Zeitgeist explores the DNA of love: how does the relationship with your parents affect your own relationships? Peter (74) often behaved as dominantly towards his first friends as his father used to do towards him.
“I did not know the word homosexual until I was seventeen. Only when Gerard Reve in the late sixties said on the radio that it’s one in twenty people did I think: damn, it’s about me too. His words made such an impression. Still, it took years before I dared to tell anyone.
What played a role was my dad’s reaction a few years later to the TV show where the same Reve received the PC Hooft Award. He just shouted: ‘Homosexuality is the degeneration of the human race’. Well, I knew enough. ”
Always ‘son of’
“My father was a dominant man. Authoritarian. I was a little scared of him because I saw how strict he could be towards my older brothers. You had to give in to his will. In the morning we sat on our knees and prayed beside our bed, and he looked like a king from the landing.
He was the director of a large company in Rotterdam and sat on various boards. With this he made a name for himself in the city, it was the year of reconstruction. He was indicted as sir. And I was the ‘son of’. It made me proud, but it also felt weird. For whom was I then?
When I got body hair as a teenager, I was shocked: Is that right? I’ve never had sex education. I had never seen another naked man. Meanwhile, I became curious: what do other guys look like?
My dad made me study economics. He was also crucial in my study choices. I wanted to do psychology, but they said: anyone who studies it has problems. Well, I could not deny that. ”
‘It was David, I like boys’
“One of the first times David came to my house, he cried a lot. I had met him in the church choir. He was seventeen, I was 28. Sobbing, he said,” I have a secret. “Well, then it came out: he was gay.He became my first boyfriend.
Two months later my father died. colon cancer. David came to the funeral anonymously. He was sitting far away in the church, but when he saw that I was upset, he began to cry so heartbreakingly that everyone wondered: who is it? Shortly after, I said to my mother, ‘It was David, I like boys’.
The first years were amazing, we got out together. But the relationship was skewed. I had a job, a car and a house. He was still studying and moving in with me. I was very bad at him. I see that now. If he was wearing clothes I did not like, I would say, “Take off.” I was very dominant, just like my father used to be.
When David went to nurse in another town, he met other gay boys. It went beyond friendship. We broke up after five years. ”
Sex with others
“A few years later I fell in love with Kristoff, a speech artist from Belgium. He was thirteen years younger but quite experienced in the sexual field. I had had some one-night stands, but it could not be compared to his experience.
I quickly noticed that he was still having sex with others. I have done that all my life, he said, I used to walk into the park on the way to school. I immediately said to him: If you continue with this, our relationship will end. Again the dominant reaction, like: I do not want this, so you do not. He promised not to do it again.
I was hoping that living together in my house would change something. Then I kept an eye on him. But he could not help but pick up men. He was honest about that. I let it happen. Sometimes I got angry. Then I threw things. Until he said: do you know why you behave like that? Because you want it too. He was right.
For a while, I also had regular sex with others. At one point even every week with the same man I had met through work. Still, I did not tell Kristoff anything. I did not dare. He found out. That I had been dishonest for so long was the last straw for him. ”
“I have learned from my relationships. I have been with Erik for over thirty years now. He is also younger, we are about fifteen years apart, but there is one important difference: When we got something, we both knew what was for sale sexually. Our relationship is equal. Erik does not accept my dominance.
Sometimes he says, “I’ve been naughty.” Then I know what time it is. I no longer respond to it as I used to. In fact, sometimes we both take one home. Or we have sex with someone. Although the whole thing has fallen a bit. We are not the youngest anymore. ”
The names in this article have been changed. The real names are known to the editors.
Would you also like to be interviewed about the influence of parents on your relationships? Send an e-mail to Relatiedna@trouw.nl