Love Breaketh Man

Love Breaketh Man

It was an early morning during the school holiday. I hadn’t had sex in a few weeks and being a young man in his parents’ house, I never brought anyone home (well, except one guy. He’s the only one I ever did at home). I was casually scrolling through the evil app, Grindr, when a message beeped into my phone. I replied and soon, we were chatting. We were both in the same town; he was schooling in a not-too-far-away university. I found him interesting; the way he strung together words, the lightness in his sentences – it didn’t take long for him to disclose that he was a writer. We exchanged pictures and I was smitten. I’m a sucker for pretty boys and he was easily the most beautiful man I’d seen in a while. Beautiful dark skin like the night, a thin chiseled face and a smile that made my heart skip, literally, and for this reason, let’s call him Ekpò (because I think masquerades are beautiful). I quickly intensified my plan to hook up with him before I had to travel, and well, he was down for it. And so, we arranged that he’d come see me that afternoon.

I spent the following hours preparing, clearing and rearranging my schedule for the day, and when he arrived, I was ready; lube, condoms and all. Ekpò was my kinda guy; not taller than me, slim, fine as fuck, and smart with a good sense of humour. The foreplay was intense and when I lifted him off the ground, he had the funniest exclamations, yelping that I shouldn’t throw him on the floor and break his head. I was however both shocked and disappointed when just as I had begun fucking him, barely ten strokes in, he came. Naturally, I stopped, pulled out and showed him to the bathroom to clean up, all the while masking my disappointment.

I moved back to school and even though the sex was, well, not great, I kept in touch. The more I got to know him, the more interested in him I got. He had never been in a relationship and had never been in love, and at that point, I made up my mind that this man was going to be mine. A few months later, I asked him out formally, he said yes and this began my relationship with a man I’d come to love deeply. He often came to visit me in school as I lived alone while he had a roommate, which made my place a more convenient option, and in those times, I went out of my way to make it worth his while. Thinking about it now, in our eleven months together, we never had any major argument. I was in love and aside from the not-so-good sex, he was perfect. We were perfect.

Nine months later, I noticed Ekpò had begun changing. He’d stopped paying attention and was making a lot of excuses instead. He’d miss calls and not return them. I worried that I was losing him; perhaps he was falling for someone else, someone he didn’t need to spend five hours on the road to see. This only made me want to try harder. One morning, I called. He answered. I enquired as to his whereabouts and he said he was at a hospital with his mom as he had been feeling ill often in the past couple weeks. The conversation continued awkwardly for a few minutes and he hung up, promising to do better and try to keep in touch more.

Well, he didn’t.

Three days later with no calls or texts, I called again and asked if I had done something wrong. He was quick to say no, that he’d been going through some personal problems that he couldn’t discuss over the phone and said he would tell me in person when he comes to visit in a couple weeks. With that, he asked that I give him some space. In the two weeks that followed, I don’t think I’d ever felt such excruciating emotional pain and paranoia, and the radio silence between us was threatening to drive me insane. I spent each passing day wondering what his news could be. Was he dying? Had his folks found out about him? Did he somehow test positive for HIV? Was he in love with someone else?

With all these thoughts, I realized that what I was most afraid of was him leaving me…him breaking up with me. It was in these thoughts that I made my peace with whatever news that he was going to break.

The two weeks went by very slowly, threatening my sanity, and the morning of that day, Ekpò called and said he was on his way into town and would be seeing me later that afternoon. He eventually came over and we began with the usual small talks, as I wanted to give him time to put whatever he wanted to say together. When he finally opened up, he told me he had gone to the hospital with his mom to run some tests as he had been feeling ill often and there, it was discovered that he was HIV positive. He talked about how his mum had freaked out, how he had to tell his dad and his sister while trying to figure out how he could have been infected. In all this, he had been too overwhelmed to think about the relationship and he’d been too afraid to tell me all this time.

As I listened to him talk, I realized I was hurt. Not by his words or confession but by the undertones of his statements. It hurt that he didn’t trust me enough to accept him, infected or not. It hurt that he didn’t think of me as more than just his boyfriend – that he didn’t think of me as his rock, his support system, as someone who would want to be there for him in the darkest of times. However, I didn’t hold this against him. I cannot, after all, dictate to a person how to process his pain. All I wanted was to be there for him. So I asked him if he knew how he got infected. He said no. I asked if he had been with anyone beside me. He said he hadn’t. I believed him. Then I reassured him that I’d want to stay with him if he’d have me. He cried, we hugged, I promised to go get tested and we agreed to work through the situation together.

I guess in the end, the experience changed something in him. After a month of trying and failing at getting through to him that I was there for him, we broke up. I told him we needed to go our separate ways, to which he replied that he wants that to, saying he needed me more as a friend than as a lover. It hurt to hear that, but I took that decision and we ended things. Over a year later, I still think about him every once in a while, and in those times, I miss him, his smile and that laughter that filled me with happiness.

Over a year later, I still feel like something broke in me after Ekpò, an inability to truly connect with anyone emotionally.

They say manners maketh a man. I guess love breaketh a man.

Written by Brad

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  1. JBoy
    January 24, 08:44 Reply

    Wow!

    Are you still friends? I know this could so hard, considering you wanted more than just being a friend, but the least you can try doing for the love you felt for him is “be there for him”.

    As for the new you…; with time, you’ll come around.

    • Brad
      January 24, 14:28 Reply

      Yes. We are still friends. We talk and I am always there for him, broken relationship or not. It was a promise a made to him while together and I intend to keep it.

      • Higwe
        January 24, 22:37 Reply

        Have you gotten tested yourself, just to be certain?…you did date for eleven months .

  2. Mandy
    January 24, 11:11 Reply

    Don’t let this experience ruin whatever chances you’ll have at finding love elsewhere. Love didn’t break you. THIS GUY you loved broke you. And you can heal with the love of another guy.

  3. Bryce
    January 24, 14:54 Reply

    This reads almost exactly like mine,except I didn’t break.
    I miss those good times,by Jove

  4. Bryce
    January 24, 14:55 Reply

    This reads almost exactly like mine,except I didn’t break.
    He ended it too.
    I miss those good times,though.
    By Jove,I do.

  5. Simba
    January 24, 17:47 Reply

    Same thing happened to me, he slowly slipped off and summoned the courage to say, I’ll rather have you as a friend forever than a bf with a deep fear that someday I’ll lose you to break-up.

  6. quinn
    January 25, 01:18 Reply

    This is cool but cmon how about a happy story please.

  7. TC
    January 25, 09:05 Reply

    As a gay positive man, if I were in a relationship with someone who isn’t positive at the earlier stages of being aware of my status, I probably will have broken off the relationship with someone who was negative.

    In my first few months, I tried to first of all learn to love this broken, incomplete person that I saw when i looked at my reflection. Also something sexual did die in me and the only thing I needed was a friend while I tried to find my way back.

    Perhaps if Ekpo was me, he may worry every time there was a slip or accident, wondering how to live with himself if he exposed you to the virus (even with him on ARV and you on PREP), he may fear that someday you would up and live him because of his status, fear he may not be good enough, fear that you do not understand his journey etc. At this stage, your insecurities are really heightened.

    I would recommend that you continue to be there for him in whatever capacity that you can. And I hope that you do find love again.

    Musings of a Nigerian Gay Positive Man…

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