eight. Soon, he was selecting clothing that would
flatter my figure and coloring.
In other words, Alan slowly gained control of my life. I depended upon his gentle
candor and relaxed way of facing the world and didn’t object. I wanted—needed—
someone to care enough to shower me with the attention I had craved all my life. I was
twenty-one and ready for “a steady” date.
If I knew then what I know today, I would have recognized this wasn’t a healthy
relationship for me. It took away the need for me to make my own decisions. But, I felt
safe with Alan, and safety while in the company of a handsome man was essential. Besides,
I received verbal and tacit approval from family members and friends, who were already
thinking of wedding bells.
Over the next three years of off and on dating, Alan and I became close friends; then
he began to court me with flowers and more personal attention. He hugged and kissed me,
tenderly, not passionately. All the while, he kept saying, “Carol, there’s something I have
to tell you.” This went on for months.
Alan was not a very demonstrative man. Although this was one reason I felt so secure
in his presence, my need to know why outweighed our maintaining an unspoken
understanding. That’s when I had an ”aha” moment. On our very next date, I approached
the subject hesitantly. “Alan, I think I know what you’ve been trying for weeks to tell me.
You . . . you like men. You know. In that way.”
The look on his face told me he was startled at my boldness and yet relieved. “Yes,
Carol,” he said, fighting for the right words. “You’re right. I have been struggling with the
urges for years and only a few people know this about me. It may seem as strange to you
as it does to me, but I have fallen in love with you and want very much to marry you, if
you’ll have me. I believe we have something quite special. We’re good for each other. I
enjoy being with you and talking with you. My life would seem empty without you in it.”
Still naïve about human behavior, those last few words lit up a very dark hole in my
soul. Alan was the total opposite of most young men in my dating circles. I rationalized
that if he were a latent homosexual and he loved me, I obviously had the ability to change
his conduct. At the very least, he was unlikely to cheat on me with other women. He understood what I had been through with John Doe, and had been compassionate,
thoughtful and helpful in restoring my self-confidence. His loving attentiveness had also
changed my public image to one of being desirable, and this stemmed the tide of negativity
from members of my family and those in their societal circles.
Alan had found a bird with a broken wing and set about to heal it. I was now hopping
about, but not quite confidently enough to fly on my own. I was flattered by his continual
complements and impressed with the details his rapt attention encompassed. Soon, I fell in
love, and within weeks, Alan formally proposed. We were officially engaged. Within a
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