I had been a single gay man – and eternally unlucky with relationships anyway – for two years before I met my latest boyfriend on Christmas Day last year. What began as casual, no strings meet ups developed in the early months of 2016 into something I wasn’t expecting – a relationship.
After a tough year in my personal life where I was forced to face many demons I hoped this – a serious relationship born out of a chance-meeting – was an opportunity to share my life with someone.
I was determined to make this relationship stick, especially as the way we met and developed had been so perfect; this was how any true love story begins.
Unfortunately, cracks began to show almost instantaneously. I tried to find a level playing field by taming my insecurities and acknowledging his needs as well as mine; he continued with not much thought to the balances of a relationship and was selfish.
The relationship disintegrated, through equal faults in the end, but I left confident that I gave the relationship enough of myself and made more sacrifices and compromises then were reciprocated.
I held on only because I thought this might be the thing I needed to work on myself; my reward, my time.
A few weeks after contact with my ex ceased I awoke to a friend request notification on my phone – Did my ex want to try and work things out? No and truly, neither did I.
It was a guy who follows me on Instagram – I later found out I actually crossed paths with him this very year on vacation in Gran Canaria where he saw me in a bar – so I accepted.
I was in a vulnerable place and needed to fill the void that broken relationships leave behind, as was Barak.
At this point, with us sharing affectionate messages of our perfect ideas of love, we chose to be naive, foolish and bury our heads in the sand; the position of one another’s interim Prince Charming had been provisionally filled from the end of the phone.
The desire for love connected us; mutual attraction and like-mindedness fuelled the flames and it was decided, somewhere in the wilder embers, this digital love affair should be actualized.
Twelve days after our first contact I booked flights to visit Barak where he lived in Munich, Germany.
I was crazy. This was crazy. It had all become very real and before I knew it my personal auto-pilot, the one that had chosen to live in a dream world, had landed me in a strange city to spend four days – five after a flight cancellation – with a complete stranger.
We met at the McDonalds in Karlzplatz where my nerves hit critical mass.
However, they quickly subsided when I realised there was no expectation of pre-marital bliss and he certainly wasn’t over the top as he tended to be at times in messages; playful understanding quickly locked into place.
At the beginning of the trip, however, I did let my insecurities run wild and considered whether he hadn’t been happy with what he saw when we met, hence him not acting in the way I expected from the tone of his messages – he replied, when I confronted the issue, saying he ‘wasn’t serious’ about the things he said.
This annoyed me – although I knew this deep down – because I felt the mask of the game we were playing had begun to slip; it’s a lot easier to conjure a love story with a pliable figure who reciprocates to every whimsical suggestion you send via a phone – especially when they want to hear the same in return – and that figure was me.
Things became a whole lot more realistic from then, I refocused my insecurities and became content with the situation; I was to spend a relaxed weekend with a thankfully sane and like-minded guy enjoying one another’s company without preconception, assumption or expectation.
It had become a better, truer version of the bubble I expected to live in that weekend.
While we played with the boundaries of friendship during my stay, through obvious mutual attraction and flirtation, I left Munich with a new confidant who understood me in that moment and a new long-distance friendship – with benefits – I could call on should I need to escape reality again.
I just hope the connection we established weathers both our storms.
Either way, I spent the weekend being shown a new city in gorgeous sun by a gorgeous guy – what could be better?
If you are under the supervision of a parent or guardian you MUST seek permission from them before speaking to people online and/or meeting them in person.
If you do arrange to meet someone – at any age – always let someone know where/when you are going, who you will be with and any relevant details including contact numbers and addresses.
If you feel unsafe with someone after meeting them call the national emergency number and ask for the police department and request immediate assistance.
The names in this article have been changed to maintain privacy.