Or, how love and support can change a life.
I want to share a piece of my life that was life-changing for me, the moment where I met my wife, what were the emotional circumstances I was living through and how support and honesty helped me in a critical moment.
I was 23, and I was working as a freelance in my career, love life was as confusing as it got: I was looking for a real relationship with a girl my age, while at the same time being scared of the fact I had never been in any relationship before and facing the fact I lived with an unwanted attraction towards minor boys. My first crush in life was towards a girl a tad older than me when I was 10, since then I have already had small crushes on other 3 girls in real life and one on a 12 year old boy that summed up to finding certain boy actors/celebrities attractive, which made me feel really scared of myself.
Since I was having all the mental confusion I decide to focus for a while on just my professional life. As a freelance I met really good friends, including a married couple who worked in the same line of business as I, as soon as our friendship began and we discovered that we made a really good team, so we decided to make our own independent company, and jumped into it the first opportunity we got.
We started the business and started to look for people who would be our first clients, and incredibly enough we found really good deals. Excited as we were, we decided to be formal about it and have a meeting to discuss all the logistics of it. The meeting was in their house, so I went there and we talked about it all. I was a happy man with a good project ahead.
It’s in this part of the story that something else happened, as the meeting was ending I learned they had a son, he was arriving from school. He was 10 years old, soon would be 11, and as he entered the room my heart skipped a beat. I quickly brushed it off, but the impact had happened, and soon I would find that he was going to be around a lot.
In my mind, he was one of the most beautiful boys I had met, happy and shy, and he loved sports (which I couldn’t care less about, but somehow him being an athletic kid made him more attractive to me). For the moments our company worked, since both his parents were my coworkers, they had no other choice that have him arrive from school to our office, where he would be doing his homework, having lunch and watching YouTube, just entertaining himself in whatever way he could find. I was once again facing a type of situation I was trying to escape from…
Every time he showed up, my heart would respond, and little by little I discovered, that no matter what I did, I was having a crush, the biggest I had had to that day. I tried to focus on work, and it helped up to a point, but if he talked or just walked by the feelings would pop up to make me aware he was there…
I was scared, I won’t deny that, they were feelings I didn’t want to have, yet they persisted without caring what I thought. At the time I was recieving support from VirPed, I had met the support group recently and it was the one thing that was helping me navigate these feelings in a safe comprehensive way, with the goal of never wanting to do anything inappropriate with him. At the same time, asking to others how it was to have a relationship with an adult girl and how could it be achieved.
So there I was, living my career, the clients were happy about us, and I was having a good time. My friendship with my coworkers was increasing, and my experience with the field with it. They taught me a lot, and were really patience when I didn’t know how to handle the clients or was just to new with the field of having a company. They never knew about my feelings for their boy of course, but as friends as we were they invited me to his birthday celebration, and even to special events of his life. I turned down their invitations, and they were confused as to why did I deny them, since we were good friends.
Whenever they asked me why I would just make up an excuse to explain why I didn’t go. The real reason was I just couldn’t accept any of them, I was their friend but I just couldn’t expose myself to be close to the boy who I had such deep feelings for… I just couldn’t.
I liked playing with him, helped him in some homework, tease him with any girl he might say he liked. And at the same time, my feelings confused me, I loved his face, I loved his smile, those deep blue eyes and dark hair were impossible to not notice… Just his mere presence around was enough for me to understand that I was truly having the biggest crush I had ever had for anyone… So I made a decision, to be away from him as much as I could. I couldn’t avoid him at the office, but I had to avoid him in his celebrations, or in his personal spaces. I turned down a lot of invitations to my friends’ house to avoid being with him.
It made my friends question my friendship with them, but what else could I do? We were still work partners, and so our relationship was just on professional environments, while I mentally processed everything.
Time went by, and after the support of my online friends from VirPed, I decided to start dating again, I was determined to not let my feelings towards any boy block my feelings towards girls, I had to be courageous and explore how it was to be in a relationship I always wanted with a girl. I met really good girls, none of which would make me feel anything special, much less anything romantic, but I had fun dating.
I was an active part of a youth religious congregation back then, it was by being a part of this group that we made plans of having a meeting with other youth of another city and spend a good time together in a trip to a different city planning activities and just having a spiritual yet fun escape. We prepared everything, payed for it and went for it. Over 100 single young adults joined in, it was a big event.
It was here where I would meet a special girl. She was beautiful, and unlike the other girls I had met before, I felt I could be myself around her, I felt happy with her and I got drawn towards her in really personal ways, I had lots of fun, and by the end of the trip we had we had each other’s number.
We started to chat every night, always happy, always sincere, always being myself, the geeky person who loves movies and is awkward when flirting, yet it was always fun and natural to speak to her. It was the first time I could be up all night in front of my cellphone talking to another person and feeling so connected. Little by little I felt my heart was embracing her.
I had to make a decision, she was the most wonderful human being I had ever met, I didn’t want to lose this girl, I had to take my chance there, and I really wanted her to be more than a friend to me, yet my reality scared me…
And so I had to face the facts: I have always been an open person, and if I was having a relationship with her, I didn’t want it to be shallow, I wanted to give her my 100%, which meant, I had to tell her about this part of me who has walked by my side since as far as I remember: I had to tell her my feelings towards boys… And that scared me to death…
The moment of Truth
It was hard for me, but as I saw it, if I was going for a real relationship, one of true support and honesty as I always wanted it, I had to be completely open… So after a couple dates and really good nights of flirty chat, I decided to tell her, that I had something important to tell her if we were moving forward in our relationship. We set up a date for it.
The night before that date, I was in bed, and I was shaking in fear. She decided to call me on the phone instead of the usual chat, and I did my best to hide my trembling voice, but she could tell right away something was wrong. I told her I was ok, but couldn’t make it sound convincing. She insisted on telling her what was going through my mind. I told her we could talk about it in person the next day, but she wouldn’t stop her persistence… After some minutes of the conversation going in circles, I felt she was starting to feel scared, my heart shrunk…. I told her to calm down, and that if she really wanted I could tell her right away…
I passed saliva, and as my heart was shaking in fear, and a knot was in my throat, I had to force my mouth to form the words: “I’m attracted towards boys”… Seconds of silence seemed like minutes to me, this damn thing I’ve lived with, why did it had to be this way? Why do I have to be an honest guy talking about this? I’m exposing my demon to a girl I really like, if she’s going to leave, better now than time after… “Wait, are you gay?” Was what she answered, I thought of the words I had just said, I hadn’t been clear enough obviously… “No, no, I’m not gay….”, I decided to say it like taking a band-aid off, if saying it would hurt, it was no good to make it last longer, “I’m attracted to kids, for as long as I remember, I feel attraction towards male kids”, by then my shakiness weather more than obvious, and I just closed my eyes shut and “looked” down at the floor “Towards kids? What do you mean?” “I get feelings of attraction towards certain prepubescent boys, my heart will get feelings and I can even have crushes towards them”
She sounded shocked at the other side of the line, and I let her know she could ask me any question about it and I’d make my best to answer them to her. The conversation lasted 2 hours. She asked me how serious I was, how did I discovered them, since when, if I had had any previous GF (answer was no), if I had ever done anything to a kid (another no), if I had ever recieved professional help for it (a third no), how did my crushes work, if I felt anything towards girls, and how was it different than what I felt towards boys, and details on my feelings towards my coworker’s son, to which I also opened up not being able to hold it inside me.
I had never been able to explain to anyone in so much detail about those feelings, and the whole moment felt as if the dam was opening and big pressurised water was pouring out from deep inside, a pressure that had been filling me up constantly was finding a way out, I had no idea where would that take me, but I was there, pouring everything out to her, and little by little I could regain control of my shaky voice and body.
Lastly she asked me if I really felt anything towards her. That last question was an emphatic yes. I had started to develop feelings towards her, and the whole reason I disclosed this to her is because I felt it was a part of me that had chased me around for so long that I just couldn’t keep it hidden, and made me nervous about my romantic performance with a girl, and that if anything, she could chose to leave right there before both of us got an even bigger broken heart.
The answer she gave me shocked me “You know, this is something big, I had never heard anything like this before, but I can tell you’re being honest about it, even how you say you feel towards me. I want to let you know that knowing this doesn’t change anything about how I feel towards you…” my heart stopped in place. Was I hearing that right? Was she saying what I thought she said? Was she being serious?
“Really?” Is what came out of my mouth. “Yeah, it doesn’t change anything, it seems you have been a strong person to carry this with you, and if you have never done anything bad, it says a lot about you”
She was serious, I just opened up my deepest self to her, the one thing I hated the most about me, and she was just there, saying this to me… A smile drew in my face, and tears started to come out of eyes. She continued to speak…
“I’ll tell you something, since you were able to share this with me, I now want you to listen to me, and I want you to follow my advise”
“I have a therapist number, he has helped me through really tough times and battles I’ve had in my own life, and I’m sure you can trust him on this…”
“I want you to call him and set up an appointment with him, ASAP”
It was late that night, so no, I didn’t call him right there, but feeling her confidence in her voice, I promised her I’d call him quickly, which I nervously did the next day.
“There’s something I want to tell you, about how I feel right now as well” I told her.
“I don’t know if this is premature or not, but I don’t care. I love you”
That was the first time I told her that.
“I love you too”
And it was the first time she said it back to me.
That night I slept feeling light as never before then, crying tears of happiness, and with a smile I couldn’t erease from my lips, I couldn’t thank her enough for what she did that night.
Next morning I set up the appointment with the therapist, without explaining any reason why. I had never done anything like that before, so I was nervous, but she kept encouraging during the morning. She didn’t hide how happy she was when I told her I had set the appointment. We had a date that night, and I confirmed with surprise how nothing had really changed on how she treated me. From that moment on, I knew I had to fight for her, to be my very best to pay her back. I felt hope like never before, and it started to be the central piece of my life, the motivation of making things good, to always choose the right.
She was the first person with enough guts to help me personally, even with my situation about the crush I had towards the kid. She let me know when was I acting in weird ways with him, and about the limits I must have while hugging him and just being around him. It was a really tough thing to do, learning how to act when I had a crush on a boy, but it was necessary.
I could now have a support partner who was fully aware of my struggles and thoughts, and she has been always handling it the best way possible.
It’s been a little over 2 years after this happened now, and she and I are married now, support partners for life. I can honestly say it hasn’t been an easy ride, but together she and I by being open about our feelings and goals have learned about this a lot more than I ever did since I discovered my attractions as a young teen, and my improvement of self-esteem and knowledge about this all has truly paid off to live a worthy and entirely fulfilling life.
The boy in this story, I no longer feel the attraction towards him, he has grown up since then. I don’t punish myself for having felt that way, and handled it properly. Same goes for any other attractive boy I’ve met, finding them attractive doesn’t stop not affect my life negatively. I’m building the best relationship I can with the woman I love.
My wife and I are open to each other about our struggles and our best achievements at our jobs, at our studies, at about every aspect in life. I’m as honest to her about boy actors I like as much as she’s open to me about the actors she also likes (We’ve gotten moments when we both agree on one, we always share a good laugh about that), and I feel that as time goes by our bond, commitment and trust just gets bigger.
She’s my best support, my right arm, my life partner, we share our highs and our lows, and it is our goal to be the best version of ourselves as we can in this life.
That’s the beauty about love I have towards my wife versus the plain feeling of an attraction towards any random boy, there’s no point in comparison between the two.
Being open about this, having an online anticontact support group like the one I had, taking advice from others in the same situation I was in, and finding someone to whom I can be myself with while encouraging improvement is the best I’ve had in life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
By Stepping Out Sam originally published on Medium April 11, 2017.
Exported from Medium on February 23, 2018.