Through With Love: Why These Black Gay Men Are Preparing For Life Alone
“Alexa, play “Through With Love” by Destiny’s Child.”
It’s been nearly 17 years since the music and lyrics of this defiant and woman-empowered song found its way into the consciousness of listeners around the world. And while the R&B trio may have written the song from a Black woman’s perspective, there appears to be no shortage of Black gay men who relate to the lyrical content and have given up on the idea of falling in love. Instead, they are preparing themselves to experience life alone, well into their golden years.
During a time when social media and digital apps have made it easier for people to connect, many of its users report never feeling more alone. It’s a complicated dichotomy that has forced many Black gay men to make tough decisions about their future and whether it will include a romantic life partner.
For author Casey Hamilton, 33, the answer to experiencing the next phase of his life with another Black gay man after several hurtful and disappointing past relationships is a resounding no. The Baton Rouge, LA native who was raised Jehovah’s Witness moved to Atlanta ten years ago in search of freedom as a gay man in a city he believed increased his chances of finding love.
“Atlanta was always the place where you can kind of go and be free,” says Hamilton. “I was drawn to Atlanta in that way, and I knew it was so many Black gay men there, I thought it was the place for me. Of course, I was very young and in college. I thought it would increase my odds of meeting someone, honestly,” he says.
Looking back on his college days, his sheltered upbringing in Baton Rouge and his introduction to life as a Black gay man in Atlanta, Hamilton hints at being socially unprepared for the experiences that would inform his future decisions regarding relationships.
“I didn't get a cell phone until I started college. So when everything finally happened, it happened really fast. I got a boyfriend. I wasn't even sure how gay sex worked,” says Hamilton.
“We were off and on through all four years of college—every other semester, we're on, we're off,” recalls Hamilton of his first relationship with a man.
“He cheated on me. I forgave all that stuff. And in between that, I dated some other people. It was just a mess, really,” he says.
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