Every rose has its porn

This blog post was a tough one to write. All too often, what we see or post online suffers from the “Facebook Effect”: we only share the good things in our lives, and at the same time we get the false impression that everyone else’s world is nothing short of perfect. I confess, I’ve fallen into that trap as well. You’ve probably noticed that most of what I post is happy, upbeat, optimistic. I believe there’s value in doing that: not only does it send positive energy out into the world, but it also forces me to focus on at least one positive thing every day, even if my day is shit.

There is, of course, a darker side… one that I don’t usually show.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Manhattan Digest to talk about life, liberty, and the pursuit of good porn. (You can read the entire interview here.) One of the questions that came up concerned the hurdles that Dirk and I face in our rather unique relationship. I answered as follows:

We have our share of trials, successes, and failures, just like all couples do. I’d say that the biggest challenge so far has been adjusting to living together. I’ve never lived with a partner before, and Dirk only did so very briefly when he lived in New York, so it’s a big change for both of us.

But that, my friends, is only the tiniest fraction of the story.

It’s been said that there are three issues that can and do cause major strife in any relationship: money, sex, and trust (or, in any of those three cases, lack thereof). I like to think that Dirk and I have got the sex part covered, and when you take our One Rule — “never bring home anything you don’t want to share” — into account, the same goes for trust. I also know that whatever each of us does, we do for the benefit of the relationship… not just ourselves. So the only thing left is money. And money is a big problem.

I’ll be brutally honest with you: Dirk and I are going through a very difficult time. It’s not that we’re on the verge of being homeless or anything; I’m financially solvent and have been all my life, and have enough banked to keep us both afloat (though not indefinitely). Dirk, on the other hand, is struggling mightily. He actually did quite well for himself in New York for over 10 years as an orchestra librarian and freelance musician, but then the recession hit and he found himself out of work. That was almost four years ago. Since then, he’s been scraping by on whatever consulting work he can find, mostly editing other people’s music and (rarely) picking up the odd performance gig either as a tuba player or low bass singer. The porn work has been a decent stop-gap measure, but as I’ve said many times, porn is not a career. It’s not guaranteed work, and besides, eventually our bodies will fail us and that resource will be no more.

The effect this has had on my husband has been nothing short of devastating. I have never seen Dirk happier or more focused than when he is listening to music, performing it, talking about it with others, or — especially — creating new works of his own. The last few years have almost completely deprived him of the one thing he loves most. It’s almost like he’s devoid of nourishment. His creative output is a fraction of what it once was. When I listen to some of the pieces he composed back in his twenties and thirties, I often laugh out loud at their creative playfulness or cry at their sublime beauty. That was in the past, though. He’s barely composed anything since I’ve known him, and I’ve seen him perform just three times in almost three years. He’s started to lose faith in himself, his abilities, and his incredible gift for music… and it’s left him with an increasingly dark and empty void where an amazing soul once dared to flourish and shine.

Moreover, the toll that all this has taken on our relationship has been grave. Dirk and I place great importance upon egalitarianism: we believe that, as partners and companions, each of us should contribute equally to building the life we now share. This financial imbalance has thrown a big, fat, ugly spanner into those works. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve actually managed to do quite well for myself: I own my house (a beautiful early 19th century colonial in a quiet Boston suburb), have worked in IT at the same supportive, progressive company for over 20 years, and have even built up a modest but significant savings. Dirk, on the other hand, has been living hand-to-mouth for the better part of four years as he struggles to pay off the substantial debt he amassed during the recession just so he could put food on his table and a roof over his head. (He marked a major milestone last month in paying off his credit card debt, but he still has a long way to go before he can finally declare himself entirely debt-free.) As such, I have been paying the vast majority of expenses for both of us, killing any hope we might have had for financial equality. And on top of that, the imbalance has put tremendous strain on his innate and, at times, stubbornly strong sense of pride. As if the erosion of his artistic passion wasn’t enough, the thought that he might be a burden to me has further scorched that place in his heart which was once so bright. And, empathic as I am, it has started to blacken my heart as well. I’ve been no saint about it, either: Dirk and I have gotten into some really awful arguments, fanned by my fears for our future and, when things seem especially bleak, my irrational doubts about his commitment to “making this work.”

One bright spot is that, throughout all this, the porn studios have been absolutely wonderful to us. Dirk has been working tirelessly — he once filmed four scenes in five days! — to pull himself up by his black leather bootstraps. As he wrote in a recent blog post, “I’ve been dealing with coming to the end of a long dark tunnel in my life, finally pushing through to the end of the debt I started to accrue when the economy tanked.” Thankfully, all of the studios have stuck by Dirk and provided him with much-needed work during his greatest time of need. Without the help of studios like TitanMen, COLT, MEN.com, Kink.com, and all of the other companies that have continued to work with Dirk despite his heavy heart and daunting financial woes, I fear that he (and, by extension, we) would be in an even darker place than he is now. Our good friends at Titan in particular have really gone out out of their way to give Dirk as many opportunities as practically possible, and for that we are eternally, enduringly grateful.

I’ve done what little I can as well. Shouldering more than my share of the financial burden, while perhaps necessary in the short term, is something that neither of us wants, so I’ve been trying to help in other ways. As you may know, in addition to getting paid for actual performances, porn actors have the opportunity to join what are called “affiliate programs”: for every website membership or physical DVD that we sell through our blogs or social media using special link codes, we claim a share of the profits (usually in 50-60% range). To that end, over the last few weeks I’ve set up affiliate accounts for Dirk with every studio he’s ever worked with. Now whenever anyone buys a website membership or DVD through his blog, he gets to claim a commission. (This is why I’ve been working so diligently on completing his videography, by the way.)

You may also have noticed that I’ve been posting a lot about his musical endeavors lately. It’s been an absolute joy for me to be able to share some of his beautiful compositions with you, even if they were created during a happier time in his life. I’m immensely proud of my husband for what he has created, and it’s my hope that your responses to his music, which have been overwhelmingly positive (nay… downright glowing), will help buoy him and encourage him to continue creating such magnificent art. While he hasn’t written much lately, I’m so dearly wishing that, someday soon, the impressive spirit that I know lies deep with him — wounded, perhaps, but still there — will triumphantly surface once again. And who knows… maybe someone will happen across this post and recommend him to an ensemble or even commission one of his gorgeous creations. (If you haven’t heard Dirk’s music, you can listen to it here and here. I’m also hoping to find a way to make his music available for purchase, but there are certain logistical hurdles that need to be addressed first.)

So why am I writing all this? First of all, I find writing cathartic. It lends a certain concreteness to these abstract concepts of friction and loss, and once those problems are visible to me, either on paper on on a computer screen, I can begin to address them systematically. (It’s the engineer in me.) Also, for whatever reason you guys have expressed an interest in learning about the inner workings of our somewhat unconventional relationship. With that in mind, I think it’s only fair that you see a balanced glimpse of out reality… not just the “Facebook Effect” good stuff.

Where do Dirk and I go from here? I’m honestly not sure. Dirk is making progress, however slowly; due to the somewhat steady stream of income he’s received through the porn work, he’s working hard to pay off his creditors. But, as I mentioned, porn can only carry him so far. He’s been struggling to break into Boston’s classical music scene, but his new home is somewhat notorious for looking after its own and being wary of “outsiders.” He’s not quite ready to give up on his dream of spinning his love of music into a sustainable career — after all, he accomplished that in New York for eleven years before he was forced to give it up — but that road tilts far more uphill now than it ever has before.

That said, I don’t believe that money — despite the tremendous strain it’s putting on our relationship — is going to break us. What I believe will get us through this is, ironically, one of the other make-or-break issues in any relationship: trust. And what goes hand-in-hand with trust, of course, is faith. I’m not going to sit here and lob platitudes at you like “faith is all we need” or whatever. All I can tell you is that I have faith in Dirk and in myself, and I believe that we’ll each do whatever we can to overcome this economic turmoil and accompanying discord, no matter how bleak the outlook may seem. Mine is not a loud faith, nor is there an associated ounce of bluster or bravado. It is, rather, a quiet but strong belief. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I do know this: this can, this can’t not, get better… because every night, as they say, has its dawn.
 


 

33 replies
  1. Mychael
    Mychael says:

    Thank you. It takes a lot to put any of that into words, Jesse. I know because I’ve been there…and still AM there. I’m buried under medical and student loan debts at the moment, and we are pretty much living hand-to-mouth as a result. When I’ve tried looking for work to supplement the royalties from my writing, I have next to no luck. People take one look at my resume and think I’d bail at the first opportunity due to the past eight+ years of professional work under my belt. Royalties only go so far, and, as I’ve told folks in the past, I’m at the mercy of the book-buying public.

    You and Dirk are both very talented, professional men. But, beyond that, you possess integrity that is sadly lacking these days, I think. You’re both beautiful–inside and out. Yes, things are rough now, but they won’t be forever. It’s what I keep telling myself as I work through college, while writing nonstop and taking on more editing jobs. Hang in there, both of you. Love each other, support each other, and know that we–your friends and fans–love and support you both as well.

    Reply
  2. Mathew
    Mathew says:

    This is very beautifully written. I don’t normally respond or get this involved in the lives of people I don’t know (it’s unusual enough for me to have a porn star “friended” on Facebook which I mostly reserve just for people I know) but I have been taken in with your writings and your personality and enjoy seeing posts from you.

    What caused me to respond was the money situation as I went through the exact same thing. I work in theatre and thus am used to living hand to mouth. Our country doesnt pay well for creativity. Us artistic types trade the security of financial stability to be able to follow our dreams and passions and, most of the time, it’s worth it.

    I am in a relationship with a man who makes 4-5 times what I make. He’s a muckity muck VP at a major international retail store. Money is something that has been a struggle for us as well over the past 3 years we have been together. He wants to do things that I can’t afford to do. As much as it’s a fantasy to be “kept” and have no financial worries, my pride and strong work ethic prevents me from doing that. So we had to make a compromise. He had to understand that there were limitations to what I can do financially and be patient and work together to find solutions. I have to understand that excess pride is selfish and meet him half way. We divide all our joint bills and expenses to fit the percentage of what each of us makes and is comfortable spending. Since I make roughly 25 percent of what he makes, I pay 25% of the rent, electric, water etc. I had to put my pride aside and be ok with this uneven split. It took awhile. I fought it. I thought at first his financial success was being shoved in my face. Of course that was not his intention at all. I had to call on the trust we had built to understand that.

    You’ve made some excellent points on a topic not discussed openly often and I give you kudos. And know that you are not alone in this struggle to find balance and harmony in a relationship.

    Cheers

    Reply
  3. Brandy
    Brandy says:

    This post and the equality of contributing to the relationship, financially or otherwise, makes me think of living the military life. I grew up a Navy Brat (my mom was a stay at home mom for the longest time), I was enlisted Army, and am now being the supportive Army wife. There are many times when my husband is the sole source of income. I understand the feeling of wanting to contribute monetarily but can’t and thinking that all money belongs to my husband. It is rough and it is an uncomfortable feeling at times but it is something we get through.

    I have faith that this will be something you and Dirk will work out. You’re both strong, determined men and will do what needs to be done to get the end result you’re looking for. A relationship built on that love and trust is one worth fighting for during those hard times.

    Reply
  4. Sam Glass Jr.
    Sam Glass Jr. says:

    Jesse, thank you for this. It takes a lot of digging down deep to find the reserves needed, in order to share something this personal and painful in such an honest way. It’s also very important, because it lets a lot of us know that we’re not out here alone, going through problems that are “unique” only to ourselves. My partner Bear and I are constantly going through a merry-go-round of issues…every single one of them mirrored by your post, and further amplified by a raft of health issues that I’ve been going through. Even more important, people who are unenlightened about the dynamics of same-sex relationships need to see this as well, in order to appreciate that our quest for equality has nothing to do with some frivolous, carefree, sex-drenched “lifestyle” that we may be perceived as indulging in. Our struggles and issues are just as real and urgent as any straight couple’s, and I’m glad that people reading this will become more aware of that fact.

    Reply
  5. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    Wow. You’ve written a powerful, brutally honest account on the current state of your relationship. Thank you for sharing deeply personal info with your fans. I’m sure this issue rings true for many of us. I’m single but I can relate to Dirk’s plight while fully appreciating the effect it has on you. I’ve met you two briefly at several industry events, posted pics of us on Facebook and I instantly liked, okay crushed on both of you.
    This situation, though trying, is temporary and I have every confidence that the relationship will grow stronger as a result of this. When love, honesty and trust is in both hearts, you’ll find your way through any storm. Best of luck and stay strong! XOXO

    Reply
  6. Jay Rookwood
    Jay Rookwood says:

    Message to Dirk:

    Firstly, every time Jesse calls you his husband, he’s talking about a partnership that goes way beyond steamin’ hot sex. He’s talking about being the person who looks after you when you’re ill, when you’re skint, when you’re miserable – whenever there’s something wrong. You only have to look at the traditional Anglican wedding vows: “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health”.

    I’m in love with someone who’s scared to return my affection, even though he cares for me, because he’s fiercely independent and he feels he’ll never be able to pull his weight – not good for someone who’s a natural dom! He has a back injury that makes work impossible and (if he had the confidence to have any) makes sex extremely complicated. Seeing him struggle hurts me, because I hate seeing him in so much pain when it would be so simple for me to help, but his pride means he won’t let me. I can’t yet convince him to swallow his pride – our relationship is nowhere near being at the stage yours is – but I can remind you to let Jesse be your husband in every way, not just in the bedroom.

    Secondly (and assuming you have the time) why not simply create music for yourself occasionally, rather than doing it for someone else? Not having many (or any) current commissions doesn’t mean you have to stop creating, it means you’ve got the opportunity to let your imagination run free, so right now is a good opportunity to explore and rediscover your musical passion without any restrictions to limit you. View it as a long-term investment in your creative skills, because that is exactly what it is. This applies irrespective of what your creative urge is (mine is writing, so I’m not just speaking out of my arse). A good opportunity would be when you’re sitting on the plane to/from SF. That’s hours of time where you can let your mind create at will, limited only by your imagination. I know for sure that this kind of creativity can be pretty awesome, as it’s how one of my all-time favourite pieces of music was created. Andy Barlow, the DJ/producer for Lamb, was flying over the outback when Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” sidled into his skull, got jiggy with some chilled-out DnB, and gave birth to Lamb’s “Angelica”.

    Reply
    • Jerome
      Jerome says:

      I appreciated the supportive Suggestions to these Great Guys! Very Positive & Encouraging Insights! I briefly have to admit that is was Your reference to Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”, that caught my eye! It was My Father’s Favorite selection to Play many times as he unwound from his day as a Top Chemist with a Major Paint Company! In many aspects, it was a sort of “Love Song” to warm my Mother’s Heart (at work in our home of 10 children). He died of Brain Cancer in 1991 at 64 1/2 Yrs. Old, after taking diligent care of his Health trying to ward off a Major Genetic Predisposition to Heart Disease his whole life, (go figure)! In passing celebration/remembrance Videos at My Mother’s Continuing Major Birthday Occasions, it has Always been Included & played Beautifully. Tears stream down My Mother’s & ALL of Our Faces as it is played … not in sorrow, but in Tribute & Grateful Joy which has always brought ‘Dad’ back to Life in Our Strong Appreciation of an Element, which Instantly brings Dad Back to Life in the Present So Beautifully! Thanks for the ‘Gift’ You weren’t even aware was delivered!

      Reply
  7. Kennan F. Parish
    Kennan F. Parish says:

    Jesse,
    Thank-you for a great blog post, as I can see a lot of myself and my partner of 27 years in this blog. In some senses it is Chuck who would be in your role, and I carry the role of Dirk. This long road has not been an easy one, especially since I was a raging drug and alcohol addict. Chuck should have left me so many years and times ago, but he realized just how much he loved and loves me, his stood by as he knew that there was and finally is something good would come out of it all.
    Trying to keep that balance of equality has never been easy for the two of us as Chuck is the bread winner in our home and I finally realized that I need to make myself OK with that. That in itself was and still is a battle, but with the help of counseling I have made strides in the right direction. Being sober now for just over 6 years changes have been made for the better. Yet, there are day I feel like I will never see the end of the tunnel and that is when the depression hits me like a ton of bricks. During the years of sobriety, I was properly diagnosed with clinical and chronic depression along with moderate to severe Bi-Polar disorder. Yeah, I could take that and just close myself up and just not face it, but I did head on.
    Just as Dirk does, I have a love of music but for me it is the love of listening. I cannot play any instruments and I am OK with that as I can feel each and every note as I listen. Granted I do not have the great talent as Dirk does, but from the posts that you have given to us about his music is nothing short of a great gift he has. For me the music provides a release of the anger, pain and the feeling of loneliness that I often feel. Even though I have a life partner there are days that I fell left behind due to my mental illness.
    I am really not sure of where this is going, but I want to know that we both can understand just what you two are facing and dealing with. We both are also proud of the fact you have put this out there for your friends and fans can see just what is in the daily life of two public persons and their professions. That in itself is never an easy thing to do, but for this fan and hopeful friend it actually makes it just a bit easier knowing that others are fighting the same feelings and battles.
    Chuck and I want you both to know, that yes, there are going to be long hard battles to be fought and won, but it is all worth it. Chuck has told me time and time again over the last 27 years that each and every crisis, battle, fight and war was worth it and he would not change a thing as he loves me that much. From what we have read and seen, we just have that feeling you and Dirk are just the same. From the pictures that we have seen, were just like those of ours from our first years together. OK, I might be going over the line by saying this, but there is that look that shows a great fire, flame of passion that we still have after all these years. All you two need to just look into each others eyes and let the world around you melt away.
    With what ever choices and decisions that you make, it is with our hope you will find those fights, battles and wars are going to be worth it just because it can be seen in each and every picture of the two of you we have seen. Take a night together and just look through them all and you’ll soon remember that it is all worth it.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Kennan F. Parish &
    Charles (Chuck) Grover
    Port Isabel, Texas

    Reply
  8. Adam
    Adam says:

    I can relate Jesse. This economy is really tough on a lot of people. My dad’s unemployment just ran out in January, and as a carpenter by trade, he’s been unemployable after throwing out his shoulder. Seeing the man you’ve looked up to your whole life start to unravel before your eyes feeling worthless and depressed is tough to watch.

    Now my mum has gotta rethink retirement and she’s nearly in her mid sixties. Our house is starting to fall apart, but without extra cash floatin around all we’ve been able to do is roll with the punches as they come.
    Please keep up with the blog posts, you have no idea how cathartic this is for the people who read and interact with with your posts. If it wasn’t for you I may have NEVER been able to come to terms with my sexuality, that kinsey scale post put it all together for me. With everything going on at home, stumbling on your blog by chance has quite literally kept me from losing it while trying to save up and move out of this dilapidated, overcrowded, two bedroom shithole.

    Reply
  9. Susan65-Coug "Miss Behaving"
    Susan65-Coug "Miss Behaving" says:

    Thank you for your brutal honestly. I think I can safely say that most of us “have been there” or may even still “be there”. But what I know for a fact is that a positive outlook breeds positive outcomes…and that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can start climbing out of that dark pit. One of the most devastating things to happen to me, turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. It took 11 years for me to realize that, but it is true for most people in life…you sometimes have to go down to go up.
    So chin up cupcake and stay focused. Life is worth it, as are you, and it does get better.

    Reply
  10. Tom Nerenhausen
    Tom Nerenhausen says:

    Dear Jesse!!!! I just finished reading your blog about you and Dirk. So, so sorry about the trying troubles you both have now. I believe that the best is yet to come for Dirk and you, buddy!! What each of you have is a awesome relationship with the other partner. I feel for Dirk who has lost his musical soul.And you are the rock he finds shelter in every night. May you both have few troubles and more sunshine than ever before. You two are so sexy and cute!!! Take care, Jesse and Dirk, keep the faith.

    Reply
  11. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    I feel a bit voyeuristic reading this yet appreciate the honesty and humanity. It may not mean much but going to wish and hope and pray for bright things to come down your path.

    Reply
  12. Roberta C.
    Roberta C. says:

    I just wanted to say Thank You!!
    Thank You for trusting us with some very personal things that you and Dirk are going through.
    I wish nothing but the very best for you both.
    You have ALWAYS given your fans such positive posts and such positivity.
    I know that things are so going to get so much better for you both!!

    Sending Lots of Love and Positive Thoughts back at you both!!

    SMOOCHES!!

    Reply
  13. Alvin
    Alvin says:

    What a beautiful blog! You bring out the human elements from the other side of porn and this makes us (the viewers) know you and Dirk in a personal level. Thank you for sharing x

    Reply
  14. Jack
    Jack says:

    I do not have a lot to share, but as I read this I thought of how much I have enjoyed your posts on facebook. I do not think my idea will help financially, but it may help the inner Dirk. How about volunteering in the music circle in some way? This may allow his creative side to be nurtured as well as make him visible. What about volunteering to work in musical arts with children-for the same reason. You love seems to be strong so that should help you deal with all things. Money woes are constant, regardless of who we are. Having a happy inner person helps us all deal with the exterior stress in our life.

    Reply
  15. JJxxxx
    JJxxxx says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you guys are having problems and hope things improve; I really enjoy reading your blog and how “normal” you guys are so I’m definitely pulling for you. Also, I totally sympathize with Dirk – it’s often so very difficult for even the most wonderfully talented people to make a good living out of their creativity. And when you’ve been trying hard to do so and having a run of bad luck, it’s very easy to start doubting your talents – especially as you get a little older and want more security. Your creativity can get so sapped as a result and it becomes a vicious circle as you wonder if you should be dedicating the time to something more profitable, if you can find it.

    I’ve found this with my own writing and what helps me is to set aside a couple of hours every week when I say “I’m not going to solve all my problems in two hours, so using this time to write will not hurt me in any way. Even if writing this just brings me pleasure and I don’t make one red cent out of it, then it’s worthwhile” and I just go to it. Doing so has really bought my enjoyment and creativity back.

    You guys may have done this already, but are there other musical avenues Dirk can explore? Composing soundtracks for TV ads or something like that maybe? Or perhaps teaching*?

    *Teaching adults, I mean. I realize if you wanted to be a high school music teacher or similar then the whole gay porn star thing might be a tiny bit of an issue although when I was 16, if I’d had teachers who were smoking hot gay porn stars like you guys, I would have cut class much, much, MUCH less!

    Good luck!

    Reply
  16. Nuclearpatrick
    Nuclearpatrick says:

    Jesse,you write beautifully and with great insight. I am in the process of digging out of a massive financial hole, as well. The key for me is to remember that your current financial status does not DEFINE who you are. Dirk is the same person whether he has $10 in the bank or $10,000 in the bank. He doesn’t need to contribute 50% of the income to your household to be your equal. I know it is easy to say this, but difficult to put into practice when it’s you who are the financially strapped partner (or the partner who’s keeping things afloat, for that matter). But I do believe that he can and will turn this around, particularly with such a great partner to support him.

    Reply
  17. Richard DeVere
    Richard DeVere says:

    I agree with Miss Behaving: A positive attitude always helps!

    And I wonder if Dirk might not have other talents that would permit him to pursue a career in another field, with music being his special talent but not the one that brings home the bacon?

    And, finally, I suspect that most of us who are with someone have faced the income inequalities issue. Perhaps you-two could approach the situation from the standpoint of what expenses living alone would engender for you and, then, work out some sort of arrangement for the remainder [for instance, your house/HVAC payments would be the same with or without Dirk. Food expenses would be higher, as would entertainment, and could be proportionally allocated. It’s important for his pride, however, that he contribute something]

    Reply
  18. Brian
    Brian says:

    My partner and I have been together for 23 years (this November). I was medically retired from the military when I became HIV+ (my medical is mostly covered through the VA) and I have had a few part time jobs here and there, and get a small small pension. He had a very good career working with a Major Company until 2 years ago and has been trying to re-establish his own company. We also are not swimming in money, but we can feel the pressure of a lack of income. When we started our relationship we had a open relationship (like what you have) and over time we have tried to involve others, with no success (they all turned out to be cray cray). We are still together and even though we hit rough patches, and trials of life, we are still here for each other. My point for all this is to tell you, you can do this. It may not be easy, it may not always be pretty, but it can work.

    Reply
  19. Tom Anderson
    Tom Anderson says:

    Probably the best any friend (even if from a distance) might offer you and Dirk, your husband, is knowledge that most anything can be done in a relationship if the men involved are willing to do what’s needed.

    My partner and I have been together for more than eight years. We are both in our sixties right now. He’s poz, a cancer-survivor, and has been on disability for many years. I had a career as a college teacher, a high-school and middle-school teacher, a real estate investor, and now, because of the economy’s devastation, I am back to teaching, after being unemployed for three years and trying my hand at a number of hobbies I love that didn’t pan out at all, despite some considerable financial investment on my part.

    I enjoy teaching in the juvenile correction center I work for, but yes, I would certainly like to travel and have some fun with my partner. I got divorced in 2006–an act that has for all intents and purposes alienated my three adult children to one degree or another, so I’ve had no choice but to look forward, past all the pain, all the emotional turmoil and devastation separation caused me. I regret it not a second, because I needed my freedom from a very dysfunctional relationship.

    In 2011, my partner and I moved out of the city we love to a ranching community that is about as far from any kind of art or high civilization as it is possible to imagine in the United States. But right now, I need the $40K I make annually, plus another $10K from renting a house I still own and I have some savings left from a divorce that pretty much wiped me out.

    But we survive and we look forward eventually to moving to a city somewhere, since we are city boys and we don’t want to work 24/7/365.

    I have counseled young college students and even high-schoolers to prepare for two careers: one in which you follow your bliss, and a second that you know can put food on the table and a roof over your head and still give you a little extra to improve your skills or travel or do whatever you need to do to make some progress in your preferred goals in life.

    Obama won’t always be in office. That is what we tell each other. The terrible economic policies that are being followed by the US government will eventually be proven ineffective and a correction in the course of the nation will happen, if we are to have a future together as a society. I prefer to believe that the economy will one day get a lot better–hopefully during my lifetime–and I can again look forward to making more money, and having my partner there to enjoy the benefits together.

    The question becomes real simple: Are we willing to do what is necessary for us to live together? That may mean that one comes to depend upon the other, but isn’t that what a trusting, loving relationship amounts to, in practice?

    That is a hard saying for a couple of men, for we pride ourselves on making our own way. But I say: do what you can do, and if that’s all you can do right now, embrace it, and work so you and he can take your love and trust to a new level. Dirk may need you now, but you may need Dirk one day just as badly. That is equality of the mind and heart. All a man can do is everything he can do. What else is there?

    I wish you guys the very best. I appreciate your honesty, and your willingness to share what is very new in this world, a loving, trusting partnership between two strong, handsome, sexy men.

    Reply
  20. Randy
    Randy says:

    Thank you, Jesse for your honesty and validating the work each of us goes through to maintain our relationships. My partner is 20 years younger than I and others have always tried to decode each of our motives. We finally decided that we do not need to justify our relationship to anyone. I researched these “May-December” relationships and found the very same things you mentioned. By the way, I am not enamored with the reference; “May” meaning “spring like and young”, and “December” meaning “winter and old”. I feel more like July. At any rate, counselors who have helped hundreds of a variety of couples have said that the problems brought to them have all been the same. Gay or straight, months apart or decades apart, the common issues are money, sex, and trust. I wish you both the very best and know that you are not alone in this journey of love, commitment, and happiness.

    Reply
  21. C.J.
    C.J. says:

    I just read your post, and was moved by it. I want to share what I’ve experienced with my husband (of the Spirit and Heart, if not legally) of over 21 years. We have been through it all during the years. I have learned so much, and have had to step up in ways I never would have imagined.

    Originally, my husband was the dominant force in every way imaginable. He was an untamed force to reckon with, and sometimes I’m amazed we survived those early, often jagged adjustment pains. I loved him, though, and knew that I would never, ever be the same having met him.

    We got into business together and worked together for four plus years, which was an incredible, almost uncontrollable adventure. He was the brains and creativity in our jewelry business, the front man. I was the one with good credit. I couldn’t control, though, the way our business was being run though it was in my name. Our disagreements about money eventually drove us apart. I have never had such wrenching fights with anyone as I did with him over money. We had a beautiful home that eventually had to be sold, and we died a little when that happened.

    We parted for a little over two years, but were never out of contact with each other for longer than two weeks during that time. As I say now, even when I hated him I loved him. And if my life was difficult with him, it was lonely as hell without him. It was so nuts!

    We reunited full time in 2004 and moved across the country. Shortly after that, he developed cancer. I took a job that, thankfully, offered domestic partner medical benefits. Sometimes I hated that job but knew I couldn’t leave, which wasn’t easy. It blackened my heart occasionally. I’m proud of the way I stood by him and supported him, and loved him, but I couldn’t say that I always behaved well. I resented what I had to do at times, but I did it.

    After all this time, there’s no question about it. We are in it for the long haul. We have a beautiful home. We have a beautiful life together. He is cancer free. Our egos have undergone tremendous transformations in ways, and we have grown as a result. Sometimes kicking and screaming, to be sure. There will never be financial equality between us, but big fucking deal. It’s not that important, ultimately. It was, once. It’s not any longer.

    What matters is this moment together. I wish you both the best. Thanks for reading.

    Reply
  22. dave F
    dave F says:

    Thank you for sharing such a personal situation between you two. My husband and I were in the same situation when I got laid off in 2000 during the first ecom crash. I use to get calls from recruiters while I was working, but they seemed to not know me when I was unemployed. My ego and confidence was devastated. My mother always taught me to be financially independent and not being able to contribute to the household expenses felt like a noose was tightened around my neck. My husband assured me that it was alright for him to carry the burden, but like Dirk, my profession involved using my brain for finance and creativity. Both were shut down and I had no “purpose”. The one thing that saved my ego after 9 mos of rejection letters, was enrolling in my community college and taking art classes that I had long thought about. It got my creative juices going and released my frustration and disappointment with myself. My husband’s support and encouragement was the one constant throughout the ordeal. He made me feel safe enough to cry at night when another interview went no where. I think you are a wonderful partner to stick by Dirk through this temporary situation. For me, I took anything I could get, and a major title and $ decrease from the last job, but it was work. Looking back, that experience was one of the worse I have been through, but my husband was there the whole time. It made me realize that he loves me and supports me unconditionally. It sounds the same for you two also.

    Reply
  23. Jerome
    Jerome says:

    Dear Jesse, Ever since I have happened upon Both You & Dirk, We have seen an Unmistakable, Truly Loving Bond & Level of Maturity between You! Your Post is so Very Thoughtful at pulling back the not so realistic image of the Pedestals that we mostly ALL Fantasize about existing with Porn Stars, regardless of the Fuller Lives of Porn Stars from what we see & enjoy so Erotically in Your Films! Even more Amazing, is that this ‘bigger picture’ takes nothing away from Our enjoyable desires to continue watching Your Porn with Great Pleasure! So Definitely NO WORRIES There!!! That this Terrible Economic Recession & the Game Playing Politicians dragging it out, has put a strain on nearly EVERY Sector of Business … (& the especially ‘hard-hit’ “Arts” Arenas) … Is a Reality Most ALL of Us readily Understand, Up Close & Personal! The ongoing struggles have for some time forced people to get very creative, frugal, imaginative & work with the Reality We’ve been given in the more recent past, harsh present & uncertain future. Some people going it on their own with extremely limited resources hardly have a chance! Couples can find it a bit more tolerable trying to increase those resources however possible! The “Serenity Prayer” of: “God Grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change, The Courage to Change the Things I Can, & (Somehow) The Wisdom to Know the Difference!” becomes all the more Applicable in These Times! Ever since we started these 20 yrs. together … We decided from the beginning (from lessons learned in the past), Your sort of RULE “Don’t bring home anything we aren’t willing to share” … has worked Best in a Realistic Relationship between Two Male Energies! … We’re Both MEN with Equal Urges & Hormones! We weren’t suddenly struck ‘BLIND’ to HOT MEN, as That Wouldn’t be much of a compliment to Each Other … and It’s Great to be able to Say,”Look, Look, Don’t miss that Hot Guy that just Walked By! We give Each Other Complete Permission to Communicate Honestly How We Feel or What We May want to do in any & all levels that relate to Our Partnership. No One is ‘Husband’ & No One is ‘Wife’! Daily Functions Even themselves out, because We Love & Care about Each Other So That Connection ensures that we just do what we see needs to be done (if one of us likes or is better at a tasks they just do it) …If we both enjoy a task or project, we just switch off & Mutual LOVE & Mutual RESPECT Keeps Us on course! My Partner of 20 years & I are obliged to regularly keep a joint close watch on Our Household Budgets even more diligently! We find it more clear & simple to each have a Personal Checking Account, & a Joint ‘Savings’ Account & a Joint ‘Bill Paying’ Account. We each pull as much as we need to & are able from Our Personal Accounts to put into the ‘Bills’ or ‘Savings’ Accounts … It doesn’t matter who may put more/or less into the Joint Accounts as long as we get the Bills Paid & have a necessary ‘Reserve’ should it be needed. As You have said, Much of Your Relationship is a new experience that may have to continue building up more Trust in some areas as You Both Grow Closer & Even More Connected. When I met Tab, he expressed how much he would like to start getting into Art as it was discouraged by his Family. I encouraged Him to try it out! He has become a Wonderful Videographer & Photographer! He has Painted in Oils, Acrylic, Pastels & Colored Pencils! And He has come to be quite prolific in Combination Digital Mediums with over 215 Art Pieces. I guess he just may have thought he needed some kind of Approval, Permission or Motivation! But He has certainly blossomed with his new-found Talent! I hope that Dirk can get through his “Composer’s Block” & get his Creative Juices Flowing Again Soon! All The Best to You & Dirk! Have a Great St. Patrick’s Day Celebration! Jerome & Tab :o)

    Reply
  24. Adam
    Adam says:

    Just figured I throw another idea out there to help get Dirk’s creative juices flowin. Whenever I got writer’s block at school, or was trying to learn a bassline by ear and got stuck, a jazz cigarette always helped me out…:)

    Reply
  25. Lyne Beausejour
    Lyne Beausejour says:

    Hey Jesse, just read this post again… I feel even more convinced that Dirk deserves THE PIANO! I sent him the measurements. The ball is now in his court, you guys can get back to me anytime.

    Reply
    • Jesse
      Jesse says:

      I’ll leave that in his hands, as I don’t really play… but I’d love it if he could have one for him to compose on. He says that so much of his writing comes from just sitting down at the piano for a few hours, so not having access to one might be part of the reason why he hasn’t been writing much lately.

      Reply
  26. Lyne Beausejour
    Lyne Beausejour says:

    I never get tired of reading your posts, mainly because they beautifully written and you have something interesting to say worth reading. I’m not fishing for information, I’m just inquiring if you guys…how do I says this…are doing better now? You do share happy pictures and all on FB but like you said once it’s not always the day to day reality. When you wrote this blog in March, it seams you had a black cloud over your heads, it seams now that things are brighter but I could be so wrong! Anyhow, I do hope you are doing better and I’m a firm believer that you guys are together for the long run!

    Reply
  27. eric
    eric says:

    Jesse:

    Why do you care if you are worth more money than Dirk? One of the things that comes with being married — sometimes — is an imbalance in the $$ column…and that’s why couples SHARE what they have.

    It sounds like you earnestly are hopeful he can find work in his chosen music career, as you know what joy that brings him, but it also sounds like you carry some resentment that you are “picking up the tab” sometimes, or that he isn’t making (or worth) the same amount as you.

    I understand that — for casually dating couples — but once we commit and are “married” (literally or figuratively), then our assets are shared.

    Money issues can be the root of many relationship problems, and you as the person with MORE (the owned home, the 20-year job etc)…may bear a greater burden of the financial part of your relationship.

    So what? Wouldn’t you give anything to be with him?

    Just my two cents.

    Reply
    • Jesse
      Jesse says:

      We strive for balance in relationship; we both want to contribute equally, whether that be financially, emotionally, or otherwise. I don’t exactly resent having to carry more than 50% of the financial burden for now, but for both of us it’s not exactly ideal. We’re both fiercely independent people; he feels bad about having to lean on me in the financial sense, and is working towards not having to do that anymore. I don’t want to be in a relationship where one person is the “breadwinner,” and Dirk feels the same way. I know it’s an arrangement that works for some people, but it doesn’t work for us. That’s why Dirk’s working very hard to correct that imbalance by getting himself out of debt. He may never be able to contribute exactly 50%, but that’s the goal we’re working towards.

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I wrote last week in my post “Every Rose Has Its Porn,” while Dirk has a supreme gift for writing music, right now he’s really struggling. The move […]

  2. […] something for me.” Meaning a piece of music, of course. Dirk was in the middle of a creative drought so I thought the request might encourage him to start composing […]

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