Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Romance That Is Mutual And Reciprocal

Transitions always halt the normal routines of life. I've had the new job for a month now and I haven't been able to return to doing the things I once did.

I used to exercise alot - several times per week. Now, I find myself tired after work and I don't run as much as I used to. I tell myself that I'll go to the gym after I get home, then once I get there I think, "yeah right."

I used to be intentional about staying connected with friends - going out for coffee or lunch. I could do that because I wasn't employed and my work with Catalyst was flexible enough to allow me the ability to nurture those kinds of connections. Now, I've got to weigh out my time - choose whether to rest up or connect with one person or the other or to be a part of a group gathering.

I used to blog alot more often too. I apologize for that. Not only was I blogging more often, but I was also using this blog to journal and process my thoughts. It's been awhile since I was raw with my feelings so I think I'll take the time now to just write for "me" - without worrying about who may be reading it or what someone may think.

It's just that . . . there's been alot on my mind and I was seeing this guy . . . .

So I had started seeing a guy about two weeks ago. He's a great guy and my buddy helped facilitate an introduction by giving each of us the other's phone number. The thing is - I don't think the intent was initially to fix us up together. This guy is kind of where I was at a year ago when I first started Two World Collision - with the exception that he's now at a point in his life to where he wants the whole gay Christian thing to work whereas a year ago I was at a point of simply exploring the "other side" to educate myself about the gay culture and what God was doing in it. I approached it objectively whereas this guy pretty much has decided that gay is the way to go - with or without God. He's still processing through that part.

My buddy gave him my phone number in the context of Two World Collision and thought that I'd be a great person to help him process his thoughts. I love being able to talk to people in that context. So we met two weeks ago and we connected almost immediately. We had great times of talking and getting to know one another and it was uncanny how similar our stories paralleled each other. I guess, in that process, we began to see each other in a different context - in a more romantic context.

So we began spending more and more time with each other and we began to interact more intimately. After about a week, we both discovered that we were taking all of this way too fast. We both really enjoy spending time with each other but I realized that he's not exactly in a place in his life to where he's ready for a relationship. He's still wrestling with alot of issues between faith and God and sexuality and other stuff. So we mutually agreed that we are better off taking a step back and keeping things platonic right now.


I realize that it's the wisest and most sensible thing to do. It's the right thing to do. But I have to admit that I liked the idea of developing a relationship romantically. It was fun. It was awesome being able to make someone feel cared for and to feel cared for in return. It was good to feel like romantic interest was mutual and reciprocated. It's been a week since we last decided to be platonic and we've hung out and talked to each other on the phone over this past week. I know it was the right thing to do but I miss that affection.

It just amplifies that feeling of loneliness. I want a companion. I want to be with someone. I want to walk with someone. I want to journey with someone. For so long it has been such a burden trying to do this alone. I know, I know, God was always with me - yadda, yadda, yadda - I don't intend to take Him for granted or make light of His presence. But I want someone tangible to experience existence with me. I want to hold someone's hand and I want to embrace someone for a long period of time and I want to cuddle and snuggle and all that mushy stuff. At the end of the day, you can't (or shouldn't) do those things with a platonic friend.

I think that one of the reasons why I try to be intentional about nurturing friendships and relationships is because deep down I have a need for intimacy that isn't being met. So the next best thing is to try to feel "connected" with friends. Ultimately, I want to connect intimately. And I feel so lonely some times. Many times, I just want to be touched - to have someone touch my face or to caress my arm or to hold my hand while we're driving in the car. I want to look into his eyes and find myself lost. I want to watch him talk and interact with my friends and discover that I'm falling for him.

Goodness, I'm not one to wallow in depression and sadness - I've been there before and I choose not to live there - but honestly, I am sad alot. My emotions are balanced with other positive feelings too because I do feel blessed in many other ways. But sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, there's a sadness in my heart. I get up and go through the routine of my day but that sadness lingers. It's not because I'm gay. It's because I feel like my companion with whom I am whole with is not yet connected with me.

I'm not talking specifically about the guy I mentioned before. I'm okay with us being platonic. I'm talking about my soul mate. Does he exist? Is he out there? How much longer will it be before God says that it is not good for Eric to be alone and he unites me to another with whom He has chosen and approved of?

Back to talking about that guy - he often says that I'm "a catch". Hehe. It's flattering - sure - but it's hard for me to accept. I mean, sure I think I'm a good guy and that I have much to offer another person in a relationship. But to tell you the truth, I kind of doubt whether or not I'm "a catch" because I haven't been caught. It's not like there are a million people or even just one person fishing for me. I want to be caught. Can I say that? I just want someone to want me and I want to want him back. I long for something mutual and I guess I feel so lonely because it's always been one or the other - either I liked him but he likes someone else (that's a killer!) or he liked me but I like someone else.

For once, I want the universe to match up - fall into alignment - and have a romance that is mutual and reciprocated. With that guy, it seemed like it was - and I guess i'm just a bit sad about it because that wasn't enough. The timing was wrong because he's not yet ready for it.

So what do I do now? Do I keep trying to go on dates? That's frustrating because how does one "get the date" in the first place? Do I go out to clubs more? That's frustrating because that amplifies my loneliness which affects my confidence in approaching someone in that venue. Do I try internet dating? That's frustrating because the experience is so two-dimensional - it's all about the photo and the looks and whatever is written in the profile as if that's enough to gauge whether or not I want to invest an evening with someone who potentially may not even be anything like his profile. Do I advertise to my friends that I'm fix-up-able - that i'm "on the market" in case anyone knows another single guy who would like to meet a nice guy? That's frustrating because, well, let's face it - that makes me feel desperate and pathetic.

So should I just stop looking? Well, heck, as if that's easy to do! I've had friends tell me to just stop looking and it'll come around. Um . . . when? Yeah, I get it - just go on with life and romance will just happen naturally. Sure, I want it to happen naturally. But at the end of the day, I still have to live through lonely feelings and I can only fake-it-til-I-make-it for so long.

I'm not a basket case totally overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness. I've got good friends and I'm connecting with people. But on the subject of romance - I'm sad. As honest as I can be right now, I just want to be held - not by a good platonic friend, but by someone who is holding me because he is loving me.


Christine Bakke said...

Wow Eric. So powerful, and what you wrote really resonates with me.

I'm sorry that you feel this loneliness and...the feeling of "is there really ever going to be anyone for me?"

I have at times tried to convince myself that remaining single is a wonderful option for me (and it is, really, and certainly if I do remain single I will want to live my life fully and with happiness) but you do make very valid points about our need to connect and know and be known...and truly loved for who we are.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Eric, you have expressed yourself beautifully. You have provided words to feelings that I too am having and I often find too painful to even explore, much less express.

Just when does the universe align? Please let me know, because based on previous experience, I will busy watching TV or mowing my yard when the alleged universe alignment occurs. I'll miss it. I always do.

For now, perhaps you can think of a day when someone hands you a small red and yellow flower, thinks of what a great guy you really are, and smiles warmly in his heart.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Eric. I can't give you any relationship advice... I'm not qualified and it's not my place. What I can say is that after being in a relationship for almost five years and being with the man that I want to be with forever, whom I am deeply in love with... it's still a struggle. Coming to terms with my own sexual identity and accepting that God loves me... it's still a struggle. I still have issues (and back issues and volumes and subsribtions) that I'm still trying to let go of... Sometimes I think Pastor Dan is targetting me in his
I just hope that when you find the guy for you, that you won't let "issues" prevent you from being happy. Hmm... I hope that makes sense and didn't come across offensive or in a "know-it-all" manner.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I was able to connect with everything you wrote Eric, but I pray that God gives you the desire of your heart brother.

Seeing as how my dating life is as dry as the Sahara I've been interested in studying the experiences of those who have had to wait on God in scripture to see if I can glean any wisdom or encouragement from their test and trials. I'll let you know what I uncover...

One of my coping mechanisms of dealing with my season of singleness is living vicariously through the love lives of fictional characters.

I just finished At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neil and I absolutely loved it! Its a coming of age romance novel set against the backdrop of the Irish revolt over British rule. It started off a little slow but once it gained steam I was quickly carried away by this literary gem. I don't remember the last time a book actually made me cry, but the language, character portrayals, and weaving of classic literature with modern prose captured my heart and tugged on it in ways that very few have done before. It was by far the best book I read this summer!

So, until your beloved prince comes and sweeps you off your feet I recommend getting a good book. At least you will have something to talk about when you meet him.:-)



Eric said...

awww!!! you guys are so awesome....thanks Christine, Matt, Joon, and Tahir. i appreciate your encouragement and the fact that you relate.

sigh...what are we gonna do?

Joon i love seeing you and Alan so happy! =)

Christine - one day. someone. oh hey by the way, i've got it on my radar to make my way to Colorado! maybe sometime next year.

Matt - i'll think often about that day when i was given that small red and yellow flower. maybe i'll see him again in michigan when i go to see his duckies. =P

Tahir - yep, a book can be a good distraction. i'll typically go to the movies for the same reason - escaping into another world and another story not my own. i love books that bring out emotion from the reader. if i get a chance, i'll check it out. thanks!

Me and the guy i mentioned in this post are still hanging out as friends. He's a great guy with a huge heart. Take care everyone!


Anonymous said...

Eric -

I second Tahir's analysis of At Swim, Two Boys.

I found it "by chance" at the library before I was even out to myself. It was so moving. I cried, too.

I've read it twice in as many years. Great read!

-Steve (Ps403)

The Rainbow Zebra said...

Oh shoot :( (Scratch the comment I made on that last post).

I just have to believe you will be with someone. You are too wonderful to *not* find your soulmate!

If it's any help, my hubby thought we were moving along too fast and wanted to be friends.....and about 2 weeks later we were dating ;)

Things can change in the blink of an eye. I'm just sorry you're sad right now :( ((((Hugs))))