Monday, December 31, 2007

Email from a gay teenager

While I was away on my business trip at the start of December, I received the following email from one of my readers:

Dear GB,

I've been an avid reader of your blog since I came across it last year. I think it's very true to the gay culture and relationships. I never ever thought I'll be writing to you about my problem.

I'm 19, not out, never been in a relationship before and currently confused about two things.

1. I met this guy on gaydar when I was 17. We chatted a great deal back then and even shared a lot of personal stuff with each other. We're both not out and he's a a couple of years senior to me. Some people might think it's sick because I'm wasn't even 18 but his intentions were genuine. He was a very genuine guy, very nice and he never pressured me into anything. He gave me his number and this led to us becoming texting and chatting buddies. However, come my exams I told him I probably won't be able to chat or text to him whatsoever because of my exams - the real reason is because I'm such a coward and too young to know my priorities in life. After exams, our contact went back to normal. However, I feel like during that time, I shared too much with him such as my health issues and etc. He then told me "We're never going to meet are we? You're too open to me." I replied that that's nonsense and we'll still meet when I'm ready. I then moved from my rural life in the countryside to the big city that is London. Changes happened in his life too. He moved from the countryside to another town. He came out to his friends, and was career unsure as well. While I was in uni, I kinda lost contact with him. However, one day, I caught him online so we chatted for a bit. Then, I found out that he's going out with someone else. Same age as me, in a more prestigious university, different course but ultimately what I want to be in the future. I felt kinda heartbroken. Maybe it's that thing that people want something if they can't have it. I don't think it's the case for me. I just realised in that moment on how close he really is to me and how much I felt for him. After this, I didn't really talk to him much. However, one time, I got so drunk that I called him and asked him how he's doing, whether he's still going out with that guy and I asked him to break it up....I know, it's bad! I sent him an apology email the following day. Didn't get a reply. After about a year, I ended up going to his town to visit a friend and again, I phoned him because I was intoxicated. I just asked how's he doing and if he's still going out with his guy. I think he said he's ok and yes he is. I hung up....VERY RUDE of me. Following morning, he called my phone. Shakingly I answered it, asked him who it was and said he got the wrong number. I'm such a jackass I know, but somehow, I kept thinking that he's the one. We shared a lot of things and I really felt close to him. It's so weird because I never actually met him in person ever! I feel like I'm such a jackass to him and my actions such as drunk calling are very rude and unacceptable.

Here's the snag though, I came across a link last week which he gave me last year. It's a link of a little village he told me he would like to take me to. It brought mixed emotions to me. I always thought he's the one. He's my Mr. Big as in "Sex in the city". He's the only one who gets me, and who listens to me whatever I tell him even though it's boring and it's just the agony of my life. Thing is, we had a great connection and I always asked myself what if we actually meet up, and went out in a committed relationship? This kind of questions made me ask myself whether I should contact him and ask him for his forgiveness and to start from a clean slate.

2. Problem no. 2 is. That I started seeing this guy a month ago. We went out on loads of dates. We have a good thing going on. A bit of chemistry. But I don't really feel like he's that interested in me. He always say yes when I ask him to go out but I just don't think he makes an effort at all. He rarely texts me or calls me, he never dresses up for dates, we always go for cheap and free stuff. He's always the one who talks and he never asked me questions about myself. I felt like I'm drifting apart from him because I went back home for 5 days and he didn't even sent a message asking me how I'm doing. Is he worth my time?

Sorry for the long email. Hope you find it in your time to read it.

I replied immediately to say that I'd be happy to give him some advice, although at the time there were 3 other 'Dear GB' emails to answer before his one. Although I always try and do a good job answering these emails, unfortunately I can't ever promise to answer quickly because I do have lots of other commitments.

About a week after the first email arrived, he sent me another email, with an update on his situation.

Hey GB. just an update. I called the guy on my first problem. He's still seeing someone yet I think I'm fine with it now. I really think that we could be good friends for a long time and I really don't mind that he's seeing someone else

As for the second guy, I texted him asking him if he wants to go for a movie or something. He texted back 3 hours later saying he can't because he's going for drinks with a friend. However, I did see him on gaydar that night....Definitely not worth my time.

Even though the reader seems happy with his two problems now, I replied to say that I thought it was still worth doing a post for him, because other people may be in similar situations so reading about his experiences might help them.

It was the reader's first problem that seems the most interesting to me, and the one that might be of most use to other gay teenagers who've not come out. Regarding his second problem, I would have told the reader to look elsewhere anyway, because I think the fact that the guy made no effort to contact the reader was a very clear signal that the guy wasn't really interested in him.

I think situations like the reader's first problem are quite common when guys first realise that they're gay. People can be very vulnerable in that situation. The guy that the reader got chatting to online was the first person who the reader was open with about his sexuality, and because the guy was also gay he was obviously very supportive. This naturally made the reader feel extremely close to this guy. However in situations like these the emotional bonds that develop are often unequal. Probably because the reader wasn't the first person that this guy came out to, the guy didn't feel as close to the reader as the reader felt to the guy. Having got into this situation, whatever he did the reader was likely to be let down by this guy at some point, simply because his feelings were stronger and his expectations where higher than those of the other guy.

The first time anyone is attracted to another person, the feelings of love are new and hard to understand, and it's impossible to be objective about the situation. Straight boys and girls frequently go through all this with each other in an open environment while they progress through school. But gay people often don't feel able to be open about their desires, and consequently aren't able to work out how to handle all this so easily. As far as the reader here is concerned, this guy who he's never met was effectively his 'first love', which is why he felt so upset when he found out that this guy is having a relationship with someone else.

By coincidence, I was surprised to learn while visiting my sister last weekend that similar emotional situations occur with young horses! She currently has just two young horses in her stables, one male and one female, and when I asked to try riding one of them she ended up bringing both of them along to the field. However, only one of them had been kitted out with a saddle.

"Why have you brought both horses?" I asked innocently.

"They get very restless and difficult to handle when they're separated," she explained to me.

"Really, how come?"

"Well they're quite young, and being the only two horses in my stables, they basically fall in love with each other!"

Anyway, going back to the situation with this reader, his bad behaviour when drunk is understandable, although he's still right to be ashamed of himself. But I don't see any reason why the reader and this guy can't eventually end up being friends. However, given that this guy now has a boyfriend, I think it would be best for the reader to delay meeting him until he has a boyfriend too. Once the reader has a boyfriend, he'll be able to be much more objective about the situation. A meeting of two couples is such circumstances is likely to be a success, even though none of them will have ever met face to face before!

Do any other readers have any thoughts on these matters?


Sir Wobin said...

Did the reader expect a 20-something young gay man he's never met to wait through years of celebacy for him to grow up and to begin sorting out his emotional baggage? Welcome to the real world.

Let go. Move on. Make a life of your own. Stalking someone ain't cool.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a sweet story. And, GB, your advice about their unique bond and his nedding to get some relationship experience under his belt was spot on. He was young and not ready to come out and go into a relationship with someone he hadn't met (although he knows well). Understandable. He drunk dialed, which many people do. No big deal. But the guy isn't available now, and he's OK with that. Both are young and might get together someday. One learns a lot about one's self when we love another.

Masturbedroom said...

Just to say that you can have sex at 16 (17 in Northern Ireland) but have to be 18 to use Gaydar (and to look at pornography) because of the explicit photos there. A bit queer but that's the way it is at the moment.

With broadband one can be logged in to Gaydar 24/7 and not actually be there. But the second guy's definitely not interested in a relationship.

Unknown said...

GB, you are being way too nice to this nut, who Sir Wobin nicely pointed out is stalking someone he has an unhealthy obsession with. It does him a disservice to give him your long understanding explanations of how what he's feeling makes sense. His behavior does not make sense. It's irrational and verging on the abusive. Mr. 19 needs to wake up and smell the coffee, as dear old Ann Landers once said so well.

Anonymous said...

Just move on. The other guys boyfriend will not be too delighted with the whole thing, and same for the writers boyfriend (to be). They were young and they had a connection, so what? Life goes on and people grow up and move on. It sounds from the update that the writer is still uncertain about what he wants anyway......

W said...

I guess life is hard, but it's easy for ppl who've made similar moves earlier in their younger lives to act sagacious and sanctimonious in their more mature versions.

I agree with GB.First love fostered in a closeted environment is a hard emotion. The boy obviously needs to move on and he will. Give him a break fellas.It's not easy being young and closeted and scared.

I'm sure like many of you, when he looks back at his life, he'll laugh this phase off and I am sure he'd have learnt a lot from it.