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Picking the Right Friends

I don't know what my life would be like not if I hadn't had reliable and trustworthy friends surrounding me all my life.

Brad has mentioned that we've been talking to family and friends about how we're going to work through this issue of college. The comments you guys have left also mean a lot to us. It's amazing how much more hopeful you can feel when you've got all these people who remind you to trust your ability to work through the hard stuff.

Even little kids have an amazing ability to solve things, like Brad was mentioning yesterday about the two five year old twins we were babysitting. They kinda got off track (like we all do sometimes) and just needed some time and "redirection" (a term most people with ADHD, like me, grew up hearing a lot!). It's always hard to see solutions when your mind is revving on overdrive.

But I've also learned that it's important to get the right kind of advice from the right friends. We mentioned last month (see the post on June 15) that we went to this "After Gay Pride Party" which happened after the Pride festivities in Boston the previous Saturday. We hit it off with several other couples and ended up exchanging phone numbers with a promise to get together sometime.

One couple invited us to their home a few weeks later, just the four of us. They're both in their mid-twenties and have been together for five years. They actually got legally married (Massachusetts is one of the states where you can do this) last year and bought this really nice home in the burbs with two bedrooms because they're talking about adopting a child at some point. They really seem to love each other and we all had a good time talking about how we met, what our futures look like, what we have in common, etc.

We found out we have so much in common with them and always look forward to catching up with what they're doing. We've taken them out to eat a few times and I convinced them to go sailing with Brad and I one Saturday, which they had never done. We're always laughing when we're together and we're fast becoming good friends.

In some ways, they're also role models for us. In addition to having a lot of fun together, we've also had some serious conversations about how they are building their relationship. They've given us some really good things to think about as we're dealing with our future, in particular this whole issue about college.

Another couple we met at the party is a little older. One is in his mid-thirties and the other just turned forty. They have a completely different outlook on life and how their relationship works. We've only spent time with them once and just didn't hit it off with them like the first couple. They both seemed like really nice people, but we found it hard to find ways to really connect with them. We thought it might have been the age difference, but Brad and I quickly found out that wasn't it.

They are both totally opposed to the very idea of gay marriage. I wanted to say to them (but didn't), "Honey, you have so totally lost that battle in this state, so get over it. It's here, so get use to it." Their argument is that we shouldn't be "imitating" the heterosexual institution of marriage. They have what they call an "open relationship," which, from what we could tell, means they love each other but sleep with other guys. They said gay people have been fighting to define how our relationships should work and we shouldn't just "merge" into some predetermined arrangement, as "dictated" by straight people.

So, okay, I like a good argument sometimes. We got into this intense back-and-forth for a while but quickly realized that Brad and I just have a different perspective on the issue. That was what it all boiled down to. We made it clear to them that we have a committed relationship and we all agreed that different people have different opinions and we all seemed to be cool with that.

We had already told them about the college issue, and without asking their advice, they freely gave tons of it. They both agreed that since we are both still young, and this is the first relationship for both of us, we should jump at the chance to, how did they put it, "Hold on to our love but see what else is out there." They said if Brad goes out of state to college, then we can both agree to "have a little fun on the side," because in their experience "it only makes our love stronger." Since we hadn't asked for their advice in the first place, we just said, "Well, that's just not for us."

Later in the evening, Brad was helping one of the guys in the kitchen with the dishes, and I was in the living room with the other guy. They both seemed fixated on keeping their opinion about open relationships going and they both ended up making a pass at both of us when we weren't in the same room. Talk about crossing a line. This was really about a total lack of respect for Brad and I. Did they really see us as two young guys who were incapable of knowing what we really wanted -- and didn't want? We had already made things totally clear about our commitment to each other.

I told the guy who made the pass at me, "Dude, that is so totally uncool. What the hell are you doing?" He backed off and apologized and I got up and walked over to the bookshelf to check out what they had. Shortly Brad came out of the kitchen and had his eyes locked on mine. He was not smiling, not looking relaxed and was shooting a look my way that seemed to say, "Let's get out of here." I didn't know at that point that the guy in the kitchen had made a pass at him, but we both knew we wanted to get out of there. 

Then they offered us an after-dinner drink! I just looked at them and said, "Thanks, but, you know what? We're not even old enough to drink and I think it's already past our bedtime." Talk about an awkward way to say good night!

When we got in the car, Brad said Kitchen Guy asked him if we might be interested in a four-way. All this after we had been totally clear about our commitment to each other and how we had decided our relationship worked.

So, going back to the title of this post, Picking the Right Friends, we're sticking with the first couple I talked about earlier. And we're listening to advice and support from people who actually respect us. I mean, without respect in a friendship, what is there?

So, Brad and I are going on our little retreat this Saturday. We're going to slow things down and sort through the next big step in our relationship. Will we come out of it with some answers? I know we will. I have confidence that we're mature enough to figure things out. We both know the importance of Picking the Right Friends. Even more important, we know the value of Picking the Right Mate.
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