Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is history repeating itself? Past the point of no return again??

I haven't blogged much about my boyfriends for quite a long time, but hopefully this post will rectify that. However, for people who haven't read absolutely all the old posts on this blog, this post might be a bit confusing! One potentially confusing thing is that back in 2008, I changed the way that I refer to some of my boyfriends on this blog. So to make this post more understandable, I thought that I'd do a little summary of some of the main characters in my life:
  • Boyfriend T has been my boyfriend since summer 2009 :-).
  • Boyfriend number 1, now known as ex-boyfriend S, was my long term boyfriend from 1989 to 2008. These days I'm happy to say that we're very good friends.
  • Boyfriend number 2, now known as ex-boyfriend P, was a boyfriend who might have become my second long term boyfriend after boyfriend number 1. In the end, though, things didn't work out.
  • Boyfriend number 3, now known as ex-boyfriend R, was a guy who was almost a boyfriend, and I used to visit him regularly for activities. I think he might still be keen on me, because whenever we see each other, he's always joking about trying to get me into bed again!
  • My Thai friend B is a lovely sweet guy who has never been my boyfriend. However, if things don't work out with boyfriend T for any reason, I might try and see whether he's interested in a relationship with me.
  • Close Encounters is another gay blogger who I met in 2008 and who's become a good friend.
Back in 2005, when this blog was barely four months old, I wrote a post titled Boyfriend Number 2 - Past the point of no return? Looking back, I was indeed past the point of no return in terms of my long term relationship with boyfriend number 1. That post announced that I was about to go on holiday with boyfriend number 2, and three years later, my relationship with boyfriend number 1 was finished :-(. Although my relationship with boyfriend number 2 didn't last either, as I said in the introductory paragraph above, since summer 2009 I've been with a lovely guy who I refer to as boyfriend T :-).

One of the benefits of blogging is that one can go back and see what one was thinking in the past by reading old posts. Just before I asked boyfriend T to be my boyfriend, I did a post titled An Asian versus a Western perspective, where I describe how we had completely different reactions to a film that we saw together. My view of the film is that the woman played by Kate Winslet ruins her life because she doesn't want to admit her illiteracy to anyone. However, Boyfriend T sees it very differently. His view is that the woman's life is successful, because she achieves her primary life objective which is to hide her illiteracy. I now find that post quite upsetting, because it means that I foresaw what may well end up being be the downfall of my relationship with boyfriend T before it even started. At the end of that post I wrote:
I sometimes get the impression that [boyfriend T] may regard telling [his friends and family] that he's gay as being comparable to Kate Winslet's character admitting her illiteracy.
Four years later, I know for sure that boyfriend T's primary objective in life is indeed to hide the fact that he's gay. Absolutely everything else is secondary to that, including his friends and family, including his work, and including me too :-(. Four months ago, I wrote in another post that
… at some point he's going to have to choose between living a more openly gay life as my partner, or ending our relationship and going back even further into the closet.
The latest twist in our story is that boyfriend T has taken a temporary assignment outside the UK because he believes that it just might end up giving him an excuse for not returning to live in his home country, and which would seem plausible to his family. He's desperately pursing any option that might allow him to escape the ties he has to his artificial straight life, without admitting that he's gay, even if the chances of success are almost zero. He could simply decide to stay with me in the UK anyway, but he feels that doing that wouldn't make sense to his friends and family who don't know that he's been in gay relationship with me for almost four years now.

"I need a holiday," I say to boyfriend T a couple of months ago, "and if you can't come with me because of your overseas assignment, do you mind if I go with someone else?"

"Of course I don't mind," replies boyfriend T, "and in fact I also think that you need a holiday :-)."

"But what about if I went on holiday with my Thai friend B or ex-boyfriend R?"

"No problem if you want to go with them, or go with ex-boyfriend P if you like :-)."

"But you know that ex-boyfriend P has got another boyfriend now!" I reply, "But what would you think if I ended up being intimate with any holiday companion?"

"Sure, why not," says boyfriend T very casually, "do what you like :-)".

When I originally asked boyfriend T about going on holiday with another friend, I actually had no intention of doing so. However, with deadlines approaching which seem likely to force boyfriend T back to his home country, I have now organised a two week holiday with my Thai friend B. If boyfriend T does go back to his home country, I see no realistic possibility of continuing our relationship. Although I've discussed this with him many times, he seems to be in complete denial about the situation.

At least I've done things differently this time. With ex-boyfriend S, I know that I behaved very badly, by going on holiday with ex-boyfriend P without his knowledge. This time I'm going on holiday with someone else with the full knowledge of my boyfriend.

"I can't believe that you actually went ahead and organised this holiday with B," says boyfriend T to me, with a sense of desperation in his voice.

"But you said it would be OK!"

"Yes, but you should know in your heart that going on holiday with B is completely inappropriate as long as we're together! I know that you've always fancied him."

"It's all been booked on a twin bed basis, rather than with double beds," I reply defensively.

We end up agreeing that even though boyfriend T will be out of the UK for several months, neither of us will engage in any activities with any other guys, so as to try and protect our relationship. I actually find Boyfriend T's reaction to my holiday plan quite comforting. Although he usually pretends that he doesn't care whether our relationship lasts or not, perhaps he really does care after all.

However, when I tell Close Encounters about the situation in an email, I can tell that he's a bit sceptical:

"Two weeks with B", he writes in an email to me, "that will test your powers of monogamy :)."

I manage to write advice for other gay guys in my Dear GB postings, and I know from emails that I get that some of the advice that I've given has helped some people. But when it comes to working out my own life, I feel completely helpless. It's kind of a case of "Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?", which means "Who will guard the guards themselves?". To be more explicit, I think this is a case of "Quis suadebit ipsis consuasoribus". That's my best attempt at translating "Who will advise the advisers themselves?"


Bruce said...

So my situation is by no means an analogue to yours. I'm in an interracial relationship, but I'm American made from foreign parts so it could be different. I remember in college being in a gay asian group talking about coming out to parents and it was noted that there's this "western" belief that you HAVE to come out to your parents and that anything less is internalized homophobia, etc. But there were a few in the group that called that into question. Is it a bit dishonorable and rather selfish to say "I am who I am and you have to deal with it RIGHT NOW to show me you love me as much as you say you do"? I personally think that, although an interesting perspective, it is somewhat a dodgey and convenient stance to avoid doing something that is difficult. It did make me think, "Who am I really coming out for?" So, I straddled the fence and have since tried to be as honest and open about myself as possible without saying the words. They've met my (boy)friends, know pretty much all I do, don't hide anything from them really... I just haven't said the words and am waiting for them to put the label on it. In other words, I've decided to let them know me and who I am but also am honoring them by letting them get used to it however long it takes (hey, it took me 15 years...). I'm not sure if it's right or wrong or a cop out, but it simply is.

So, the whole point of saying all that was that you both seem to be asking for symbolic gestures for something else. Doesn't sound like you really need him to come out to his parents, but for him to fully commit in the relationship and integrate you into his entire life. And he wants a similar symbolic gesture of commitment with your choice for a travel companion. Of course, it'd be kinda weird to be blunt and just say, "Can you demonstrate where we are in all this... cause you're leaving me kinda hangin, dude?"

Of course, that might be me totally misreading everything but it's the rather awkward sequential thoughts that came to mind when I read the post.

Hope it all works out!

GB said...

Hey, thanks for your thoughts Bruce :-). I quite agree that coming out is quite a selfish act, in the sense that you're forcing people to deal with the issue "RIGHT NOW" as you put it. The problem that I have with that I'm not allowed to meet any of boyfriend T's friends or family or colleagues or anything like that. He won't even introduce me as a distant acquaintance. I thought that as he became more comfortable in his gay skin that he'd gradually become more relaxed, but if anything the opposite has happened as he gets closer to the day when he's expected back in his home country!

Anyway, it's quite a hot blog you've got :-).

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

Bruce Chang has made a good point.

I, myself am fresh out of my twenties and have not even come close to discussing my sexuality with my parents, (I know they have their suspicions). - In fact I am scared and have no idea of how to approach the subject, the inability to predict their reactions doesn't help.

The years have passed and I'm hoping that the situation will resolve itself 'organically' without my intervention. - That the 'gay' thing will somehow be confirmed without me having to confirm it, and that my parents will accept and deal with it in their own time/way with minimal fuss.

As for the need to verbally tell my parents directly? I think it's sort of respectful, rather than to let them figure it out for themselves and then neither confirm or deny it. - It puts them in a difficult situation, and makes my life much more difficult and stressful. I am essentially leading two separate lives and any potential partner is forced to accept that they fit into only 50% of my life.

The sacrifice that I have 'forced' any potential partner to make means that I must also accept that I can't give that person what they may need/want as the relationship progresses, I can only give 50%. I privately acknowledge this through trying not to allow myself to become too attached (even though I am) to limit hurt from the inevitable. This pattern is repeated over and over, and whilst it becomes familiar, it doesn't get easier.

If I'm brutally honest then the fact is that I just haven't got the balls to tell my parents the truth, there are other significant factors, of course, but fact remains fact.

I like to think that I will meet someone who will remain by my side and provide me with the strength to do what I need to do. - So that if my parents reject me I will still have that someone by my side, and will not have to face everything on my own.

My point is that maybe T is in this exact same predicament and you just happen to be caught up in it.

It appears that T cares about you deeply to have remained with you for four years. - But, I think there's very little you can do.

GB said...

Thanks a lot for your thoughts, anonymous commenter :-). Indeed, there does seem to be very little that I can do :-(((((.

GB xxx