Thursday, May 22, 2014

Email from a gay Asian guy about his boyfriend

At the end of April, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

Just a bit of a short introduction, I have been reading your blog for a bit and might I say it is a truly great blog to read! It's nice to see how someone can be honest about their life as well as their struggles as a person. And I do apologise in advance if this email is a bit too long.

I myself am currently a student here in the UK and will be moving down to London later on this year due to my Training Contract. I come from Indonesia and due to my cultural background and all, have only accepted the fact that I am gay about 3 years ago. I am only out to a very select group of people and still thinking about what I'm gonna say to my family when the time comes I guess.

Ok, but that's beside the point of why I wrote this email. I am currently in a relationship of 2 years with my boyfriend who is a local guy. He's a good 9 years older than me and I just fell nicely into the N/2 + 7 rule that you've made. We've been together for 2 years but of course throughout those two years we've had a few major fights and almost break-ups. Later on this year I will be moving down to London and although at first he wanted to move in with me, due to his financial conditions he can't. So I am rather nervous at how things are gonna turn out for the next year, before (hopefully) he'll move down to London to join me.

I have just read your post about your boyfriend K, and you mentioned that you loved him, and that you try to explain this because you can't get your mind of him, you worry about him etc. For me now I am asking the same question to myself about my bf, do I really love him? One thing that's been bothering me is that a curiosity to look at what's out there. I am currently 23, and my current bf is my first ever relationship. So sometimes I do feel scared if I've gone into this a bit too fast. Questions like "Am I missing out on something?" or "Have I settled too early?" sometimes pop into my head especially when things are not going well between us. And I do feel afraid that I am not doing justice to his feelings to me because I have these doubts sometimes.

Well that's about it I guess. I know it's not that interesting I suppose, but yeah would appreciate it if you can share some of your life advice to me! (:

Keep on posting!

I send him a quick reply to tell him that I'll probably get round to posting his email within a few weeks, and the next day, I find the following email from him in my inbox:

Hi GB,

I wasn't expecting such a swift reply from you! I only started going through your blog a few days ago so have yet to go through everything, there's an insane amount of posts, but they're brilliant though. (:

I have to say you do have a lot of experience with gay Asian guys! I do think my situation is rather similar with ex-boyfriend P, although I was raised in Indonesia. I have spent my life living abroad since I was 16. I studied in Singapore for 4 years, so the mention of Boat Quay does bring back some old memories (:

I have also accidentally stumbled on your writings about ex-boyfriend T and I guess I do identify myself with him quite a bit as well, with the familial situations, him not opening up to his straight friends that he's gay, trying to get a job abroad to escape from the so-called straight facade, and many others.

And your posts about infidelity is definitely interesting, a view that I myself hold to be honest, but again this has given rise to a lot of conflicts with me and my bf, as he doesn't hold the same views and all.

I do have a feeling that I will be reading so much more of your blog in the coming weeks! (A good break from studying for my final exams haha).

Thank you so much for your reply and apologies for this rambly email. Just wanted to tell you how great your blog is, and I do hope maybe we can be friends and talk more in the future. I feel like I have so much to learn!

Best regards,

If the reader has a good relationship with his boyfriend, then there are a lot of reasons to try and keep it going. In the gay world it's easy to find opportunities for activities with other guys, but genuine love is hard to find. Also, it's true that the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, so ending the relationship might well be something that the reader regrets a few months down the road if he discovers that life as a single gay man in London isn't what he expected.

Whenever a reader writes to me about his boyfriend, whatever the subject, I always think that the reader should be finding a way to talk to his boyfriend instead of emailing me. It seems that the main issue is the reader's curiosity, and by that I assume he means a curiosity about activities with other guys, rather than e.g. whether there any gay footballers playing in the world cup next month. Curiosity to experience activities with other guys might be satisfied by making the relationship more open, which is certainly a discussion that the reader could have with his boyfriend. If the reader's boyfriend does indeed love the reader, then given their age difference the boyfriend should be able to understand everything that the reader put in the emails to me.

The reader mentions that since he got together with his boyfriend two years ago, they've had a few major fights and almost break-ups. My experience dating ex-boyfriend T and boyfriend K (who're originally from different countries in Asia) is that the period at the start of both relationships was quite difficult. Misunderstandings can arise relating to the Western-Asian cultural differences, and other misunderstandings can arise relating to language problems, assuming that communication occurs in English which is not the native language of the Asian guy. In my case, other misunderstandings related to what it means to be in a relationship. On my side, with memories of how previous relationships worked, I was expecting too much too soon. On the other side, relationships do involve some loss if independence because one has to take some account of one's boyfriend, and it took both ex-boyfriend T and boyfriend K a while to get used to that. However, over time all these difficulties should disappear.

Finally, I'm wondering whether the reader and his boyfriend have discussed what kind of long term future they might have together? Is the reader planning to stay in the UK? If not, then unless the boyfriend is willing to relocate to be with the reader, it might be best to end the relationship so that the boyfriend can start looking for a relationship that does have a long term future.

Do any other readers have any thoughts on this situation?