Warning: The following question is very long. Here’s the gist: 20-year-old gay boy falls in love with a 28-year-old. Three months into the relationship, the 28-year-old’s mom died and he goes sort of crazy. After a few years, they break up. 20-year-old becomes single but disenchanted with the gay scene. Runs back into the arms of his BF (who was admitted to a psychiatric facility once they broke up…) and is wondering if he is making a mistake by getting back together with him.
The unedited version:
Dear Gay Dude
I am writing to you as a fellow gay-in-arms. I have a problem, and I feel a gay-fabulous perspective would be helpful. My gay friends, while wonderful, are fucktards when it comes to relationships so I thought I would put it to you.
Basically I have a boyfriend (woop). We met on an internet blind date a little over 3 years ago and that seemed to be it; I was 20 and he was 28, I a student (a condition which still persists sadly, but at least I’m European) and he a banker (but in a less evil and more techie way). Anywho, he had some issues (who doesn’t), but these were somewhat magnified when his mother died suddenly 3 months into the relationship (i.e. one minute headache, next thing sudden lack of sight, 3 weeks later dead) from brain tumors and needless to say it changed our dynamic quite a bit. Fast forward to last May when things started going a little breakup-y before coming to a halt in July when I finished it. I felt a bit suffocated (we moved in together 8 months previously), and kind of felt like the relationship was going in the white picket fence direction despite my being massively not ready for that shit. Did I love him? Yes, but I had never really been properly single (non-erotic boarding school to traveling in homo-unfriendly countries to being in love with the first gay I met at college to boyfriend, with a few fleeting boys in between).
Anyway after heading immediately into slutville (i.e. day after breakup), I eventually stopped and tried the dating. Naturally after a few months of dating I was horrified, I mean I had heard how glum the gay dating scene could be but I was not prepared for it to be almost exclusively full of either people solely after cock or people who were clingier than a lost child in a supermarket (and no one told me that I would invariably end up being one or the other as well). Anyway I missed my now ex boyfriend, who was genuinely my best friend and also so distraught that he ended up having a breakdown and being admitted to an in-patient psychiatric facility for a few weeks. We met a few times for coffee and he began to seem better (I had been trying to get him into therapy or something for almost 2 years so I was glad that at least something positive came out of me destroying the person I loved), and he suggested making another go of it. 3 months later and we seem to be doing really well.
Anyway I’m just wondering where we go from here? Are we making a mistake in revisiting the past or is it possible we can make it work? I think being eachothers first serious relationship and his mother dying kind of put way too much pressure on me, so maybe breaking up and dipping my toe into the gay pool helped relieve that?
At this point I realise that this is ridiculously long-winded and had probably verged on too long to be a Dear Gay Dude article, but if you could even offer me the shortest of replies that would be really fantastic.
Super confused Britgay
Dear Super confused Britgay,
Don’t hate me for what I’m about to type: Break up with him. Here’s why. The first red flag came up when you mentioned the age gap. I don’t mean to be an ageist bitch, but when a 28-year-old seeks out a relationship with a 20-year-old, it tells me that something is not quite right with your boyfriend. Think about it. When you’re 28, would you want to date a sophomore in college? I would hope not. There should be a major maturity gap and if there’s not, that’s a problem.
It seems to me that you’ve assumed the role of caretaker throughout this whole relationship. Although I’m sure his mother dying served as a catalyst for his breakdown, it makes you wonder if your boyfriend was prone to mental instability in the first place. The fact that he checked into a psychiatric facility when you two broke up is, for lack of a better word, insane. Your boyfriend clearly has issues that extend beyond his mother’s death and you’re not going to be able to fix them. If my boyfriend checked into a mental hospital when we broke up, it would hang over me like a dark cloud of guilt. My instinct would be to think “I caused this. I’m a terrible person.” when in reality, the boyfriend is just in dire need of help. I know you cite the terrifying gay scene as one of the reasons you wanted to be together again. However, I’m sure a part of you was thinking, “Oh god, what is he capable of doing? Could he hurt himself? I need to make things right.”
You might be someone who needs to be needed. And it seems like your boyfriend needs you a lot. But that’s not the foundation for a healthy relationship. Your boyfriend’s problems aren’t going to go away. They will always be the third party in the relationship until he decides to get help for real.
Honestly, I understand your feelings about the gay scene being a big bummer. But it’s really not that bad. And to be frank, you’re too young to be carrying the weight of this relationship on your shoulders. You deserve to be with someone who’s more your own age and doesn’t come with Alicia Silverstone style excess baggage. Stop doing him and go do you.