Follow-Up to My Secret Relationship with Max

It’s been about a month since I wrote about my relationship with Max, and what an interesting month it has been. It took about two weeks before pretty much everyone in my circles of friends had read or heard about the post, and the last four weeks have been filled with interesting conversations with friends and tons of reflection on my part. A lot of my friends and some readers asked me to write a follow-up post, so here we go.

One of the biggest comments I heard from people was that Max couldn’t possibly be straight given everything our relationship entails. “A straight guy wouldn’t be wrapped up in bed with another guy” and variations of that sentiment were shared across the board, and while I can kinda see why that would be the go-to assumption given the way our society thinks, I can’t really see how it’s relevant. After all, we ‘re not having sex (more on that later), so we’re talking about an emotional and physical connection, not a sexual one. Love and emotions don’t really have anything to do with gender, so unless sex enters the equation, I don’t see any need to concern myself with Max’s sexuality.

With regard to us not having sex, a lot of people took issue with my statement that we’ve never had sex because “oral sex is sex and he face fucked you.” My response was generally, “How many times have you heard one guy ask another guy ‘did you have sex last night?’ and heard the response ‘no, but she went down on me’?” But I admit that’s probably splitting hairs, so in the interest of not arguing over semantics, yes, we’ve had (oral) sex.

Many people I talked to about this believed I wasn’t being honest when I said I wasn’t interested in having (anal) sex with Max. The assumption was that since we have a strong physical component in our relationship, I must want it to go further, that cuddling can’t be enough. In truth, I think having sex would dramatically alter our relationship. Max and I have talked about it, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we never have sex, nor would it surprise me if at some point we do. But I’m a long way from being at a point where I would be okay with that—even if Max came up to me tomorrow and said he wanted to fuck, I still wouldn’t be able to do it.

Part of the reason I think Max and I connect to such an intimate depth is precisely because we aren’t having sex. Both of us have our own ways of letting sex get in the way of relationships; by removing that stumbling block, we’ve both been able to open up in ways that have eluded us in other relationships. Thus, throwing sex into the equation would undoubtedly cause us to stumble in the same way we have before, and neither of us wants that. If sex does eventually enter the relationship – and another comment I continuously heard was that it’s really only a matter of time, which I don’t necessarily agree with – it won’t happen until a point when it wouldn’t be such a stumbling block that keeps us from truly communicating with each other. Interestingly enough, it sometimes feels like I’m much further from that point than Max is—and he’s also a very long way from that point.

Another oft repeated comment was that we must be romantically interested in each other. Several friends pointed out my blind spot when it comes to romance – which I’ve talked about in previous posts to some extent – and a couple friends initiated a riveting train of thought by positing that in the end there is no real difference between romantic and non-romantic love. This prompted me to start asking my friends what they thought the difference was between romantic and non-romantic love, and not a one of them could define in their own lives what the quintessential difference is between these two types of love. If we can’t even say what the difference is in our own individual lives, how could we possibly make a general claim regarding the inherent differences?

To me it’s not the type of love that matters, but rather the depth of love. I mean, if someone is aromantic, I seriously don’t believe that means the type of love they feel for people is inherently any less intimate or real than the romantic love experienced by others. Just because I can feel romantic love doesn’t make that form of love better than any other. And in some ways I’m starting to agree with the friends who said there isn’t really a difference. In the end, who cares? We should strive to be with the people we love most, not the people who inspire a specific type of love.

Of course, one question I had no hope of avoiding was why I’m so scared of romantic relationships. My issue with romantic relationships is not the romantic aspect per se; it’s the expectations put on such relationships. A large portion of the population seems to try to be something they’re not for the sake of such relationships and expects their partner to be something that they’re not. Romantic relationships have a tendency to blind us to who we really are and who our partners really are in an attempt to fit into a box that society deems acceptable. I fear the lack of real honesty and the abundance of pretense I see in so many romantic relationships, I fear the loss of self and the loss of perspective vis-à-vis the partner.

A lot of people warned me that I’m ultimately going to get hurt, a few going so far as to say they don’t trust Max in the slightest given his relationship history. A few even suggested that subconsciously I must not trust him either since in my last post I said I should either run or “enjoy it while it lasts.” And though many people believe in enjoying things while they last, the point these particular friends were making was that if I assume that it is clearly going to end rather than assuming there is a chance of it working in the long run, then deep down I must also not trust him to hold to the relationship he says he cherishes.

I confess, hearing this observation made me pause.

It made me think about investments, because in many ways we do make emotional investments in our futures. I would never knowingly invest in a toxic collateralized debt obligation (CDO) like the ones that rocked the market a few years back. To do so would be to knowingly throw money away. I’m alright with investing in something risky that has a chance of bearing fruit, but investing in a toxic CDO isn’t taking a risk; it’s idiotically falling victim to a known hazard. Is investing in Max like investing in a CDO? Of all the feedback and questions I got, the supposed subconscious distrust was without a doubt the most concerning.

To be fair, one friend did say she now thinks more highly of Max than before due to his ability to be a part of the relationship we have. Another friend said he wished he could feel the same way about Max, but ultimately he still sees what’s going on between us with a healthy dose of skepticism. Well, at least one person was on Max’s side I guess.

I think a big part of the distrust expressed by several friends is a result of Max’s general inability to communicate and the problems that’s caused in his past relationships (something I am all too familiar with in my own past relationships). For example, it surprised me to hear some friends chide him saying, “we respect what’s going on, but I thought we were close; why didn’t you tell us what was up between the two of you?”

I know he communicates more with me than with others, and ironically such comments from Max’s friends make me lean more to the side of trusting him: despite the fact that he’s generally less adept at talking about how he’s feeling than I am (and in truth it’s only been recently that I’ve gotten better at it), he’s still communicating about his feelings and other things more with me than with anyone else. And both of us are actively and willingly working on communicating with each other more than we have in past relationships, which makes me lean even more away from agreeing with the subconscious distrust assessment. It may be frustrating at times when he can’t open up, but it’s part of the package—and lord knows he has to deal with my idiosyncrasies as well.

In terms of how things are between Max and me since I posted the original story, things are going well. If anything, being frank about what is going on between us has tightened the bond between us. There are still things to work out, but CDO comparison aside, I think we’re on the right track. I said I was going to take a leap of faith, and despite friends’ and my own reservations, that’s still what my heart says is right.

Which leaves only one thing to do: get my bitch ass friends to stop teasing me about the “Face Fuck”. And I’m more likely to grow a vagina for a mouth than to make that happen…

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