QUESTIONING THE JOURNEY OF GAY RELATIONSHIPS

QUESTIONING THE JOURNEY OF GAY RELATIONSHIPS

I recently tweeted something about me that sparked some dissention from among a few people. I said I wasn’t anti-gay relationships, but that I was just “questioning” (as my very good friend would put it), which meant that I had questions about it. And I think the context was not fully understood or maybe I’m the one who’s overthinking it. But I don’t think so, because the friend I discussed with seemed to understand where I was coming from. Let me put you in my shoes and maybe you’ll also see where I am coming from and then hear your thoughts about it.

I am bisexual, and not because I grew up in a society that eschews same-sex relations, but because that is truly who I am. I’ve had sexual attractions for both men and women, at different times. I’ve also loved members of both sexes fiercely, going as far as dating even – all that in the same society where same gender loving is prohibited. I grew up in a home filled with love, even though it wasn’t perfect. A bit of a sheltered life, my parents allowed me to grow at my own pace, no pressure to conform with society and eventually discover the harsh reality of it all; all the while guiding me but allowing me make my mistakes. As a result, I’ve been able to see many aspects to life – marriages and relationships included.

Numerous examples of heterosexual relationships abound; some crumble from inception, others struggle to hold on, and yet, some others flourish (from the outside that is, even if we don’t know what truly goes on inside). I’ve even been in heterosexual relationships that I thought would lead to the “expected end” – you know, marriage, kids, a dog or two, that blissful picture-perfect home. I’ve also been in a same-sex relationship because I was in love with him.

But this is where my conundrum lies: To what end do our gay relationships drive at? If I get into a relationship with a man, where are we going? What is the goal?

To make each other better people, yes, I hear. To fall in love, yes. To enjoy each other’s company, sure.

And then what happens after that? My friend has a goal of retiring to a beautiful life on an island or the countryside with a white picket fence, two dogs, relaxing under the warm midday sun. It’s a dream. A good one. But what is the reality? We can point to several heterosexual relationships as models – good and bad ones. At least, there is something to aspire to. Where are however our gay relationship models? Where are our black gay models? How many lasting black gay marriages can we use as an example of what we aspire to be? I know the reality in Nigeria is that there is no same-sex marriage, yes. But even globally, where are they? There are examples of white gay marriages, but how many of them can we point to as enduring? Some of us think that men of colour can’t give that lasting marriage satisfaction, and so we’re looking to get hitched with someone of a different race, but how many interracial gay marriages are thriving? How long are they lasting for? When would it not be watered down to something else?

The truth is that I currently live in a society where same-sex relationships are not only welcomed, but solemnized as well, and I see the reality of what it is. Many people dating or in relationships advocate strictly for monogamy (I’m looking at all of you with side-eyes. You will grow na). Yes, it can work when you’re dating. When you’re four years, five years together, does this exclusivity still hold? When you eventually get married, do you still intend to be monogamous? I know we’re trying not to follow the heteronormative precepts and narratives, but the reality is: would monogamy ever work with gay people? And when monogamy doesn’t work, when would there eventually not be an attenuation of “marriage”? If you want to be monogamously married, what would your vows be? To remain together without seeing anyone else? Reality: It gets boring! I know all relationships eventually get to that (low) point but I’ve seen heterosexual people bounce back from it. Maybe it’s the kids and family (or families) involved, but there’s something that eventually brings them together such that even when the love wanes, it somehow finds a way to be rekindled and grow stronger. Maybe it’s the support system that encourages it – them – to stay together and helps them work it out. Do gay couples really have this? I know couples who eventually end up sleeping with others, together or separately. That’s what works for them. That’s their dynamic. But how long do they want to keep doing that for? What then is the marriage that they have? Is that what we aspire to?

There’s also the argument of “Love is not in the destination, but in the journey. Enjoy every day while it lasts and make it the best day.” Biko, where is that journey going? We’re just going to fall in love with each other and keep whispering mushy-mushy things in each other’s ears, going out on dates, calling each other every hour to find out how we’re doing and to say “I love you” – to what end?

These are just some of the questions that go through my mind whenever I think of gay relationships, generally, and why I seem to be apathetic about it. I guess it’s about finding what makes you happy and working with it. I’m willing to be enlightened. Corrected. I just don’t want to be that 69-year-old man, still on Grindr, looking for hook-ups and being ‘generous with my pension’.

What are your thoughts?

Written by Regal Sweetheart

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35 Comments

  1. Rehoboth
    June 04, 06:08 Reply

    “I am bisexual, and not because I grew up in a society that eschews same-sex relations, but because that is truly who I am”..

    KD forcing bisexuals to always put a caveat. The equality we seek should start fr9m it community.

    Dear Regal, just do you.

    • Mandy
      June 04, 06:48 Reply

      “Dear Regal, just do you”?

      That hardly addresses what he was pointing out as his concern. He didn’t say he doesn’t know he should do him. He is basically asking gay people what the point is with those of us who want to be in relationships. If anything, the “do you” advice is what you are supposed to give to us.

  2. LBB
    June 04, 06:49 Reply

    I just don’t want to be that 69-year-old man, still on Grindr, looking for hook-ups and being ‘generous with my pension’…

    Me too

  3. Mandy
    June 04, 06:51 Reply

    Regal, you seem to think that what is good for the geese (heterosexual couples) is not what is good for the gander (gay couples). Aren’t they all relationships? In a country where everyone is permitted to get married, how does the issue of the gay couple differ from that of a straight couple that makes you question gay relationships? #justasking

  4. Absalom
    June 04, 07:50 Reply

    I think you already answered all your questions.

    Just to add: Setting destinations or ends for relationships is how pretence and manipulation creeps in. People pretend to be who they are not until they tie you down in marriage. I’m a huge fan (and an extremist) about long relationships. If I haven’t dated you for 10 years at least, we’re not walking down that aisle. Let me see how you want to pretend for a decade without cracking! 😂😂😂 Of course this works best if both partners don’t want kids — so yeah, straight relationships typically have that constraint of time.

    On trying to define our relationships by Marriage. . .
    You may want to look up the work of queer activists/theorists who are against marriage equality. Their argument is not that gays shouldn’t marry but that we should interrogate why we wanted to be part of an institution that has failed and is rooted in inequality, sexism, racism etc.

    I agree though that when kids are involved it’s safer to exist within marriage. Although countries around the world have expanded definitions of what a legal union is. France recognises cohabitation.

    • Nornor
      June 04, 08:18 Reply

      Thank you sir for your summing response. 👌🏼

  5. Richard Moore
    June 04, 09:03 Reply

    Every comment so far has been quite helpful. To think that I was having a conversation on this same line with a friend of mine.

    Why do our relationships have to be based on heteronormative standards?

    Agreed. It’s okay to aspire to something deeper to hold a relationship in place, like kids or a family, for example. But if memory serves me correctly, my sister and I could already form basic English sentences when my parents split up, and both of them were aware of our existence when they did.

    The point is we can’t get it right all the time – gay or straight. A union that will thrive, will thrive. It’s up to both parties to make it work. Nobody in this present reality should rely entirely on the cosmic forces to maintain their relationships for them.

  6. Dunder
    June 04, 10:58 Reply

    Another mindset issue I’ve been ruminating about since yesterday- even in a place of opportunity, all you see are the closed doors you’ve erected. If you see yourself as rudderless with no say over your today, no situation in life will be good enough for you to do anything. What’s the point when we all die in the end yeah?

    IQ science is clean cut- some races in general score higher than others. Do you think this held Ben Carson back from being the best in his field despite being at the bottom of his class for so long? How did the first female doctor or lawyer feel in a school or at work where the few ladies around scrubbed floors? Who did Funmilayo Ransome Kuti wait for before revving her car engine? Which license did her son seek before inventing his own genre of music? Who permitted Oprah to be wealthier than Larry King? Who issued Denrele the license to be extravagantly over the top or Bobrisky to be you know, Bobrisky? Tim Gunn has been celibate for decades despite being hot and rich. Gore Vidal bedded everyone but his partner of 53 years. Dan Savage and his husband raise their son while hoping in any bed around (like everyone uncle). Some straight African couples adopt, foster, get a surrogate. Others buy children off the black market. Some have kids with a woman then raise the child themselves. In some cultures, it was the brother’s job to get his sister-in-law pregnant and keep it a solemn secret expecting nothing in return but you can’t shape the life you want because you like men?

    What makes anyone feel they are entitled to role models? Why can’t you live a life that is worth emulation rather than demand others live to motivate you, seeking a safety that doesn’t exist? How much are you paying people to be your John the Baptist?

    There is no such thing as a sure thing. How many role models did Frederick Douglas have before knowing to pray with his feet or marrying a white woman before the invention of TV? So because more heterosexual marriages are falling apart and the support system you feel entitled to isn’t there, you’ll also jump ship if you were married to a lady? Where was that support system for interracial or interreligious couples few decades ago? If you were married to a woman today, I’m sure you’ll still leave her because the neighbors got divorced or the rates of separation are rising.

    To what end do our gay relationships drive at? Death, break-up or divorce like the straight ones
    If I get into a relationship with a man, where are we going? Anywhere you decide.
    What is the goal? Anyone you choose.
    When would it not be watered down to something else? When one or both opt not to give their best? (How are these gay problems?)
    Straight couples also say mushy things and call each other- those who have kids empty the nest and that’s all they’ve got- kiss, hug and go to church and that is fulfilling because they’re male and female? Do you see the pessimism tinting your vision that I’m trying to point out?

    One would think you live in a parallel universe where straight couples are committed even after five years, never get divorced and always bounce back from infidelity. How many LGBT people set up swingers parties or BDSM clubs? If these minority straight couples people can cut the coat of their own destiny according to their desires and dreams, why are you looking for free dubs and complaining about all the answers not being correct?

    Being LGBT is not a team sport or movement but a biologic reality of attraction- it’s not the reason for sexual indiscipline, lack of personal indiscipline or failed relationships- Ojukwu, Obasanjo, Fani Kayode, Larry King, Trump etch are not gay. Everyone has the responsibility to choose or create their options and then, live with the consequences.

    Would there be a gun put to your head as a pensioner to look for grinder hook-ups? Are you aware of gay people who opt out of sex till they are in a stable and mature relationship? It’s like saying I’m cruising Tinder for a lay because I’m straight- being gay is not having OCD bro. Do you realize that even before marriage equality, couples have been together for decades without the law and in many cases without robust family support? So many straight couples love for decades without rings on their fingers because they don’t shirk from captaining their lives. Who do you think they modeled their lives after? Life owes you nothing.

    There is this saying “all things being equal”- we say it as a euphemism for BS. The pale blue dot we inhabit is volatile, unstable and in fact, anti-life and happiness yet we find a way to navigate and keep afloat till death has had enough of us. It’s your job to keep afloat.

    Marry who you want and realize that love takes work and sacrifice. Even with falls and failure, the only way to arrive at your destination is to get up, learn the lesson and try again. BUT HONESTLY, you are not ready for love or teamwork with this mindset. You’ll drain your poor partner dead.

    You are not apathetic about gay relationships my brother, you’ve given up on life. Till you solve some issues about your outlook, neither the Holy Virgin Mary nor her son would be good enough for you. Proof?- “And when monogamy doesn’t work, when would there eventually not be an attenuation of “marriage”? If you want to be monogamously married, what would your vows be? [I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THIS QUESTION] To remain together without seeing anyone else? Reality: It gets boring!”.

    If you were with a woman, you’ll still walk away because she doesn’t have enough cousins who’ll suspend their own lives to “support” you. Do you know why a couple can bounce back after a huge blow?- a longer track record of respect, fidelity, team work, shared goals and OPTIMISM. Even in a straight marriage, you have resigned to be unfaithful because you grew up? Is there any wind in this life that you don’t bend to? Are you comfortable living as a mere statistic? So infidelity may strengthen husband and wife but a threesome with 2 gay husbands or even cheating heralds the Armageddon? O ga o. Even in the safer option, you are actively plotting a mediocre outcome- has your wife/husband got any hope? If someone were to live with a man who sees every glass half full as dry and empty, won’t you be relieved if he cheated so you can leave, whatever your gender?

    • Law
      June 04, 13:43 Reply

      You are genius… Like I am already in love with you

    • Malik
      June 04, 14:22 Reply

      Dunder, you deserve an ovation for this.

    • Pink Panther
      June 04, 15:12 Reply

      Wow.
      Oh WOW!
      👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏😀😀😀

    • Richard Moore
      June 04, 17:20 Reply

      LMAO!!!
      Sorry I couldn’t help it.
      You’re wicked.

      But seriously though, you were right about every single thing.

  7. Tristan
    June 04, 10:58 Reply

    What is our future?

    I don’t want to be the 69-year-old guy on Grindr either.

    This is something we really need perspective on.

    • Dunder
      June 04, 12:29 Reply

      Then uninstall Grindr now and leave things that way till you’re at least 70 and a day old. If you don’t want to be bi or straight on tinder when you’re 69, do the same. Is there an automatic grindr registration for gay men? Was this app pre-installed on your phone? Is there some kind of e-aradite still keeping it there? Are married men not still grindr hunting? Are straight people not old and alone? Would he choose to be off grindr at 69 while married to his wife? There are internalized stereotypes hiding in the lines of this piece- gay men are innately unhinged and free will does not exist- how would your dreams materialize if you have such a low view of yourself? It’s like someone saying they commit crimes because they are black. You are a person and not a statistic. There are Christians and Shiites living in Saudi Arabia you know. Being gay does not automatically mean cruising for a quick lay online- if you define yourself that way, you can’t dodge the known outcome even with 12 wives.

      We don’t have a collective future. You have your future and I have mine. It’s your job to make and shape that future. What if we plan a future together and I die next week?

      • Eggsy
        June 04, 14:44 Reply

        Dunder whoever you are, God bless you!

      • BRYAN PETER
        June 04, 15:15 Reply

        Dunder, you are bae and you’ve said it all. You couldn’t have put it any better.

  8. Dunder
    June 04, 11:03 Reply

    I apologize for the typos. I’m getting used to my plan B old lappy.

    • Hp
      June 04, 12:22 Reply

      I didn’t notice any. Was busy soaking up the knowledge from………THAT!!! 👏👏👏👏👏👏🙌

  9. Keredim
    June 04, 14:13 Reply

    To echo Mandy, the concerns you have about the sustainability of gay relationships apply to straight ones too. No relationship is perfect, something you yourself have alluded when you said you “grew up in a home filled with love, even though it wasn’t perfect”

    Based on my personal experience, I had the opinion that any gay relationship past the 3 year mark has had a third party involved to help it along the way and both men in the relationship may or may not be privy to said help. But I have evolved and I apply this opinion to heterosexual relationships as well.

    You can’t find black gay relationship models? I think a brief search on the internet will reveal a number of long term black gay relationships being celebrated. They may not be as many as the white ones, but they do exist. And you must remember not every gay black person is keen on flaunting their marriage on social media for the same cultural reasons you and I use a pseudonym on this forum.

    And as you “currently live in a society where same-sex relationships are not only welcomed, but solemnized…” you don’t really need the internet to show you black gay married role models, you just have to know where to look. The institution that is gay marriage is relatively new and what needs to be looked at is how long gay couples have been together in total before and after they got married. And I can tell you I know a good number of black gay relationships that have lasted longer than most heterosexual marriages out there.

    I was blessed in 2011 to attend the wedding of a gay Nigerian couple in the UK, who had been together at least 5 years before then. They have the same aspirations as straight Nigerian couples such as, building a secure future together and raising kids in a loving environment and these are just two examples of goals in a gay relationship.

    Don’t get me wrong, they have their fair share of marital drama, same as their heterosexual contemporaries. But they also have the same support units their heterosexual married friends have to resolve them – which includes primarily both immediate families and in some cases extended family members coming together to counsel them.

    I also know a gay black Caribbean couple who have been married for 6 years and have twin daughters and they are all doing well. And in two months’ time, I will be attending a wedding of a gay Nigerian couple who have been together for over 15 years. My gym partner is a gay black man and has been married to another black man for 6 years.

    I won’t bore you with the long list of interracial married gay couples I know, but it would be disingenuous of me not to mention that one of them has ended in a divorce same as straight marriages.

    You and I “currently live in a society where same-sex relationships are not only welcomed, but solemnized…” and I am a bit perplexed that you haven’t seen any long term black gay relationships around you to draw inspiration from. Maybe you need to give Grindr a break for a while and look around you.

    Perhaps you have certain ideals about marriage and feel you might never reach them in a gay relationship/marriage and you are now casting aspersions on gay marriage/relationship. It’s not right but it’s ok – your pessimism is based on your experience as my optimism is based on mine

    If it doesn’t work for you, that is not to say it won’t work for others. And how it works for them is frankly no concern of yours or mine, so long as they are happy.

    And my friend, you can never underestimate the power of love. It will always find a way.

    • Pink Panther
      June 04, 15:15 Reply

      Wow.
      Oh WOW!
      OK, I’m getting a braingasm overload.
      👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏😀😀😀

  10. Canis VY Majoris
    June 04, 14:13 Reply

    My thoughts?

    Why are you so bothered about where it leads, when you’re not even sure about waking up tomorrow morning?

    Stop obsessing about the future and live in the moment. Make memories, be happy with whomever you’re with because nothing lasts forever and nothing will. Even the ‘heterosexual’ relationships don’t, in spite of the prospects and potentials.

    Gay relationships are just as real, and because they don’t conform to societal norms and expectations (marriage, kids etc) doesn’t make it a lesser form of love.

    Your problem is a fixation on the destination forgetting the journey is just as important. Fix that and you’d be fine.

    Gay relationships are REAL!.

  11. Dubem
    June 04, 14:29 Reply

    “… We’re just going to fall in love with each other and keep whispering mushy-mushy things in each other’s ears, going out on dates, calling each other every hour to find out how we’re doing and to say “I love you””

    That is a problem I have with considering relationships. That mindset. It’s like that’s all we generally think relationships are about. And I think that’s just too shallow to invest any of my time or emotions into. This is not the basis of real relationships. Even friendships are much better. All this Hollywood love, looking for butterflies in your tummy till you get running stomach. Romance is just the icing on the relationship cake. You can have the cake without icing and if it’s good, it’s good. But y’all are out here looking for icing to lick till your tongue goes numb and all your teeth fall out and yet you’ll never be satisfied.

    Love is sacrificial. You have to be a strong person yourself to be sacrificial, not walking around with weak knees looking for someone to sweep you off your feet and then even when they do you eventually start to sulk because you think they’re not consistently swaying you like before. All thrill and no substance, treating our relationships like fancy clothes or ornaments that we discard when we’re tired or even wear to our random hookups. And then we all cheat or get paranoid or both and when it all inevitably ends we start sending articles and poems to KD, but we never really learn. Real love is empowering. It’s the type that makes the strong bonds of family, or lifetime friendships. The knowledge that there’s someone who always has your back, even if you’re not calling each other everyday or having sex every night. That’s what love feels like. If you can’t love someone in such a way that they actually feel empowered, not so you feel entitled to romance or chivalry of some sort, then you’re just having a ride, not a journey. And while the former can feel good, you really can’t stay on a ferris wheel all your life. The next best thing is to use the whole amusement park aka grindr where we all ride each other. Which is fine, I guess.

    • Pink Panther
      June 04, 15:22 Reply

      “All this Hollywood love, looking for butterflies in your tummy till you get running stomach…”
      😂😂😂😂😂 iDied.

    • Dunder
      June 04, 21:47 Reply

      Lol at the butterflies and amusement park metaphor. You’re right- perfect does not exist.

  12. Malik
    June 04, 15:00 Reply

    I have enjoyed reading this thread of comments. Regal made some good, factual points and Dunder has done a great other perspective. I agree strongly with the fact that last last, it boils down to the individuals in the relationship.

    But let me just be totally open with my thoughts on this, I stand to be corrected. I feel like a substantial part of the LGBT movement is founded on the liberty to act out your feelings, the whatever-makes-you-happy thing. And that mindset is not the stuff that long term relationships are built on.

    Maybe we need to fuse some truths into our activism like sacrifice, and patience, and self control. I’m sure some people already think I’m preaching or “judging”. But then long-term, successful relationships must have these woven into their fabric. And it’s important for long term happiness as opposed to short-lived bursts of endorphins.

    I fantasize of an LGBT movement in Nigeria that is more successful than that of the west, something strategic, and well-thought-out, that avoids the pitfalls the African-American gay community is grappling with. And for that to happen, these conversations are important as well as conversations on what truths to tell the next generation of Nigerian gay men about love and sex and relationships to reduce the emotional and health traumas that LGB people are at a higher risk for.

    I feel biological and social odds are against gay relationships, so extra work needs to be done for them to thrive. And whenever I think of settling down with a female, it’s because I’m doubting if I have the strength to brave all these odds.

    • Dunder
      June 04, 22:11 Reply

      You’re right Malik-just like with straight couples, its garbage in, garbage out. Many ‘aisikis’ are being destroyed at elegushi beach daily but everyone there went of their own volition. Paul said something sensible in one of his epistles- “”I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything”. There are straight men/ women who head home after work and others who go somewhere else. Many Muslims are militantly polygamous while rich Christians have 2 or 3 wives.Sexual freedom and the right to association is there for every adult (to varying degrees) of very orientation but with life, there is risk and reward., choice and consequence. I am for the freedom to each person to paint the life he/ she wants and I hope those who sow well reap their reward. If you don’t want to cry at the end of the day, don’t waste time sowing too many onions.

  13. Terra
    June 04, 19:00 Reply

    Sorry, but I can sense an overwhelming amount of entitlement streaming from the article. Like he feels like it is the job of the universe to prove to him why relationships work. That is not a healthy attitude

  14. Hapiey
    June 05, 23:09 Reply

    I just wish there’s a way to get all this out there, we shouldn’t be the only ones getting this level of enlightenment… Whaaaaattttt !!!!!

  15. Orobo Hunter
    June 06, 08:57 Reply

    Holy fuck! This thread!

    Dunder, I’m in love with your brain o..

    I’m gonna read this every day..

  16. Ezra
    June 07, 13:33 Reply

    Your comparation is stupid as hell, and you could just be bored. Gay relationships don’t go anywhere because they wouldn’t be able to have a family shut up it’s 2018 and I’ve seen many black gay couples with kids, stop over analyzing things and just be, if you want to be in a heterosexual relationship because you can aspire to whatever then do it, trust me don’t nobody give a fuck I know I don’t.

  17. Oge
    June 08, 09:23 Reply

    This was a nice read.

    Dundee hit the nail on the head.

    I really thought this piece would be about the future of gay relationships in African countries where its prohibited.

    Your “conundrum”/worry is something more deeply rooted about ur pessimism about life like Dunder said not really just about gay relationships.

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