I have grown up believing that while moments in our life may not define us, they certainly do give meaning to the lives we lead. So today, I am going to share with you the story of how I turned my very first boyfriend gay.
Okay, so maybe that isn’t exactly how it happened. I have no doubt that I came long after any self-doubt he might have had about his sexuality, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel as though I played a part in it.
Our relationship blossomed my junior year of high school after an accidental introduction via a mutual friend. It took all of two weeks before our shared smiley face texts were replaced with crooked hearts and an endless number of X’s and O’s. After that, for months — on and off — we shared lovey dovey chit chat, mindless adolescent Facebook hacking (note: don’t ever share personal passwords with anyone — EVER) and gag-worthy stories of one another with less-than-amused friends. We finally met in person for the first time at my junior semi-formal and I still remember every waking moment — it had been the greatest night of my life.
As a first time relationship often does, it made the world a blur of rose-coloured bliss in my eyes. I felt alive, wanted, untouchable. The chubby, short, teenage version of myself whose hair was an awkward length and whose boobs were the size of overgrown cantaloupes finally felt a sense of belonging with a guy who lived 30 minutes away by car and had the anatomical build of a sexy green bean. Life seemed perfect.
But after a couple of months, things got worse. Promises were being made and not kept. Our friends got sick of the lovebird mania. Parents tried to subtly intervene. Slowly but surely, my little slice of heaven was being reduced to a few crumbs of adolescent mediocrity. I was a wreck. But even all that paled in comparison to the tsunami of shock that was about to drown my crappy, little island of self-pity.
A few months and another break up later, a sporadic, yet fairly normal, text messaging conversation turned into one of the strangest phone calls I have ever had. My tall, sexy, master of many accents green bean boyfriend told me that he was gay.
My first thought was, “Gay? Like happy?” God, did I pray he meant happy. But deep down I knew he was trying to tell me he didn’t really love me anymore. In my mind, all I really heard was, “forever alone”.
Now, let me just offer you all a piece of advice right off the bat in case you ever find yourself in this situation (there are more of you, right…?). If your boyfriend ever tells you that he thinks he’s gay, don’t offer to help him find a guy to experimentally make out with. It’s a losing battle. It’s also sounds ridiculously embarrassing when you play it back in your head a billion times over.
The relationship ended then and there. Shortly after, it experienced a little turbulence post-lovebird stage and eventually led to a fatal crash which ended all contact until just recently. It turns out his best friend from high school ended up being my best friend from university so he’s been around a lot more lately. I’m sure that sounds a little odd to you all, and trust me, I’m still a little uncomfortable with it myself, but bear with me here because I’m going to share with you the very eye-opening lessons I’ve learned from all of this.
He wants to love you. He just can’t. The first thing my ex-boyfriend told me when we were back on relatively normal speaking terms was that he wished he liked girls. This made me realize that even though I wasn’t what he was looking for, it spoke nothing of who I was as a person.
Remember, you’re still an amazing person — you just don’t have the preferred appendages for the package deal.
Don’t try to ‘fix’ or ‘change’ him. It’s not fair to you, and it sure as hell isn’t fair to him. Would you want someone trying to sell you on the benefits of lovin’ lady lips? Probably not. Just let bygones be bygones and consider it a life lesson.
It’s okay to keep anything they might have given you, lent you or forgotten at your house. Don’t feel guilty, or let anyone else make you feel guilty, for wanting to keep something that reminds you of a happy memory you shared with them. My classic Winnie the Pooh teddy has given me many a midnight cuddle when I’ve needed him most.
It’s not the end of the world if he’s seen you naked. Don’t get me wrong, I still find it a little weird to engage in “he’s so hot” talks with a guy who has seen me in my skivvies but I’ve also come to terms with the fact that he’d sooner brag to his friends about the butt on that buff, blonde bartender with 5 o’clock shadow than my lady bits.
Don’t label yourself an experiment. God knows I resent being used as a guinea pig to test out someone’s sexuality, but I try to remind myself that he was no more aware of what was going on with himself than I was. It was all like sitting beside a stranger on a rollercoaster. We just both happened to be along for the ride together.
You are the best thing that will ever happen to him. EVER. You are the last stop between self-doubt and self-discovery. You are the person who tips the scales and frees a person’s soul from all the wondering and worry they’ve experienced. My ex-boyfriend has apologized for the many bumps in the road we encountered while on our journey, but he’s also thanked me for being there for him and offering to help when I could.
It’s important to remind yourself that regardless of what someone else may be going through, they’re the ones who are lost and not you. Don’t run away. They may not need you for a loving relationship and they sure as hell don’t need you to find them one, but they will definitely need you for support. No matter what your sexual orientation, always remember: be a friend.