Love is an elusive topic for me. I spent most of my life disguising my love for others in an effort to spare my family the shame of having a gay son or grandson.
I had thoroughly convinced myself that I would never disclose my sexuality to anyone, but one day, my mother called me to inform me that she had a dream the night prior in which I told her I was gay.
I am unsure as to why this impacted me the way it did. My mother had asked about my sexuality on a daily basis for more than two years.
Regardless, I felt attacked and needed to tell someone I trusted. And I did. I spoke to my oldest, most trusted friend, and she told me to spend a semester living in the open before coming out to my family to make sure that this was what I really wanted.
And so, I did. I dated my first boyfriend, a work-a-holic, whom spent little time with me during the fall semester. I broke up with him shortly after spring semester started.
I spent most of the spring semester becoming infatuated with different men, romanticizing what it would be like to have a relationship with them, and working for the East Tennessean.
Everything changed that summer. After completing Communication Law during the pre-summer academic session, I spent two months dating a seemingly unending list of individuals. I dated men of all shapes and sizes and came to perfect what I called the first date.
I thrived off of these first dates, gaining confidence and inspiration at the conclusion of each.
This process came to screeching halt when I finally came upon an individual whom had all of the traits I was looking for in a boyfriend.
We had our first date, and it was flawless, as usual. But to my dismay, a few days later, he informed me that he wasn’t ready for the kind of relationship he would have with me.
My logical mind could not comprehend this, as he only had our first date to reference. So, true to form, I spent the next two months trying to sway his decision. I failed miserably.
I finally made the decision to move on sometime in late October. I dated three or four deadbeats before I got back into the swing of dating again.
Around this time, I met an individual with whom I would have my longest relationship to date.
I met Jacob in November, and we started dating almost immediately. He would come to my house after I got out of class and stay until midnight every night.
Though he was not intelligent, he was the kindest, sweetest and most giving person I’ve ever met. It was these three characteristics that I would constantly reference each time I would consider breaking up with him.
We moved in together in January, an act that no doubt doomed our relationship to failure. And no later than February, we were already in over our heads financially.
Jacob did not have a job, so he had to sell many of his personal belongings to keep us afloat. This would come to be a great source of contention in our relationship.
Sometime in late-January or early-February, I started noticing that my ability to communicate effectively was somehow diminishing. It was not until I spent several days away from him when I attended the annual College Media Association Convention in New York City, N.Y., that I realized that it was his presence that was having this impact on me.
Though I cared for him very deeply, my career was far more important to me. I knew that I could not allow my communication skills to continue to diminish. So, I made the decision that I would break up with him as soon as I was financially able to do so.
And I did. I broke up with him. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I knew that I could not continue to allow him to have this negative impact on my abilities.
I broke up with him on Thursday; he moved out on Saturday. I was alone … again.
Yes, I was sad — devastated actually, but I knew that it was for the best. I knew that I would eventually be able to pick myself up and carry on.
For it is far better to be great individually than to be unhappy together.
Love is a very elusive topic for me. It begins and ends in the blink of an eye. All at once, it can be the greatest joy and the greatest heartache. But life goes on.