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Be honest. Be fair.


It’s good for everyone concerned. And that includes you. In forming – and unforming – relationships, it’s always better to be straight-up and honest. Always.

This looms especially large for gay men, and even more so for inexperienced late bloomers, because with guys, sex tends to enter the relationship picture sooner. And when sex enters the picture, things can get pretty complicated pretty fast. So plain talk and honesty from the get-go is always best.

A couple of examples from my 2.5 years on the loose will illustrate.

About 18 months ago, I had a torrid weekend with a guy I had known in my past life, before either of us knew I was gay. We ran into each other by chance at a gallery opening and the fireworks started almost instantly. We were back at my place getting frisky within an hour of laying eyes on each other.

This guy did one thing right and a couple of things dead wrong.

When we got back to my house, before he had even sat down, he told me he was HIV positive. A-plus! Good move! I knew HIV would probably come up at some point in dating, and I had worked to mentally prepare myself for it. I told him I knew about risky behavior and about protection, and that I was okay with it if he was. We had a great time that night and the next night as well. And I invited him for dinner the next Saturday.

Unfortunately, by the time he arrived for our second date, the BS had hit the fan, and it began to pile up in no time. After a Netflix movie and a glass of wine, he announced that he had to leave (I was all prepped to cook dinner) and that he couldn’t have sex with me any more.

I asked why, and he said it was about his being HIV positive. He admitted – I asked him point blank – that he had felt the same strong attraction I had felt. But, he said, I was such a newbie that he couldn’t let me take the risk. I told him I was prepared to deal with that risk – and so began an amazing series of reasons he couldn’t have a relationship beyond being friends. But I was hot for this guy. Every time I neutralized one excuse, he’d come up with something else. These included, among other things, additional (temporary) health issues, working out his relationship with his overbearing father, and having to look for a new job.

Being a naive newbie, not to mention being totally addled by lust, I allowed this nonsense to go on for months. The truth? He really wasn’t into me. But he never would just come out and say so.

I’m about over it now – more than a year later! – but there was a lot of time and angst wasted. I’m not saying it would have been exactly easy had he told me the truth up front, but it would have been a lot quicker and less embarrassing.

A positive example: Earlier this year, I began going out with a guy I liked a lot. Things got sexual on the third date, and it was really nice. After a few more dates, I began thinking about where this was going. I wasn’t sure, but he was very pleasant company and the sex was good, so I decided to rock along and see what happened.

The next week he brought up the question at dinner. He told me he was focused on finding a long-term partner, and he didn’t want to continue a sexual relationship – as nice as it was – that wasn’t leading anywhere. Straight-up and honest. Good move! Though I’d have been happy to continue things as they were for a while, I understand the way he sees things. We see each other from time to time for dinner, and though I still think he’s attractive, there’s been no sex. And no hurt feelings. I’ll admit, had I been gaga for this guy, it would have hurt. But it would have hurt a lot less that the preceding example.

So – about an hour ago as I write this, I had the necessary conversation with a guy I’ve been out with three times and want to see again. It was straightforward, grown-up, and – dare I say it? – manly. We know exactly where things stand. And we know where they may – and may not – be going.

Minds at ease, on we go.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. John Rivest permalink
    11/20/2010 6:59 PM

    Oh, David, how I like this particular post. Well said and to the point. I’m definitely going to take your advice. No sense in angst and tears later.

    “… always better to be straight-up and honest. Always.”

    “… plain talk and honesty from the get-go is always best.”

    ” It was straightforward, grown-up, and – dare I say it? – manly. We know exactly where things stand. And we know where they may – and may not – be going. Minds at ease, on we go.”

    All my best,

    • 11/20/2010 9:51 PM

      Glad you liked it. Sometimes these lessons are hard-earned. But, if so, they usually stick.

      My best back to you –


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