… and Sustain
a Long-Term Relationship
In these more liberal days of greater awareness and acceptance of gay men in Asia, one would automatically think that it’s far easier than ever to find “Mr. Right.”
Well…yes, maybe. Now that the “closet” is not as full as it used to be and gay Asian men across the region are rallying behind the “gay cause,” bringing key gay issues to the forefront and helping dispel homophobic prejudices, it’s certainly easier to find other gay men on a short term basis to date, to love and be loved by.
Yet, as with any relationship, gay or straight, finding the right partner with whom you wish to spend all (or at least most) of the rest of your life is not that easy – and, it remains noticeable that many gay Asian males flit from one short term relationship to another, simply because they haven’t yet found that “perfect” partner.
With instant access and communication to anyone, anywhere in the world, now commonplace in Asia (Internet, email, Skype, Apps such as WhatsApp or Line etc), along comes instant expectation, instant judgement and a need for instant validation of the person we have just met – making it that much harder to find that ideal mate and nurture a relationship for the long term.
Added to this, whilst attitudes to gay Asian males living together are undoubtedly changing for the better in the region, given the still, relatively conservative Confucian attitudes prevalent in much of the region, social and family pressures can still also be an impediment to gay Asian males cohabiting in long term partnerships.
Still, having said all this, let’s look to the bright side… let’s be positive. The way things appear to be changing in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, more and more gay males are coming out, and more and more are finding acceptance as long-term couples.
So, how does the typical Asian gay male go about finding the right long term partner; what does he need to do and where does he look? Then, equally as (or maybe even more) important, how does he try to ensure that the relationship remains healthy and fulfilling for the long term?
Well, here are some tips and advice which we hope may help:
What is Your Ideal “Mr Right” Like?
Endeavour to paint a picture in your mind (or on a piece of paper if you must) of what your ideal partner will be like. Identify what sort of characteristics and traits you are looking for in a partner, a lover. Will he be from your home country or can he be from, say, Taiwan, Indonesia or Philippines?
We all know that the initial attraction to any prospective partner is their physical appearance. Is he handsome, tall, dark-haired? Is he well dressed, got a great smile, lovely eyes, a muscular body?
But, at the risk of sounding “mechanical” when we know that love, or lust if that’s what it is initially, is all about emotion, you must look beyond your man’s physical attributes… yes… all of them.
See how he stacks up mentally with you. Is he as mentally mature as you? (This is not necessarily age-determined.) Is he as intelligent as you? What are his work and life ethics? Does he have a job or career? Is he economically independent? Are the differences in any of these levels of mental maturity too much for you, or him? Sit down and make a reasonable and sensible determination. List the pros and cons.
What is your compatibility level with him? Can he speak Thai and/or English? Does he read Chinese? What about cultural similarities or differences? Is he out to his family and friends, or at work? If not, will that be a potential problem for you? Also, how out are you? Will that be a problem for him?
What are his likes and dislikes? What sports or hobbies does he enjoy? Is he a “gym-rat” or a geek? Is he a party animal or someone prefers a quiet night in with his lover… you!
Some gay Asian guys I know well tell me that they have made a checklist of sorts about the attributes of their ideal man. All well and good, but as I have discussed with a number of them, no-one, nowhere is perfect. So, if you can get a “score” of around 7 out of 10 in your partner, then you are doing really well!
Then you have to bear in mind that, over time, everyone changes and what your partner is like now, he is certainly not necessarily going to be the same man in ten years time, neither mentally nor physically.
If I had to sum all of this up, my hopefully helpful advice to my gay Asian friends is to find someone who is not only compatible in bedroom activities, but also mentally. As much we may all like to deny it, the physical side of any relationship will diminish with time, and if you’ve not got anything to talk about after the sex is over… then there’s not really much hope, is there?
Where on Earth do I Look for My Dream Man?
Sometimes, we meet our partners just by chance; that unexpected meeting in the gym, at a social event or even in a lift! More often than not it’s not quite that straightforward (or lucky) and many Asian gay males easily fall into despair by seemingly not being able to find other than short-term lovers or acquaintances – but, like everything in life, if you want it that bad, you have to go and get it!
Quite simply, if you are serious about finding a long term partner with similar interests (not necessarily the same, but similar) or in a similar profession or of similar social standing, work out where your chances of success are likely to be highest.
Plan ahead. Work on it. Strategise.
There’s clearly no point in hanging around gay-oriented clubs and bars in Wanchai (Hong Kong) or in Orchard Road (Singapore) if you dislike the night scene or maybe don’t drink alcohol. Nor is there any point in prancing around one of the Fitness First gyms in Bangkok trying to look good, if the thought if picking up a set of weights freaks you out! Yes…yes, I know you can admire all of the other well-toned male bodies, but that’s lust – which doesn’t particularly help your “marriage” prospects!
Try looking for that nice guy at gay-oriented movie clubs, social events, restaurants – instead of clubs. Keep an eye out at places where you know professional gay males congregate. Identify the professions which seem to attract a greater proportion of gay males. Seek your man by asking (don’t be shy) your friend’s boyfriends or partners. In short, get out and about… show yourself off.
Be seen and be keen!
Then, of course, there are the modern style dating sites or agencies. Some Asian gay guys I know throw up their hands in horror when this route is suggested, but, to be fair, using such sites or agencies does take away the pain of making mistakes or misinterpreting intentions. You can at least see upfront what your prospective partner looks like, read about his likes, goals and aspirations.
And, as I said earlier, with the advent of instant access and contact worldwide, your new “husband” may equally be from Hong Kong as from Beijing; from Manila or Taipei!
I’ve found him!
How do we to sustain
a long term, healthy relationship?
Through quite a bit of effort, and maybe a little bit of luck, you’ve finally found the man of your dreams.
He might be from Thailand, from Shanghai or from just around the corner. No matter… this could be the one!
Well, now surely it’s worth that extra effort to hang on to him! Isn’t it?
All relationships between human beings involve a complex set of dynamics and operate on both mental and physical (naturally) levels.
The initial euphoria of love and lust will eventually give way to routine, to the relatively mundane. So, how do you keep your relationship healthy, fresh and, most of all, long lasting?
Clearly, there are no set rules which can be applied to everyone, but some tips and suggestions which might help keep that spark in your relationship include:
There is No Such Thing as Perfection
Remember, as mentioned above there is no such thing as perfection in any person… whether Asian or Caucasian (you might think that you are perfect but others may disagree!). So, don’t expect absolute perfection in your partner day-in and day-out.
Show affection to your man on a regular basis – and not only during lovemaking! When he gets home or you meet up, ask about his day, give him a hug; maybe give his hand a loving squeeze now and then; plant the occasional peck on his cheek or put your arm lovingly around his shoulder. It’s all about showing you care… and not just at bedtime!
Curb your temptation to flirt with other men when you are out. Many younger Asian males are notorious flirts; the general maxim seemingly: “If you’ve got the looks, flaunt them!” Yes, yes, I know. It’s hard, but, come on, how would you like it if your partner was forever looking at other men?
Listen and Comfort
Other small things which can be easily overlooked, but which can help sustain your relationship, are listening and comforting. Sounds simple, right? Be interested in what your lover has got to say. Comment on his achievements. Empathise with his complaints, his problems. Be there for him when he needs someone to talk to. Some gay Asian males can appear to be a little “cold” to others’ problems – perhaps a cultural legacy – but when your man needs you, be there for him.
Hmmm… one of the big ones: compromise! No relationship can be healthy if both partners are not able to compromise on certain things, whether big or small. You always need to “give and take” here and there.
If he often wants to go for a romantic dinner or river cruise and you’re not so keen, don’t simply keep saying “no”… make an effort to go along with his ideas now and then. Do it for him. Next time you want to catch a movie or go to the gym together, persuade him gently that, as you do things you don’t necessarily like for him, surely he can do something for you!
A little understanding and compromise goes a long way…
It’s almost second nature to most gay Asian men I know, but make sure you groom yourself regularly and present well. Make him still fancy you and still look at you admiringly. Make your man proud to be out and about with you. Now, you don’t have to buy that top of the range tee-shirt or flashy, tight fitting shorts, but select things carefully and present and dress with style. Let him see you are still a “worthy prize.”
Even if you don’t like the gym or exercise per se, keep yourself in good physical condition. Sure, it’s hard with all those tempting foods and drinks around and the regular snacking that many Asian guys do. Not only is keeping fit for your own health, but your partner will appreciate seeing the finer tones of your lean, taut body… not the “flabbiness” associated with over indulging!
Many gay Asian guys, especially in Hong Kong and Singapore, are devoted to the gym (not sure if they really go there to keep themselves fit or just to admire other guys in the mirrors) but, if you don’t have time for this, or it’s definitely not your “thing,” do keep a careful diet and do some regular simple exercises at home; try and keep fit and healthy as long as you can – and then reap the benefits in the bedroom!
Last, but not least…now and then add in a little “pep” or something spicy to your relationship – sometimes give him a nice surprise or two: a new book he’s been after, a DVD he loves… some very s-e-x-y underwear… or whatever else takes your fancy!
Follow some of these tips and suggestions and you’ll certainly be appreciated. But, most importantly, your relationship will prosper. After all, you’ve got your man – make sure you continue to enjoy him and enjoy the pleasure of a long lasting, loving relationship!