I’m in my late thirties and have lived in Boston for almost 18 years. As a gay man, it always seems difficult to meet quality men who are also looking for a relationship. I am outgoing, confident, love my career, love my family, and have joined leagues and many social groups in and around Boston. In those 18 years, I’ve only really had three or four people I’ve dated seriously. More recently, I met an amazing guy out of the blue on 4 in Provincetown – basically, I found love in a hopeless place, as Rihanna once said.
We continued to date for seven months. He was the first guy I introduced to my family as a boyfriend, we vacationed together and even traveled overseas on vacation. Not only were we physically attracted to each other, but we had so much in common, from TV shows to music and food. Three days after he got home from that vacation, he asked if he could come over and talk – I knew there was something. That night he ended his terms and he felt it best to unfollow, block and not talk to me for a while. I was caught off guard and it shocked my system for weeks and months to come. We briefly discussed the reason for his split (he felt like he wasn’t a good boyfriend, he felt like our personalities were different, and he felt like he had a lot going on in his life he had to understand). We had few disagreements, but he seems to have had a hard time being honest about his feelings and hiding his internal pain or insecurities.
After the break up, I was depressed and feel hopeless even after being supported by my friends and family. I found a therapist to talk to, but as soon as I think I’m healed, I’ll see him walk out and all my healing evaporates. Boston is a small town and he and his friends have crossed paths with me many times. But the most hurtful thing is that he treats me like a stranger – with no interest in communicating.
For the past eight weeks I have been playing in a gay league which I joined with some friends. Randomly he also signed up but never recognized me during games. I can’t imagine treating someone like a stranger after being so close to them. I tried to meet new people and date, but deep down inside, nothing can replace what he and I had. I’ve tried to focus on taking care of myself through therapy, running, working out, and surrounding myself with friends, but I’m having a hard time getting over this breakup. Many apps are a nightmare and full of people looking for short-term trades. No advice?
My advice is to give yourself more time to grieve and get used to living without him. It was a big disappointment – a huge loss. Having the support of friends and family — even therapy — doesn’t erase bad feelings. This kind of breakup takes your breath away. With time, it gets much better… and then there are the bad days… and then, finally, it gets better again. It is not a linear journey.
We have already talked about death grief versus breakup grief. The problem with breakup heartbreak is that you grieve about something you had with someone who, depending on who you are and where you live, might be in your gay sports league. It is another type of discomfort. Please be patient with yourself.
Also be aware that the kind of guy who can’t be honest about his feelings probably has a hard time knowing what to do when he sees someone he’s hurt, even if there was no malice in their mind. decision. He’s not equipped to know what to say or how to be nice. He may think ignoring you in a match is the best thing to do. Don’t expect him to be good at this, as he was not good at communicating his discomfort during the relationship.
I wish I could give you a timeline of how long it takes to get over things. I know that when you reach anniversary points – like 4, say – you create a new memory that makes the previous one that much older.
Keep doing as many league-like activities as possible. Meet people through friends. Remember there is a difference between someone who says they want something transactional, with specific limits, and someone who says they want to have fun but might be open to more. . Sometimes intentions change over time. Use apps sparingly (no more than 15 minutes a day, say) and take a break if it feels terrible.
Keep busy with things that make you happy, and I promise you everything will start to change.
Readers? What is the timeline here? Is the league helping or hurting?