Every relationship has specific trademarks that make them work. Physical cues, body language, inside jokes, and yes, even shared clothing, are important when it comes to creating (and actually maintaining) the type of relationships that outsiders fawn over as they are openly displayed on and across social media timelines.
It is here that we bear witness to the private (yet very public) subtle moments of intimacy and are faced with the one thing that many of us want but feel we’re missing- a relationship. In all honesty, there may not be a Beaux for each of us and some of us have come to accept that as being nothing more than the unpopular truth that it is, but for the majority of us who are still holding on to hope, we tend to look to and use “successful” relationships as a benchmark for the thing we want to experience.
As SGL men of color we don’t have many examples of what healthy relationships look like because the types of relationships we engage in still aren’t viewed as being traditional. Sure, we had an increased visibility with Noah and Wade and Kaldrick and Tariq, but neither of those were real and at least one of them gave us an example of an unrelationship goal.
The advent of social media has helped us to challenge the lack of visibility and provides hopefuls with some pretty notable “goal models”. Juan and Gee, Kordale and Kaleb and of course the late TreDarrius Anderson and his partner David Harris have given our types of love visibility and, for those of us interested in experiencing a relationship, they offer tangible hope.
We want to keep that kind of thing going by introducing you to two Beauxs who caught our attention, Marlin and Tim. The build up and continuation of their relationship is the kind of thing that may inspire those of you who are still romantic hopefuls. Tim and Marlon met the same way that many of us meet our potential Beauxs- online. However, they didn’t meet on Jackd, or Grindr. They met on Tumblr.
Tim started his Tumblr blog in 2013, which he uses to break away from reality. Tim’s blog features the many facets of his photography. Marlin happened to come across Tim’s Tumblr blog and the two started following one another and used the platform to keep in touch. After three years, a few likes and reblogs later, the two exchanged contact information.“My guard was definitely up” Tim says as he recounts the hesitation he felt about pursuing another relationship. “My last relationship left me a bit broken...”
A lot of us can attest to feeling the same way after a break up which is about par for the course. As far as being open to meeting someone new, Tim said that he wasn’t opposed to getting to know Marlin a little better.
But then came the proverbial slap in the face as, “…he [Marlin] also explained that he was in a relationship”. Marlin’s recollection of their meeting is similar as he copped to being in a relationship when he virtually met Tim but admits that he kept it respectful until the time was right. “About six months after my prior relationship I was ready to date again.”
The build up of their relationship continued though December 2014 when Tim invited Marlin to New York for the holidays. “ Okay, I can admit I was feeling me some Marlin.” Tim says about the way his thoughts changed about Marlin after their first face-to-face meeting at Harold’s Square in New York. “It was the best Christmas gift ever” While the two weren’t able to spend the New Year’s Eve together they connected shortly after.
Regardless of the distance that existed between them, Marlin and Tim had been having conversations about seriously dating and were ready to give “it” a go. “I told him that when or if he was ever ready, I would follow his lead”, Marlin states on he and Tim’s making it official. Tim maintains that he was incredibly happy and that the reservations he’d felt with others didn’t exist with Marlin.
“I had to open up and give it a chance.” Tim says. And that’s exactly what they did. On Monday, January 5th 2015 at the intersection of 23rd and 6th avenue where Marlin and Tim made it official. It was 12:23 in the morning. Now, this is normally the part where many couples would stop their stories, but Marlin and Tim shared something with us that we don’t often consider when talking about relationship goals-they shared their fears.
Marvin admits that his previous relationships left little room for fear in the future. However, within that little room lies a disinterest in reliving past experiences. “I’d already been through a lot”, Marlin says, “I [wanted] to have a healthier, better relationship this time around”. Meanwhile, Tim confesses that fear had, at one point, been his best friend. “It kept me from living and loving.”
After three years of being single Tim had a hard time shaking his ongoing worry of getting his heart broken again. So how do the two collectively combat their fears?
We’ve all heard about how important communication is in any relationship and since everybody isn’t going to tell the same lie, we should consider accepting the statement as valid. Marlin strongly believes that his ability to communicate with Tim is imperative to the success of their relationship. “It’s a constant climb [but] we take each day a step at a time” Tim agreeingly stated that communication is key and shares that the couple does not leave a situation with words unsaid. “When I feel something, I bring it up to Marlin and we talk about it”, Tim reveals.
Marlin and Tim’s relationship is extremely unique and they couldn’t care less. Marlin, believes that a couple’s relationship should be “tailored to the needs of both parties” while Tim suggests that people should avoid trying to live up to someone else’s relationship goals.
As same gender loving men of color we aren’t given many examples of our “type” of relationships. However we do find various types of SGL love portrayed within the realms of social media. This visibility is important for those of us who are interested in finding a Beaux of our own. In doing this its important to know the difference between “relationship goals” and “goal models”.
Relationship goals aren’t about the pictures you and your Beaux post on social media as much as they are about finding a Beaux who you can love, trust and communicate with. Those are the goals. The goal models come in the shape of the Marlin and Tim’s, the Juan and Gees, and yes, even the Noah and Wades.
The story of Marlin and Tim won’t necessarily be your story, but with time, the unadulterated love they have for one another can be. Our goal in profiling Tim and Marlon is to add another bar on the ladder of awareness and to give you an example of the love that is not only possible, but out there and waiting for you as well