LOVE…OR SOMETHING LIKE IT

LOVE…OR SOMETHING LIKE IT

Do you believe in love? Can you say when love happens? Are there rules of engagement in this thing called love? Does love conquer all?

I am a romantic, and I have come to realize that I easily fall for people whose intelligence gets to me. I first have to appreciate a guy for what’s going on in his head. And if he happens to be well-endowed, then that’d be the icing on the cake. I have dated a number of such guys in the past. And I have had some breakups as well, some of them amicable, some of them bad.

A short while ago, in a gay Facebook group I belong to, I saw someone post a witty comment on an update. I appreciated the sharp humour in the comment, and was suddenly interested in knowing the person behind it. I clicked over to his profile and looked through his photos and available updates. I got more interested. So I sent him a friend request. (For the purpose of this writeup, I’ll call him Solomon). When he accepted my request, I sent him a message via his inbox, and we began getting acquainted. We already had the commonality of our membership in the Facebook group, so there was not much need to dance around the topic of possible sexual interest.

However, at the time, we were just interested in being friends. We chatted a lot. He was a very interesting person to talk to – intelligent, engaging, funny, with deep-seated emotions that brought about a strong connection between us. My heart stood no chance against Solomon’s personality; I soon started developing feelings for him. Our verbal rapport affected me on such a deep, chromosomal level. It helped that we didn’t go straight to sexual talk when we started our journey to friendship. In fact, for a long time, we talked about everything but sex – life, career prospects, family, LGBT issues. I saw a visionary in him, and his seemingly genuine interest in me and my private battles as a first child of my family and as a single gay man strengthened my growing affection for him.

So when I knew I was falling in love with him, I let him know. I had to be sure we were operating on the same wavelength. He assured me that the feeling was mutual. And so we began making plans to further our relationship by actually meeting and sharing more than a virtual connection.

This story isn’t a story about love. It is a story about when life happens to love…or something like it. First, there was this thing of beauty, this thing that held promise. And then, it was no more. The flames that burned in the fireplace, bright with colours of passion and promise, eventually burned out to embers of cold ash.

I’m not exactly sure when things started going downhill between Solomon and I. But it began to seem like we hit a roadblock, and were subsequently limping on. There was no big fight, no wounding betrayal, just a sense of loss that slowly began creeping in.

And then, I got a message on my Facebook inbox.

‘Hello,’ it said.

The message was from (who I’ll call) Mark. He was a distant online acquaintance of mine – you know, that person you know is in your friend list, but you’ve never really had a dialogue with, except run into each other on updates of mutual friends.

‘Hi,’ I responded.

He wanted to know how I was doing, about life and work. Our talk was casual, the talk of two people merely firming up their acquaintanceship. We were also well aware of our shared sexuality.

And then –

‘I want to know more about you,’ he typed. ‘Are you in a relationship? Or are you not the relationship kind of guy?’

That was so out of the blue, and I was instantly wary. It just then dawned on me that this was someone trying to start something with me.

But I was not available, and I was upfront about it. ‘Yes, I’m a relationship kinda guy,’ I responded. ‘But they seem to fail me. I am currently seeing someone, but I’m no longer sure of where we are. I still have hope for us though. I’m trying.’

‘We’ve all had our share of heartbreaks,’ he replied.

But I had to know. I was bewildered by his sudden interest in me, and I said as much.

‘I didn’t suddenly notice you,’ he demurred. ‘I have admired you for a very long time. I haven’t been able to come forth though because I’ve been scared.’

He went on to open up to me, talked about his longstanding affection for me, about how I didn’t deserve to be treated badly by whoever was messing with me.

‘You don’t have to fight to stay with him if he belongs to you. Have a direct talk with him and get everything out in the open and make a decision to move on based on the result of that discussion.’

I realized that Mark was making a case for himself, a case to get with me. But that realization wasn’t as strong as the awareness I came into that I’d been afraid. That I’d been afraid of having a hard talk with Solomon because I was afraid he would outrightly tell me he didn’t want us to be anymore. I’d been wearing blinders, hoping that if we didn’t confront our issues, and if we skirted around whatever problems we had, we’d be okay and still remain together.

But Mark was right. I had to talk to Solomon. I couldn’t continue being in this state of limbo anymore. So I made us have the talk. It wasn’t very pleasant. And he didn’t hold back.

“I was never ready for a relationship,” he said. “I’ve had relationships in the past that didn’t end well. I thought I’d be ready for a fresh start. But I’m sorry, I’m not.”

On some level, I had seen this coming, this devastation. So I was prepared. His words didn’t wreak the havoc in my heart that I’d feared they would. I felt the impact. I embraced it. I locked it down. And then I was ready to shut the chapter.

But then, reports started getting back to me through mutual friends, who I wasn’t even aware had apparent knowledge of our relationship. Reports that weren’t supposed to reach my ears, of Solomon talking about how he had to agree to a relationship with me because he felt sorry for me, and that I manipulated his affections with my tears and overflow of emotions. (One of the persons spreading this story also happened to be the bitch claiming to be Solomon’s latest love interest. That was especially galling.)

Hearing these brought about my heartbreak. I had seen our breakup coming, but nothing prepared me for this blatant betrayal. I could not believe this picture Solomon had painted of me as some weak, emotion-driven, sad guy whose power lies in using his tears to get what he wants.

This is the antithesis of who I am (My friends can attest to that). I am strong-willed, have no patience for weakness, and sometimes forceful with my strength. I am not a damsel in distress, and no matter how many times my heart has been battered in the past, I’ve never needed anyone to come rescue me.

First I was devastated by these things I heard Solomon said. Then I buried my grief under the welcome weight of anger. I burned with rage. I confronted him, lashing out in the course of the confrontation. He lashed back. It got very ugly very quickly. Resentment burned between us. This was very clearly the end.

I was determined to move on. And Mark put himself right there, wanting to be a shoulder that’d provide solace for my grief. And then, he began wanting more, to fill the gap he figured Solomon had left in my heart.

“Dear, I came to you to help you heal, to show you the true love you deserve. What I fell for you is no infatuation. It has been there a long time. You have been saying you won’t ever date again. I understand why you say this, and yet my heart weeps when you say those words. Give me a chance, my darling.”

“Mark, I can’t…” I tried to fight his persuasion.

“No one holds the key t your happiness. Remember that. Don’t give Solomon the power over your happiness. Do not let this disappointment rob you of a chance to be happy again.”

It has been three months of this dogged attempt to get me to change my mind, and I haven’t said yes. I do not know how to say yes to him. His ardour is tangible. He has been persistent. It is clear he wants to be with me. He has often laid himself bare to me, his vulnerabilities all out in the open.

But I still can’t say yes. Not only is this so soon after the mess of my affair with Solomon, but it is fact that a wounded person does not soon seek the sport that caused his injury.

But in the still moments when I tell myself I’m making the right decision to keep my heart shut away, to keep myself away from Mark, a small voice whispers: what if you’re missing the opportunity to get what you know you want?

Do you believe in love? Are there rules of engagement in this thing called love? Does love conquer all? If love is such a conqueror, why do its battle wounds run so deep and its scars never truly heal?

Written by JBoy

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20 Comments

  1. INDIGENE
    September 21, 09:17 Reply

    I still find it hard to believe the kinda love we expect exist! if someone is able to put up with some of your shitz, then they love you, but just when your loving, prepare for a time when those loves won’t exist no longer.
    .
    I have never seen my self heartbroken before, I hardly relate when I see people saying their breakup made them down! it doesn’t work that way for me.
    Some go into a relationship and abandon everything about them and make it about whoever they dating, Hey!You have a personal life and no matter the amount of professed love keep to who you are, leave a home where you can run back to when your new house get flooded!

    • Delle
      September 21, 09:36 Reply

      “…leave a home where you can run back to when your new house get flooded!”

      More like not placing all your eggs in one basket, abi? Hian!

    • Pink Panther
      September 21, 09:43 Reply

      You seem to think that heartbreak goes hand in hand with people living for their partners when they’re in a relationship.

      • tee.boi
        September 21, 10:46 Reply

        Eehh, Pinky Yo’heard About That Denola grey And Daddy FREEZE Interview Stuff,

        Seriously, That Daddy Freeze Needs KOBOKO

  2. johnny
    September 21, 09:22 Reply

    There is love oh. Open ur heart and watch out for the right person. you ll be amazed.

  3. Delle
    September 21, 09:31 Reply

    I believe in love. Genuine, mutual love. Love conquers all but could be messy (I guess something as sovereign as that should be when the tides turn).

    I also do not believe in holding out because of a sour past experience. Like Mark said, you just may miss out on an opportunity to truly experience love. One thing I’ve come to understand is that many a time, true love doesn’t sprout up from lust or infatuation.
    Three months is too long a time for him to keep persevering and for you to keep shutting him out.

    As for the healing, it does truly heal if the right ointment is applied.

    • JBoy
      September 21, 21:06 Reply

      Hi Delle,

      Trust you’re good.

      Where can I locate that ointment.

      Standing by for your swift response.

      Warm regards,

      JBoy

  4. Mr. Fingers
    September 21, 10:24 Reply

    U failed to tell us if u are actually into mark.

    If u are not into him no use telling him u need time to heal,just let him know how u feel abt him.

    Sorry about the heartbreak. Dont expect too much from people in any relationship u find ur self in that way u wont get hurt. There are no knights in shining armour in the real world,we are just humans with flaws and all.

    • JBoy
      September 21, 21:09 Reply

      Mr. Fingers,

      If I wasn’t…I wouldn’t be asking.

      Cheers.

  5. bruno
    September 21, 11:01 Reply

    nice post. i think this is something we all think about. i think the issue of love is something of a dichotomy. the idea of love is suppose to be this perfect thing but how can we find that love in someone when all humans are flawed?

    intense mutual feelings of attraction are all well and good but it takes more than that to be with someone. love is a journey. a journey into discovering more about yourself and someone else. you can’t drag someone on that journey. you can’t drag solomon and mark can’t drag you because.

    besides affection, they first thing two people need to have is the complete willingness to let what they share blossom. that’s what will motivate when you when that journey hits a bumpy patch.

    intelligent funny and well-endowed are all good, i guess but they say nothing about a persons character. loyalty, commitment, willingness to listen, self awareness and communication are more of the things that will determine whether you will have a good time with someone or not. these are the thing that really do conquer all.

    on a final note, i don’t have straight answers to your questions. look around. no one outside hollywood really does. more relationships fail than succeed, divorce rates grow and too many marriages are walking dead. these are just things i’ve picked up from personal experiences and observations. and things i’ve learnt in the past year with my (totally awesome) boyfriend.

    • JBoy
      September 21, 21:11 Reply

      Hi Bruno,

      Me truly grateful. Thanks so much for those words.

      OAN: I would love to be friends with you.

      • bruno
        September 22, 10:44 Reply

        you’re welcome.

        sure thing. pp is the chain that binds us all together!

  6. IBK
    September 21, 11:51 Reply

    All’s fair in love and war.

    Really there are no rules to how to go about relationships except those you impose on yourself. I am a strong believer of love having experienced it myself but I have to agree that it isn’t always enough.

    I have many questions just like you but I’m willing to learn even if it earns me scars. If you feel you need time then take time just make sure whenever you enter the next relationships it’s for the right reasons.

  7. Francis
    September 21, 16:38 Reply

    Some of us don’t even know what we want again sef. This life can be such a messy porridge sometimes. Best of luck to una wey dey actively search for love. May your search be fruitful.

    @Tee.boi I saw that mess and I wished Denola had a correct response like “Are we no longer dating again?” Nonsense man. ??

    • JBoy
      September 21, 21:13 Reply

      Wish you same…

      Thanks.

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