Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Email from a young gay guy in a long distance relationship

A few days ago, I received the following e-mail.

Dear GB,

I'm a Malaysian American guy who's been living mostly in Milan since I was 10. Now in my final year of my masters in economics and finance in Switzerland and about to do a summer internship at a major investment bank in NYC, I discovered your blog yesterday and read almost through all of it, as you do when you're student with nothing better to do. Really enjoy the way you're writing about your life and your stories about your bf nr. 2 and 3 etc. totally remind me of the feeling of infatuation I had when I first fell in love. Such a huge turn on and so much better than all the pornographic crap one normally reads! I know you don't respond to offers that would compromise your true identity, so just take this as a flattering ego boost ;-) And if you ever decide to contact me for some fun in the future, you can find me on fridae or gaydar
[NB: profile names deleted, but he's definitely an attractive guy :-)].

Now here's my situation: I've been together with this British expat in Singapore for over 2 years. He's older than me and has a successful banking career, which bothered me in the beginning because I didn't want to have a sugar daddy, but I guess I just got used to being spoilt :-) Got to know him first when I was there for an exchange semester, then lived together with him last year when I did an internship there, but for the rest of the time we had a long-distance thing going on with talking almost every day via Skype and seeing each other every 2 months for just a week. Looking back now, I'm amazed that we've made it so far, especially since neither of us believed in long-distance relationships. And now, coincidentally, he's relocating to NYC so we'll be able to live together during my internship.

The problem is that he's just confessed to me today, after 2 1/2 years of "relationship", that he lied about his age. Suddenly he became 16 years older than me instead of 10 originally. I was clearly shocked but remained calm and rational during the conversation, constantly wondering how stupid I was not to notice it myself. But afterwards I went out for a run and that's when I became really furious and confused...

He started off by telling me how difficult this has been for him and that he wanted to tell me about this much earlier but never found the right moment. And he fully acknowledges the fact that the later he tells me this, the more upset I would be. In a way I can understand the difficulties of his situation, but still can't help feeling betrayed and disappointed. I told him that from my perspective, he should have come clean to me about this when our relationship had become "serious" and there was "feelings" involved. I've read that you have an "internet age" yourself, so it would be very interesting to hear from you when it's a good time to confess one's offline age.

The truth is however, that I'm completely capable and willing to forgive his "white lie", but what's really bothering me is simply the fact that he's 16 years older than me and could almost be my father! Being Asian, I've always been suspicious about those interracial, sugar daddy-gold digger relationships which are so common. Just talked to my Asian fag hag who's in a relationship with a Danish guy and she has been suffering from the same kind of social (mis)perception, especially when they were in living in Shanghai last year, probably one of the most materialistic places nowadays. I've always promised myself not to become one of those stereotypical gold digger type which I find degrading, so if I do stay together with my bf, I would have to compromise on my dignity and self-respect. And what's even worse is that I'm almost certain that if we do stay together, I will sooner or later end up looking for someone younger and better, since deep inside I don't really see any long-term future for us both. So it wouldn't be fair to any us to pretend that nothing has changed and just to postpone the inevitable :-(((((

Before he told me the age thing, everything seemed perfect, or almost. I mean I really did adore him, especially his dry English humour. He's very self-confident and claims to never DO jealousy, and he's very supportive of my studies/career choices, even if it means not to be able to live together. But his interest in sex or drive just seems to be way below mine. At the beginning the sex was good, although never great, and over the time the frequency as well as the intensity declined gradually, now it's always me who has to initiate any sexual activity, and we stopped j/o in front of webcam a long time ago :-( He told me he's not seeing anyone else (which I do believe) and that it has nothing to do with me (so what the f*ck is it then?!). Even though I do believe that he hasn't got tired of me and that he still treasures my company, the situation hasn't improved significantly even after talking about it and it was taking a toll on my self-esteem.

Partly because of this, I haven't really been a good boy when I'm separated from him, regularly logging on to chats and hooking up with some hotties (although I never met up with anyone when I was living with him, just seems to be awfully complicated). But I never allow myself to develop any emotional attachment with any of my f*ckbuddies, so I really envy you of having bf status with so many guys. Still I often end up feeling really guilty about my behaviour, especially because I'm pretty certain that he's not having any extra-marital activities and we never officially agreed on an open relationship. On the other hand, I'm just not (yet) willing to sacrifice my youth, and the thought of committing myself to a single sausage for the rest of my life scares the living sh*t out of me :-)

When I talked to him again after I calmed down a bit, I was able to tell him exactly how I feel and as usual he listened and reacted in a very constructive manner. In a way, he's still the same sweet guy, just (suddenly) a bit older, so should this "minor detail" really change how I feel about him? But on the other hand, I couldn't stop trying to look for something "old" about him and something that would confirm my worries that we might be incompatible because of the age difference, am I subconsciously looking for reasons to end this relationship? He suggested that we should still live together during my internship and see it as a probation period. But I'm quite tempted of getting a place of my own so I can have a backup option if things don't work out between us. What should I do? Should I give this relationship a chance or prepare myself to move on? Any advice or comment would be appreciated...

It's true that my 'Internet Age' is not my true age. But it's also true that I always tell guys my true age if I'm keen on them and start seeing them regularly. Indeed, the guy called P in that posting about Internet Age is now known in this blog as boyfriend number 2, and I told him my true age during that conversation. Similarly, I told boyfriend number 3 my true age during my third encounter with him.

I think there are potential problems with relationships where there's a big age difference between the two people, gay or straight. One of the benefits of having a life-partner is having someone to slowly grow old with, and as that happens one's lifestyle changes. A large gap between two people involved in a relationship means that they're at different stages in the cycle of life, and eventually that is likely to matter. One obvious example is sex drive, which has gradually decreased for me as I've got older. The fact that the reader's boyfriend has a much lower sex drive than the reader himself now as an explanation.

Where did this concept that a guy should only have one boyfriend come from? It seems very narrow minded to me, and coincidentally, I got an e-mail from a reader in New Zealand yesterday making exactly this point. In my opinion, once one had developed a strong boyfriend-style bond with another guy, there should never be any need to throw that away. So when one's in the same city as such a guy, whatever one's current relationship status, why not spend time together and have sex together if one wants to. However in the case of this reader, perhaps he should try and get another boyfriend in addition to his current older boyfriend, and preferably the new boyfriend would be someone much closer to his own age.

To me, the fact that the reader's boyfriend claims he doesn't do jealousy is a clear statement that he doesn't mind at all if the reader sees other guys for casual sex. But perhaps he would mind if the reader were to develop stronger emotional ties with other guys, which is what getting a second boyfriend would mean? However, if he loves the guy he should accept the situation, given that there's such a big difference between the two of them.

So yes, give the relationship a chance, but at the same time move on in the sense that you should try and develop emotional bonds with other guys too. Think of it this way. When you tell the restaurant waiter that you want ice-cream for dessert, and he asks which whether you want strawberry or mango flavour, tell him that you want a full portion of both :-)!

Do any other readers have any thoughts on this situation?


Anonymous said...

since deep inside I don't really see any long-term future for us both.

Sounds like the correspondent has asked and answered his own question. To mangle Oscar Wilde, "we have established that you want out, we're just haggling over the exit strategy".

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, you need to be happy. Do you feel happy with your boyfriend at the moment? Age is just a number

Anonymous said...

you're young and if you're having such doubts now, well, it's rather obvious I think. All those 'little' things which bug you about him and the relationship, they are not likely to go away, so if you honestly don't think you can, or want to.....

on a side note, I never really realised how pervasive this 'internet age' thing is. It has never crossed my mind to lie about my age, and naively i've always taken what people tell me about their age as the truth to. Perhaps at 28, I still feel young, though in gay years, i'm probably hitting middle age now.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty obvious that you will end up the relationship soon or later.

You already have doubts now, dont make it more difficult for you to take the exit by living with him.

I am sure he could be a great friend.

Will said...

There is a huge variety of style in gay life. There is no "one way" to do things as in the conventional hetero myth of fidelity once one has become attached.

What matters is that a gay couple talk things out and decide what works for them, specifically. I know a couple, together for something like 25 years or more, who have a totally open relationship--armies of men have passed through their lives and between their bed sheets. They adore each other and are a splendid couple.

With others, one transgression and there's hurt and a break-up.

The young man who wrote Gay banker mentioned being told that his older lover was not the jealous type. I was told "We're gay men--sex happens." This is the sign of a wise, secure, realistic, generous (and I don't mean financially) older man who has genuine affection for a younger partner and understands his needs and drives. Personally, I wouldn't be so quick to end the relationship. Such a man is a rare thing, and something to be cherished.

muse-ic said...

lying about age is just one thing i have never understood - what on earth is the point?!

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

I'm the one who wrote this email to GB. Thanks to you all for your comments and advices, especially enda p and will. You both make a very good point here...

The thing is that I still love my bf a lot and I do feel happy being with him. Apart from the age thing, he's got most of the attributes I'm looking for in a partner and I definately cherish what we have. But at the same time I'm still wondering if I can "have it all" in life. So I guess I will go with GB's advice of staying together with my bf while being open to new adventures with younger hotties. In the end, are we all constantly looking for more and better, someone to "upgrade" us?

I guess the obvious lesson I've learned from this is that one should never ever trust internet dating! :-)

Anonymous said...

I am 48 and have never lied about my age on the Net -- why start off with a lie?

As for the post at hand, seems as if Young Gay Guy wants the best of both worlds -- the security of being with a solid person and the freedom to f*** around as he sees fit. If the other partner agrees, more power to you, I guess. If not, then you have to make a choice and your tone suggests you want out.

jasonviva said...

i'm 24 and my (first and only) bf is 10 years older than myself (i dont know if that's considered a lot older), but i think as long as the communication is there and both parties are in tune with each other and they see the direction of their relationship, i don't see a problem, so yes, age is really just a number.

granted, in my case, me and my bf both believe in monogamy in the strictest sense (no sex with other guys PERIOD), and even though i couldn't possibly picture myself being with another guy, i can still see the view of this young guy in an ldr as well as gb's.

Anonymous said...

To muse-ic and jla:
I think GB mentioned in an earlier post that society is to blame for lying about one's age. I know, don't we all wish to live in the good old ancient Greek times when it was common for old guys to shagg young boys as a "spiritual mentor" and to pass on their "wisdom" through their sperm. But modern society, pop culture and Hollywood robbed old people their existence as sexual beings, how cruel and unfair!

My bf offered me the explanation that he's always felt mentally younger than his physical age, meaning that there was a mismatch between his self-perception and society's perception of his age group, or simply that he refuses to grow up (also known as Peter Pan/Michael Jackson-syndrome). He claims that we get along so well and can relate to each other because I'm so much more mature than my own age group (meaning that mentally we're both 21 and always will be :-)

And to GB: You said that your sex drive has gradually decreased as you've got older. Don't believe a single word of it! I mean if that's true, how on earth did you survive your early twenties?! Shagging everything that moves? Constant masturbation? Prozac? ;-)

muse-ic said...

^ sorry, i disagree, the only one to blame for lies of any kind, is the person who tells the lies.

lying really is pathetic in the majority of cases, particularly when over something so insignificant like age.