Honesty isn’t a quality that only same sex relationships require, but in my experience, some men I’ve dated seem to find it incredibly difficult to tell the fucking truth! I guess that’s why I like to be so brutally honest myself.
I briefly picked up on this in my last column, but I think most guys would find it difficult to trust someone once they’ve been cheated on. University, for most people, was a time to get drunk, discover yourself, get even drunker and explore your sexuality to the fullest – as well as going to the odd lecture when you could drag yourself out of bed. I was definitely no different.
However, at this point in my life, I was around 8 stone heavier, had a severe lack of confidence and unfortunately was in serious denial about who or what I deserved. I made plenty of bad choices; from friends who took advantage to that guy who I thought was cute giving me a smile or glance in the bar then treating me like something he could use and dispose of after he’d finished.
I also dated a guy for a while. I didn’t particularly fancy him or even find him attractive, some of the things you could argue are pre-requisites when choosing a boyfriend. On reflection, I think I only dated him because I felt an urge to be wanted, needed even, due to the way I was feeling about myself, which I now know isn’t a good enough reason to date someone.
The guy in question didn’t treat me well. He would never want to meet up (apart from when it suited him), I never got invited around to his house, and when I dared question him as to where he had been on one occasion, he became so aggressive that I thought he may hit me. He didn’t. The relationship was destructive for all involved.
All the warning signs were there but I chose to ignore them. My life kind of reminded me of a scene in the film A Few Good Men (if you haven’t seen it, I would recommend it, mainly for Tom Cruise) in which Jack Nicholson, blind with rage, screams ‘You can’t handle the truth!’. Tom Cruise’s character could handle it but I couldn’t handle the truth from my boyfriend or my friends, let alone myself.
I ended the relationship and felt a sudden relief and realisation; I was much happier single than I ever was in a toxic relationship. I had reached a point in my life where I knew I didn’t need a man to survive. It was only shortly after that I found out he had cheated on me during our relationship. I should really have guessed that he was capable of it since I was so suspicious of him throughout the entire time we were together.
Afterwards, I knew what was most important was the way I felt about myself and that I needed to put myself first for once. That was one of the reasons I knew I had to lose the weight. To me, it was the one thing that was holding me back. The flab was literally suffocating me and my life, and it needed to change.
I lost the weight, gained some much-needed confidence (a little too much for some people) and am coming up to 3 years with the love of my life. However, the betrayal and the ease with which my previous boyfriend found it to lie and cheat on me will haunt me forever, meaning I do find it difficult to trust people.
Trust is essential in any relationship (or so my boyfriend Matt tells me). I do trust him now, but I found it difficult at the beginning. Since then we’ve both been completely honest about how we feel. We communicate if there is something wrong or I get that niggling feeling of suspicion in my head. In fact, I feel liberated in being so open with someone and not being afraid of the judgement I’ve experienced in the past. There is no point lying to your partner as eventually, it will catch up with you; us gays know we can’t live a lie better than anyone.
We’ve all been hurt, some of us worse than others. My experience probably doesn’t come close to those of others reading this. But what we all have in common is that to truly grow, to love and commit to someone again, eventually we need to let down our guard and learn to trust again.
You can’t forget the past but you can move past it and learn from the experience. It isn’t simple, but over time and by letting your partner gain your trust in him, you will get there and be all the better for it.
Words by Craig Barton