Thursday, July 18, 2019

Craig Chats: NEXT

Craig is back with a really great post. It's emotional, as in I cried! He's had a lot going on in his life so he hasn't been able to keep up with these posts like had hoped. But here you go, something really amazing!


People like to talk about falling in love. 

From song lyrics to monologues, we love to love, and we love to hear why. We crave knowing what makes us special enough to elicit that feeling in someone else, and we project when fictional characters talk about their partner’s subtle smile and clumsiness, as if those relatable qualities will be the same reason someone talks about us that way one day.

There are so many plays, so many songs, so many industries built around the idea of falling in love. And no matter how many times you hear that love is in-explainable—it keeps getting explained. Even if you haven’t felt it, you’ve seen it. Even if you don’t understand it, you still know what it is when it’s standing before you in others.

No other subject has been exhausted the way love has. It may very well be the single most talked about subject to ever exist… And yet, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone describe what it’s like to fall out of love.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t realize I had…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I remember the exact moment I fell for Pete; it was the day after I’d been told I was HIV+ and I thought my life had forever changed. We’d been together around two years at this point and were living in my childhood bedroom, in my mother’s house. We were a long way away from having our own place, but we had one another—that was enough. 

I woke up, momentarily forgetting my diagnosis from the day before, until shuffling up the bedpost and being hit with a wave of devastation. I turned to Pete, whose face was buried in his tablet, and I proceeded to cry.

“Do you want to know how it works?” he asked. “It’s not that scary when you know.”

That was it. That moment. The moment I realized that he had been up for hours before me, researching HIV so that we could both better understand it—and in doing so, showing me that he wasn’t going anywhere. That was the moment I fell in love with him. Of course, I’d had very strong feelings for him before that and had told him I loved him repeatedly…but that was a moment of complete clarity on the matter. Of knowing. Of certainty.

I remember that moment so well; from the oversized yellow t-shirt I had on, to the odd socks littering the floor, to the empty bottle of Pepsi by the bed…

What I don’t remember, however, is the moment I fell out of love. 

There was never a lightbulb blinking above my head, or a switch being flipped. There was no sudden change of heart, or a random sign that led to the big revelation as the music began to swell and a spotlight was cast down on me. No, for me, falling out of love was a gradual process. It was reactionary. 

Somewhere along the way, the man who stayed up all night researching HIV to make me feel safe left, and in his place was a man who thought it too much effort to use two of his holiday-days a year to take me to the hospital for blood tests. A man who told me, face-to-face, that I was no longer his type. A man that couldn’t bare to share a bed with me. That forgot to pick up the drink I wanted from the store. That didn’t want to do anything special for my birthday. That sighed his annoyed sigh whenever I tried to make him laugh…

My falling out of love with Pete was my involuntary response to his regulated rejection of me.
It was the nights spent in a separate bed beginning to rack up, and the times Pete pushed me away from him when trying to get intimate slipping into the triple digits. It was the culmination of “not now,” and “I can’t be bothered,” and “I’m not in the mood.” And it flew under the radar far longer than it should’ve. 

You see, our relationship was never the stellar example of romance I desperately wanted to portray it as. At least, not for the last two years. Whether he realizes this or not, he was cold, emotionally manipulative, and maybe even cruel. Legitimate concerns I had about his wavering feelings toward me were often brushed off as “paranoia” and “anxiety,” and my mental health quickly became his counter-argument whenever I tried to talk about our relationship trouble. 

He said my anxiety was a burden. That it was hard on him. That it was the reason he might’ve seemed distant and cold. He told me to make an appointment and get it under control, then, when I finally did seek out professional help, the first thing the social worker I was sent to said to me was to get out of my relationship.

This complete stranger who was supposed to be the shining beacon of hope, not only for my unchecked anxiety, but for the relationship issues tied to it, too, looked me in the eyes and told me to run. He told me to get out. To cut ties. To leave. He told me that, whether Pete realized it or not, his behavior only worsened my mental health, and my complacency about the situation even more so.

(Something I think is worth clarifying here is that I do not believe Pete purposefully mistreated me. I don’t think he intentionally meant to hurt me with the apathetic remarks or brush offs, but I do think his reluctance to admit he was done with me resulted in him resenting me. For whatever reason, he stuck by my side long after his feelings for me were gone, which created a toxic environment for us both)

I stopped seeing the social worker. Just like I stopped talking about the problems Pete and I were having to friends. I didn’t want to accept that he’d stopped loving me, and I tried to make up for it by bringing enough love into the relationship for both of us…

But one person can’t steer that boat alone.

I did everything to fix what was already broken—partly because Pete never told me it was beyond repair, and partly because I was scared. Maybe if I was a stronger person, I’d have ended it on my own terms. Instead, I waited until he did it for me. Until I’d put in more overtime than anyone should. Until I’d spent all of my self-esteem. Until I was a guy who apologized for his humor, who bottled up his feelings, who toned himself down as to not annoy the one person who should’ve accepted me at 2000%...

If I had to pick out one moment that stuck out above all others; a single instance that I knew, somewhere in my very core, that his love for me was long gone, it was when Avengers: Endgame released—

I begged, pleaded and bargained for Pete to see it with me. I threw myself at him (which was as ineffective as throwing myself at a straight man by this point), and I promised him unlimited weekends of whatever activities he wanted. Still, the answer was a resounding no. So, I pulled up my big boy bootstraps and booked a ticket alone. Despite my anxiety. Despite my fears of travelling alone.

Then, the next day, two of Pete’s friends asked him to see Avengers: Endgame with them, and he said yes. 

He said yes.
He said yes.
He said fucking yes.
I was furious. 

Not only did I feel like my place on his social priority list was far below that of his friends, but I felt betrayed by the one person in the world who was supposed to be on my side. Who was supposed to compromise for me. Who was supposed to say yes, then drag me to a movie I didn’t really want to see, and I’d do it because it was for him. That’s how it was supposed to work…right?

But he never really did make me like he was on my side, or that I was loved, or safe, or secure, not for a long time. In fact, two weeks after we moved into the new house, Pete informed me we’d no longer be getting married because it wasn’t what he wanted anymore. Just like that. And I had my cry and then accepted it, because that’s all I could do.

That’s also what happened when we went open.

One day, he comes home and informs me the reason we’re not having sex anymore is because (as mentioned before) I’m not his type, but he thinks we can fix that by his sleeping with people who are his type on the side. Once again, I had my cry, realizing that all my fears (that were brushed off as my unchecked mental health by Pete several times prior to this) were warranted, but then I accepted it. I had to. And I’m not going to pretend I didn’t get anything out of the situation either, because I did, but the way it came about was always wrong. It wasn’t something I agreed to in order to spice up something already good. It was the bandage I wanted to put over the gaping hole in the ship. It was the single hose I used to try to douse the forest fire. 

(Another clarification moment, as a lot of people followed my open relationship closely: the open relationship WAS NOT the reason we broke up. If anything, it bought us more time together as it became the only good thing we had going for a while. Our problems ran much deeper, and I don’t want anyone assuming that the openness is what killed our relationship)

With all of this in mind, I’d have to say that falling out of love for me was the result of being unloved. It was the systematic rejection of a man who claimed he still wanted to be with me, yet his actions spoke otherwise. It was apathetic tones while being spoken down to, and the lack of caring when wanting nothing more than to curl up in his arms and cry. 

I fell out of love with Pete because he didn’t love me, and he hadn’t loved me for a long, long time.
That is why our relationship ended…

But life goes on, and so will I. However, before I do that, I also want to say that I harbor no ill-will toward Pete. I don’t hate him. I don’t dislike him. I don’t resent him for our failed relationship, or even for the way he went about handling it. Mistakes were made on both ends, and I’m far from perfect. Besides, I couldn’t hate someone for not loving me. I couldn’t hate someone for wanting to find love again. I couldn’t hate someone for wanting to be happy. His decision to end our relationship was the best decision he ever made for our relationship, and I’m glad he was the one to pull the plug, because I don’t think I could’ve. 

So, what’s next? 

Well, first of all, I want to thank everyone for participating in an auction to help get me out of Pete’s house (I’m currently living in the basement with nowhere else to go). Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to move me out (no place is going to take me without at least 6-months’ rent upfront), but it did buy me time, and that’s incredibly important right now. So, thank you all. 

Secondly, there may be someone new in my life, but after being semi-public with Pete and having to deal with the fallout of our relationship ending, I’m giving this new one a bit of time before I go public. All you need to know is that he’s incredibly sweet and affectionate, and the dick is pretty good, too. 

Thirdly, I’m back to writing my memoir (That Time I Survived My Teens) which is due to release…this year? And that’s a book about… well, surviving my teens? You get the idea. It’s all factual, with a little exaggeration and a lot of me having sex with men whose names I don’t actually remember. It’s fun. You’ll like it. Don’t show it to your teens though—they’ll get ideas. (Or do show it to them as a “how not to behave” guide)

And I think that’s everything I need to say. I’m back, I’m happier, I’m still panicking because I’m living in the basement of my ex’s house with no way out, but I’m free from the shackles of a relationship without love, and if I’m honest, I think I may have already found the real thing.

But more on that another time.


  1. Craig I wish you all the happiness in the world and know that you'll find the real love that's out there waiting for you. Just know we all love and support you!!

  2. I think Pete himself didn't realize what was going on, and by the time he did, he probably felt guilty that he allowed it to continue as long as it did.
    You are an amazing and funny and sweet human being, and still very young. This will pass, and you will survive and even thrive. Good luck to you...and I want more of your memoir!

  3. Craig, you write so beautifully and I felt all the emotions you're describing. I've been there too, in the past, and rejection is the worst. But there is life after Pete as you're finding out. So happy for you and pulling for you all the way!

  4. I wish for you nothing but the best.You'll look back at this one day and be able to smile about it as another experience that makes you who you are. You will find love, the kind you dream about. You'll be somebody's world.

  5. Your writing is beautiful and you have a way of making me feel each emotion. I'm happy that things are looking up for you and hope the continue to improve!