Don’t be ashamed to love

Andrew Paisley, Campus Reporter

One of the topics I write about the most are relationships. I think it is because I have had a lot of experience with relationships and I know there are so many people out there who need advice or have been in the same situations that I have.

Some time ago, I was involved with someone who was much, much older than me. Clearly, I did not expect to be involved with him but things just happen.

This person, never having been married or in a long-term relationship, had also never been out of the closet, though people often assumed that he was homosexual. I did not know that because I did not know him.

He reached out to me first, and I could not figure out why until I was told by someone that he was in fact closeted. I did not jump at the opportunity because of that, but I jumped at it because I found him very interesting and he charmed me so we began having an affair.

Given his career position in town, we obviously decided to keep the relationship a secret, and of course I respected that given the fact he was closeted.

I would secretly visit his house. It was thrilling, but I was also very scared of people finding out that we had what some people would call “an affair.”

After a few months of the affair, I was told by someone that it had gotten out. I was petrified of my parents finding out.

Once I heard that it was out, I of course denied the affair and I ended it. To be honest, I was embarrassed of the age difference. I had dated an older person before, but the age difference was not as big as this one.

After a few months, the rumors died down and of course I went back to seeing him. I could not help the fact I was drawn to him and he was drawn to me.

After seeing each other for over the next two years, he became ill from complications due to alcoholism. After that, I was never able to see him again.

I thought about him so many times and I wanted to call him, or at least shoot him a text message, but I was too embarrassed and ashamed. I felt like it was not right for me to do that. I also did not want to blow his cover, even though by this time a lot of people knew about us. I am still not sure his family was aware at all.

Last year, he passed away after a long battle with alcoholism. We had not been in touch for over six months. Although I had heard from other people about his condition, some part of me thought he would improve.

When I was told he died, I was in complete shock. I felt horrible for being so ashamed we had been together. I felt awful that I could not have helped him with the demons he was battling. I truly believe that he dabbled into alcohol and it became a problem because he was too ashamed and afraid to come out with his sexuality.

To this day, it will always haunt me that I did not help him face his fear and show him that it would have been OK. Maybe then, he would not have developed problems with alcoholism and he would have been happier. It has been hard for me to accept his death, and in a way it always will be. No one knew the side of this man that I did.

My point to this testimony you may ask? I want everyone to realize that you do not have to be ashamed because of some of the things you have done in the past and you do not have to be afraid of people knowing who you truly like and love. We cannot help that we are humans. We should be able to be content with who we love.

Do not let the embarrassment and or shame keep you from being with who you should be with.

Andrew Paisley is a junior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].