Romantic Partnerships

I admire my friends, who have had successful marriages, some for over fifty years. The steady effort and patience such relationships require are probably beyond my imagining, but as a gay man, I have experienced three long-term partnerships over the past forty years and have learned to appreciate the patience and acceptance of differences that are parts of all successful relationships.

I know that a clear conscience can often be the sign of a bad memory, but I must, in my own defense, say that I have worked hard to keep my partnerships afloat, at times addressing negative issues, like someone trying to determine when he’s out of invisible ink.

I met my first partner in Arizona. He owned his own home, which he neglected to tell me was in foreclosure, and that he had the savings one would expect of a ten-year-old with a piggy bank filled with nickels and dimes. However, his charm and good looks wowed me into overlooking his wandering eye and miniscule income. After only a few weeks, he sold his furniture and drove his red Thunderbird to Indiana, where he would share my house but not the expenses of maintaining it. I had not yet retired, and my conscience began to hurt, while my other parts felt just too good. After only three months, I discovered that he was seeing other men in amorous ways, startling me into realizing that I was merely a cuckold supporting an ungrateful, nefarious bum. He left with his Thunderbird and joined an encampment of monks somewhere in Michigan. Several years ago, he passed away there.

My second attempt at finding someone with whom to share my life, occurred more than twenty years ago with someone from New England who was recently retired and seeking a “permanent” relationship. One can speak about the speed of light, but I was still too much in the dark to know that when everything seemed to be going too well, I was overlooking something.

Eric was doing nothing but eating too much food and watching porn while I was at work. His body weight ballooned to the point where he was the human embodiment of lethargy and good for nothing except playing Santa Claus in a department store in December.

My plan was to find someone online who would have an interest in hooking up with Eric in a permanent partnership. It took two months before Eric met Mort (residing in Indianapolis) online. I invited Mort to visit us and stayed out of the way, praying there would be sparks of mutual attraction. I even took them to dinner at an expensive restaurant in town. I invited Mort to stay for a few days, and I kept out of the way, going out nightly to visit friends, coming home one night to see that Mort and Eric were sharing the fourposter bed in an upstairs bedroom, Eureka!

The next day the two of them confessed their adoration for one another, and I helped Eric pack his bags. I recall waving goodbye from my front porch before hurting myself in the back yard attempting to do a cartwheel.

It was more than a year later that I finally got it right in meeting my third and present partner Jim. I saw his previously unvisited profile on and was at first put off by what appeared to be dorky looks and thick eyeglasses. Then I read what he had written in his profile. The humor and intelligence of his words made me realize that I had to meet him. We exchanged phone numbers and over the weeks got to know each other better. His deep, resonant voice was intoxicating, and his wit and wisdom won me over. He has three grown children and had been divorced for several years when I met him. I met his last wife. She and I became friends.

That was it. After two or three visits back and forth, I knew he was the one. His extended family has become mine too, and I love them as though they were my own family. It still feels wonderful that my search for a life-companion is over. The gene pool has no lifeguard, but that is no longer an issue, as my search has been over for more than seventeen years. Jim has new eyeglasses and is devastatingly handsome. What more could one ask?  JB

About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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