woodfordr saidI was a late bloomer and didn't come out until about 6 years ago. Over the years since, I've been making new platonic friends and actively dating. I'm finding that no matter how or where I'm meeting a guy, friend or date, they ALL know each other and have hooked up in the past. But what's tough for me is that it feels like when I want advice on a situation with a friend or date, it's hard to get an objective opinion because there's history between the advice giver and the person I'm discussing. Or the person comments on intimate details of the other person before I've gotten a chance to get that far ("his dick is really thick" or "you know he's poz right?"). I often use code names when I need advice but there have been times when guys have even figured out the person because of their similar interaction!
Also deep down I guess I also feel bummed that my last 2-3 boyfriends have been so "active" in the past. It's like they've been with everyone.
The fact that this all bothers me is my problem. I'm looking for other perspectives to help me not feel so claustrophobic. What's the best way to embrace it?
The problem you are encountering is endemic in most non mega-metro gay communities. Many guys out there live happily with it. You may choose to be one of them.
So, your last 2-3 BFs have been very 'active' in the past. Well, you cannot change that but you can try to understand that usually either the very top or the very bottom (no pun intended) league guys get to be very active. The top of the league dudes are in demand, and the bottom of the league dudes usually ask everybody and someone ends up with them for whatever reason. I am guessing that you befriended athletic, good looking guys and have been wondering about the fact that they have been enjoying themselves a lot. Many dudes out there pump iron mostly because they want to have exciting sex lives.
Everybody knows everybody and, yeah, everybody gossips. Not much is ever going to change there. Once you become part of a wider coterie you get all of its upsides and downsides, too. If this is not to your liking, consider focusing on the guys who are new arrivals. Students, professional folks coming to town for work, etc. Another option is to look a bit further afield and see if there is a kindred soul that may be out of the usual group of suspects but will be happy to date. Sometimes a drive here or there is a decent price to be paid for your happiness.
I am on the same page with Pelaz when he says that you may want to be pretty selective when it comes to platonic friendships. These always sound great as an idea but tend to drain much of your time and energy. It is nice to socialize alright. But when alls said and done, how much of that can you really take without taking away from your time budget for sleep, work, gym, and finding a BF?
You admit to being a late bloomer. Starting an LTR may be a bit of an overwhelming experience, so you go around asking questions. No one can blame you for that. You are trying to understand it and do it right, too. Yet, Pelaz is right when he says that you should be talking with your prospective BF first and foremost. Hardly anyone who knows you and possibly knows him will be out there giving you unbiased advice. As you rightly sense, there is a common history, possibly unsettled accounts, and a petty vendetta, too.