Friday, June 22, 2007

Email from a guy in a difficult relationship

This isn't a standard Dear GB posting. My view of the situation changed significantly after exchanging a few emails. It all started early last week when I received the following email from a gay guy who lives in London with another guy.

Dear GB

Hope you are well.

I have been reading your blog for a few months now and it is very entertaining to say the least :)

I hope you can provide some advise to me regarding my predicament. I have only recently accepted that I am gay. No one in my family knows about this, but I think they have guessed. I have been brought up as a Christian all my life and it's been extremely hard to accept. It is still hard for me. I have always thought that this is a sin etc. My background is Asian but have been brought up in the West so I do have both cultures to deal with.

I have only told a few of my good friends about me being gay. They were of course happy for me.

My predicament is that I met this guy in a night club when I was at my most depressed about being gay...when I was just going through the decision etc.... this was 1 and 1/2 yeas ago. Initially I was not attracted to him at all but the more I got to know him I actually think I have fallen for him. I don't know whether it is love or whether it's just that he is someone who understands me.

I have opened myself up to him completely, and only him. He is someone that I have chosen to trust. The predicament is that I am not attracted to him. We have been together since we met and I only enjoy sex with him when I have had too much to drink. This really frustrates him of course, but I have always been truthful to him about how I feel for him. I do care for him deeply, and I think I love him as a best friend.

We have tried to break up about 3 times now. It was always me that wanted this but in the end he always melted my heart. I do not want to hurt his feelings in any way as he has helped me be open as much as I can at the moment about my sexuality.

I do not know whether I will be ever let my family know because I do believe it will devastate them. My parents especially.

My boyfriend (I am not comfortable calling him this), I'd rather call him my best friend :), knows how I feel and I have not lied in any way to him.

We have not had sex for a few months now which is my decision. I do not want to be in the position of being forced to do something, or being taken advantage off. This obviously is an issue for him, I do not know whether he has slept with anyone else, but I do hope he will let me know if he did.

I am still very shy and therefore have not even tried to cheat on him but that has come up in my mind.

I have been told that I am extremely attractive for an Asian ...ha ha.....and should just go out there...but the problem is my guilt and self esteem with the issue of being gay.... sigh.. One of my good friend just thinks that I should be having loads of one night stands... :)

It has taken so long for me to accept myself but I know that I need to just go out there eventually.... :(

Poor guy! In terms of being gay, I went through something very similar when I came out, so I know what it's like. Whenever I get emails like this I always want to wrap my arms round the author, give him a big hug, and tell him that everything will be all right!

Relationships between younger Asian guys and older Caucasian guys seem quite common, so I couldn't help wondering whether this was the situation here. I suggested this to him in my reply, saying that my best guess was that he was in his early 20's and perhaps the other guy was in his 40's or even older. Within a day I had received another email from him as follows:

Hi GB,

Thanks for replying back so soon and yes you may post my email. It would be nice to get others advise and yours especially.

I am actually in my early 30s and he is the same age, although I do act like I am 20 sometimes :).

Is age difference an issue if he was much older? Maybe, but he accepted himself as gay when he was a teenager. I on the other hand have only recently accepted it, and am still uncomfortable in gay environment or if I am being hit on. e.g. I was in the Nike store in New York recently and a man was constantly smiling at me to get my attention. All I wanted to do was to get out of the store cause my heart was pounding so fast. It just feels weird. Also in the men's room it happens a lot as well. I just pretend not to notice :).

For me, the main problem is that I am not attracted to him physically. The feeling is more like as if we have been with each other for ages and it is the companionship that bonds us together.

Maybe it is just me but he does have charisma and he gets loads of attention when he goes clubbing :). He loves me deeply and actually tells me a couple time a day that he does. This is very sweet.

I think I do love him but for different reasons.

I think I might have had slightly too much to drink last night when I wrote the email. :) I definitely did not hold back :)

Have a good night and hope to hear from you soon.

So I was completely wrong about the ages, although I guess I was just about right with their average age! But something still seemed unusual to me, so I replied asking him whether they lived together, and again within a day I got a reply. However, this time his reply completely changed my view of the situation:

Hi GB,

You are very intuitive and yes we do live together.

I might as well tell you the whole history but as brief as I can. We met in a club and he asked me whether I was gay. I said no but obviously he was not convinced. I was there with my friend from uni who was supposedly very straight. He actually took me to the club where I would not dare to go by myself .... I find it very dirty and seedy....but I wanted to experience things that I would not normally do so I went. I had loads to drink that night and I'm much more at ease when I am drunk so I gave my number to this guy I met there and actually made sure that he got it right :). I guess I could sense that I could trust him.

He called me a few days later to check on how things are, and we decided to met up in the club again. This time I felt more comfortable and I decided to just take a risk ... I was extremely nervous but just went with it ... he came back to my apartment! I was clearly drunk and he made sure that I was not taken advantage off, but of course I said yes when he asked me but I was out of my mind.

For some reason I got more and more open to him as the week went by and basically told him everything about my background and life and why I could not accept myself....but one thing that I am upset about from his side is that he lied about a lot of things...what he calls white lies....but I always find out the truth at the end.....he earns less than I do and does not live in a nice place and does not have as much money as I do and he feels very insecure about that which results in his dishonesty. I open up myself to him and let him move in to my apartment only temporarily while I went back home to see my family. I said that this was only going to before a few months until he gets a job in London (he works just outside of London) but I am not so sure whether what he tells me is the truth....we have been together for more than a year now and that I know more about why he lied to me but I still am against it. I don't like to be lied to, even though they are white lies. When we have arguments like this he brings up that I am the biggest liar for not accepting myself! This extremely hurts me because it is very harsh. He accepted himself a long time ago.

He has definitely opened me up more and made me more relaxed about the gay situation but there is still part of me who just want to keep this to people that I trust. The only friends that I have told are themselves in the same situation, and therefore can relate. I have only told one straight friend of mind. I just do not want to be judged.

A lot of things have happened between myself and him, and I have told him many times that I don't think we are life time partners even though we are at ease with each other. As I wrote before, I feel we have been together for ages are so are comfortable with each other, but it feels like he is more like my best friend for life. I do not want to hurt his feelings in any way but when I go back home permanently next year it will be extremely hard for both of us. I don't know what will happen with my situation there because of my family. My parents are both very devoted Christians and will be devastated if they find out that I am gay.

I have been writing too much and yes, splitting up will be extremely hard. I now look back and tell myself why I was so open and naive and let him into my life, but on the other hand he has always been so supportive of me.... oh dear....what have I put myself through?

I have actually spoken to a friend about this and she told me that it will be easier to break up while I am still here in London then when I leave next year, as he will not have the support he needs. He seems very alpha male but deep down he is actually a huge teddy bear... :) with the sweetest soul I have met....this is why I fell for him.

I am in a huge mess and I think I know what to do myself. It won't be easy either way.......

The 'white' lies that this guy told to get into this reader's life really concerned me, so I replied immediately with the following email:

Dear reader,

I'm very glad you told me all the stuff in your last email. It now sounds like a very different situation to the one that I thought I was dealing with when I got your first email. Even though this guy who lives with you has helped you enormously in coming to terms with your sexuality, I also think he's taken enormous advantage of you.

When you first met him, because you are gay but didn't want to be gay, you were very vulnerable. It really sounds as though this guy has really exploited this.

The big test will be, if you didn't let him live in your apartment, then how much would he want to see you. At first he might think he'd be able to get back to live with you so he'd be trying to see you as often as he could, but when he finally realises that you won't let him back he may well start looking for other vulnerable gay guys to take advantage of :-(. Given that he knows that you're going back home next year anyway, I suspect that he might lose interest in you when he realises that he can't exploit you any more.

This isn't usually the way 'Dear GB' emails work out. Usually I don't feel the need to ask any further questions when I get the first email. But there was something unusual with your email, although I can't say exactly what it was. Usually I just reply to acknowledge an email, check that the author doesn't mind me posting it, and tell the person what title I'm thinking of using. I'll then post the email and my thoughts. But your situation is different so I'm going to give you some advice now. I think that you really have GOT to find a way of getting him to move out of your apartment. Do you think you'll be able to do that? If you think he might at all be prone to ever be violent, please be careful.

Hope to hear from you soon,

GB xxx

In his reply, my worst fears were confirmed. He admitted that this 'best friend' of his may be prone to being violent when he gets upset. The whole situation reminds me slightly of The Stockholm Syndrome, where victims become emotionally attached to their persecutor, although I'm not suggesting that the 'best friend' has persecuted this guy at all. But he does find himself in a situation where he's developed emotional ties under false pretenses.

So I do think that this guy needs to get his 'best friend' to move out of his apartment. It looks to me like a situation where the guy is attached to his 'best friend' because an emotional link was formed when the guy was coming out, when the guy was very vulnerable. But it sounds like the 'best friend' is attracted to the guy because he's able to live a better life being being attached to someone who's a lot wealthier than he is, especially given that this person is a good looking Asian guy. This situation can't last. Any debt which the guy owed to the 'best friend' was paid back long ago by letting the 'best friend' stay in his apartment for so long.

If the 'best friend' really does love this guy, then he shouldn't want to stay in the guy's apartment if the guy doesn't want him to. Given that he does want to stay in the guy's apartment, then he can't really love him. To me this is very clear cut, and a very good argument that the guy can employ when talking about the situation to his 'best friend'. Once it's clear to the guy that the 'best friend' doesn't really love him, then it should be easier for him to take firmer action, e.g. changing locks when the 'best friend' is out if it comes to that, which hopefully it won't.

I don't usually give such direct advice, but to me, the story that gradually unfolded through the exchange of emails seems to be telling a consistent story of exploitation. Does anyone think that I've misinterpreted the situation?


Will said...

No, I don't think you misrepresented. The situation is obviously complex and made more so by the correspondent's very shaky hold on his sexual identity.

I suppose it's a positive sign that although they haven't had sex in a great while, there hasn't been any attempt to force the issue, at least not one reported to you. And this sentence: "he admitted that his 'best friend' may be prone to being violent when he gets upset" is ambiguous. HAS he ever gotten violent, or is there just the correspondent's fear that he MAY get violent--two different things.

I agree with you that the apartment sharing has to end. Your correspondent just isn't happy with it. Actually, I think both these men have problems and that both need to work on becoming far more secure with who they are. It's unfortunate--for both I feel--that they managed to find each other.

Dragonzlad said...

It can be very difficult to say from the emails, so I think you had interpreted the situation to the best you can. However, I am not sure whether the assessment of the guy wanting to be with him just so that he can have a better place to live in is fair. He might really want to be with this Asian guy and so is not willing to move out for fear that their relationship will start to fall apart irreversibly. I believe that there are some people who feels that as long as they have time to be with a person he/she loves, he/she would stay committed in a relationship with that person even though the time to be together may be short. I had a friend who was like that. And quite frankly, I think if I am the guy, I would insist on staying if I truly love the person as I would fear losing him.

That said, the question which we all do not have answer to is whether the guy loves him for the person he is or for the lifestyle he can give him. Your suggestion for the writer to ask the guy to leave is rational and will certainly make the situation clearer for him. Perhaps, the writer knows for himself. Nonetheless, he should act on your suggestion as he is no doubt very uncomfortable about the situation. If that guy truly loves him, he would respect his wishes and move out and still continue to see him. If the writer has decided that he wants a platonic relatoinship henceforth, he should still ask the guy to leave.


GB said...

I've just had another email from this guy, who's very grateful for the comments to far. And in part of the email he said:

"One thing I do want to make clear is that he has never been physically violent towards me but have a few times been verbally abusive when he was drunk. I felt great sadness as no one has ever treated me that way but do think that the reason for his behaviour was his fustration towards the whole situation."

At least that's good news.

GB xxx

VM said...

There are so many guys out there, if you dont love this one, you can love others. The next one might be better than the one you love now.

Gay Nairobi Man said...

This to me sound like emotional dependency and the best friend is definitely taking advantage of your correspondent.

One thing that hit me when though was "I have been told that I am extremely attractive for an Asian ...ha ha." The statement was made in jest but shows a bit of confidence issues and reflects why he has been taken advantage of.

He needs to break the relationship off now so that he does not carry baggage when he goes home next year

Anonymous said...

Do you make these up - not the comments, the letters/emails? They all feel very similar.

Anonymous said...

GB is not making these emails up! I started corresponding with GB about a week ago.

GB's comments and advise with the rest of the readers have been very helpful.

It is fate that we met and I do not have any regrets. He has open up my life like non other.

In response to the comment on the confidence issue, it is not in regards to my looks but my sexuality.

xx Robert

GB said...

Thanks Robert, I'm sorry you felt you had to divulge your name here to support me.

Anyway, in response to Stephen (whoever he is), I've now done an entire posting on this subject. I've never invented any of the 'Dear GB' emails!

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

i am the guy in question,my name is michael, poor bunch of idiots we are the 20 of august 2008 and we are still together and just come back from a wonderful holidays, i know he sleep around and i accept it because i love him, you gb or whatever is your name, you look like you love giving advice to other peoples but you sound to me like you repeat yourself all the time and am sure you are so desesperate yourself, anyway i wish we can meet each other, i prefer from far a real conversation face to face rather than some peoples hiding behind they're computer and have obviously a lot of time to spend on. so instead to give crapy advise on the life of other look at your own life and clean your door before interfer with other, get a life........i am not violent at all believe me but who know....