- All articles
- Anger Management
- BODY IMAGE
- Coming Out
- Ex-Gay Issues
- Family Issues
- Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning Terms
- Gay and Lesbian Parenting
- Gay and Lesbian Relationships
- Gay and Lesbian Teenagers
- Gays in the Workplace
- Homosexuality and Pedophilia
- Mixed Orientation Marriages
- Parents of Gay Children
- Psychological Effects of Politics
- Reparative Therapy
- Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Addiction
Gay and Lesbian Relationships
Adam 'Beresford EXPLORES THE STORIES OF FOUR COUPLES WHO MADE THE LEAP FROM RELATIONSHIP TO FRIENDSHIP. HE STARTS WITH HIS OWN STORY
Andy Gordon and Adam Beresford, both 35, London Matt Tilley, 42, Perth, Western Australia
The Bad Idea Bears are, on the surface, just two adorable little teddy bears. Princeton, the main character in the 'Sesame Street for grown-ups' musical Q, soon discovers that they are there to lead him on. Receiving some money from his parents, the male bear encourages him to 'Have another beer!' while the female one wails, 'I'm gonna cry!'.
I watched Avenue Q for the first time a couple of years ago, along with my own personal Bad Idea Bears. They definitely have my best interests at heart, but when Andy, my partner of 10 years, and Matt, my first boyfriend, get together, a 'quiet coffee' usually ends with me drunkenly whimpering that it's way past bedtime and can we please go home now?
I was 20 and living in Perth, Western Australia, in 1996, when I met then 22-year-old psychology student Matt. An instant attraction was evident, and a tumultuous and passionate relationship ensued. Perth's only gay nightclub was the location of our first meeting. It would also play host to tears and tantrums over the next couple of years as we played a game of on again/off again.
Matt recalls, 'I was probably further along because I'd had one long-term relationship and I was older. But I was also very 'party- orientated'. Developmentally I think we were at a similar stage.'
It's fair to say that following my non-experimental teenage years, I experienced a second adolescence from around 19 to 23, especially where boys were concerned. I remind Matt that he used to call me Princess Rubberneck. He replies, 'I just remember calling you Princess, period!'
After leaving Perth on my own for the UK in 1998, I returned in early January 2000. Matt and I rekindled our relationship, but in April I headed off to Melbourne for more than a year. We had a holiday there and broke up for the last time. He couldn't really speak to me for months afterward - he needed that distance. Matt says, 'Post-break-up, with something that had so much emotion, the distance was important. That was a defining moment for me, we'd been on and off for so long. There's also an element of when somebody doesn't want what you want, you want it more.'
In July 2001 I returned to London, and in November of that year I met Andy. Matt and I didn't have a great deal of contact for a couple of years, and I believe that this time and distance (along with us both meeting new partners) was essential to us establishing a new friendship.
When I took Andy to Australia for the first time in 2004, it was clear to Matt that I had 'grown up'. What soon became clear to me was that Matt and Andy had several similar personality traits. Scarily so! What was great - when they weren't ganging up or taking the piss out of me - was how well they got along. Luckily, I have also bonded with Cipri, Matt's partner of eight years.
Andy agrees. 'We're three people who really enjoy spending time together. We have a blast and have quite in-depth conversations and we do everything together. I'd count Matt as one of my closest friends even though he's in Australia.'
Matt's work as a sexology lecturer has meant that he has been in Europe to attend conferences on an annual basis for the past three years. During this time, the three of us have visited my home town, Blackpool, where I finally got to introduce Matt to my grandparents, and this summer we spent three nights in Barcelona.
I'm very fortunate still to be great friends with the first man I fell in love with. At times in the distant past that may have seemed impossible. But our shared world views and values, plus some of the characteristics that initially made us 'click', have seen us through. I ask Matt what he considers vi tal to making the leap from relationship to friendship. 'Forgiveness and humility. You can't hold on to the hurt. There are two parties involved in the relationship. Both will be at fault for the relationship ending, at some level. You need to own what belongs to you, and not hold on to a grudge or feel hard done by, and recognise what was valuable in the relationship.'