I thought I had it all, I thought that I was the exception to the "rule". You know the rule, the one that forbids gay men from staying together for longer than a year and if you do, your relationship then needs to turn into an "open" one. Who made that rule, I am not entirely sure and I guess that I did break the rule in many ways, but maintaining it for eternity seemed a very real and likely possibility. That was until recently.
I grew up with very religious grandparents who had very strong ideas on what a relationship should entail. A man and a woman court (I LOVE that word, so ye olde), fall in love, get married, have children and stay together until the day they should both leave this world. A beautiful ideal and for their generation, a very real and attainable ideal. For my generation, my parents and everyone born after my generation, this kind of notion doesn't seem to exist too much anymore, or so I've heard.
Don't get me wrong, my Grandparents were quite liberal in all their religious views (Jewish and Catholic, Catholic dominated though) and my Oma even went so far as to speak of Gay marriage way back before it was fashionable to support it. However, when I came out to my family, the one thing they wanted for me the most was to have a long lasting relationship with ONE person. Easy peasy. Man, was I in for a shock when it came to relationships and what my expectations of a relationship were to be met with by those that were meant to mean the most to me, my partner(s).
I dated a slew of guys when I moved to Sydney that just wanted one thing, sex. I was the naive and innocent guy from the country town known as Adelaide, (over a million population mind you, one hell of a country town) the guy that evidently had no idea about the hustle and bustle of Sydney and all its harshness and reality on how life was to be lived. The guy as one person so kindly put it, had "outdated, archaic and ridiculous views on gay relationships". I was supposed to be grateful that someone just wanted to fuck me and that I shouldn't expect anything more. I tried it and sure, it was fun as sex usually is, but it wasn't what I wanted and more often than not, left me with a massive void.
Finally, I met someone who, although I did not fall for instantly, showed me so much love and kindness that it blew my mind. Almost as if it jolted me back to earth and awakened something that I had been suppressing for years, my long lost values. He was so caring and obviously yearning for the same thing I was, love. It wasn't long before we shacked up together, got a cat and plainly put, "set up shop" as a duo. Years passed and so did the many highs and lows, the good times and not so good times and then the one thing that I never thought would happen, happened. Death.
I was young when he passed, 29 years old to be precise. I was discussing his death with a new friend the other day, not as morbid as you may think, more remembering the way people treated his illness. Being gay and ill meant that he had HIV according to all his friends, some of mine and the usual pitying passerby. Actually, he had Leukaemia, but no one cared about what he really had, it was just assumed that we must have had an open relationship being gay and someone "slipped up". Couldn't have been further from the truth, we were in many ways the exception to that rule.
I never thought that I would ever meet another person as kind and generous as him, but as fate would have it, I did. A mutual friend introduced me to this new found handsome intellect and from the moment I met him, I was smitten. I was nervous though, I never prided myself on being "brainy" and knowing he was, made me so anxious on how he would receive me when he realised I was a crazy, emotional loon that loved hard. All my ridiculous insecurities were to put to rest and some 9.5 years later, I look back on the longest relationship I have had and can honestly say that I have had the best time of my life. I have been loved and have loved with all my heart.
There were lows, boy were there lows, none lower than what was to erupt a few weeks ago, but the highs were the greatest of highs and are something that I feel very fortunate to have shared and experienced. Relationships are complex things and more often than not, things that people would rather quit than work on, no matter what form they come in, sexual, friends, marriage, family, they all require great amounts of listening, loving and learning. I guess when I look back and read what I have written, it just reinforces to me that I am the exception to the rule, my rule, whatever that may be. I will continue to write my rules, learn from others rules and adapt them where necessary.
The future is bright. Very bright.