Sunday, April 27, 2014

The difficulties of living with a Thai boyfriend

An English guy I know called M started dating a Thai guy called J last summer, and within a few months, they had moved in to live together. I don't see M very often, but last week the two of us went out for dinner on our own to catch up with each other. I arrive at the restaurant first, so I install myself at the bar and start looking at their wine list while I wait for M to arrive.

"Hi GB," says M suddenly, "good to see you :-)."

"Hey M :-), " I answer, "good to see you too! I was just perusing their wine list, so I didn't see you come in."

"Find anything good?" asks M.

"Well, look at this. A 2007 Latricières-Chambertin for £155 a bottle. But Grand Cru red Burgundy should generally be much older than that before it's sensible to drink them, don't you think?"

"I don't know, GB," replies M smirking, "I think you're a bit of a wine snob sometimes! It's probably a very nice bottle :-)."

We decide to sit at the bar for G+T aperitifs, and once we've ordered our drinks we start chatting.

"How's it going with J?" I ask.

"Mostly fine," answers M with a slightly hesitant voice.

"Hmmm," I say, sensing a slight reluctance in M to open up, "*mostly* fine doesn't sound too good :-|. What does the *mostly* mean?"

"Well, sometimes J can be absolutely impossible!" replies M, "so I can't help thinking that it's not going to last. But I can't bring myself to break up with him. A lot of the time he's absolutely adorable. When he's being difficult, I just think of his gorgeous pert naked male body and that always makes me feel better :-)."

Without doubt M's boyfriend J is quite cute, so for a second or two I enjoy imagining what J must look like when he's lying naked on a bed prior to activities.

"Perhaps, M, it's you who's the difficult one?" I ask, playing devil's advocate. "In any case, you don't seem to have a very good track record recently of finding suitable boyfriends."

"That's last comment certainly has some truth in it, GB!"

I decide to try and get a bit more alcohol into M before asking any more about his relationship with J, so I start talking about some of our mutual friends while we finish our G+T's.

A little later, the restaurant staff invite us to sit down at a table and order some food. As usual, I'm more interested in the wine list!

"So do you fancy that young Burgundy then?" I ask M.

"If you think it's too young, what about a decent claret instead?" suggests M.

"Well they've got Talbot 2000 for £125, that should be OK. I've got a few bottles of that in my wine cellar at home, and I reckon it's drinking quite well at the moment :-)."

"Then Talbot 2000 it is!" replies M, seeming anxious not to make too much fuss about the wine.

We place orders for food and the wine, and a bit later, I start asking about J again.

"Do you think there's a bit of a culture clash between you and J?" I ask at a suitable point in the conversation.

"Well like you GB, I like having Asian boyfriends :-). I think it's fascinating learning about their culture, and of course all the Asian countries are different. Most Thais are Buddhists, and that does give them a different outlook on life to guys like us who were brought up in the UK."

"I know some Thai guys and their mostly pretty chilled :-)," I say. "I always remember the Buddhist saying 'Today is better than two tomorrows'".

"Yeah, that saying is perfect because it explains why they're all so spontaneous. They do often focus on Now, i.e. Today rather than Tomorrow, which in many ways is a great way to live. It is a potential source of conflict between me and J, because I think a bit of forward planning doesn't hurt. But I'm happy to be more spontaneous so I don't think that that aspect has ever been a problem."

"The problem," continues M, opening up a bit now, "is that his spontaneous nature means that when J is upset, his memory is very short. If I accidently upset him, he'll focus on the Now which is being upset, and forget all the positive things about our relationship and all the good things that I've done for him. Since we got back from Thailand a few months ago, we seem to have a serious mis-understanding about once a week. So once a week we go through an episode where he'll want to split up with me :-(. But then he calms down, the J that I love reappears, and everything settles down. The highs and lows in terms of the way he feels about me are much more extreme than anything that I've experienced before."

"But what causes the mis-understandings?" I ask.

"Sometimes there is a communication problem," replies M. "J's English is reasonable, but he's not native. Sometimes he'll be a bit lazy when talking to me and won't be sufficiently explicit. I'll then try and guess what he meant, and if I get it wrong, that can cause a problem."

"But sometimes," continues M, "I'm at a complete loss as to what's going on in his mind. The most ridiculous incident occurred a couple of weeks ago when our rubbish bin in the kitchen needed repairing because the lid wouldn’t stay closed. The spare part that was needed arrived and I asked J not to try and sort it out, because I'd already asked someone else to do it and I didn't want J to waste his time. That simple request caused a lot of problems. Two days later when he'd calmed down, I had a chat with him and I *think* he became upset because he thought that I thought he wasn't competent to do the repair. But to be honest, I'm still not sure! I've never ever suggested that he's incompetent about anything so why on earth would he ever think such a thing?"

"He's quite young isn't he?" I ask.

"Yes I know about your N/2+7 rule, GB," answers M, "and it's true that on that basis he is too young for me! But only just. Anyway, in a couple of years' time we'll be in compliance with that rule :-)."

"I'm not sure future compliance is relevant," I laugh.

"What about other stuff?" I continue, "For example, do you get on OK with each other's friends?"

"Yeah, I think we do actually," answers M. "One good thing is that all his Thai friends seem to like me :-). A few weeks ago, I went out for a drink with one of his closest friends when J was out working. The friend asked me nervously how solid me and J were. I said something like 'mostly OK', and I'm sure he understood the kind of problems that we were having because he went on to confide in me that he thinks J is sometimes a bit childish. Although I think I'd worked that out for myself!"

"Well that's a good sign," I say, "if you can have that kind of conversation with J's friends."

"In any case," says M, "I've very much fallen in love with J, so even though my logical brain sometimes tells me that I should split up with him, my heart won't let me! I fall in love far too easily, don't I?"

"Perhaps," I say, "but I don’t think there's anything wrong with that! Too many gay men won't commit to a relationship because they keep thinking that the next guy they get into bed with will be better than their current favourite. At least you don't have that problem :-)."

"Anyway," says M changing the subject, "how are you and boyfriend K?"

"Just like you, 'mostly OK' :-)," I answer cryptically, grinning at M.

I pour us both another glass of claret and tell M a bit about what's been going on with boyfriend K, but soon we're tired talking about our boyfriends and the conversation drifts on to other subjects.

"Well next time, let's not leave it so long before catching up!" I say to M at the end of the evening.

"Absolutely :-)," replies M. "It's been really good to see you GB!"

I'm not sure how long M and J will last. However, if any readers have any experience of gay relationships between English and Thai guys and you have any ideas that might make M and J's relationship work better, then please leave a comment and I'll pass it on :-).


RB said...

This is interesting. How did they meet? I've dated a ton of Asian guys. Usually there is an easier connection for me than with Caucasian guys. I like the culture and I love the smooth bodies. Asian guys often tend to date older.

GB said...

@RB I think they met in the real world through a mutual friend, rather than via any online dating apps or web sites. Does it make any difference how they met?

GB xxx

RB said...

I ask because I have seen several situations where the Asian guy was "imported." That can make a difference in the relationship.

GB said...

@RB, good point :-), but in this case J definitely isn't an import!

GB xxx

Shadow Wind said...

Lovely blog post! hahaha the wine part is funny. Such a specialist.

One thing about Thai people is that they absolutely love it if you make an effort to speak in Thai. I have seen Thai-Anglo couples where the Anglo would speak in English and the Thai, in Thai and they both work on well, or the Thai speaks in Thai while the Anglo picks it up over the years. But all I'm saying is that communication is very important. And it really doesn't matter what language it is at the end of the day.

Was Once said...

With a 13 year relationship so far, if you really want a relationship with a Thai, you would not desire a response from him like a westerner. You have to appreciate everything he brings to the table, and with most Thai's, once you get past the honeymoon stage, can be a lot. I found I had to change, in a good way, even moving along on the Buddhist path. Not solely on the desire to keep him, but with his positive influence, as an actual role model. I just put aside the simple failings that seem to be visible when one forgets to look in a mirror. I am still learning to this day and our marriage day is coming up.

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody. Well this is the first time I leave a comment here, however I really like this blog, I find it really interesting and sometimes it helps me to understand what's in white older men mind. I'd like to ask you some questions, have you ever tried dating latinos?

I ask this, because well I'm latino, I'm 26 years old currently based in Bangkok, working as an expat for an international organization. As you may have your preference for younger asian guys, I have mine for white older men. However I've noticed that a young highly independent and professional latino isn't that appealing to most white men in Thailand, instead they are always looking for very vulgar, without education poor guys who probably are with them because they can get a meal or something. This also happened in my country, in Honduras, when I went out to dates and they noticed I could pay for my drinks, had my own car, it was like a turn off I believe.

Someone could explain me? :( I feel very lonely. Just for your information, I'm 1.8mts tall, 60kg weight, so I'm not fat, I have slightly tanned skin and brown eyes. I dress executive way, well according to my work so..

GB said...

@recent anonymous commenter, my own view is that relationships are very false when there are big disparities between the two guys like you describe. I'm definitely not the only white guy who thinks like that, however I don't know where to find them in Bangkok.

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should ask to be relocated in New york offices then. I also believe (tell me what you think), well I think that roles exist in a relationship even though it's between two men ... so as my role is more bottom and passive, I think that top men don't like when the bottom is very independent professionally and econonymically.

P.D.: Sorry for the anonymous thing.

GB said...

@recent anonymous commenter, I think it might be better for you to send me an email that I could use for one of the "Dear GB" posts, rather than communicating like this in comments. In any case, I think you're wrong when you say that "top men" don't like independent "bottoms", although of course that may be true in a few cases.

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

@ THE LATIN guy, you should go to Belgium,or Netherland. the white guys here keep inviting me to eat out, drink out, and in the end, we share the money, go dutch !!!!