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?"

Thursday, June 20, 2013

If you could only keep one memory, what would it be?

picture of a pint of London Pride beerDrinking alcohol at lunchtime is a terrible sin. However, today I ended up having lunch in a London pub with a friend and an acquaintance of ours, and the result was that we each drink three pints of beer. But that's the funny thing about sins; it feels so good when one is sinning!

On the way back to my office, while exiting from the tube, I spot a poster on the wall which almost brings me to a complete stop. The poster simply says "If you could only keep one memory, what would it be?" Immediately I wonder what my happiest memories are, and the first two things that come into my mind are boyfriend T and ex-boyfriend S.

With ex-boyfriend S, I have this memory from perhaps twenty years ago. We're both naked at home in bed together, and I'm cuddling him before we fall asleep. It's a completely ordinary night, nothing at all special about it whatsoever, but suddenly for no reason I feel simultaneously both very happy and very sad. I feel very happy because I am so content, just lying there with my boyfriend in my arms, knowing that we have the rest of our lives to love and care for each other. The sadness is because at the same time I realise that both our lives will eventually come to an end, so that the happiness will be limited.

With boyfriend T, it's a much more recent memory from last month. He teases me a lot, and I sometimes even tell him that he teases me too much because I think he does. However, the truth is that his teasing often brings a smile to my face. Just like the memory with ex-boyfriend S, the memory with boyfriend T also relates to being naked in bed with him, and also just before we fall asleep. Suddenly we have a little disagreement, and before I know it, we both end up on the floor and he's tickling me relentlessly! We both laugh a lot, and shortly afterwards we're back in bed and cuddling each other again. Because we were playfully wresting with each other on the floor, I even end up with a carpet burn on one of my knees, even though no sex is involved. In spite of the original disagreement and in spite of the carpet burn, this is still a very happy memory, perhaps because of the spontaneous and unexpected ways in which boyfriend T brightens up my life all the time :-).

Regarding the memory relating to ex-boyfriend S, twenty years ago I didn't know that we were going to end up splitting up. However, these days we're very good friends, and when I'm in London we usually see each other every week if not more often. Hopefully it'll be my relationship with boyfriend T that will last forever instead. If that happens, and if I can also carry on being friends with ex-boyfriend S at the same time, then I'll be a very lucky guy indeed.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why does one want to listen to sad songs when one is feeling unhappy?

Most of the time, I'm quite an optimistic person :-). In that respect, I think I take after my mother who also usually looks on the bright side of life. However, my father can go through long periods of depression. I'm pretty sure that my father's bouts of depression were a major contributing factor in my parent's divorce, which occurred when I was 9 years old.

Although I'm usually quite a happy and gay person (the original English meaning of gay LOL), like any person I do sometimes feel unhappy. When that happens, there are a few sad songs that I like to listen to. But my favourite song in the "sad song" category is P!nk's song Family Portrait.

As soon as I heard the song, many years ago now, I knew that P!nk must have been through a similar experience of parent divorce that I had been through as a child. How else could someone have created such a masterpiece? The end of the music video where the child magically joins the happy family inside the television seems particularly poignant to me.

I was so sure that P!nk parents must have got divorced when she was young that I never bothered to investigate further. However, tonight I used google to find an article on where it discusses the song and says
A very intimate and personal song, Pink reveals her family dysfunction in this track. She explained in Entertainment Weekly: "That was from a poem that I wrote when I was 9 when my dad left. My mom cried for four days when she heard it. I've seen my dad cry three times and that was one of them; that was awful. And then my stepmom cried. She's so strong - she was an Army nurse in Vietnam, and I'd never seen her cry. That was a song I wrote for me, and I didn't realize how much it was going to hurt them."

Even though Pink's parents got divorced when she was 9 years old and she wrote the original poem at the time, she didn't record the song until she was 21. "I tend to hold onto things," she says.
So it even turns out that P!nk was the same age as me when her parents got divorced. If I'm in an uncharacteristically sad mood, then I always cry when I hear the song :-|.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Email from a gay guy who's about to go to university

Last Friday night, the following email arrived in my inbox:

Dear GB,
I stumbled along your blog a couple months ago while being a typical gay youth looking for porn (I have a sort of 'fetish' for bankers) and I've been avidly browsing your posts, particularly your older posts relating your intriguing infidelity back in the days of BF 1/2/3, ever since.

I really enjoy reading them and though I've read a lot of the Dear GB posts and seen the help you've given, I've never really considered emailing you as I guess I've never had much of a problem with being gay. That was until about 2 weeks ago when I received confirmation from one of the London universities that I'd been given an unconditional place to study there, which completely blew me away as I only chose to apply there, among other lesser colleges, under some farfetched idea that I'd ever be good enough to study there.

The most amazing thing about it of course, is that I'll be given the opportunity to live in London for the first time in my life, something that I've been dreaming of since the day I began to comprehend its existence.

I come from a rather bigoted city in the north of England with a lot of deprivation, racism and yes, homophobia and I've never really felt like I fit in here despite the fact that I have a rather diverse and interesting group of friends who I also, on reflection, am extremely lucky to have as they defy the stereotype of this area and are all completely ok with my sexuality; the girls actually revelled in it when I first came out. And even more surprisingly I've managed, over the past 6 months to actually coerce a boy, I guess the correct term is 'man', into going out with me.

We met when I started work after sixth-form to make some money for moving away to Uni, even though I hadn't received any actual offers at the time (from Uni, not from men). I instinctively knew he was gay from the offset just by the way he playfully smiled and behaved around me and he clearly reciprocated the inference as 2 months after I started work we're on a train to Edinburgh for a bank-holiday weekend away; both of us blowing about 1 months pay, over which time we develop a strong attachment to each other and having, he admits, more sex in a weekend than he'd had in the previous year (it wasn't mutual as I'd developed a healthy(?) addiction to Grindr over the past few years). Ever since, we've been inseparable; he's the only person I've ever been this comfortable around and shares the exact same interests as me and yes, he's the first person I've ever fell in love with. I'll not go any further into just how much I love him as I'm aware people in love just sound soppy to everyone else not in that particular relationship.

And now to my problem; after receiving the offer from London, my boyfriend has gone through a lot of stages coming to terms with the fact that I will, most definitely, be moving to London in September. At first, his initial reaction was one of happiness and possibly a level of pride for me as he knows just how much this means to me and really how prestigious the school is that I've been accepted to. However shortly after that, there grew a level of despondency between us as the fact that our current way of life would inevitably be upheaved drastically as I begin an important new period in my life and then came a third stage; an ultimatum. I won't, at all, criticise him for the decision he tried to force me in to, however infuriatingly selfish it may have seemed at the time, but he did essentially make me choose between him; a man I admittedly love more than my family (cruel/unjust?), and my place at Uni and essentially my future.

Now, despite all my love for him, I just couldn't even bear turning down this amazing offer at living in what I consider to be the greatest city on earth at possibly the greatest school for my course on earth so of course, I couldn't choose and told him so. This lead to a fourth stage where we just denied that anything was changing so we could at least continue being with each other and continue having a type of sex that we'd never experienced before; that type of sex where it hurts to leave each other's body and that even when we're not inside each other, every other waking minute is spent leading up to when you'll next 'become one' again. But of course beneath the skin, we were obviously both at a loss as to what we would do and it was tearing me up inside knowing the clear pain I was putting him through.

So being at a crossroads, I ultimately needed to make a choice and just so that I could make him happy again and just so I could see him sincerely smile at me another time while still pursuing my own interests, I proposed that he moved to London with me so that we could be together. He jumped at the idea. Everything seemed settled until I told a friend of the decision we'd made and he essentially made the very real point that no one should ever go to university while still in a relationship.

I've said how intriguing I found your earlier posts of free, guiltless sex with lots of men and of my previous, healthy(?), addiction to Grindr and I'm now entirely scared at the prospect of uprooting my boyfriend that I'm wholeheartedly infatuated with and dumping him in a huge intimidating city only to find in a few months' time that I fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with me and he's left with fairly mediocre job prospects and no financial support whatsoever.

I mean, I love him so much but I am only 20 and being in a hugely liberal city like London with a thriving gay scene at the advantageous age that I am and with a fairly attractive(?) face/body; am I not throwing away what could be the most exciting period of my life? But then on the other side, is the love that I feel for my boyfriend something beautiful and too great to throw away just for a few years of casual sex with strangers?

It's hard because when I used to see other people in love making stupid decisions, I'd judge them for their ignorance but now that I'm finally experiencing love, I find it hard to demonstrate a lack of insularity anymore; in that I find it hard to find a perspective on any decision I make as every decision is ultimately, relevant or not, made based on the love I feel for this brilliant human that I get to share my mind and body with, free of judgment.

I may have lost the origin of my question but if you can decipher one from that gargantuan email I congratulate you and would be truly grateful for a response, no matter how minor. If you don't have time, however, I understand and I think I may subconsciously already have an answer to a fairly vague and similarly subconscious question.


Until I read that email, I've never heard of the idea that "no one should ever go to university while still in a relationship". In fact, when I was at university, I was aware of a small number of my peers who had girlfriends back in their home towns. Some of those relationships didn't survive, but one or two of them did. And the guys that I know who ended up marrying the girlfriends that they had from before they went to university seem to be some of the happiest and most sorted individuals that I know. So I don't think that this idea that one should be single when one goes to university is valid for everyone.

In fact, it makes even less sense for this reader. It's easy to understand why it might be sensible for people who need to decide between ending their relationship, or continuing their relationship but leaving their boyfriend or girlfriend back in their home town while they go to university in a different town. However, this reader is going to be able to take his boyfriend with him, which is a completely different situation. After having read the reader's email, I certainly felt that it would have been a big shame if the relationship ended now. The email gives a strong impression of a deep love between the two guys.

Regarding some of the reader's concerns about moving to London with his boyfriend, the following thoughts occurred to me:
  • Both of them are adults, so I don't think the reader should worry about what might happen to his boyfriend if they split up. As long as his boyfriend is aware of the risks, then it's up to the boyfriend to make up his own mind.
  • There are indeed a lot of opportunities for gay guys to have fun (of all sorts!) in London, but that applies just as much to the reader's boyfriend as it does to the reader himself.
So if the reader really does love his boyfriend, then he's in a wonderful situation. People who aren't in a relationship can waste a lot of time looking for sex and looking for relationships, but since the reader has got those things sorted, he'll be able to get the most out of his course and all the other things that London has to offer. After all, it sounds like he's already had lots of gay sex with other guys, and in fact if one lives in a big modern city like London, then that possibility always exists however old you are. In any case, it's also true that
  • The two of them could always agree on some kind of open relationship, if they decide that they want to experiment.
On that point, I think that it'll be vital for them to discuss the monogamy issue, and to keep discussing it. My final thoughts about all this are
  • Good communication between the people involved is vital in any relationship, but in the early days when they're finding their way around their new lives in London, it'll be especially important. However, as long as they keep good communication going regarding everything that might affect their relationship, and regarding the monogamy point in particular, then I think they've got every chance of making a success of it.
  • Finally, if the reader is having second thoughts about taking his boyfriend to London, then in spite of the undying love that his email expresses, perhaps sub-consciously he doesn't really love his boyfriend as much as he says he does!

Anyway, do any other readers have any thoughts on this situation?