In my bio on the cover of the advance copy of my book (printed in October), I refer to having a partner. On the cover of the final copy of my book (printed in December), the reference is gone. The mysterious man I love is Oscar. He took the wig picture of me on the cover as well as my author photo.

I feel like there are some people you are just destined to meet. Oscar has been one of those people. I know it is cliche’, but from the moment I set eyes on him, I knew I would love this man. I gave him the current draft of the book to read the first week we dated back in 2008 and he didn’t bat an eye. He always has accepted me for who I am.

I did a play this summer called Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Everything clicked in my head while doing this play. The play’s title refers to women who have been raped or abused, henceforth being sexually “ruined” because of their experience.

Sadly, Oscar and I were both ruined as children.

Intimacy for us is like fighting a internal war. I used to be disheartened and angry. Not with Oscar. I can’t be angry with him for having the same struggles I do. However, there were moments I wasn’t sure we could be good for each other.

We have shared an intense bond for almost three years, but we are in very different places in our lives and recovery. Both of us shy away from confrontation. By last July, I wasn’t sure we were still “a couple.” I just knew we shared a great deal of love and respect through thick and thin. We have become family to each other. Oscar is a good man and I am lucky to have him in my life. Without his support, I would not have had the strength to publish this book.

My parents were married for 55 years. I have two sets of gay couple friends who have been monogamously together nearly 20 years. I have plenty of inspiration for long term relationships. I wanted Oscar and I to be like that.

Having a title such as “boyfriend” or “partner” can be overwhelming for those of us who are ruined. It seemed necessary to strip away all titles and expectations from our relationship. Simple is best. We love each other, respect each other, and immensely enjoy each other’s company. That is what Oscar and I can share. We both agree it is best that there be no title or guarantee between us beyond that.

I decided that I could not release a book about being authentic and honest if I referred to Oscar as my partner. It looks great on the cover. It feels good to say it. However, the truth is we are no longer a couple as most of society would define it. Despite loving each other and still being very involved in each other’s lives, we are too  challenged as a pair. It took me almost a year to admit this to myself. It hurt.

I still have faith in love and want that gay picket fence relationship or at least as close as I can come to it. Oscar does not. I am dating again when I have time. However, I am dating and the author of this book. I am still “ruined” but managing my problems pretty well.

If I do find someone special, he will have to accept me, Shorn and all. I have a lot to offer and can promise to do my best. What you read is what you get.

I feel 2011 is going to be a good year.

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