You Are Number 1

If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else

I got an email from a friend of mine the other day. It doesn’t matter who and it doesn’t matter where he’s from. Let’s call him Bob. Because Bob is the only name I can think of that gay men don’t have. Well…hopefully. Robert is fine. Bob is something you do to an … apple.

To say Bob and I are friends is a bit of a stretch. We’re not really close. We’re acquaintances. I met him a year ago when we were living in the same city. I met him and his partner, let’s call him Dick, through mutual friends. They were nice guys. I had a thing for Bob, but not for Dick (Ironic, I know. For all the reasons you’re thinking). And they were more than willing to play, but I just don’t do couples. It usually ends up like an episode of Full House: Disastrous.

PhotoBob and I did share a kiss on that first night we met. And it was one of THOSE kisses. The kind that curl your toes, and make you want to fall on the floor in some dramatic mock-passing out thing. It was a good kiss. It was DAMN good kiss.

Bob and his boyfriend had been together for years. Like 5 or something when I met them. And they seemed quite happy. They seemed like one of those perfect couples that can play together, and explore their sexual desires while still being totally dedicated to each other. Seemed. Things aren’t always what they seem.

So I got an email from my friend Bob. I love getting email from my friend Bob. He sends me naked pictures of himself. I like naked pictures of Bob. This is not the point. This is an aside.

But this email didn’t include digital treasures. In this email, I found out that Bob and Dick had split up. Dick left Bob (which I can’t imagine because Bob is SO much better than Dick – I know…Irony). And apparently this wasn’t the first time. In their 5 year relationship Dick had done this 3 other times.

I asked around only to find out that this is a common theme. Dick and Bob are living the happy homo life together. One day Dick, for no apparent reason, other than he didn’t take his Thorazine, decides that Bob is the worst person he’s ever met, and he leaves. Bob is devastated. A few weeks, or months later Dick is back at the door. He’s realized that he made a mistake and wants to work it out. Dick says all the right things and Bob takes him back. And the cycle continues. No replace “Dick” and “Bob” with other names. Sam. Steve. Daryl. Jamie. Michael.

I had a three year relationship where my Dick left me and came back 8 times. It was the most painful three years of my life. I’ve never been so miserable. But I loved him. I really loved him. In fact, he was my first love. But he was a complete ASS. I’ve never been treated so badly in my life – part of the reason I don’t date Leo’s. Leo’s of the world be forewarned.

So why does Bob keep taking Dick back? And why did it take me 3 years before I finally stopped taking Jonathan back (and yes, that’s his real name and if you ask I’ll give you his address for all that nicely written hate mail. Bitter, party of one)?

Simple. I loved him more than I loved myself. And the same goes for Bob.

Bob is a total catch. And I’m not saying this just because I know he’ll read this article. I’m saying it because it’s true. He’s handsome, sexy, funny, smart. He’s got a good job, and a heart of gold. Anyone, and I mean anyone, would be lucky to have this man as a partner. This is the guy you take home to your mother. This is the guy who you spend the rest of your life with. This is the guy you go on a trip to Canada with and get married. This is the guy. And damn it, so am I.

But Bob doesn’t love Bob. Not enough at least. And neither did I. We as gay men have no examples to live by. We have no role models. We don’t have the Ward and June Cleaver’s of the world to tell us how relationships are supposed to work. Parents set the tone for children. The way Mommy and Daddy live their relationship is more than likely the way junior will grow up to live his. But that’s provided Junior ends up with a Juniorette. And not with another Junior.

So where do we look for our role models? We don’t. And that’s why my therapist drives a Benz.

I think the message is clear. You are number 1. That may sound cliché but it’s really quite true. Or it should be. If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else. The only way you can have a truly healthy and happy relationship with another person, is if you have one with yourself.

So Bob. Tell Dick to take a hike. He’s SO not up to the task.

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