we saw each other every day. His place, my place. We finally went to a friend's birthday party, where Ryan explained his Claddagh ring. He said it points outward when you're looking for love, and inward when you have a love. His ring was pointing outward, and my friends asked why. "We haven't really talked about that." Ryan said, giving me a meaningful look.
The next morning in my bed, I woke up and asked for him to be my boyfriend. He was ecstatic, since he felt he was always the one asking. It was also interesting with the premise of our meeting. I had just recently decided I was happy being single at the time and didn't need a boyfriend to be complete. This attitude is reflected in my "Saint to Sinner" post. It was ironic that the same week I made that decision (and put up that post) was the one that I met Ryan. On Ryan's side, he had been talking to his co-workers about wanting a relationship. One told him to write a list of what he wants in a boyfriend and to set a date (it was a Mormon co-worker, ironically, but she was cool with him being gay). Ryan made his list a couple days later and a day or two before the party we met at. His list included several items, but the few I think remember correctly:
1. Has Mormon-like standards
2. Green eyes
4. Starts with "B"
Ryan raved to his co-worker the next week that he had met me and I had all the attributes, well in advance to his goal date. It was just so funny to us that his quite specific list was actually met, and so quickly. Our "relationship song" became "Call me maybe", since at the party it was basically, "Hey I just met you, and this is crazy. But here's my number, so call me maybe!"
After 5 months together, we really started to know each other. The early relationship "bubble" popped, but we still had a great time together. We took turns sleeping over. We had days we couldn't see each other. We met each others' friends and families.
In November, I applied for and was approved to buy a house. Ryan and I searched together, and I bought a house in December of 2012. It took some deliberating, but we decided he would move into my new house. It was a bit early, but it worked. He helped decorate with my mom. I worked on several house projects all the next year, especially the backyard. I was still in school, but I picked up a great work-from-home job as well. We celebrated our 1 year anniversary. We went on a big trip to Florida and the Bahamas. We lived our lives as two working, practically married men. We adopted two adorable corgis together, "Emma", and "Watson". The names were chosen on purpose, and mostly because Ryan (for years) had wanted a corgi named Watson.
Ryan is actually the biggest factor in my family's and extended family's positive attitude about my life as a gay man. Ryan met almost all my family on both sides while attending several of my families' huge reunion events. They saw how I could date a very respectable, fun, nice guy, and it wasn't so bad. Nothing weird or mean was ever said concerning our relationship that I was aware of. We were respected and loved like any other couple, it seemed.
Ryan's family had been great about him being gay since he was a kid--albeit Ryan had and still has very unconventional relationships with his parents. His mom is re-married after an awkward divorce, but rarely sees him because of the guilt she gives herself from the situation. His dad is a "silver fox" that lives off of inheritance and haphazard real estate work. He serial dates women, asking Ryan for relationship advice nearly every day. Ryan was an only child and had to grow up very early with his parents irreligious and irresponsible habits. Ryan had to pick them up when they were too drunk at parties sometimes. His mom never cooked, and she even took him to a tattoo parlor with her when he was 15 (or younger?) to get their first tattoo together. All that being said, he loves his parents and is a very responsible person. He is now closest to his well-to-do grandmother, who is a very sweet, classy, generous woman.
Over time, I started falling out of love. The excitement of our relationship was dying to me. It was not what I had expected. I thought the happy feelings would last and it would be a happily ever after. Often when Ryan came home from work, ready to spend time with me, I was busy working and unwilling to aknowledge him much. I regularly brushed him off. I stopped taking him out. There was a night I found him flat on the carpet in his office, looking miserable. I asked what to do, but he was too depressed to respond because he didn't feel like I loved him. I was so out of touch with his feelings that I left him there.
My need for intimacy was still high, but because I allowed what I didn't like about our relationship take over, I wasn't interested in being intimate with Ryan. And I resented him because of it. It hurt our relationship even more. We talked several times about improving our intimacy, but we both kept failing at our resolutions. I finally did the hardest thing I've ever done and broke up with him after 14 months of dating. It was painful to see the hurt in his eyes. I didn't want to rush him out of the house, but that night he dismantled all of his office because he didn't feel like it was his home anymore. He didn't come home anymore after that. He lived at his grandmother's for a month or two until he got his own condo. I helped him pack all his things, he took them, and that was it. He took Watson, and I kept Emma.
It was several months before I reached out to him. I knew I had to be the first since I broke it off. But our re-connect was very amicable and we both seemed comfortable to be on talking terms. We did a doggy play date with the corgis and caught up. Nothing changed with him. A lot had changed for me. More time went by. This last pride, we did another doggy play date, but he also came with me to join our same group of friends (when we were together) to go to a party. It was three couples, and another friend. Two of our couples had broken up, including mine, and the other had been together since just after Ryan and I had met (and are planning on marriage next year). It was really fun to reunite and to joke just as before, but without the pressure of the relationship. It was actually very emotional to me to be with Ryan and old friends to have frivolous fun. I would love for it to happen more often, but one friend lives in DC, the couple still together lives in St. George, and I have a feeling it's harder for Ryan to be around me than it is for me to be around him.
2 -- Life After "Marriage"
It's ironic I'm calling it marriage because it's possible Ryan and I would have considered getting married had the Supreme Court Ruling of June 26 this year been 3 years earlier. But I'm glad we couldn't and didn't. Mainly because I'm not ready for it. It was really my relationship with Ryan that helped me realize that I am not relationship material (at this point in my life). Not that I'm a bad person, but I clearly am terrible at being aware of my partner's needs. I'm selfish. I don't like asking permission to do things. I'm also new at being gay. I haven't really got out of my system the need to meet with different guys. Maybe I never will. Ryan was ready for a committed, normal relationship. He had dated plenty years before and knew what he wanted. I still don't know what I want--for a relationship, anyway.
I waited a week after our break up to download a dating app. Then another week before I started meeting with other guys. But I quickly embraced the beautiful idea that I can have as much fun as I want, with who I want, and when I want. I liked not having to plan intricate dates. I loved not having to follow up and keep talking to people. I loved sleeping alone in my own bed. God, I love sleeping alone. I had such a hard time sleeping with someone next to me. I kept worrying I would disturb Ryan, which completely ruined my chances at sleeping well most nights. I starting meeting many more guys than before Ryan. Even now, I'm still in that phase, happy to be very single and very free. No guilt of lusting over someone else. No permission needed. All of my friends are well aware of my free spirit in this regard. They tease me, but they don't criticize me. I own my actions and am open to everyone I meet about my intentions. It's a very freeing way to live, in my opinion.
Will I ever be ready to settle? I have no idea. I think I will, but I have no guess as to when I'll be ready for that. It's not worth my time to worry about who my next boyfriend will be, or who my date will be this weekend. I love my weeknights alone (or with a new boy), and my weekends in or out with my friends. But even my fleeting thoughts on how my next relationship might be have changed. I want to have some sort of poly-amorous or open relationship. The expectations of "traditional relationships" drives me nuts. I like the idea of having a consistent best friend to come home to, to cook with, to have adventures with, and to be intimate with. BUT, I also want a mutual understanding that we both have needs and desires to meet and enjoy experiences with other guys. Whether we bring someone new over for a night or permanently, or we have our own separate encounters with new people, I want there to be complete freedom and no pressure in that regard.
3 -- Other Beliefs
Looking back at my last two posts, I'm laughing at how religious I was. I now consider myself an atheist. I actively choose to believe there is no God. This is for two reasons. (1) I don't believe I need to be accountable to an intangible being that has any set of rules to follow. Organized religion has been the cause so so much hate and anger in my life, as well as so many others. Religion fosters superiority, judgmental people, ignorant people, and excuses to ignore facts. I'd rather be accountable to myself, not depend on someone else's moral expectations, and not dwell on an unknown afterlife. With God out of the picture, all of my actions are on me. My actions are influenced by the laws of the land, scientifically proven healthy living practices, and personal experiences. (2) Most of my friends consider themselves agnostic. I like to stand out for the sake of being different and not following the crowd. I also like to stir the pot a bit. So my atheism is not very proactive. It's more of a statement than a belief system.
There is no plan from a god for me. I make my plan. I choose my future. I succeed, and I fail. I want happiness, but that comes from what I choose to make me happy. Not from what someone else says is happiness.
I don't consider myself Mormon anymore. I often get frustrated with the idiots in Utah that stand by the 15 old men "apostles" that believe they are God's gift to the world. The LDS Church is constantly inserting itself into the personal lives of people that want to be rid of it. I want to be rid of it, and I will move away from it eventually. My family believes they are doing the right thing because what they believe is right fits what they want anyway. But I can say the same for me. So we agree to disagree. There might be some conflict in the future when I have kids of my own, but why worry about that now? We are all happy living our own lives, choosing our own friends, and respecting each other for it.