I’ve been in two relationships with my “boyfriend”. I put the word ‘boyfriend’ in inverted commas because I have discovered over recent months just how destructive, restrictive and damaging such labels can be. So why two relationships? Well, I’ll tell you.

The first relationship began when we met one warm evening last September. We immediately found that we had an amazing connection and understanding that far transcended mere attraction. He is handsome, intelligent, sensitive, caring, kind, passionate, sensual and most importantly he gets me.

My experiences of previous relationships had left a bitter taste in my mouth, a defensiveness and need for self protection against any further pain. I fell in love with this man but was filled with fear and paranoia. Despite our beautiful connection my fears grew to a level that was so great that I almost lost him. You see deep down, despite my having rebelled against everything I was taught about love and relationships as a child, I realised that I had been conditioned to think in a certain way. I had been conditioned to believe in monogamy and that any other concept was a threat and something to be avoided at all costs.

Despite our amazing connections there were flaws. A growing unrest between us and my inability to see the truth, to see him as a person, an individual with desires, fears, issues, with his own thoughts and his own life. My inability to see this man as the person he actually was was down to the fact that once again, as in every relationship I had ever been in, I had projected this huge fantasy of the perfect relationship onto this man, and when he did not live up to this perfect image I was left heartbroken and disillusioned. Worse still I had ignored my own flaws, pretending they did not exist, pretending that I had not made mistakes, not wanting to accept responsibility for my own actions. How can we possibly expect perfection from our lover when we ourselves are imperfect? It was a tangled mess. It was time for me to face my fears once and for all and to overcome them.

I could go into great detail regarding our infidelities but that’s not the point of my story.
We came to a cross roads about two months ago, we had a choice to communicate and to try to create a new, stronger, more honest relationship or to crash and burn. Thankfully, together, we avoided the latter. We started to talk honestly about who we are and what we really wanted. And so our second relationship began…

In the past I would have run scared from this kind of situation, but not his time. Ultimately I did not want to lose such a special person. I realised that this gave us an amazing and powerful opportunity to reconnect in a very different way. So we talked and talked and talked and talked. With every conversation we got to know each other better. We talked about everything and I discovered this person I thought I knew so well was a far richer and more beautiful tapestry than I could have ever imagined. To really and truly respect and admire another person and to allow them to be themselves is one of the most rewarding things one can do in life, not just for the other person, but for yourself. We have allowed each other the freedom and space to express ourselves sexually without fear of judgement or criticism and to free ourselves of the guilt which really never did belong to us in the first place. We are men after all so why deny ourselves pleasure?

He has become so much more than a ‘boyfriend’. He is my best friend, my confidant, my support, my rock and the person with whom I can talk to about anything. We have freed ourselves from the constraints of expectations and the restrictions of acceptability and found a new open, honest and enriching environment in which we can both flourish. The removal of labels has allowed us to see each other as human beings.

My parents have been married for more than 50 years now and yet I do not believe they have ever had the kind of open and honest conversations that we have had in the past eight weeks. We support each other, we love each other and we work together to strengthen the foundations of our new relationship.

Facing my fears of infidelity, abandonment, deceit and working with reality has freed me from the prison I had created in my mind through negative thinking and I am grateful. Sex is sex but that connection you have with someone you love is far greater and given love, care, effort, patience and above all understanding it can and will grow and become more beautiful each and every day. My rose tinted spectacles have been binned for good and now I only ever wear sunglasses.