Sunday, July 19, 2015

How Is Your Garden Variety Bisexual Doing?

A few posts back I wrote about my excitement at meeting the new man named "John." I had sort of written him off as one those garden variety bisexuals that we gay men tend to run across as we navigate dating's sometimes treacherous waters.

He is a beautiful man physically and inside.

He is the type of guy that I feel is totally out of my league...yet, I made some type of positive impression on him.

I have to say that I was totally let down when he told me he was so into women. Mentally, I marked him off m list. BUT...he has continued to text...everyday....and my thoughts about him are beginning to shift some.

Here are some of his texts:

"I welcome male intimacy."

"We should explore this. It feels so good and all this texting back and forth does too! I am really bad at dealing with loneliness. I have often felt alone here. I often feel like a man on mars. It felt good when I met you...and it still does."

So, I guess I have nothing to lose in exploring this.

In some of his texts it's almost like he has to throw in his interest in women to comfort himself. It's hard to explain...but his comments about women are so random.....and almost mechanical. Talking about their physical attributes is close to vulgar...but the tone he uses with me is altogether different.

Stay tuned...

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Life are can be interesting.

Occasionally I realize that I have been carrying around some baggage that has not been fully dealt with. Even though I would liken it to be of a small carry on size, it still causes discomfort until I get the courage to deal directly with it.

Such was the case recently pertaining to a situation involving a very close friend. He's been dealing with "stuff" and I suddenly found myself sitting across from him as he expressed his pain. But the funny thing is that is identical to what I went through with him a few years ago.

It had bothered me. It was raw. I felt like I had something truly wrong with me. I felt as though I couldn't move on. It affected every fiber of me.

So, as he sat across the table from me commiserating, I grew a pair of balls and said, "I know EXACTLY how you feel and here's why."

I didn't dump on him. I didn't say this to inflict wounds to his already wounded spirit.

I did it as a pure teaching moment. While he felt totally devastated with a woe is me attitude, I used it as an opportunity of showing him that you can get passed the the issue. AND...it makes you a much better person.

You see, I dealt with the hurt and bad feeling about this friend years ago. So, I could speak matter of factly. Directly. Without the deep emotion I had originally had. After that meeting upon reflection, I was totally amazed at how well that discussion turned out. I was especially amazed at how much growth I detected in me.

Yes, bad experiences force us to grow. Sort of like those mysterious growing pains we have as children.

But as painful as those can be sometimes, we can rest in the comfort of knowing that we are growing.

Only living things grow.

On this Sunday morning, I'm in a good place.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Building a Successful Life After Coming Out

Well, I've been invited to a discussion on the topic of "Building a Successful Life After Coming Out." I have decided to attend this. It should be interesting. It's set for a week from this Friday.

I wonder what this kind of "Successful" life is? How do you know that you are leading a successful life after coming out?

I suppose that folks on the outside looking at my life would think I've done just that. Here are my accomplishments: divorced, survived financially, redefined my spirituality and faith background, create a strong network of friends, maintained the love of my children, maintained my job, came out to my parents who accepted me, survived the loss of both parents in quick succession, explored hobbies, took chances and discovered new things about me, etc.

But down deep I still feel like a failure -- at times.

This is because that my parents always epitomized a stable loving relationship. They modeled this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They were together 56 years. They told me that I would get married. They said she would be my best friend. They said that I could tell her everything and be honest....be vulnerable, and that she would always have my back. "You'll grow old together," they said. She'll support you through the good times and the bad.

So growing up I always thought my life would be just like theirs. I'd be like Ward Cleaver on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. Perfect wife. Perfect kids. Perfect house. Perfect life.

For 25 years I thought in spite of my gayness...and quasi coming out, I had it all. I had the wife, the family, the house, etc. As a gay man, I even had a married lover who was in the same boat.

Then it was all gone. My world changed. The woman I trusted with my deepest most intimate secrets....the one I had been told to trust above all others -- betrayed me, almost gleefully. Shortly thereafter, the man that I truly cared deeply for, "set me free" because he thought he was holding me back.

So I lost in love two times in rapid fire succession.

How much weight do I put to these two major collapses in the overall theme of "Building a Successful Life After Coming Out"?

I just don't know.

Databreaches

In this era where there is a greater emphasis on cybersecurity, or should I say lack thereof at some sites, I'm very conscious of scams and the like. So far during the past year I've had my check card replaced three times due to a databreach. Then add to this the hacking into government computer systems -- specifically the Office of Personnel Management...well, as a government employee...I feel tremendously violated.

I have free credit monitoring. My social security number is being monitored. (I had just had my clearance renewed, and found out that database was also compromised. So I'm one of the lucky ones that is suspected of some stranger accessing all my information and the social security numbers of my family members I put on my clearance forms.

In the past week, I've received an unusual number of robo-calls from the IRS saying that a lawsuit is about to be filed against me. My daughter received one of these at her office.

I also have seen an increase of people who appear to be friends of mine, that say in part that they are on vacation with their family and were mugged. They have no money. Can I wire money to them to help them until they get their cards back.

All of these are classic scams. If you get a call from the IRS....don't provide any information, but hang up immediately. The IRS does not contact people like that and threaten. Don't provide social security information or bank account information. If you receive emails from friends on holiday....do not respond.

Databreaches continue to happen. Be watchful and vigilant.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Again...

Who said being gay and trying to date is boring?

Well, I was all excited about "John." He was perfect...in so many ways. He really stirred me up...and I was strongly attracted to him....his presence....his attitude....his body. Aw...he would be perfect for me. AND on top of this he is two years older than me.

So, really, no fly by night kind of person at all.

BUT....there always seems to be one in dating.....

Yesterday he began texting me....fairly frequently throughout the day. It was friendly banter....and some of what he had to say got my hormones running amok....but I kept things in perspective. Clearly, he has lots on his mind....and I seem to made something of a profound impression on him.

But today he said that his first orientation is ladies....

Uh...huh....another one of "those."

So that pronouncement has rather put a damper on me. Perhaps it shouldn't...but it does. It means that he is bisexual...which is fine....but I'm hunting for a gay dude.....one that I can finally be his primary relationship....and not someone's second fiddle.

Been there...did that.

Most recently with Zach. For 12 years I did that with him...and I was just as guilty. He and I were both married to women...but we carried on like teenagers....with our wives blessing.... We had a long run. That breakup, coming on the heals of my divorce, nearly pushed me under. But I fought to stay afloat....and I succeeded.

So, I'm not excited at the prospect of going down that path again with John. Guess I'm going to go silent for a while with him. See what he says and does next. I just don't have the energy to respond to him right now. And as hot as he is...I don't want to be an option...I want to mean something.

So here I am ... again!

Same song, second verse.

Monday, July 06, 2015

John

An interesting turn of events has happened for old Frank: I've met someone.

Yup...it was one of those chance meetings that occur when you least expect it. On Friday I had been invited to a cookout that was a sort of pre-Independence Day affair thrown by a good friend. I was surrounded by about 35 gay men...some partnered....some single. I went to this gathering without any particular agenda. I was looking for a good burger and hot dog.....and all the trimmings in the hot summer sun.

The conversation was lively. The whole picnic was abuzz about the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Clearly everyone was excited about hat prospect...and I am a bit too...but without a partner in my life...getting worked up about an institution that didn't work for me originally seems odd now.

So time passed and after about 4 hours, I was tired...and planned to go home. I had already said goodbye to the host....and I was making my way to my car when John approaches. He was coming to the picnic late. Had he been any later...I would have missed him. But when he got close to me he stopped.....looked at me directly in the eye, "You're leaving?" he asked. I said, "yes, I am...I have a lot of other things I need to do."

"Aw...I'm sorry about that, I'd like to chat with you....I'm John, by the way."

Now, readers, this was no average man. This was a good looking older man with almost a "high and tight" haircut that emphasized his salt and pepper almost stubble on his head. He was square jawed. And I noted that underneath his rather snug fitting t-shirt, was a rather imposing set of pecs with abs to boot. He had on shorts and beefy legs.

I sputtered, "I-I-I'm Frank."

He stuck out his hand...and as he did this, he asked, "Do you have to go right this second?"

Looking at this human being with the perfect body....oozing of testosterone....begging me to stay.....well...I didn't need a whole lot of convincing to hang around a bit longer.

So we went back to the picnic. I found an empty chair...and before I could do anything, he had found a chair and plopped down right next to me!

This will sound silly....but it was if he and I were the only ones at the gathering. Some of the other men came to chat, but he sort of ignored them...and it was clear he wanted to know all about me. Needless to say, after all the negative experiences I have had in the world of meeting available gay men, I found his attention flattering and I felt my heart pounding in my chest.

We talked about everything. He told me what kind of work he did. He told me of his background. I told him mine...and then he asked if I lived close by. I live within about 2-3 miles...and he asked if he could have my contact information. He wants to go to dinner...and spend time getting to know me better. I told him that I would like that too.

So I gave him my email address....and my cellphone number.

I finally had to leave.....and he said he did too. We said goodbye to the host....and there beautiful John was....walking me to my car!

He told me that he'd be in touch. So, reluctantly I drove away.

So as the weekend progressed, I got busy. I thought of him in passing...and I told myself that he was going to be like so many other men....he'd not email...or call. Or if he did, he'd throw one of those left-field remarks at me...that would just add to my hurt and frustration. In other words, I was not getting my hopes up.

Even though John was so perfect in so many ways...

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, my cell phone rang. It was a strange number.

I picked it up...half expecting it to be a wrong number. WRONG!

It was JOHN!

"Hey, Frank! How are you? How was your weekend? Oh...this is John from the picnic. Didn't want you to think I'd forgotten you..."

I couldn't believe my ears.

We chatted for a while. I was is in a daze. Then he said that he'd let me go. "But I'll be in touch, he said."

I couldn't believe it!

When he hung up...I realized that I now had his phone number....but I wanted to keep it cool....and I don't want him to think that I'm all flustered.....even though I am....and I wanted to ask him so many different things....but I didn't.

So I labeled the phone information with his name. Looked at the number and sighed. Wondering when I might hear again from him.

Well, just now he called me! "Hey Frank! This is John again. I wanted you to know that I was thinking about you today." This time I asked all kinds of questions about him and his training. He did the same for me.

We appear to be going down a really nice path. If this man is the one....Old Frank will be the happiest man on the planet. My life will have become complete with someone special in it.

Gay Marriage!

Gosh...I never thought I would live to see the day that Gay Marriage would be the law of the land...but on June 26, 2015 it became just that! I nearly fainted when it became legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in my Home State of West Virginia, but my goodness...this is even more huge!

In the 10 years since Lovey's and my separation, the tide of acceptance for us gay folks has exponentially changed. I'm no longer ashamed as I was....or feeling second class.

It's amazing that as a gay man, I now have the option to marry the man I love...if I'm ever fortunate to find one. But it's not a priority. If it happens, it does. So you all just keep those positive thoughts and prayers headed into my direction.

In the meantime, I've been dealing with some medical issues. I've finally gained the upper hand on my diabetes. My A1C (long term sugar levels) is as 6.4 at last check. Still working to bring it down further...but I'm pleased. Last fall it got up to 14.9...which is definitely BAD.

My cataract surgery on my right eye is scheduled for August 4. I look forward to this happening and being able to see crystal clear again. Once this is complete...and if all goes well, my left eye will be done next.

On another front, last week I decided to return to GAMMA (Gay and Married Men's Association). It's an organization for gay and bisexual men who are or have been involved in a "straight" relationship with a woman. (Frank raises his hand.) I think the whole gay marriage thing has dislodged some issues that I need to deal with. Plus it never hurts to expand my network of friends.

At the first meeting I went back for...I made several new friends....and I'm amazed at how much I have matured and grown from the days I originally went to GAMMA. It was encouraging to me to see this first hand as I sat and listened to some of the men's horror stories of their treatment during their divorce....or as they are still living with their wives post disclosure.

While I could relate to their stories, I have a more interesting perspective now. The pain of separation is a distant memory...the hurt...the bitterness.....the uncertainty have all melted away. So, I'm now able to look back with a degree of objectivity. Yes, I have some real regrets. I never set out to deceive my wife....but I was listening to folks who were telling me how marriage would "reset" my thinking and "fix" me from being gay. I now know that this advice was faulty and misguided.

I pray that this kind of advice is now passé.

It is not good for well meaning Bible Thumping Christian to assume that "God's Plan" is one man....one woman....one lifetime. There is no guarantee that anyone who gets married will stay married until they die -- gay or straight. Things change....times change.....culture shifts.

Having two people of the same gender in a loving and committed relationship is not evil. If it is...it is the only time that I know of where a loving relationship is considered sinful and wrong....when Jesus proclaimed that they greatest commandment is love.

It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

So we now have Gay Marriage. Western Civilization did not end. Fire and brimstone did not rain from heaven.

Let's see what happens next!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Frank Just Said No...

It's either feast or famine with me. Sometimes I go weeks and week without any folks contacting me from my postings on the dating sites....and then for no real reason it turns into a feast! Of late, it seems that I am totally inundated with offers from guys (and some gals) saying that I am the greatest thing since sliced bread. They say how "perfect" I am and that they have been looking for me for a long time....or that they are "my man."

I'm beginning to see each of these responses as "red flags."

Yesterday I got one of those responses. He has lived here for 12 years.....he's a native of Ireland. He was 34 years old. He asked for me to swap pictures with him. He swapped first...and then I sent mine. He was cute...and dapper. Works in finance like I do. We have much in common and he loves older men. He made mention that he thought this stemmed from the lack of a father in his growing up years. But we didn't talk much about that.

He invited me to lunch at a public restaurant. Everything appeared to be good...but...

In the midst of our meal, he announced to me that he wanted me to know that he was married. He's been married for 12 years...and that is why he moved here.

So, given my experiences of the last week or so...I went into quasi attack mode. I pointed out that I had said up front what I was looking for and having a married lover on the side was not on my list!

Even though he was well built.....a kind and gentle way.....and somewhat sincere, the deal breaker was that he is a very married man with no plans to leave his wife.

I asked him why he responded to my profile. He said he like my pictures and that my profile read very well and came across as sincere.

I said, "It was sincere...I'm sincere."

Then he begged me to take him someplace....and "let's get naked. I want you to hold me."

I respectfully declined.

We departed and went our separate ways.

Frank just said no!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

And So It Goes...

I'm still reeling from yesterday's rejection. You'd think I'd be used to it by now for goodness' sake. But I made the mistake of letting my guard down...and believing the stuff he told me. He would have been perfect. He was in my age range. Former military. Works at the Pentagon. Cute. Available. A man of faith. All the stuff that I'm looking for...and I feel "snookered."

Dating is interesting. I feel so dumb about it and totally inept. I tend to accept people for their face value. I try to see the best in them...and overlook their flaws. Perhaps I am gullible. Perhaps I'm too trusting. It seems that I run two risks here: if I'm cautious...it will be interpreted as being cold and aloof and they will think I'm not interested. If I'm too relaxed, I give in and then appear easy.

There has got to be a middle ground.

But as time goes on, I feel as though I'm vulnerable to situations such as this one. I want a relationship so bad, I may fall for the first thing that comes along....

To add additional frustration to my plight, I received three separate responses this week to my posting on Match.com. What frustrated me was the fact that these were all women who liked my ad....and my selection of pictures. They hadn't noticed that I'm gay. If only I were straight, apparently I'd have not problem finding a compatible partner. SIGH

But I'm gay as a goose! I don't want to fall into the trap of immediately falling for the first man that shows interest. This latest experience with the man I did on Thursday has alerted me to my overall state of vulnerability.

Perhaps the one option is the most obvious undesirable one: just be single. I'm there already. I just need to suck it up.

And so it goes...

Rejection #3000! (LOL)

Oh I don't know if I have truly been rejected that many times....but sometimes like today, it sure feels that way.

Today's is one of those where things appear to be going super well....and then something from LEFT FIELD ambushes you and you feel like crap! They give you an excuse that sound like something akin to "The Dog ate my homework!"

Last Thursday I met a man who had responded to one of my postings for a LTR. He said that he was a man of faith and that he was looking for what I'm looking for. So he wanted me to come to his hotel(Mistake #1) to talk and get to know each other. I asked him to meet out front. So we sat and chatted. Seemed like a great man. He suggested we move into his room where we could talk more privately. (Mistake #2). We talked for another hour. It was time for me to leave...and as I started for the door. He hugged me. He kissed me. (Mistake #3) And then...the fireworks really ignited. (Mistake #4).

He had said he was relocating to this area. He'd be here in three weeks. Wanted to know if I would do dinner with him...and I said sure. I told him that I enjoyed meeting him. I hoped he would keep in touch.... He promised he would.

Today I got this email from him.

“Frank, Thank you for the other evening,the conversation really helped me. I appreciated your honesty and passion. You reminded me of a family friend, your mannerisms and personality are identical – the only problem is that person rubs me the wrong way. I thought I could get past it, but it was right there top of mind and made an awkward situation worse. I wanted to write you to assure you that I was not one of those guys you have experienced in the past. I wanted to take some time and really think about it and its something that is a deal breaker for me. I thank you again for taking the timeand coming to meet with me. It was most helpful. I think for now I am going to stay in the closet and not change anything. God Bless.”

Sigh...so I don't know what to think.

Part of me wants to reply in some manner....another part of me just want to go silent and let him wonder.

Rejection #3000 has completed.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day 2015

Many of my gay friends find it interesting that I was in a "straight" marriage for over 25 years. They want to focus on the drama...the hurt....the depression....the thoughts of suicide -- all the negatives.

Their number one question is always, "If you could, and you could live your life over again, would you change it?"

In some respects I think I might...but then there is one aspect I would never, ever want to change...and that is the fact that I am the father of three wonderful human beings that would not have been here had I not married their mother on that crisp late autumn day in December 1981. If there could be a way for me to still have my children...but not have to contend with the drama involving Lovey...then, most definitely, I would make serious changes.

Like what?

Well, I would not have looked upon my gayness as an affliction or a curse. I would not have beat myself up and felt like such a sinner. I would have taken better care of myself...physically and emotionally. I would have fallen in love...perhaps committed to a good guy and just lived my days out quietly. I would not have allowed a pastor to take advantage of me sexually and then have him ban me from church. He was then "called" to the mission field overseas 3 weeks later. (I swear, I'm amazed that I still have a faith to cling to.)

At my current age, I feel like I'm at such a disadvantage. I mean, at the age of 57, the pool of possible men to date (which was already small to begin with) is starting to dwindle. I mean, who is going to find a 57 year old man with silver hair, diabetes, and high blood pressure, desirable? I try to keep an open mind...and remain positive...but with each passing day, it becomes increasingly discouraging.

So, I can't go back and change the unfortunate circumstances and drama that composed my life. The angst of coming out. The insecurities. The low self-esteem.

But I can thank God for allowing me to experience these negatives because I think the ending result is a deeply caring man who can empathize. A man that has an unfathomable reservoir of love for people. A man of deep faith. A gay man that has a virtually untapped capacity to love just one man.

I've landed on my feet. I have three wonderful children and three grandchildren. No regrets or concerns.

A number of my gay friends tell me that I am very blessed to have children...because the vast majority of them wanted children. Now that they are older, and their partners have passed away or they went through painful breakups, they now find themselves painfully alone.

I don't want to be alone emotionally. I need to have one person that I can share my love with. Unashamedly. Passionately. Bring him into my family. For him to experience the joy and drama of my children. For him to be my family.

The hunger I have for companionship comes from the fact that my own father died 4 years ago. As Father's Day dawned this year, I was thinking of him and my mother. As an only child, I feel like an orphan now that both are gone. It can be a very lonely place.

It would be nice to have a hand to hold....or a chest to burrow into at times like this. But I don't have that...and so I must continue forward.

I have children who depend upon me. I'm their Father and it's Father's Day 2015.