Sunday, January 25, 2015

Email from a guy looking for a more exciting (sex) life

A couple of months ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

Recently I stumbled upon your blog and immediately was drawn to it. I've read through most of your posts, especially from your earlier years and somehow I can relate with a lot you have been writing.

Actually, I think I might be in a somehow similar situation you were about ten years ago. I'm a gay engineer in my early 30s and have been in various relationships over the last ten years. The longest was over five years long, the current runs about 3 years. All of these relationships were strictly monogamous. However, sometimes I was just flirting on Grindr with other men without actually visiting them. This changed when I was on a longer business trip to Asia a couple of months ago. I finally met a guy for real and somehow the chemistry was so great that we not only had sex once but almost every other day for the three weeks I stayed here. I did tell him that I have a boyfriend at home but still we kind of fell in love with each other, spent a lot of time together and had a very tearful farewell when I finally left. Of course I didn't tell my boyfriend anything but I keep in contact with my Asian friend and even might consider him my boyfriend number 2.

Back at home I was still drawn to Grindr and met some other guys for quick fun. I was especially drawn to Asians. Still I didn't tell my boyfriend anything. He is a very nice guy and I'm quite content with our relationship. However, it is also kind of boring and I have to say that the rest of my life is also a little bit boring. I'm pretty much settled in, have a nice apartment with my boyfriend, a good job, a good salary and already achieved a lot during my younger years. It looks like that everything is just "nice" but not so exciting any more. So it kind of boils down now what to do with my life. I feel similar to you when you were younger that I would prefer a more exciting life instead of just the same routine, nice stuff every day. I had more excitement during my business trip to Asia and also during my brief gay sex here at home. But I don't think that's really a healthy way to go forward (especially by cheating my boyfriend). So maybe I would need an open relationship but I'm not sure.

Anyway, I was wondering what happened to you. Did you finally settle in with a less exciting life? Or did you have anything other (like work or hobbies) filling up for it? Maybe it's some kind of early mid-life crisis but I wonder if as a gay man if there's something inherently different to most straight man who usually found a family.

Looking forward to your reply. Kind regards.

I thought that the email raised some interesting points, and within a day I'd sent him a response which included the following paragraphs:

I think I still have an interesting (exciting?) life :-), but the interest isn't generated by *activities* with lots of different guys! Although I split up with boyfriend number 1 back in 2008, we're still very good friends, like brothers in many ways. Both ex-boyfriend T and boyfriend K were/are keen on monogamy so since early January 2010 I've been monogamous too. Of course, my long term relationship with boyfriend number 1 lasted 15+ years, whereas even the relationship with ex-boyfriend T only lasted 4 years and it's still only around a year with boyfriend K. So perhaps I'll feel the need to find *activities* with other guys again if my relationship with boyfriend K reaches a similar age.

Looking back to the time when I was with boyfriend number 1, I always had a much bigger sex drive than him. So when things were difficult with him, or when I was away from him, I felt compelled to find *activities* elsewhere. Looking back, it feels like I went through a phase (an addiction?) where *activities* with other guys were very important to me. Perhaps because I went through that phase, it's out of my system now and I'll never go through it again. Boyfriend number 1 has various insecurities, so unfortunately he wasn't able to handle the idea of an open relationship. If he had agreed to one, I think I may well have got bored with it after the while, in the same way that I've been happily monogamous since January 2010. In part, a lot of the excitement of all the *activities* came from the naughtiness of it all, and if it's allowed it's much less naughty LOL!

His reply took less than a day to arrive:

Thanks for your quick reply and being so open.

You are right that the "excitement" might come from the naughtiness of the activities. Maybe it's one way to escape a boring life by spicing up things a little bit -- you might get caught after all. It's like sex in a dark park or the car, part of the fun is that you never know if someone catches you.

Your part about this phase in your life being like an addiction also resonated with me. I think it can be a very nice feeling if you know all these hot people like you and want to engage in activities with you. That's why I also enjoy just chatting with them, without ever meeting. It's like watching XXX movies, just a little bit more real. But you have to become careful that it doesn't become dominating your life. That's something I already fear and guess I have to stop now when I can still control it reasonably well.

Having thought about this reader's emails, I can't avoid thinking about a very personal question relating to me, which does have a lot of bearing on the reader's situation. The question that keeps popping into my mind is, what advice would GB today give to the young GB back in 1994, before the trip to NYC where I first strayed from my monogamous relationship with boyfriend number 1? Imagining this as a court case, I find it very easy to write "the case for the defence", namely the case for doing everything in exactly the same way as I actually did.

The (unapologetic) case for the defence: In the end, everything has worked out brilliantly. I had many good years being boyfriends with boyfriend number 1. Having *activities* with other guys outside my main relationship with boyfriend number 1 was much more fun than it would have been had I been in an open relationship, for the reasons discussed in the above emails. Obviously there was a difficult patch with boyfriend number 1 when we ended the relationship, but at this stage 7 years later, we're good friends again and I regard him as part of my extended family. Boyfriend number 1 had firm views against open relationships, so if I had been told him about my *activities*, it's likely that we would have split up in the mid 1990's which would have been a great shame. If I had been monogamous and stayed with boyfriend number 1, I wouldn't have had any opportunity to meet a host of fascinating people, including my other boyfriends. In everyday life, the opportunities for meeting people in completely different walks of life are quite limited, except when one is dating (or cruising!). I've also met a lot of wonderful people as a result of my relationships with boyfriend number 2 and now boyfriend K, so I would have missed out on a lot if I was still in a monogamous relationship with boyfriend number 1. There's a lot of on the internet about the shelf life of relationships, and in many ways my relationship with boyfriend number 1 ran its natural course. Monogamy helps straight couples raise kids in a safe and stable environment, but has less relevance in the gay world.

The case for doing things differently: Boyfriend number 1 has been a very important person in my life, and at this stage I think that he always will be. However, I completely failed to respect his views on monogamy. Worse than that, I didn't give him the support that he needed starting about fifteen years ago, when he was gradually becoming more and more depressed. It's easy to look back and rationalize what happened by making the excuse that I thought we were drifting apart, but in a good relationship the partners should be able to rely on each other in the bad times. So in reality, I let him down very badly.

In fact, I do accept that I should have done things differently. The hard question to answer is what. One thing that occurs to me is that if I'd started talking to him about a more open relationship in the early years, then it wouldn't have come as such as shock to him when he learned that I hadn't been faithful. The uncomfortable truth is probably that there was a fundamental incompatibility between me and boyfriend number 1, because he wanted strict monogamy, and looking at what happened I needed something a bit more open. Open relationships can be constructed in many ways, but I was never able to have that conversation with him. Freedom to play with other guys when I was away on business might have been enough.

Coming back to the reader who sent me the email above, one concern I have is that he seems to be bored with his current relationship after only 3 years. I was never bored in my relationship with boyfriend number 1, although as the early posts in this blog prove, I enjoyed looking for more. I think that there are many benefits to having a long term boyfriend, but perhaps reader's current one isn't the best match for him.

Do any other readers have any thoughts on this subject?