When I first came out of that dark, repressive closet, it was like a whole new world.
Everything was fresh, exciting and uncertain to me.
I was grateful to finally get to be myself.
No more hiding. No more lying.
No more living a fabricated life.
I could gab to my friends about my boy problems, hang that picture of Matt Bomer above my bed and finally get to romantically be with the people I actually liked (boys) without the all-consuming fear.
Being in love for the first time changed my entire world.
It turned my life upside down, sideways and back again.
I just couldn’t stop thinking about this boy and how he looked at me, how he smelled, what he said, the words he texted and the sound of his voice in my voicemails.
I would casually stalk his Facebook and irrepressibly smile while looking through his old photos.
My friends had to tell me to shut up about him.
I couldn’t, after all, because I was finally in love.
Looking back, that first love made me a lot like a 16 year-old girl.
Sixteen-year-old girls are dramatic and oh-so emotional.
Because they're going through puberty and discovering their love (obsession?) for boys.
Gay men can definitely understand these feelings, except we’re going through it a tad bit little later in life.
While you ladies were dating your first boys in high school (maybe even middle school), we gays aren’t experiencing that excitement until college or maybe even after.
We are boys in our mid-20s figuring out what it’s like to be truly in love for the first time.
Being able to love a man for the first time is like navigating a whole new world when you’ve spent your entire life hiding who you really are.
It’s terrifying, freeing, adrenaline-charged and thrilling.
Being newly out and in love for the first time is exactly like being a 16-year-old girl.
These are the reasons why:
1. You’re boy crazy.
You can’t think about boys enough.
In fact, they are all you ever think about.
You are out to brunch with your friends, and you can’t stop admiring all of the cute boys in their hip denim jackets and J.Crew cords.
That one guy with the red Patagonia fleece? Yes please.
To make matters more dire, being in love makes you even more boy crazy.
Your love is all you can think and talk about, and honestly, he’s the only thing you want to think or talk about.
Sorry I’m in love, and I don’t care if I’m acting like a teenage girl.
It feels f*cking amazing.
2. You’re very sexually inexperienced.
Being in love with a man for the first time often will lead to sex, maybe for the first time.
Even if it isn’t your first time, this is probably the first time you’ve ever had sex that was truly emotionally satisfying with a guy.
You may have had some haphazard experimenting with girls or a few secret encounters in the boy’s locker room, but this is sex with your first great love is a whole different ball game.
There is nothing like it.
However, just like a 16-year-old girl having sex with her boyfriend for the first time while her parents are at work and her brother is at soccer practice, you will make mistakes.
It will practically be slapstick comedy, and that's okay.
Having sex with boys is not exactly like the sex you’ve had with girls; it’s actually a whole other animal.
Screwing up a million times and trying different things to discover what you like is exactly the point of your first love.
3. You get obsessive fast.
When you’re in love for the first time, you get extremely obsessive.
You get jealous when your man looks at other guys, let alone flirts with other guys.
Actually, you get jealous when he even talks about other guys.
You want him all to yourself.
Forget the exes, and pay attention to me!
You look at his photos on Facebook, think about him constantly and can’t wait until the next time he calls you.
You keep checking your cell phone to see if he’s texted you back, just like all of the teen girls in your favorite classic Disney Channel movies.
When he does finally text you back, your heart flutters.
4. Everything is new.
I mean, everything.
Learning to navigate the treacherous waters of your first gay relationship is both nerve-racking and exhilarating.
What if I’m terrible at being gay?
What if I don’t like having sex with him?
What if I don’t know how to have sex with him?
What if I meet his parents and they hate me?
However, finding out is the fun part.
Embrace your inner teenager.
You’re in love for the first time, so let yourself be vulnerable. It’ll pay dividends.
5. You can’t talk about anything else.
It’s not your fault; you’re just in love.
Your friends are probably sick of you talking about your boyfriend in every conversation, but everything reminds you of him.
That new Woody Allen flick?
Your mind immediately darts to that time you watched "Midnight in Paris" with boo and ate way too much popcorn on the couch.
Ugh, those flowers remind me of him, that steak reminds me of him and love reminds me of him.
Your friends will forgive you because they’ve all been there before.
Yes, they're probably annoyed, but in the end, they’re just very happy you found love.
6. Breaking up is the end of the world.
Just like when your girlfriends in high school would say their lives were "over" when they broke up with that high school skater boyfriend, breaking up with your first boyfriend seems like the end of the world.
You will ask yourself, "How can I possibly go on with my life?"
You’ll look at his photos on all forms of social media, see his status updates and question, "What if?"
Just like teenage girls, you will be melodramatic about your first breakup, and you know what? That's okay.
It’s your first time.
Trust in the universe that next great guy is right around the corner.
7. You’re super corny on social media.
When you’re first in the throes of love, you're super sappy on social media.
You can’t wait to post that adorable photo of you and bae on Facebook from the Pride Parade to commemorate your one-month anniversary, and you spend hours deciding which Instagram filter to use for your vacation pics from Miami.
This may be corny, but it’s also intensely genuine.
This is the first time you’ve actually been able to love someone of the same sex and be public about it.
You want to shout your love from the rooftops to the world.
8. You play middle school games.
When you’re first learning to navigate a gay relationship, you play the games your friends used to play with their crushes in middle school.
You desperately want to talk to him, but he didn’t answer your last call.
So, you ignore him when he calls back to get back at him, which leaves him wondering what to do or what went wrong.
You don’t want to seem like you like him too much or seem too interested, so you play games that ultimately end up complicating your situation even further.
9. You’ve already started to plan your wedding.
Who doesn’t love weddings?
Now that you can imagine yourself marrying a man, you can finally start planning in your head that picture-perfect gay wedding.
It will be him in a black jacket, you in a white one, chocolate cake with raspberry filling and the perfect beach wedding on the shores of the Pacific.
Now that we finally have marriage equality, it’s time to give ourselves the chance to imagine that dream day, just like your friends would when they were younger.
10. You embrace and accept who you are.
Perhaps the most important side effect of being in love with a guy for the first time is you learn to embrace and accept yourself for who you are.
You're a strong, attractive and kind young gay man.
Even if this relationship doesn’t (or didn’t) work out, you come out of it a stronger and more accepting guy.
After all, you have to learn to love yourself before you can properly love anyone else.
While your girlfriends learned to accept themselves in high school, now you are finally getting the chance to.
This is an exciting and scary time, but you can now accept yourself for who you are: gay and fabulous!