A Brisbane man has reconciled with his high school sweetheart in an episode of SBS’ reality series “Look Me In The Eye”.
Hosted by Ray Martin, the often emotional series explores what happens when two estranged people come face-to-face — without saying anything — and spend five minutes looking each other in the eye.
On Wednesday night’s episode, Samuel opens up about ending his relationship with ex-girlfriend Tina six years ago.
“Tina and I were together for about a year, and she talked about having kids one day in a distant dream and I just couldn’t see that,” he explained.
“I decided to end it because I felt like my feelings were no longer growing. They weren’t over, they just weren’t growing.”
He said a post Tina made on social media outing him as gay after the breakup really hurt him.
“I felt like she’d really laid me bare for the world to see, without my permission,” he said.
“But more importantly I identified as bisexual, and I felt like Tina was really discounting my feelings for her and our relationship by simply saying ‘you’re gay.’
“I also felt guilty, for causing her hurt I couldn’t undo. I wish I could tell Tina I loved her. Every single moment we had together was meaningful, it was important.”
After sitting eye-to-eye on the program, the pair hugged and made plans to meet up with each other again.
“I was finally able to explain my feelings and what they meant for her, particularly in terms of my sexuality,” he said.
“It was instant reconciliation for us both.”
He explained that he wanted to tackle the stigma around bisexuality that he’d encountered, even from within the LGBTI community itself.
“Even after watching the show, I had family friends and people close to me ask, ‘But, really, are you actually gay?'” he said.
“I have gay friends that actually think being bisexual is to be ashamed of being gay. Like I’m keeping one foot in the heterosexual door because I’m too scared to commit to being gay.”
Samuel wasn’t the only LGBTI-identifying Queenslander to appear on Look Me In The Eye.
In an earlier episode, 23-year-old Eduardo reunited with his best friend Haylee, whom he struggled to come out to and subsequently drifted apart from.
“I was worried about letting go and finally being honest with her,” he said.
But when they sat down, face-to-face, Eduardo said he felt like he could tell her anything.
“I was nervous about it, but I wanted to show other kids they shouldn’t make the same mistake,” he said.
All episodes of Look Me In The Eye are available to watch on SBS On Demand.