Saturday, December 05, 2015

Suggestions for Christmas Charity donations please

Christmas treeI can't believe that Christmas will soon be here! Looking back over the past twelve months, I feel that it's been a good year for me. My relationship with boyfriend K is going well :-), and we've been on quite a few interesting holidays together.

Many years ago now, I agreed with my family that instead of buying each other Christmas presents, we should donate the money to charity instead. And to help with the process, for the last 8 years I've been asking readers for suggestions regarding who do donate money to . This year there's more than £1000 to give away, so as usual, please leave a comment and tell me who you think I should be giving to? The one rule is that because of the way I do my donations, I can only donate to charities that are registered with the UK Charities Commission. I'll make the final decision about who to donate to on Sunday 13th December (or shortly after), so please leave your comments before then. All suggestions welcome :-).

Update 22-Dec-2015: charity donation result.

I've finally got around to making my donations for this year, about a week later than originally planned. But the good news is that I was able to give away more than I had anticipated :-).

Over the years, whenever Kenski has left a comment on my blog, it's always been useful and insightful. So it was no surprise to me that all his charity suggestions seemed very sensible. Consequently I gave £200 to Food Cycle (registered charity number 1134423), £200 to Food Chain (registered charity number 1003014), and £100 to the Ministry of Stories (registered charity number 1138553).

As I said in a comment, the video that the commenter "P" mentioned led me to a web site called Give Well. Unfortunately though, it turns out to be quite American in focus, so a lot of it's suggestions aren't registered charities in the UK. But it did suggest the Against Malaria Foundation which does have charity status in the UK (registered charity number 1105319), so I gave them £500. Another commenter suggested a Shelter (registered charity number 263710), which is a charity for homeless people. For many years I gave to a charity called Crisis which has similar goals, but I have no reason to favour Crisis over Shelter so I gave Shelter £300.

Finally, I gave some money to a couple of my old favourites. As I said last year, I come from a medical family, so I gave £500 to Médecins Sans Frontières (Charity number 1026588). And lastly I supported GMFA (charity number 1076854) again with a donation of £200.

Anyway, a very Happy Christmas to all my readers, wherever you are. Have a good one! GB xxx

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Are relationships between younger and older guys normal?

Yesterday the following short email arrived in my inbox:

Dear GB,

I enjoy reading your blogs and find them very insightful which is why I want to seek your advice.

I wanted to know if you think younger guys dating or having sex with older guys (daddies) in the gay community is normal ?

Hope to hear from you.


I've thought about this a bit, and it's a bit difficult to answer, because it's hard to know what the reader means by "normal".

My best guess it that quite a large majority of gay sexual activities occur between guys where the age difference is no more than ten years or so. A ten year age gap is too little for it to be a situation where a younger guy is having sex with a "daddy" character. Nonetheless, I also think that there is reasonable amount of contact between guys where there age difference is more than ten years.

Of course, a ten year age difference means less and less as one gets older. It's quite a big gap if the younger guy is still a teenager, but much less so when the two guys are in their 40's or 50's. Perhaps a good way to define dating or relationships between younger and older guys would be to recall my rule about N/2+7. The rule suggests that it's socially unacceptable for a guy aged 'N' years to have a relationship with someone who's younger than N/2+7. So the question then becomes, how "normal" is it to break that rule.

I've certainly had more than a few encounters with guys who're more than ten years younger than me, and also a couple with guys who're more than ten years older than me. However, to me the word "daddy" conveys a particular type of personality, and suggests a situation that is very unequal in many ways. I wouldn't put myself in the "daddy" category, because situations which are too unequal don't seem very healthy to me.

In terms of younger guys dating older guys, I am aware of quite a lot of relationships where the younger guy is Asian and the older guy is Caucasian. So for long term Asian/Caucasian relationships, an age difference of more than ten years does seem normal.

Hot house logoHowever, I also recall a situation involving guys of different ages which definitely did not feel at all normal. It happened over two years ago, while I was visiting the Hot House in Cape Town. Although I did a post about my visit to the Hot House, I didn't mention anything about the two guys of different ages because it because it made me feel uncomfortable. In my visit to the Hot House, as well as my Thai friend B and the guy Henrik that I mentioned, I also got talking to another guy who was quite young. Eventually he told me that he was there with his much older boyfriend. However, he also told me that his mission was to try and find guys for his boyfriend. It wasn't clear to me whether the intention was to have a threesome, or whether the older guy wanted to have sex on his own with whatever guy his younger boyfriend found for him. (I guess another possibility would have been that the older guy wanted to watch his younger boyfriend have sex with someone else!) But in any case, the situation definitely didn't seem "normal". The older boyfriend looked quite unattractive, and the young guy behaved and said things that suggested that he was completely subservient to his older boyfriend. It felt as though the two of them were in the kind of sub-dom relationship that Christian Grey was looking for with Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey.

So I think whether it's normal or not for a younger guy to have sex with an older guy depends on the context. As I said above, I think that there is a reasonable amount of contact between guys of significantly different ages. But whether it's normal or not probably depends on the context :-).

Do any other readers have any thoughts on this subject?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Smart drugs

"Hey GB, come here :-)," shouts boyfriend K from the bath.

I always enjoy looking at my boyfriend when he's wet and naked, so I climb the stairs to the bathroom to see what he wants.

"Look at this," he says, pointing to his iPad, "my sister just sent this to me. Apparently it's a drug like that they had in that film Limitless!"

"I don't believe such a thing exists!" I reply, sceptically.

"Well, perhaps not exactly like that film, but it's some kind of brain enhancing drug :-). It's called Modafinil."

"OK, let me do some google research and see what I can find out."

I find a recent Guardian newspaper article about the drug which is very informative. The drug promotes wakefulness, is used by narcoleptics to stop them falling asleep, and apparently doesn't have many side effects.

Boyfriend K obviously does some research too, because later in the day, he comes into my study to talk to me.

"I've been looking into this smart drug and it seems to be safe. Why don’t we buy some and try it?" he asks.

"Maybe," I answer, still a bit sceptical, "is it possible to buy it over the counter without a prescription?"

It turns out that in the UK we would need a prescription :-(. But I'm wondering whether any blog readers have tried it? If you have, please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An unexpected reunion

It's Saturday, a couple of weeks after me and boyfriend K got back our holiday when we visited Prague and Budapest. We've been out with friends in the sun all day, and arriving back home around 6pm, we're both feeling happy and tired. It had been a good day :-).

"I'm a bit sweaty so I'm going to have a bath," announces boyfriend K casually.

I'm feeling a bit sweaty too and although I love having baths with boyfriends, unfortunately the bath in our house is a bit cramped with two people in it so I'll have to wait. I find other things to do, and when boyfriend K comes down from his bath almost an hour later, he's got a plan.

"Right," he says authoritatively, "go and freshen yourself up because we're going out :-)".

"Are we?" I ask, mildly surprised.

"Yes! Some friends of that couple we met last month are having a garden party. I've just been chatting to them online and we're welcome to go along too :-)."

One of the things I like about boyfriend K is the fact that he's pretty much always up for another party, even on days like today when we've already had a few drinks with some other friends!

A little over half an hour later and we're wandering down a road in an area of London that we're not familiar with, bottle of wine in hand, looking for a house number that seems unfeasibly large compared to the length of the street.

"Can you phone someone and ask if the number is right?" I ask.

It turns out that an extra digit had accidentally been added to the house number in a message that was sent to boyfriend K. However, after a short phone call, it doesn't take us long to find the right house.

Once in the house, we head for the garden and looking round, it seems like the party has been going on for quite a while. There are a few people around that I recognise, and I'm happy to discover that I'd met the hosts on a previous occasion. There seem to be quite a few guys like me, i.e. British guys with foreign and especially Asian boyfriends.

"Hmmm," I say to the British host after we've exchanged a few pleasantries, "who's that guy sitting down over there?" and I indicate with my head to a guy who's right down the other end of the garden, chatting to someone.

"He's originally from Argentina," my host explains, and he tells me a few things about him, including the fact that he's got a long term partner.

As soon as I hear where he was from I realise that I'd met him on gaydar, and that we'd had a bit of fun together. It was just after I'd split up from ex-boyfriend T, but before I started dating boyfriend K. Back in August 2013 I'd even done a blog post titled Activity report which mentions him ("a cute Argentinian"). I also remember that his boyfriend didn't know that he used websites to hook up for fun with other guys.

But what should I do? I can't help thinking that he's bound to recognise me, so it could be quite awkward. Whatever I do, I don't want to be a home-breaker, so I'll need to make sure that no one finds out that I've been naked in bed with him!

A little later, the Argentinian guy gets up from where he's been sitting and walks towards me, presumably on his way to get another drink. I look at him directly, and when he catches my eye, I can tell that he's recognised me. But suddenly he looks uncomfortable. I decide that pretending that I've never meet him before would be the most awkward thing to do, so when he gets close to me I know that I have to say something.

"Hi, how are you?" I say casually as he passes me.

"Oh hi, … er, … yes," he says, but he clearly doesn't know what to do, "just let me get another drink :-)".

Now that I've broken the ice between us, I start feeling a bit more comfortable about the situation, and I even start enjoying it a bit. Just for fun, I quickly send boyfriend K a message on WhatsApp: "There's a guy here who I met on gaydar two years ago". Boyfriend K is sitting down under a gazebo a short distance away from me, and I see him pull out his phone to read my message. He immediately looks over to me, perhaps to see who I'm chatting to. I smile enigmatically back at him as though to say "can you work out who". But one of the guys that he's talking to needs his attention, so all he can do is give me a knowing smile and return to his conversation.

A little later and I'm chatting to someone that I've met a few times before. The cute Argentinan guy walks past again so I decide to have another go.

"Have you met my boyfriend?" I ask, catching his eye as he tries to walk past me, "that's him over there, he's called K".

"Oh really :-)," he replies, looking quizzically at me, "sorry, can you excuse me a minute."

A couple of other occasions arise when again I try to talk to the guy, but each time the guy makes some excuse. At one point I notice that he ends up in a small group with boyfriend K, who introduces himself, so in fact boyfriend K ends up talking to him more than I do. And similarly, I end up talking to the Argentinian guy's boyfriend.

"Have you been away on holiday much this year?" I end up asking the boyfriend.

"Actually we've got a big trip planned to Indochina next month :-)," he replies.

"Have you been there before?" I ask.

"No, this will be our first visit."

"I had a long trip there about ten years ago with an ex-boyfriend," I say, before talking in detail about the different countries that I'd visited.

"Here’s a card with my email address," I say after talking for at least ten minutes, "feel free to send me an email if you think I can help at all :-)".

The party comes to and end without me managing to talk to the Argentinian guy, but the next day I'm in for a surprise. It's not his boyfriend who sends me an email, but the guy himself!

Hi GB,

Hope you are well and not too hungover from last night. I just wanted to apologise for not talking to you yesterday. Seeing you there was a bit of a surprise. I have no ill feelings towards you or meant to be rude to you, although I think I was. I was a little tipsy and seeing you there with your partner K and mine spooked me out a bit.

In fact I have very fond memories of when we met. You were charming and fun, and the kind of person I would have liked to get to know better. I was glad to hear that you had found a partner and having met K, I can say he is a lovely guy. I am genuinely happy for you.

Despite my partner and I having an open relationship of sorts, one of the main rules we share is that we do not openly discuss our extra marital encounters. Another rule is that we never bring anyone here to our own home or make friends with them. I would hate to know what he might get up to, and I simply do not want to know. This is a compromise we have found after twenty years together. It has been many years since we have been intimate with one another. It is sad but what we share is so much more than just sex. I am happy to see that you got on so well with him, he is a wonderful person. I would be so happy to welcome you and K here at our home or simply go out for drinks and food and finally get to know you better if you wanted to.

Anyway, I hope you have a great day!

Thanks, all the best,

The information in his email about his open relationship is a bit different to what he told me two years ago. Previously he'd told me that they hadn't really discussed it at all, and that he'd just assumed it was OK to have fun with other guys! But there's no point asking him about this, so I simply reply to say that I don't have any intention of disclosing anything to his partner. We exchange another couple of emails and it seems likely that we'll meet up at some point, but it hasn't happened yet.

Looking back, the thing that seems amazing to me now is that something like this has never happened to me before. Over the years, I've certainly had my share of activities with quite a few guys, so where are they all now? Presumably a lot of them end up with boyfriends, but it's not such a big world so why haven't I bumped into any of them with their partners? Anyway, I do hope that I'll see the Argentinian guy again :-). And hopefully next time, he'll be happy to talk to me!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Seat belt not necessary in Budapest

A few days after we visited Prague, me and boyfriend K arrive at the main railway station in Budapest. I had visited Budapest once before in the 1990's with boyfriend number 1 (a.k.a. ex-boyfriend S), but that would have been around 20 years ago. I am definitely interested to see what the city is like these days. The main taxi queue at the railway station looks very long, so since we don't have a lot of luggage, we head onto the street and start walking towards the hotel where we'll be staying.

"There's a couple of taxis parked on the road over there," I say to boyfriend K, looking around, "perhaps one of them can take us."

The first taxi does indeed agree to take us. Boyfriend K sits on the back seat while I take the seat next to the driver, and as we pull into the traffic, I start to put my seat belt on.

"No need for seat belt," says the driver, turning to smile at me, "this Budapest! Seat belt not necessary in Budapest :-)."

I look over, and to my surprise, I see that the driver himself isn't wearing a seat belt. I feel sure that there must be some European Union regulation about wearing seat belts, but decide not to challenge him on this. Nonetheless, his suggestion doesn't deter me from wearing MY seat belt.

After our experiences in Prague, I know that boyfriend K will be interested to visit some of the gay bars in Budapest, so before we go to dinner I find time to use google to do a bit of research. I find a place called Coxx club , and since it's a Saturday, there's a Gang-Bang party tonight. I see that the club also hosts events called "Sucker night" and "Nude sex party". Boyfriend K is very keen that our relationship is monogamous, so I decide that Coxx club *might* not be the best place for a couple like us! I find another place called Action Bar. Like the name itself, the images I find online suggest that it's also quite a raunchy place. Searching further I find a few others places too, although it's not obvious to me where would be best.

"So where shall we go afterwards?" says boyfriend K to me in the restaurant after we've ordered our dinner.

"I'm sure you want to find some of the gay bars!" I say, grinning at him.

"Of course :-)," he says, smiling back at me, "Do you think that there's anywhere here like Escape Club that we found in Prague? That was fun!"

The restaurant has a wifi network, so he gets the password and starts to do his own research.

"That's amusing," says boyfriend K smirking, "There's a place called Coxx club, but cocks is spelt C-O-X-X!"

"Yes indeed," I say with a serious tone in my voice, "I was looking for places earlier. I'm pretty sure that Coxx club is NOT the kind of place that we should go."

"Why not?" asks boyfriend K.

"Why not?" I say, repeating his question back to him, "well just look at it! Tonight there's a Gang-Bang party. It's presumably the kind of place that single men go to get naked and get off with each other while everyone else watches! Not at all the kind of place for a couple like us."

"Well we could just watch, couldn't we?"

"Maybe, or maybe not. At some of these events one may be expected to check in all one's clothes on arrival! How would you feel about that? And even if we don't have to do that, I wouldn’t expect it to feel very comfortable if one doesn't want to get involved."

Boyfriend K does a bit more research, and after a short while, nods his head at me. No doubt he founds some reviews which echo my thoughts about what it's probably like.

"OK, how about this place then?" he says, showing me the screen of his smartphone, "It's called Action Bar :-)".

"Yeah," I say, "I also looked at that place earlier. I doubt the clientele will be your type, and with a name like Action Bar, who knows what we'll be walking into! I'd bet any amount of money that there'll be some dark rooms."

"C'mon mate :-)," replies boyfriend K, clearly in the mood for some kind of excitement, "It'll be fine :-). Surely we can just go for one drink?"

All the other nearby bars sound quite standard, so with a little bit of trepidation, I agree that we'll go and check out Action Bar.

"But don't be upset if I end up saying 'I told you so'," I warn him, "It’s definitely not going to be like Escape Club!"

Fifteen minutes later, we're walking down quite a dark road in central Budapest.

"It should be down here somewhere," I say to boyfriend K, "and it's going to be in the basement, so look out for it."

"How did you find your way from the restaurant without looking at the map?" asks boyfriend K suspiciously, "and how do you know that it's in the basement?"

"Because I've got a good sense of direction and because I did my research earlier :-)!" I answer emphatically.

In the distance I spot a guy loitering outside one of the buildings, and as I get closer, it's clear that he's some kind of bouncer. Peering down the steps that he's guarding, I see a neon sign saying Action Bar. I smile at the bouncer, and he indicates that we can enter.

"Entrance fee tonight," he says in English, presumably working out that we're not Hungarian speakers, "pay downstairs."

We head down the stairs and go through the door, handing over the minimal HUF 1000 entrance fee on the way to the bar. None of the other guys in the bar or the bar staff look particularly attractive. Boyfriend K is easily the youngest person in the bar.

"So what do you think?" I ask boyfriend K quietly once we've bought our drinks.

"Not sure …" he replies, before adding "I'm going to have a look around."

He hands me his drink to hold and heads for the opening at the back of the bar which looks like it leads into another room. While he's away, a couple of bar stools become available so I go and sit down at the bar. A few minutes later he returns with his report.

"The room next door has a kind of platform by the bar," he says, sitting down next to me, "Not sure if they have any entertainment here, but if so, I guess they stand on that to perform."

"And are there any dark rooms?" I ask, quietly.

"Uh huh," answers boyfriend K, nodding his head, "the toilets are there too, and …"

He pauses looking a bit shocked about something.

"I'll show you later," he continues, "I still can't quite believe it!"

"So what do you think?" I ask, "Shall we stay?"

"I know you're going to say 'I told you so', but you're right," he admits, "It's not really my kind of place! We can move on after this drink if you like."

But suddenly he has a thought and he signals to the barman, who comes over to find out what he wants.

"Is there any show tonight?" he asks.

"Yes," answers the barman, "stripper at 1am in room next door :-)."

"Well we may as well see the start of the show," says boyfriend K to me, "but let's go if we don't like it."

The bar gradually fills up as show time approaches, so we move next door and perch ourselves on a bench at the back of the room. As usual in these places, the show starts late. But when it starts, it's not what either of us expected.

"Oh my god," boyfriend K whispers to me once the show starts, "that's definitely NOT what I want to watch!"

In front of us, on the platform by the bar, a stocky and slightly hairy guy in his fifties is gradually taking off all his clothes. He's good at moving in time with the music and he's not obese, but he's not particularly handsome either. However, the room is quite crowded now, and looking around it's not going to be easy to go. Ten minutes later, the guy is completely naked apart from a cockring. As I had expected, he's quite a big guy, and as he dances his tackle bobs up and down as he shows it off to the audience in different poses.

"I guess that's it!" says boyfriend K to me, but even though the guy isn't his type, he can't take his eyes off the stage.

Shortly afterwards, the stripper gets off the platform and disappears into an adjacent room. However, the show isn't over because now, two much younger guys emerge from the same room and climb onto the platform. Both these guys are considerably more handsome than the first guy. Slowly, the two guys remove each other's clothes, and soon they're both standing there naked, playing with each other. However, unlike the equivalent performance at Escape Club, both these guys are hard. They take it in turn to kneel down and take each other in their mouths, but neither me nor boyfriend K are prepared for what happens next. After a few minutes, both guys get off the stage on opposite sides, and each of them offer themselves to the nearest audience member. And on both sides of the stage, the guys in the audience oblige, by bending down and giving the performers a suck.

"I don't believe it!!" whispers boyfriend K to me, "what on earth …"

Slowly the performers move round the room in opposite directions. Most members of the audience are keen for a brief play and often a bit of a suck too. As each of the performers pass us, we both smile at them but shake our heads slightly. Luckily there's no necessity to get involved.

"Follow me," says boyfriend K to me once both performers have passed us, and he leads me through a dark passage located next to the stage.

At the end of the passage there's a small dimly lit room with a pornographic video showing.

"Have a look in there," he says to me, and walking inside, I see a long urinal with shiny metal at the back, and with two cubicles on the opposite wall. It's just the toilet area.

I feel like a pee, so I walk towards the urinal with obvious intention.

"NO, don't!" says boyfriend K urgently, "come with me," and walking back through the room showing the video, we enter a much darker area.

"There!" says boyfriend K, "that's what I said I'd show you!"

And I can't quite believe it either. The shiny metal at the back of the urinal isn't metal after all. Instead it's a one way mirror which backs on to this dark area, so that anyone here can see the tackle of any guy who uses the urinal.

"Wow," I say quietly, "I've never seen that before!"

We don't stay in the dark area very long, and heading back to the main bar, the show is now over so it feels like time to leave.

"How DEGRADING for those performers," says boyfriend K as we walk back to the hotel, "walking round the room like that, letting anyone touch them and suck them."

"And how UNHYGENIC too," he continues, "what on earth is everyone thinking, there must be diseases that could be passed on from one member of the audience to another."

As boyfriend K continues to comment and express shock about what we'd just seen, I can't help wondering what would have happened if we'd headed to Coxx club instead. And then I think back to what the taxi driver said to us just after we'd arrived, "Seat belt not necessary in Budapest". After our experiences tonight, it certainly seems to be a city where risk-taking is part of everyday life!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A night out in Prague

Over the years, I've visited lots of Europe's major tourist destinations. However, boyfriend K has only been to Europe a few times, so with lots of European places still on his bucket list we planned a little trip. Half way through the holiday, having visited a few places in Germany and Austria, we make our way to Prague.

"I can't believe how crowded all the main tourist areas in Prague are these days," I say to boyfriend K as we're finishing dinner in a smart Italian restaurant on the second night, "it's definitely much more crowded than when I first visited in the 1990's :-(."

"Yes, too crowded," replies boyfriend K, "I think it would be nice to get up very early tomorrow and out of the hotel by 6am, so we can take some photos when there isn't anyone around!"

"OK, I'd be up for that :-), but we'll have to have quite an early night or it won't happen! Actually, I had been thinking that we should find some of Prague's gay bars tonight?"

Although I don't spend a huge amount of time in gay venues, it can be fun to visit them occasionally, especially when one's on holiday in a city like Prague :-).

"I've been wondering if you were going to suggest that," replies boyfriend K enthusiastically, "and I was thinking I might go on my own if you weren't interested! Have you any idea where to go?"

"I expect we can work it out, but if we're going to get up early for photos tomorrow, perhaps we should leave it until tomorrow night?"

"Well," says boyfriend K putting on one of his winning smiles, "how about we find a gay bar tonight? But just for one quick drink!"

Although I've visited Prague twice in the past, I haven't been for at least ten years, so whatever I can remember is sure to be hopelessly out of date. Luckily we have access to google on our smartphones, and a quick search shows several places that are only a short walk away. The nearest place with a promising description is called "Friends", and fifteen minutes later we're standing outside wondering whether it's actually open. It sounds exceptionally quiet.

"Well the door is open, so now we're here we may as well go inside and have a look," I say pragmatically.

It turns out that one has to go down two flights of stairs to get into the bar, and as we descend, gradually we hear music getting louder and louder. Once we're at the bottom of the stairs, we see that there are perhaps fifteen other customers so we decide to stay. A few of the customers are women sitting in pairs, so it's presumably a bar for both gay men and gay women.

In London I drink much more wine than beer, but I'm a big fan of Czech beer so we stand at the bar and order a couple of glasses of draft Pilsner Urquell. Next to us there are a couple of Asian guys sitting on bar stools, chatting to each other, and almost immediately they notice that boyfriend K is also Asian. I catch the eye of the closest one, and soon we're chatting to each other.

"Hello, my name is L :-)," says the guy who's furthest from me in a slightly camp voice, "and who are you?"

"I'm GB," I reply in a manly voice.

"… and I'm K," says boyfriend K, happy that it is indeed a friendly bar and that it's easy to get talking with some of the other customers.

The other guy introduces himself as W, and before too long we know a few things about each other. The first guy L now lives in Prague, whereas W is a tourist like us, originally from Shanghai.

"It's my last night in Prague," says W, "tomorrow I fly to Amsterdam for the last leg of my holiday."

"He was going to stay in his hotel tonight," explains L, "but I persuaded him that he should come out for a drink here one last time."

I get the impression that the two of them met online within the last couple of days, and may even have engaged in some activities together.

"And are you guys a couple?" L asks us.

"Yes we're boyfriends :-)," I say, "we've been living together in London for a while now."

We discuss Prague a bit, and L tells us that he doesn't feel that the city is 100% safe because he had been burgled within the last few months. We carry on chatting, and as me and boyfriend K finish our beers before L and W, we offer to buy a round of drinks for all of us.

"If you buy me a beer, does that mean that I have to have sex with you?" asks L, smiling. But there's something in L's voice that tells me that he's not completely sure of the answer.

"No, of course not!" I say smiling at him, "buying rounds of drinks is a British custom among friends, it doesn't mean anything really."

"So how old do you think I am," asks L, as me and boyfriend K start tucking into our second beers. "Feel the skin on my back," he continues, "it's very smooth isn't it :-)?"

Clearly L wants to be told that he looks young. I feel the skin on his back that he exposes to me, and although it is smooth, it seems mildly ridiculous to me that smooth skin on one's back is any claim to youth. Looking at him closely I decide that he's probably at least 45 years old, if not 50, but obviously it would be rude to say that.

"I think he's older than that your close friend who lives just outside London," I say to boyfriend K playfully, deliberately discussing L's age in a way that he won't be able to understand! The friend that I'm referring to is in his late 30's, so I feel that I'm being generous.

"What does that mean?" asks L, impatient to be told how young he looks.

"Well I think you're probably about 34," replies boyfriend K being exceptionally generous, "and that friend of mine is 37 so GB thinks you're 38."

On hearing this L instantly looks upset, no doubt because he wants to be told that he's still in his 20's.

"Always be kind to a lady about her age!" advises W with a smile on his face. But I am being kind!

"Well," says L, "in fact I'm 40, can you believe it?"

"No, surely not," I say, deciding to play along with him, but deciding that if he admits to 40 then he's probably at least 50!

The conversation drifts onto other subjects, and when we've finished our second beer, boyfriend K starts to look restless.

"Are there any other places nearby that are worth a visit?" he asks.

"There's a club about ten minutes walk away," says L, "and there'll be a show we could watch. There'll be lots of money boys who'll come up to you wanting you to buy them drinks, but you don't have to."

It was interesting that he used the term "money boy" to refer to what I would call a rent boy, i.e. a male prostitute. Previously I'd only ever heard Thai guys use that term for Thai rent boys who focus on gay male clients in Thailand.

"What kind of show it is?" asks boyfriend K.

"It's a clothes off kind of show!" replies L, with a bit of a glint in his eye.

"We're meant to be having an early night so that we can take some photos at 6am tomorrow!" I remind boyfriend K.

"And I've got a plane to catch tomorrow," adds W.

"But aren't either of you interested to find out what a clothes off show is like in Prague?" replies boyfriend K.

"Well, yes I suppose I am curious," I admit, and W nods too.

"That settles it then :-)," says boyfriend K, with one of his winning smiles, "let's all go, but just for one drink!"

The four of us finish our drinks and soon we're all making our way to a bar that turns out to be called Escape. It takes about ten minutes to walk there, and once there, we have to ring the doorbell to gain entrance. It seems to help that they recognise L, so the door opens and we make our way down the stairs to find a tough looking guy sitting behind a desk.

"Here's a drinks card for each of you," says the tough guy, "you use this to pay for drinks, and then settle up for what's on the card when you leave."

"Don't lose the card," advises L quietly, "they won't let you leave without it!"

Walking through the next door, neither me nor boyfriend K can believe our eyes. There's a little dance floor in the middle of the club, FULL of young guys who're all completely 100% naked! On the side of the dance floor nearest to the bar there's a pole from floor to ceiling, and the naked guys are taking it in turns to swing round the pole while shaking their tackle at the audience.

"Um, well, that's definitely what I'd call a clothes off show!" I say to L, still completely astonished at what I'm seeing.

Soon, though, the dance floor is empty and all the guys who had been naked have put shorts on and are wandering around the room looking for admirers to buy them drinks or give them tips. Clearly we just happened to arrive at the end of one of the evening's performances. Looking at one of the video screens, I see a notice that says "Live sex show 1:30am", which will be in about 20 minutes time. Perhaps there's some kind of performance every 30 minutes.

"If you want to take any of the money boys home then let me know," says L quietly to me and boyfriend K, "because I can get you a discount. The standard price is five thousand Czech Koruna".

"Thanks L, but we won't be taking any of these guys home," I reply firmly, "we don't need or want to do that kind of thing."

There's a bit of space at the bar, so the four of us make ourselves comfortable there and order some drinks, which are very much more expensive than in the previous bar. Also at the bar is a youngish looking dark skinned guy who turns out to be called F, and before too long we're talking to him as well.

"I'm actually flying back home to Mumbai tomorrow," says F once he's introduced himself, "so I thought I'd spend my last night having some fun here!"

It's not that crowded, and looking around, the people in the club fall into three categories. One category is our group, gay guys who're just looking for a fun night out, and happen to have ended up in a money boy club. The second category is the money boys themselves, showing off their bodies (and more intimate parts of their anatomies) to everyone, presumably hoping that someone will pay to take them home. Finally there are the much older guys who each seem to be on their own, none of whom are particularly attractive, and all of whom are very interested in the money boys!

Just before the "live sex show" starts, a couple of the money boys lay a blanket on the dance floor, and soon a couple of them are fondling each other and trying to make each other excited. Sitting at a table near the dance floor with boyfriend K, we get a good view of what's happening.

"I thought it would be sexy," says boyfriend K to me quietly, "but it's not, is it?"

"No, it's not," I say, agreeing with him.

"It's just sad," he says.

We spot one of the older customers making their way to the door with a big smile on his face. In tow is one of the money boys, who looks quite indifferent to his new friend. Meanwhile on the dance floor, the guys take it in turn to put each other's tackle in their mouths, but neither of them are particularly hard. "Sex" doesn't seem like a particularly honest description of what's happening!

"Do you trust the guys that we've met tonight?" asks boyfriend K.

"W and F seem real, but I'm not so sure about L," I reply after a bit of thought. "But buying him a drink or two is fine. After all, even at the high drink prices in this place, it's still not big money and it helps the night flow better :-)."

After the show, the two performers put their shorts on and come round searching for tips.

"How big you think I am?" asks one of them when he gets to the table that I'm sitting at with boyfriend K.

"Let's have a look then :-)," says boyfriend K playfully.

The guy whips it out from his shorts and stands there proudly, with his flaccid manhood near boyfriend K's face. Boyfriend K grins, and prods it gingerly with one of his index fingers.

"It doesn't look very big to me!" says boyfriend K honestly.

"Is 21.5, I show if you like?"

"OK, let's see then :-),"

"In private only, not expensive … ?"

"Um, no thanks," says boyfriend K, "I'll believe you!"

British guys typically measure themselves in inches, but with a measurement of 21.5, presumably Czech guys use centimetres. If Czech guys also use inches, then I'd be first in line to pay to have a look! The two performers move on to the next table, so me and boyfriend K go back to the bar to re-join L, W and F and buy some more drinks.

"So am I the best looking Asian guy here?" L asks me a bit later. Wow, he's clearly completely obsessed with himself and how he looks.

"Well, obviously for me the best looking Asian guy here is my boyfriend!" I reply.

"But I suppose you are the second best looking Asian guy," I continue, halfheartedly. Nonetheless, even though there are hardly any Asian guys in the club so that there's very little competition, he seems happy with my answer.

"And what do you think the best feature is on my face?" continues L, fishing for even more compliments.

"Your teeth," I reply honestly, after taking a good look at him. "Yes, you do have very good teeth :-)."

Again L seems happy with my answer, but I start to feel a bit sorry for him. It seems to me that he's got some kind of narcissistic personality disorder.

"So do you like any of the boys here?" he asks, finally changing the subject away from himself.

"They're OK for money boys, I suppose."

"So which one do you want to take home with you?"

"None of them!" I reply, starting to feel slightly annoyed.

"Why not?"

"Because I'm very happy going back to the hotel with just my boyfriend!"

"OK. After this place, we could go somewhere else I know, if you want?"

"What kind of place?" I ask, starting to feel very wary of him.

"It's a short taxi ride away, on the other side of the river," he replies, "and it's got lots of semi-private areas. You could all get sucked off in one of the alcoves there …"

"NO!" I reply, definitely annoyed now, "and please don't bother me with any more of your suggestions :-(."

The club starts to look a bit empty now that the shows are finished for the evening, and we all start looking around, wondering whether it's time to go. Suddenly, boyfriend K has an idea.

"Why don't we all go back to the previous place?" says boyfriend K, clearly in real party mood now.

"I've got to fly to Amsterdam tomorrow," says W.

"And don't forget I'm flying back to Mumbai tomorrow," says F.

"C'mon," says boyfriend K, putting on one of his winning smiles again, "just one drink!"

Neither W nor F want the evening to end either, so we prepare to leave and go back to Friends. Getting up at 6am to take photos while Prague is empty seems like a very remote possibility now!

"See you next time," I say to L, a friendly sounding thing to say of course, but not in the context of the rest of us going back to the previous bar! Hopefully that will deter him from joining us. He looks at me with a blank stare as though he doesn't care at all, and walks away to talk to one of the money boys that he seems to know. Meanwhile, W, F and boyfriend K are encouraging some of the other money boys to come along with us.

On the way out, we discover that on top of the cost of all the drinks, there's a 200 Czech Koruna entry charge per person. Given that L knew some of the staff here and that he'd been encouraging us to buy a money boy, I can't help wondering whether he gets a cut of what we spend. It seems especially strange that he didn't warn us about the entry charge.

Fifteen minutes later, shortly before 3am, we're back at Friends bar. There are about the same number of people here as there were when we were here earlier, although now I don't see any female couples. While we're ordering our drinks a few of the money boys turn up, and it seems only fair to buy them some drinks too given that we encouraged them to come. But now that we're in an ordinary bar again it doesn't cost that much :-). Boyfriend K and some of the money boys wander off to the dance area, while I sit down to chat with W and F.

"I came out to my family back in India when I was 18," says F, wanting to share some of his life story with me.

"That must have been a bit traumatic," I say sympathetically.

"It was quite an event for the family at the time, but they've got used to the idea now! I was in love with a guy at the time and we were boyfriends for a few years, but unfortunately that all came to an end."

We chat a bit more, but after an hour or so, both F and W need to leave to make sure that they catch their flights later in the day. I say goodbye to them, and start chatting to one of the money boys. There's one thing in particular that I'm keen to find out.

"Just curious, are you gay or straight?" I ask.

"I am straight," he replies, "and I have girlfriend."

"Wow, doesn't she mind that you do this job at Escape?"

"It a job for me. She from Thailand, I hope go and live with her Thailand."

His English isn't exactly perfect, but he seems like a nice guy so I offer to buy him another drink. He readily accepts, and asks if I can also get one for another of the money boys! It's all small money, especially in Prague where all alcoholic drinks seem exceptionally cheap, so I don't mind :-). While I'm at the bar, I get more drinks for me and boyfriend K as well.

Under normal circumstances I'm pretty bad on a dance floor, but as the drinks mount up over the course of an evening, suddenly I miraculously turn into the world's best dancer :-). That point had now definitely been reached, so I spend much of the next hour or two showing everyone else on the dance floor how to do it. Things get a bit hazy now, but I can remember dancing with some of the money boys, as well as boyfriend K of course. At one point I'm pretty sure that I got up onto the stage and pointed at boyfriend K while dancing to Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You", much to his embarrassed amusement. But eventually it's around 05:30am and the bar is starting to close.

"I've got a bloody brilliant idea," I say to boyfriend K as we start to leave, "it's not going to be necessary to get up early for photos at all! We can go and take all those pics and avoid the crowds right now :-)."

"I wanna go and sleep!" says boyfriend K, slurring his words slightly.

"C'mon," I say, putting on one of my winning smiles, "just one photo!"

It takes about ten minutes for us to walk over to the Charles Bridge, and it's amazing to see that even at this early hour, it's not completely deserted. For some reason, some of the photos that I take turned out to be a bit blurred, but luckily some of the others turn out fine:

Gradually we head back to our hotel, and away from the Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square, the streets are indeed deserted. Around 06:30am we take off all our clothes, climb into bed together, and quickly fall asleep in each other's arms. It had been a great night out :-), but somehow I don't think we'll be doing much sightseeing today!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Double beds with two single duvets

For the past few days I've been touring round Germany and Austria with boyfriend K, moving on to the next town or tourist location every day or two. And each time we check into a hotel, we find a double bed like the one shown in the photo below. It's a double bed, but instead of coming with one large duvet there are two single duvets, one for each of us.

I've said before that I can't get to sleep at night without a nice guy to cuddle, and for cuddling or any more intimate activities, this duvet arrangement is extremely inconvenient. Sure, one can try and overlap the duvets but it never works very well. After shifting around a couple of times, the two duvets have asserted their individuality and one has to start again :-(.

It's all very puzzling, because the Germans and Austrians certainly aren't prudish. On checking into one hotel, we casually get told that "… the naked spa area is on the top floor, …", and in another hotel we run into some naked adults near the sauna without having been given any warning at all!

I've now started emailing the hotels that we've booked in advance of our arrival, to request one large duvet instead of two single ones. Boyfriend K is extremely cuddleable, especially in bed when we're both naked :-), so it's not something that I'm happy to give up even for a single night!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Happy Gay Pride 2015

This morning I spotted that google had a web site called androidify that let's people create their own Android character. So I spent a few minutes creating a GB pink piggy bank character :-), which waves at you with its right hand, while carrying a glass of decent red wine in it's left hand:

There's a gay pride parade happening in both London and New York this weekend, so Happy Pride everyone :-).

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Discussion with a gay guy who had an affair

Back in February, over the course of a week, I exchanged a lot of emails with a reader who lives in Singapore. The reader had been in a gay relationship for 20 years, but he'd started having an affair with someone else and he didn't know what to do next. One interesting issue that these emails discuss is whether one should tell a partner about an affair or not, once the affair is over. Another interesting aspect of these emails is how the reader gradually changes his position, and eventually starts to focus on what he needs to do to try and save his relationship. The emails were as follows:

Dear GB,

I've been reading your blog for many years now and would like your advice about my current situation.

I am an Asian guy brought up in US, and after graduating from university I moved to Singapore for work where I met a wonderful Caucasian man. For nearly two decades we have been in a very loving, faithful, monogamous relationship. We both started our careers in separate companies in junior roles and worked our way up to senior management roles with lots of overseas business travel and time apart or away from each other. We were both very happy and accepted that business travel and the time apart were part of our routine. We are both around 40 years old and reasonably attractive, so we have had our fair share of people hitting on us both individually and as a couple. We have never strayed or acted on any advances in the past, as we believe we should be committed to each other. I have to admit he is only my second bf and I am his first ever bf so we are not "players" as to say.

This was all very well and swell until about two years ago when head office decided to close its APAC operations and made me redundant. At that time I guess I was a bit distraught about being jobless but also excited about having the means and time to travel and explore the world before getting back to a full time role. This is where my problems begin. During the first few weeks/months it was great as I thought I was basically on an extended holiday break. My partner and I planned several holidays together and I was having a whale of a time in my new found freedom from work. After my partner returned to his normal work schedule it dawned on me that I was basically alone for much of my time in Singapore. I felt lonely and a bit needy which is not like my normal personality. I have tried to seek full time employment but nothing seemed to be a good fit in my line of business, and no roles which were similar to my previous job attracted my attention. I am currently doing part time consulting work but that is very sporadic and not very challenging.

In my downtime I found myself looking at gay apps and initially chatting and flirting with guys but never meeting them. I tend to chat to Caucasian guys in different countries to justify/deceive myself that I wasn't cheating or betraying my partner. Then about a year ago I was messaged by a guy in the US and initially it was the same thing of chatting / getting to know each other but after about four months I decided I wanted to meet the guy in person and to book a ticket and fly to US to basically meet a stranger. This was so unlike me and I was both excited and racked with guilt of having an affair/cheating on my partner that I went back and forth of cancelling and rebooking the flight/hotel to US.

Eventually I went ahead with the trip and met the US guy. There was an incredible explosive chemistry between us when we first saw each other for the first time. We got on so well together, had loads in common and it was way more than just physical attraction between us. We literally talked the whole time about everything and just had such a fantastic time together. Initially I booked the hotel room for just the weekend and I was to return to Singapore afterwards. US guy asked me to stay longer and I extended my trip and spent a whole week with him at his home. We played happy family the whole time and I got to know US guy more. He explained he was previously married to a woman but he's now divorced. He was totally in the closet about his homosexual tendencies till after his divorce when he initially met guys off the gay apps and chatrooms. He did have a long relationship with an Asian guy that lasted eight years. They broke up after the Asian guy finished his studies in US and moved back to Asia and since then he has been alone until he came across me on one of the gay apps. US guy also knows all about my background and current partner situation. I also suspect that US guy hasn't moved on from the relationship with the previous Asian guy, and is still holding out that he will return one day, because he is still in regular contact with him and has been on several holidays to Asia to meet up.

My dilemma is that I have been seeing US guy for about a year now and I would fly to US every two/three months to spend a few days with him in the city where he lives and also a few days at his home outside of the city. When we are not together we chat/text/skype several times daily. This whole time since the start of our affair was on the understanding that I would not leave my partner in Singapore and he would be able to date guys in US. I was all fine with this arrangement as I would have time to figure out what I was going to do with my life/job situation and existing relationship. Recently I have thought about moving back to US permanently and breaking up my 20 year relationship as I am besotted with US guy that I am willing to take a risk on him. My friends in Singapore think I am having a mid-life crisis and have gone totally loopy with this way of thinking. US guy has also pulled back a bit when I told him I was thinking of ending my 20 year relationship to be with him. He has told me he doesn't want to be a home wrecker and feels guilty about the whole situation and maybe I should take more time in deciding and in the meantime we should maybe cool things down a bit. I have tried cooling things down but after a few days or a week of not being in touch I have an urge to contact him and the cycle begins all over again.

I am totally lost as what to do, I can't sleep, function properly and constantly irritated about minor stuff that wouldn't even register in my mind before. Even friends advise about seeking professional family counselling so would like your advice or any comments on my dilemma.

I look forward to hearing from you!

When I read the email, I couldn't help thinking that his friends were right that he was having a mid-life crisis, so I replied promptly as follows:

Sorry to hear about everything that's happened to you. Your email talks about your partner a lot in the beginning, and then you don't mention him. Looking into the future, I can't envisage any sensible scenario where you don't end up talking to him about everything. Are you really thinking about walking out of the door without any explanation? After 20 years, he would surely deserve to know why! You write that you need "... to figure out what I was going to do with my life/job situation and existing relationship" but how on earth can you do any of that without talking to him?

Indeed, it occurs to me that you're lost because you think that you can't talk about how you're feeling to the guy who's been the most important person in your life since you became an adult, i.e. your boyfriend. You have no idea what he might be thinking, or if you do, you don't disclose it in your email. He's likely to feel that you've grown apart given what you've been doing, but is he looking to try and repair or is he also looking to move on? He may even have his own secret lover, but I have no idea how likely that is. Would he contemplate a move back to the US with you, if that's best for you professionally? Maybe he can think of things that you haven't thought of, after all, that's what good boyfriends should try and do when things get tough. A good relationship is "... for better, for worse ..." and this is obviously part of the "worse" but that shouldn't necessarily mean that it's the end.

You are indeed having a mid-life crisis. If you've read a lot of my posts then you'll have heard me say many times "The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence" and that's certainly true in this case. Your email implies quite strongly that US guy isn't looking for anything more with you, so you need to consciously acknowledge that it's unlikely that any relationship with him would go very far at the moment.

As I said, in the second paragraph, it's not plausible that you don't end up talking to your boyfriend about everything. It's likely to be a very difficult conversation indeed, but please, don't just walk out without any explanation. Once you've said the difficult things then I think you will feel very slightly better, even if that turns out to be the beginning of the end of your 20 year relationship. But (again something that I've said many times before), good communication is the key to deep rewarding and long-lasting relationships, so if you don't try and repair, you relationship is doomed anyway. It's even possible that your boyfriend will understand everything that you wrote in your email to me, and then find ways to give you all the support that you need at this difficult time.

So, please talk to your boyfriend as soon as possible. Also, please let me know what happens.

Within a day, the reader had sent me another email:

Hi GB,

Thanks so much for your prompt reply.

It's quite reassuring that you/another person can understand my predicament and my feelings of being lost and not knowing where to go and how to move on.

I actually have spoken in a roundabout way to my bf regarding my current feelings of being underemployed and also the feeling of loneliness when he is not around for extended periods of times. Whereas he understands and has even tried to push me into finding a job or role (charity/volunteer work) that will occupy my time, I feel I need his emotional support rather than the financial support.

We have even talked about moving to US together (he is not from US) but willing to move in a few years "when the time is right". He has a senior management job looking after his company’s global markets based in Singapore, so travel is part of his role and I understand that and in effect I am taking a back seat in order for him to succeed. I do not and will not expect him to give up his job for my sake. I need to find a way around his travel schedule to stay connected to him. We message and FaceTime daily now when he is away, so I am making an effort to rebuild our relationship.

He does not know I had had an affair and will be devastated if he knew I was with another guy. He is very old school and has very high morals. I know he has never cheated on me and I do not believe he will ever do so. Even when we were living in separate countries for a year due to different jobs we made the effort to travel between the countries every other month to be with each other. He would even feel guilty and tell me if a guy cruised him in the gym or made any advances on him.

Now after my affair, when I am with my bf doing couple things and spending time together, my mind wanders to US guy and what I would be doing with him in the US. I know the grass is not greener on the other side and have seen some of my friends split up after long relationships who have then regretted not trying to make things work out between them, so I do know I have major stakes on hand if I just give it all up and move to US.

I guess you are also correct in the fact that US guy may be scared off as I know he is seeking a relationship and I was rebound guy for him and he’s not actually sure if he has moved on from his previous bf. We have talked at length about his previous relationship and he had admitted he is still in love with his previous bf but as he’s moved back to Asia his ex has moved on. I have tried since the New Year not to contact US guy so often and try to work things out with my bf. But it always seems after a few days I cave in and send US guy a text or he messages me with a Hi. We haven’t actually said anything lovey dove for a while now so I guess things have died down for him ever since I brought up moving to US and splitting with my bf. US guy did say he does suppress his feelings for me as he knows he doesn’t want to break up my relationship so I know also he’s holding back. I guess I am taken in with his attentiveness and messages of courtship that I should be seeking from my bf instead of US guy.

Thanks for your help!!

At this stage, I felt I needed to be blunt about what I thought was necessary to make robust repairs to his 20 year relationship, so I replied with the following:

You're in denial about the need to talk to your boyfriend about everything. You think that one possible course of action is to hide your affair and continue with your relationship, but it won't work like that. It's become far far too big, and as I said in my first email, your relationship is doomed if you can't communicate properly with him. You say it yourself in your recent email that what you need is his emotional support, and you'll never really have that again if you don't talk to him. Can you survive in a relationship for the rest of your life without proper emotional support? You're thinking "What should I do", instead of working with your boyfriend and thinking together "What should we do", so at the present point in time, your relationship is effectively dead anyway. So I still don't think there's any sensible scenario where you don't talk to him about everything.

Within a day, the reader replied as follows:

Hi GB,

I don’t think I am in denial about the need to have better emotional communication with my bf. I totally understand that I should be more open with my feelings with him rather than project my feelings and emotions onto my affair with US guy.

On the topic of US guy, I guess the affair has run its course as he has been quiet and distant since Christmas/New Year. I take that as a sign that he has moved on and I was reading more into what we had as it seems he was seeking something closer to US so as not to deal with the complexities of another long distance relationship. I understand that US guy has been providing me with the emotional support that I've been lacking in my relationship with my bf. I guess after nearly 20yrs together we have drifted apart and need to work on forming a closer bond and not look to third parties for that support.

On that point, I have realised any meaningful relationship with US guy is not possible and I have consciously decided not pursue any further romantic friendship with him. I have communicated this to him, hence the silence on his behalf. His last email/text in early February was that he was still in regular communication with his previous bf (in Asia) and awaiting his uncertain return to US, but in the meantime he is exploring new friendships in US with SE Asian / oriental guys. I guess that means he is seeking physical connections with guys in US and not seeking anything more at the moment. This is not the type of friendship I seek nor want. As you state in your previous email, I need the emotional support from my bf and not just the physical relief.

I am trying to be more emotionally open to my bf and spent the past few days talking about future plans together and scenarios of being apart and me travelling with him when he is away on extended business trips. One such trip will take place in April where he will be in North America for one month and I have decided to travel with him for some of that time. I will refrain from contacting/seeing US guy while I am nearby, and have already contacted friends to occupy my time there. I realise that having an affair or seeking what I lack emotionally with my bf is not the solution to my insecurities.

I really appreciate your advice and some comments have made me re-examine my relationship with my bf and how I should deal with my current situation.

Thanks so much for everything!

Before I'd had a chance to reply, the reader sent me another email:

Hi GB,

Second email for today as I'm feeling a bit worked up as having a great weekend with my bf with everything seeming to come together and moving ahead and now just had a shock at having come across the US guy online on one of the gay "social" apps seeking a hook up.

I know in my mind that things are over between us but feel extremely betrayed that he is choosing to end our friendship and seeking hook up with strangers. He had deleted all of his gay apps a few weeks ago but seems to have set up new profiles and changed specs in order to disguise himself, i.e. age/height/weight etc. I know it's him even though he's not putting up photos of his face because I recognise specific photos of his home/furniture/body markings etc.

I guess this was inevitable that he would be back on the apps. Do you have any advice, apart from not being on the apps myself, to help me not feel so devastated knowing that US guy is online again?

Both emails were avoiding what I thought the main issue was, namely the need for the reader to have a proper chat with his boyfriend about everything that had happened. But more than that, why was the reader still checking the apps himself, and still letting US guy's behaviour worry him? My response was as follows:

The fact that the actions of US guy concern you gives me cause for concern about your existing long term relationship. Emotional support should be coming from your boyfriend, not me. It only serves to reinforce my view my view that you're in denial about the need to talk to your boyfriend about everything. What's likely to happen over the next year or so is that something will go wrong with your relationship because there's this big thing that you're hiding, which means that you can't communicate properly, etc etc. The fact that you're still checking apps is further evidence that you're not committed to solving the issue with your long term boyfriend. It's up to you of course. I'll take no pleasure if you need to email me later because your relationship does end up breaking down :-|.

When the reply came, I was glad to see that he was finally starting to address the disclosure issue:

Hi GB,

Thanks for your reply. One of the reasons why I'm emailing you is the fact you are a stranger and can look upon my situation from a third party non biased point of view so I thank you for your comments and feedback.

Another reason is that my bf is away on business again as I usually do not go on the apps when he is around or feel the need to seek out guys when he is here.

Also I don't know how to go about approaching him with the subject of my affair or me being on the gay apps when he is not around as I really don't meet the local guys and I'm not on them seeking casual sex.

On the subject of disclosure of the affair, I have done a lot of research and read a lot of material on the internet and some people have advised not to disclose the affair for the sake of feeling less guilty on oneself as it may cause more damage than good.

I have sought advice/feedback from my friends about this subject and they have responded by saying forget about US guy and have fun on the apps and don't get emotionally attached. I was seeking feedback from you and hoping you had a different take on this.

I guess in a way I am in denial about my long term relationship as US guy has totally got me taken in. I was very much smitten with his affection and sweet talk at the time and a bit naïve thinking I was falling in love with a genuine guy. Turns out he is hooking up with several guys and on the lookout for more hook ups at any opportunity.

I did a stupid thing where I responded to his profile today pretending to be someone else (fake name/random blurry pic etc) and he replied back basically with the standard hi/nice profile/what you into/when you free response. I know I shouldn't care at this stage and to a point I don't, as I know for sure what type of character he is now, so I don't regret faking a profile for this outcome.

I guess I will need to work on my relationship and address my emotional support from my bf further. Thanks again and I don't believe you would take comfort or pleasure in hearing that I have succumbed to a relationship breakdown.

At last, the reader seemed to be starting to see the truth about everything that had been going on :-). Looking back at all these emails now, my response that followed was perhaps my best contribution to this debate:

Thanks very much :-), because now we can debate a very important issue, i.e. "to disclose or not to disclose".

FYI, I think that you're at the point I was at when I told my boyfriend number 1 that I'd been away on holiday with boyfriend number 2 (see A conversation with boyfriend number 1). I decided to disclose because, as I said before, it had come too big and I had developed feelings for boyfriend number 2. If you've read my blog you'll know that I eventually split up with boyfriend number 1, even though I never wanted that to happen. One of the reasons for that outcome was that boyfriend number 1 has never been very strong emotionally, and he was unable to handle the idea that I was still in love with him after what I'd done. He also didn't like the idea of an open relationship. However, I would expect your boyfriend to be emotionally much stronger given his job, so if you disclose and you split up then I'd expect it to be for a very different reason.

Disclosing is not to make you feel less guilty. It's so that you can try and rebuild. Until you disclose the truth I don't see how you can do that in a meaningful way. That was certainly why I disclosed to boyfriend number 1. You're already back on the apps, still pining a bit for US guy, so how long before it all happens again? Everything would be different if your boyfriend knows that when he's away you might use apps. You could discuss whether you need some kind of open relationship, although perhaps that would still be unacceptable. I now seem to have grown out of my need for *activities* with other guys, and some things in your email suggests that you want to ditch the other guys too. I don't see that happening without the strong support of your boyfriend.

What does "doing more harm than good" mean? That your relationship will never be the same? That it might cause you might split up? Yes it won't ever be the same again and Yes you might split up. It will almost certainly be the biggest crisis point that you've had, and the outcome is impossible to predict. However, without doubt your relationship can be much better than it is now, because at the moment you're not getting the support that you need, and also your boyfriend doesn't have the relationship that he thinks he has. If your relationship does survive, it'll be much stronger. Alternatively if you hide this and try and tough it out, my guess is that you'll gradually become more and more unhappy and detached from your boyfriend, so that even if you still live together it won't be much of a relationship.

Another thought, though, is that I have no idea what your boyfriend must be thinking. Do you really think that he hasn't noticed anything unusual in your behaviour? If he really does work very hard then it is just about possible, although more likely is that there's something in the back of his mind that he doesn't want to address because he's too busy and he knows deep down that he might not like the answer. Unless you do talk, if he does have a niggle then it'll always be there, and that's not healthy for the two of you either.

I've never posted the following snippet before, but a few years ago on the day after Christmas I got an email from a guy who was at the very top of his profession. Undoubtedly the guy was a very hard worker, perhaps like your boyfriend. The email started as follows:
"My bf number 1, we've been together for 19 years, is cheating on me - he has been for years , I've pretended it was a mistake etc but now he's having a mid-life crisis as well and keeps saying he doesn't know what he wants! I'm left hurt and angry and crying and he's making his mind up about what he wants. I always said the first time would be the last but then I wasn't thinking of love, and I do love him, very much."
I'm not saying that your boyfriend will have the same reaction but there are some similarities. The crisis point had been reached, and at that point the guy's reaction wasn't even what the guy thought his reaction would be, because he realised that he still loved his boyfriend in spite of the forbidden cheating. You give me the impression that you do want to stay with your boyfriend, and if so, that should make the conversation a bit easier. In the snippet above, the boyfriend doesn't seem to know what he wants.

It sounds like I indeed have a different view to the friends that you've spoken to. And in fact that's yet another reason to disclose. A situation where (presumably) close friends know such an important secret about your relationship and your boyfriend doesn't know it is very unhealthy. Might your boyfriend eventually find out through the grapevine? Incidentally, advice to "enjoy the apps" sounds appallingly short term to me, and ridiculously inappropriate for someone like you who's been in a long term relationship for 20 years. Are they jealous of your relationship?

The reader responded as follows:

Hi GB,

I find emailing you very therapeutic as I have been basically letting you know all about my affair / dirty secrets in the hope of seeking some sort of redemption or absolution for my infidelity. I know this is not what you are about and do not expect anything but brutal honesty and feedback from you.

In the whole 20 yrs of our relationship I can honestly say I have not felt this low ever. The reason is inexplicable as I seldom have the need for hook ups or one night stands, but in saying that I am not a saint and have a few (less than a handful) of sexual encounters with other guys in the whole 20yrs of us being together. Each time afterwards I feel incredibly guilty that I have betrayed my bf and it doesn’t happen again for literally years.

I know I need to take ownership and admit my guilt or at the very least open up to my bf about my real feelings and rebuild the mess I have created. What is fundamentally different from your situation with your break up with bf1 is that you wanted an open relationship and he did not. I also do not want an open relationship nor does my bf, we have talked about this in the past as we have friends that have open relationships and seen the implications and problems it causes with one partner seemingly getting left out in the relationship while the other partner seems to be having more fun. This inequality in the relationship is probably the reason that we have stayed monogamous. I guess you are going to argue that in effect of me having an affair that I am being unfair and shutting out my bf and hence having more power or the upper hand than him hence the inequality?

This time with the affair with US guy I don’t feel so guilty and in a way he has made me realise that I am seeking more than monogamous companionship with my bf. I think like you with your relationship with boyfriend number 1, I want more adventure in my relationship rather than being settled as I am currently am with my bf. I think I am looking at this as being the greener pastures on the other side. I know this is not reality and stupid of me to seek further friendship with US guy on this basis. I often wonder if the reason that I am besotted with US guy is that he is the very opposite to my bf. US guy comes from a very blue collar industry. He likes/thrives on US pop culture and generally very down to earth or "common" to use a more horrible turn of phrase. So I guess when I was spending a week at US guy's house playing his bf I enjoyed all the washing/ironing and cleaning which is something I haven’t done in all the years of living in Singapore as we have a full time maid that does all the household stuff. To say we move in different social circles is the best way to describe it so I guess it was a thrill to meet someone so different that showed an interest in me. Needless to say that was all very fine through the rose coloured glasses and now reality has kicked in and it's no longer all happy ironing or vacuuming. Sorry that seemed to poke fun at the situation but I don't really know how to describe the situation or the circumstances any other way.

You are correct that my bf does not know what has been going on or have an inkling I had an affair as he is away often he only sees the fake "happy me" side of things when he is home. If I did disclose to him I been with another guy he probably won't believe I would be capable in the first instance. I did have a bit of a meltdown around Nov/Dec last year where I did contemplate walking out on the relationship to be US guy. At that time he associated my moody behaviour with me being out of work and stress of the Christmas/New Year holidays where we were going to be with his parents and friends. Usually I get on great with his family and friends so he did delve deeper and asked if there was anything troubling me but I bottled out and said everything was fine and I was concerned about the job situation and money side of things. He was great and re-assured me that he would take care of everything and that I don't need to rush to get another job until I'm ready to re-join the workforce.

Still a bit confused on my next moves as bf is away at the moment but back in Singapore for Chinese New Year. I will be with my family for most of the time this year (usually bf and I go on holiday somewhere). My family does include or ask him to join in dinners or gatherings as they know of our relationship, but he doesn't want to be subjected to three whole days with my dad so I guess I will have some alone time with my family and he with our mutual friends.

Look forward to chat to you soon!

When I got this email it was clear that previously the reader had previously been holding back. It's not that he'd been misleading me on purpose, but to some extent he had been deciding on what I needed to know, filtering and putting the right spin on what he disclosed. However, with more disclosure now about previous infidelities (which he implied had never occurred in his first email), and with comments about "… the mess I have created", it was clear that the reader was now starting to was taking ownership of the situation and focus on possible solutions. My next email was quite short:

I'm not going to have any time to email you in the next week or two, but it seems like we're increasingly on the same page about this.

Not sure exactly what you meant about the inequality in your relationship. Perhaps you meant that when you had a job, was his job much better paid than yours, but that wasn't completely clear.

My main thought I don't think it's possible to separate your relationship issues from your career issues. You won't be happy and stable again until you've got something meaningful to do while your boyfriend is away or at work. Nonetheless, I suspect that getting your boyfriend's support and understanding to help you solve the career issue is going to be an important part of the answer.

Anyway, please let me know how it all goes, GB xxx

Even though I'd told the reader that I wasn't going to be able to respond, the following email came through relatively quickly:

Hi GB,

No worries about getting back to me in the next few weeks due to your busy schedule. I'm just happy that I've been able to bounce some of my anxieties off you over the past few days.

When I was in full time employment we both had a very similar salaries that afforded us a very luxurious lifestyle. My bf is still in a very high flying role and with bonuses / incentive schemes he can more than look after me without having to compromise my lifestyle in any way.

What I mean was in having the upper hand in the relationship was that one partner was seemingly more happy than the other in a relationship.

I guess you are correct that as I'm now without a meaningful job I have too much time on my hands and end up seeking chat on the apps or validation from 'friends' in an otherwise un-fulling passing of my days.

I've decided I will stop stalking US guy on the apps as nothing good will come of it as I know he's the type that will be looking for casual sex whilst maintaining the persona that he is not seeking hook ups. I’ve now caught him on three occasions over the course of the past four months on separate sites seeking fun whilst he's sworn to me that he’s turned over a new leaf and deleted the apps. His own words of wanting to be a better person and not want casual hook ups. But it seems he regularly deletes one profile and set up another whilst maintaining similar specs in an attempt to prove to me that he has deleted them. So in hindsight I can now see he has been lying to me about our "special" connection.

Feel a bit of a fool about that bit so in the cold light of day I know I must move on and work on my long term relationship with my bf and not throw away 20yrs over a short sighted affair.

Keep well!

As I had indicated, I was unable to reply. However, three weeks later the reader sent me an update:

Hi GB,

I hope you are doing well! Just to give you an update of how I’ve been as it's been a few weeks since we last emailed each other.

I'm doing better and have taken decisive steps of moving on and patching things up with the bf.

US guy has been in touch with me via text a few times, just casual "how are you/what you up to?" type of messages but I've been ignoring them. Then last week he sent another message to ask if I was ignoring him as it had been two weeks since he sent the messages and I didn’t respond. I eventually sent him a reply and told him I can’t continue to be 'friends' with him as I want to work things out with bf and as he is in US and looking for a long term relationship with someone there and that person can’t be me. I left it at that and didn’t go into details of knowing that he had betrayed and lied to me over the period of ‘us’ being together last year and also logging onto the apps looking for casual hook ups whilst maintaining that he has been with friends when I now know he was with other guys. (Even today I can see he is online on several different apps!)

I've also started to remove him from my daily routine (i.e.) deleting his photos, blocked him on WhatsApp, and Facebook and basically refrain from looking him up online. Even though I deleted the majority of his photos, I can’t bring myself to completely extinguish his memory and I have saved some photos and videos on a secure external hard drive hidden away. I guess some part of me still has feelings for him and I don’t want to completely let go of that but I know I have to remove him from my daily routine and hopefully over time I will think of less of him.

Things with bf are better. He’s still traveling a lot for work a but usually home for the weekends so we can spend some quality time together. We are discussing relationship things like emotional and work stuff and we having physical activities but I still haven’t told him I had an affair. We chat on FaceTime and several times a day when he’s on trips and are planning an Easter holiday together in Europe and I am genuinely excited about that so fingers crossed that we are on a healing path.

I guess like the old mantra of time heals is true and hopefully it's not too soon before I will move on from this episode.

Look forward to chat to you again soon!

PS: THANK YOU it has been quite an emotional time for me over the past few months and I have been feeling so much better since I contacted you and you have been a great part of the healing process!!

The reader now sounded like he was genuinely on a healing path in terms of his long term relationship. However, I still had some concern about whether it was possible to brush everything under the carpet and not disclose what had happened, so the last email I sent the reader was as follows:

Glad to hear that things are getting better :-). The risk of not telling him in a controlled and calm way is that it might end up coming out if you go through a bad patch and have arguments in the future. And if you have told anyone about your affair, there's also the risk of him finding out through the grapevine, and perhaps also a risk if there are any "clues" lying around that you might have forgotten to get rid of. Anyway, I'm very glad to hear that things are on the mend :-). GB xxx

I haven't heard from the reader since March, so I assume that everything he has now sorted himself out. But the issue about whether it's best to disclose an affair or not is still an open question. If any readers have any thoughts on this subject, please leave comments :-).