When Mike and Doug end their weekly phone calls, they always say ‘I love you.’ Most people, even their own wives, find this odd. However, Mike and Doug think that should change.
Mikkael Sekeres believes in the power of love. He wrote to Huffington Post about a personal story of his involving him and his best friend Doug, and their choice to say ‘I love you’ to each other.
Mike met Doug back in 1980. The two were playing on opposite little league teams. In fact, almost everything about the two boys was opposite from one another.
He was tall, handsome and had an easy way with people that drew them in. I was of average height, skinny and more of a smartass. He was a Red Sox fan, while I followed my dad, a native of the Bronx, in rooting for the Yankees. His family was Protestant; mine Jewish. He became a lawyer; me, a doctor.HuffingtonPost
However, they did have one thing in common. The issues they faced with their own fathers brought the two boys closer together. Mike’s dad coached his baseball team. He would go overboard with his involvement. If Mike missed a throw to 1st base, his dad wouldn’t talk to him for days on end. If he struck out at-bat, his father would publicly show his disappointment and anger. Meanwhile, Doug’s father was anything but involved. He never attended any of Doug’s baseball games and had no interest in his son’s life at all.
It was obvious that neither of their dads used the phrase ‘I love you’ very much.
We loved each other, even back then. But at that age, at that time and where we grew up, we would never say it out loud.Mikkael A. Sekeres – HuffingtonPost
Saying ‘I love you’ for the First Time
After high school, the two boys lost touch with each other for a while. Then, one-night Dough left a note for Mike at a bar he was working at. The two connected and never lost touch since.
Mike was getting ready to propose to his wife, and Doug was doing the same. They would share every detail of what they had planned with each other. Doug was Mike’s best man, and vice-versa. They arranged each other’s bachelor parties and were there every step of the way for one another.
When Doug went through his divorce, it was hard for him, but it was also difficult for Mike. He was going through his own marital turbulence at the time too.
Doug and his wife had divorced by then after she stunned him one night by announcing that they were inherently incompatible and might as well just get it over with. For months after their split, I talked with him daily and told him he was a good person, that he was lovable. Eventually, he believed me.Mikkael A. Sekeres – HuffingtonPost
As Mike faced his own marriage issues, he called upon his best friend, Doug.
Broken, devastated at my own failure in marriage and at the thought of losing my young son, I sat on the bare floor of the bedroom sobbing into the phone as Doug listened, soothed and calmed.Mikkael A. Sekeres – HuffingtonPost
That was the connection that sparked the initial ‘I love you’ between them. Genuine, authentic, and unconditional love between two men.
“I love you,” he said, stressing the I in “I love you.” No matter what I thought of myself, or what the rest of the world might say, Doug would always love me.
“I love you, too,” I answered, reassured by him, and as if we had been saying these words to each other for years.Mikkael A. Sekeres – HuffingtonPost
Since that conversation, that is how Doug and Mike have ended every phone call.
Mike and Doug each remarried and are happy in their current relationships. But, their wives still give them strange looks when they end their calls with ‘I love you.’ The two men know that the world has changed a bit since the days they were growing up in. However, publicly telling another man that you love him, in a platonic and brotherly way, is almost unheard of.
Mike wants his sons to know that you can be a man and still love other people – even other men.
We recognize that our openness still isn’t the norm, so we try to model how we treat each other for our children, so hopefully, it will be the norm for them. We say the words as they listen to our calls, and I kiss my boys and tell them how much I love them just as much as I do my daughter.Mikkael A. Sekeres – HuffingtonPost