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  1. #1

    Question about the nature of love and maturity. Do you still get butterflies?

    Hello, I was wondering if some older or more mature men here could give me some advice regarding love and relationships.

    I recently turned 25. Since I was 19 I've dated lots and lots. I consider myself pretty experienced and well rounded.
    My longest relationship lasted for a little over a year. That was when I was 20-21. The guy, at the time, was 18. We broke up for typical reasons, then remained friends for a long time, sometimes still having sex and being affectionate. We're still good friends, but I think that has to end eventually (but that's a different topic). After him, I was in love with maybe 2 other guys. Both of those relationships were unofficial and lasted a few months each. I'm not hung up on them... it was just typical young guy confusion, bullshit. Then it happened one more time, about a year and a half ago, but that didn't work out either (that guy turned out to be a real jerk and I scared him off anyways cause I was too open about how much I liked him way too early).

    But the thing all those people had in common to me was, that I was crazy for them. I felt funny around them, you know? They made me nervous, in that good way. The butterflies, the feeling dizzy after leaving their apartment kind of thing. The way they smelled would drive me wild. There were the downsides to this stuff too, of course: I'd feel inadequate if they didn't reciprocate the passion, I'd feel insecure with that constant sense of longing and wonder for affirmation of what was happening, I was unable to be reasonable and control myself. It made for great artistic inspiration, but it wasn't the healthiest state of being. I was a bit of a rollercoaster whenever I'd get involved in these intense situations.

    When I turned 24, I felt like I could start to control myself a bit more. That, and I was tired of always getting my hopes up and getting let down.
    I took a break from dating, moved from one big city to another (grad school), and let go of the fantasy of ever getting back with my first boyfriend. I do feel more balanced and in control these days then I did back in university.
    And I've dated some great guys in the past year, too. One was a famous male model, drop dead gorgeous. After 3 months, though, I broke up with him... I felt the little butterflies at first, but they didn't stay, and after the sex and affection, it became obvious we didn't have anything deeply in common. Not a bad breakup, though. And with the other guy, I just knew there was no long term potential for us. In the past year, I can only think of one person I had those kind of infatuation feelings for, before even meeting him (he was great on paper) - but he didn't live in the city and we never ended up meeting. Still - the very idea of him was so exciting to me.

    If you've made it this for in my post, maybe you can see the dilemma. I feel totally fucking confused. I meet and get the opportunity to date great guys all the time. I recognize how lucky I am for that. Yet, the more mature, emerging adult side of me yields on the side of caution, never letting my head get too far in the clouds (but oh how I liked it up there!!). And then, at the same time, I think to myself, well maybe I'll feel all of that butterflies-in-the-stomach stuff again with the right guy. Then I'll be dating a really great guy and think, wait, maybe I just can't feel that stuff again, and this is just what being grown up feels like - maybe this guy is really great and love has just changed. Or did I change? Or is something wrong with me? I want the idealized, almost adolescent type of feeling I used to have. But I can't help but think to myself: maybe that's not possible anymore because, if you think about it, someone making you feel excited to the point of being nervous, someone making you daydream all the time... well, they made me a little nervous because I wasn't confident, and I would daydream because I was a bit naive. Now I'm confident, and not so naive, so maybe getting carried away in idealized romance isn't gonna happen anymore. And if it isn't, then I'm asking, what DOES happen? How can you tell? Or is it the same, and it's still there? Am I not meeting a guy whose smell drives me crazy (for example) because I no longer let that kind of stuff get to me, or is it still out there and it'll get to me when it does?

    I don't feel bitter, for what it's worth. And I still believe in love - I'm just not sure what kind I believe in anymore. I'd really appreciate perspective from people who can relate, or if anyone else noticed a change like this around my age. To make things even more complicated, I'll throw this in there too: I'm not even sure what I want. Sometimes I'm perfectly happy being single, because I think that some day, I'll meet a guy who blows my mind. I know that feeling still exists because I catch it in glimmers. It never sustains itself these days, but that doesn't mean it can't (or does it?). You know, the type of thing like, I'll be at a party, and a friend will introduce me to a friend, we make out all night and I feel in love in that fleeting moment, and he just happens to be European and going back to his city in a few days. Part of me feels like if I met someone really good like that, then voila! I'd be all into dating, and being a boyfriend, and maybe even moving in together eventually. Like, maybe someday, we'd even be one of those couples with a cute dog. Then other times, I feel like I am totally not ready for that, because I don't want to do it just to do it, I want to do it with someone that still makes my heart skip a beat now and then. The ironic and fucked up part being that, when I meet someone (as it has recently been the case) who I like (like... not love), and he is being all crazy and too intense towards me, then I'm the one who gets all uncomfortable and smothered feeling, thinking to myself, I can't even smell this guy from two feet away from me, so I must not be in love with him - or is it - going back to the original point - that I just don't let myself go that far into liking someone to be able to pick up on that stuff again.

  2. #2
    PerScientiam AdJustitiam bankside's Avatar
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    Re: Question about the nature of love and maturity. Do you still get butterflies?

    When I was 25 I got together with the guy I've been with for 15 years and counting. I had honestly had enough of being single when I met him. I was frustrated with what people had to offer in the dating pool, or I'd find someone I thought had potential and then do the same dance of "I like you now validate my existence by reciprocating" knowing intellectually that wasn't the way forward but feeling it keenly anyway. And because I'm not the type to hook up, and because he was and remains the only person to see the look in my eyes when I cum, before I met him I was incredibly sexually frustrated. I could have gnawed the post off the bed with my teeth.

    But I would have done that for another 15 years if I did not have the opportunity to look into his eyes and tell him I was really crazy about him, and that I wanted to make a go of it. He isn't "a sensible choice for me to make my life with," he's the guy I'm crazy about. He isn't "the guy I'm dating because I'm smart enough to date within my means." He's the guy that bowls me away to know it's me he's smiling at.

    I could never have done my part in this relationship to look into his eyes and say "You know, we have a pleasant time together. You're practical and I'm practical. I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that I think you are completely adequate."

    In that time he has pissed me off, hurt my feelings from time to time inadvertently, or through idiotic any-junior-high-graduate-would-know-better negligence, and there are times when the butterflies seem to wander further away, and times when I've wanted to capture the butterflies and stomp on their stupid little iridescent wings.

    He's still the one who brings me great joy. Yesterday's caterpillars become today's butterflies. He's still the person that for 5500 days I've said yes to, every day - it's wrong to say I can't imagine it any other way. I can. But I'm still crazy about him and to my great delight he is crazy too. Err…crazy about me I mean.

    If you meet someone, let him decide for himself if he is crazy about you. Don't let that dazzle you or distract you or disappoint you or obligate you. Just figure out your own feelings and make a gift of them to the one that interests you.
    Americans need to keep their guns so they can protect themselves from gun violence just like Nancy Lanza did. And like Chris Kyle did. And like Gabby Giffords did. And like Tom Clements did. And like Michael Piemonte. And Joseph Wilcox.

  3. #3

    Re: Question about the nature of love and maturity. Do you still get butterflies?

    Thank you for that thoughtful response. I'm glad to hear the more organic kind of thing I'm talking about can still happen past the early 20's. And I like the idea of being crazy about someone but not springing it on them, and seeing how they feel independently of my own feelings. But you did say you had "enough of the dance" and I'm wondering what it was about this one time that make you guys on the same page. Was it because both of you were totally into each other, or a combination of being ready to be in a relationship? Do you think you would have kept the back-and-forth silliness going like in the past if you were, for some reason, not ready?

  4. #4
    Virgin tonystark121's Avatar
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    Re: Question about the nature of love and maturity. Do you still get butterflies?

    I met my current boy about 10 years or so ago (bloody hell I feel old just typing that). We've had many ups and downs since then and we've both seen each other at our absolute best and worst (sometimes I wonder how he puts up with my insanity, sometimes I wonder why I haven't killed him in his sleep yet). But the darn boy makes me happy.

    Some days I'll be honest it'll be really routine. We'll watch our dumb shows and discuss the our days like some old married couple, but then he'll say something or do something in a certain way and I'll look at him and just bloody melt. I don't think that butterfly feeling goes away. Its true perhaps that the relationship doesn't have that "newly wed" feel to it. Every day together isn't some magical fairy tale moment like it was in the beginning but even after 10 years he still finds ways to surprise me, and he can always make me smile.

    So the too long didn't read version, no I don't think that feeling ever really goes away as long as you're with someone you enjoy on many levels. You'll find someone who'll give you that feeling again, but in the meantime enjoy yourself and don't get hung up on it.

  5. #5

    Re: Question about the nature of love and maturity. Do you still get butterflies?

    Hmm. Thanks. So it seems that it does come back around. I read some other stuff on datingish (http://www.datingish.com/699357719/d...ed-to-someone/), found via google, that suggests what else I was feeling, that maybe the whole butterflies thing is about being nervous in the beggining or shy. But it's not just that, and I think you get what I mean, i could tell by your post. It's that thing where you see a radiance in someone, the way he moves, little mannerisms that speak a lot to you. With everyone I had really strong feelings for, I can specifically recall those little things about them that stood out to me. Maybe im just not noticing it anymore with the (mostly) good guys I've met the past year... or maybe they don't have it, or that I'm too busy working on my own stuff to notice it. Hmm.

    Oh and thanks to the mods for moving this thread. I hope it gets some more interest in this subforum...

  6. #6
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    Re: Question about the nature of love and maturity. Do you still get butterflies?

    This sounds too familiar for what I experienced four years ago with my boyfriend and what I am experiencing right now. Four years ago, back in the days of MSN, I met my boyfriend after a couple months of texting. We lived 2 hours away from each other which created some planning into arranging to meet on top of work and school. I remember having those butterfly feelings for him soon into dating and couldn't wait to see him the next time. The distance between us helped as it kept us both in tune with still focusing on us individually instead of spending every waking hour together while not at work or school. I remember feeling the excitement/anxiety when he'd text or call out of the blue. I remember lusting for him when we were not together. I remember wanting him back again when he went away. Maybe it was more of an infatuation with him as his personality was completely opposite to mine and I was yearning for that in myself... ? Regardless, I felt the butterflies. More recently in our relationship I haven't felt the butterflies. I still feel for him but do not feel the same excited desire in my stomach when we are separated by distance due to travel or work. We met when I was 28 so the butterfly feelings do not simply disappear when you turn a certain age.

    More recently I have felt those same butterflies for a guy that I met. We met as friends as I moved away to work for summer and was wanting gay friends in the new city. What started out as a casual night with some pints to make a new friend has turned into a confusing situation of me questioning my commitment and position in the 4-year relationship (it has had its ups and downs but we've worked through everything so far) and is being compounded by the fact that I am feeling these pangs of excitement, anxiety, and desire when I think about meeting up with this new friend.

    To answer the main question, I don't think the butterflies should ever go away. What I have experienced most recently is that it is the situation (and person, obviously) that creates those feelings. Perhaps you are too consumed in your thoughts of what "should be" (see your second-to-last paragraph which, by the way, made me laugh as it sounds exactly like the thoughts that go through my head from time to time!!) and not just letting it happen. Just because you are 25 and "more mature" doesn't mean you can't (or aren't supposed to) feel a certain way. Granted, you have recognized some feelings that you chalk up to insecurity or naivety which can be a healthy process to go through. But be careful not to invalidate said feelings based on what you think should or shouldn't be... if the feelings are there, process them, and also let them be.

  7. #7
    Know thyself kallipolis's Avatar
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    Re: Question about the nature of love and maturity. Do you still get butterflies?

    Temptations to wander are an ever present reminder that the grass is greener on the other side of the hill...until we arrive.

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