I believe in broken hearts. I’m 29 years old and was just handed my first. Until now, I’ve had several relationships with intelligent, caring, beautiful women. But when those ended, I just picked up and moved on. There was no prolonged drama; no heartache; no pangs of loss. I never understood why people made such a spectacle of falling in and out of love – until I met Sam.
Sam was short, crooked-nosed and slightly pigeon-toed: Still, he was cute. We met early last year while we were both living in India, though we were often in different cities at different times. When our itineraries did overlap, we would meet over drinks and just talk. It didn’t matter about what: Britney Spears, identity politics, relationships; whatever. It all just flowed. I fell fast and hard for his playful quirkiness and that made my return home to New York difficult since he was staying behind. We kept in touch by online chat, flirting through semicolons and parentheses instead of real winks. Sometimes, we were more open about our feelings: I wanted to be with him; to give myself to him; to devote myself to his happiness. I felt nothing this intense before. And Sam knew it.
This past April, after Sam had returned home to LA, he invited me to visit. During that trip, we shared some deeply affectionate moments: We held hands for the second time; he told me that he really liked me; that he thought of me in the long term. I was elated.
Then, three nights later, he took it all back saying simply that he ‘misspoke.’ And like that, it – whatever ‘it’ was – was over.
I couldn’t concentrate in the following weeks and the nights passed uneasily trying not to think about him. It was on one of those nights that it came to me: It’s not that I’m beyond experiencing the highs and lows of love; I had just been searching for it with the wrong sex.
For years, I’d acknowledged my sexuality only cursorily as I ‘cruised’ online gay sites. Just one year ago, I was still rationalizing my straightness: “I’m physically attracted to men,” I told myself, “but emotionally attracted to women.” Sam obliterated that distinction. I realize now that I need both the physical and the emotional to fully experience the joy of either; I can find both with a man.
And that has me reevaluating. For some time, only three of my friends knew that I might be gay. Since falling in and out of love, I’ve told ten more that I am gay. As I dodge pressure to get married from the parents, I’m finally giving serious thought to my happiness. Only now are a husband, surrogates and adoption becoming even remote possibilities. After years of pretending to know how my life would turn out, I admit now that I have no idea. But that’s ok. At least now, one broken heart later, I know who I am.
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