One of the hardest lessons I’ve yet to learn in my adult life is the subtle art of letting go. I’m an optimist and a hopeless romantic. I do my best to see the good in people. We’re all trying to do our best to survive in this complicated world, yet I understand that as humans we are imperfect. We will make mistakes. We hurt people we care about but that never diminishes our capacity for redemption.
I know these are admirable traits when maintaining healthy relationships with people, but what happens when those relationships go awry? How does one handle mistreatment and betrayal? How should one react when the other has a change of heart? The idea that you can form a deep connection with someone and then somewhere along the lines things change–it’s a situation that’s plagued almost every one of my intimate relationships.
When faced with this circumstance I struggle, I obsess, I analyze. No detail goes unturned until I reach a familiar conclusion; I need more information. Each time I arrive at this junction, I’m seemingly faced with the same two choices:
1.) Accept that there are some questions I will never know the answers to. Individuals are unique and make decisions that don’t make sense. They must live with the consequences of their actions. Let go and move on.
2.) Hope. Have faith that over time we can realize our role in disagreements. Be honest and willing to reach an understanding of each other. Be open to mending the relationship and moving forward anew with a more mindful incarnation of what once was.
Are these ideas mutually exclusive? Is the fruition the latter at all practical or is it some quixotic fantasy? Is it expecting too much in today’s world? One rooted in reality and the other in the ideal. I am forever in pursuit of reconciling the two.
[continued in a second ask]
“Building upon my question. I want to respect myself and not lower myself so easily to let a random person have their way with me. But I am not at a place where I can mentally and physically be in something stable, such as a relationship (it would be selfish of me since I’m not able to give 100%). Blah. Thank you in advance for you input :).”
Well first off, sorry for answering this question like a month later. Hopefully you’re still alive and weren’t hit by a truck while trying to catch a Vaporeon or something.
There’s a lot to unpack in this question, so I’ll try to go layer by layer.
1. Stability. While perfectly reasonable to want to be stable before starting a relationship, I think you may need to recalibrate what your idea of stability is. If being stable means having a set career, your own place, and a five year plan, you might be putting a little too much pressure on yourself. Assuming you’re between the ages of 18-30, very few people are in that position and more and more commonly that position is becoming less expected of us. Do you know anyone our age who has their shit together in that regard? I certainly don’t. And if they do, they got a big helping hand from mommy and daddy so that doesn’t really count. Don’t knock yourself for being a work in progress–that’s they way everyone should be. We’re all unfinished projects, bulbs in winter, cocoons. Give yourself time to flourish, blossom, and metamorphosize into who you want to be. And this process should be irrespective of your desire to date. You do not have to be your perfect self to put yourself out there. The only people who strive for perfection in romance are sociopaths, and it’s my experienced recommendation to stay the hell away from those types.
2. FOMO & Hookups. I’ve written about this before and understand your ambivalence about it. On one greasy, lubed up hand, we all recognize that diq is just too bomb sometimes to pass up. On the other, arthritic and ringless hand, we want to maintain this veneer of chastity to “stand up against gay stereotypes” and buy into the commercial idea of romance being monogamous, tragic, and difficult. Maybe romance is hard for you because your definition for it is too narrow. Likewise, maybe your hookups feel empty for the same reason, because you’ve been socialized to view hookups as the absence of intimacy. A healthier approach may be to formulate your own definition of romance, and similarly not write off hookups as a consolation prize to the love lottery. If you’re only sleeping with guys who want to “have their way with you,” you’re buying the rotten meat. There’s plenty of free range, grass fed, A5 beef out there who can give you flowers and fellatio, who are into hand jobs and hand holding. By allowing hookups to be a potential gateway to longterm romance, you may get more satisfaction out of them.
3. Giving 100%. I’ve also written about this before (but don’t remember when) and think this is a common fallacy of dating. Along the same lines of being completely stable, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect yourself to put 100% into a relationship. People live dynamic lives, and romance is just one facet. If you throw all of your energy, time, and emotions into your relationship, what will happen to the other aspects of your life? I’ve seen many friends fall into this trap where they shunt all of their resources into nurturing their love life, effectively cutting off friends and family and letting their careers or schooling fall to the wayside. Are they happy? Maybe temporarily. But it’s bad emotional economics to put that much stock into one part of your life. If there’s a hiccup in the relationship, you’ll have nothing else and no one else to turn to, and that’s when the shit really hits the fan. Rather, it’s okay to distribute your attention to a variety of things in your life, and it’s okay to want romance but not have it be your number one priority. In fact, it’s more than okay–it’s the right thing to do for yourself. Long story short, life is a bull market so diversify your portfolio. Or whatever, I got a B in Economics.
If you can indulge me for a moment, I would argue that it
is impossible to be “ready” for a relationship.
In briefly reflecting on my many years of dating, I think
it is striking how no two people have ever tested me in quite the same way. The
challenges I faced with Byron
were different from those I had with Trey
and different from those I encountered when I
deleted my Tumblr. In turn, all three are different from the struggles I
have in being with Shen.
Relationships are hard and nobody says that enough.
In my experience, friends – straight or not – tend to respond
to this realization in one of two ways. Those who defer dating strive for
personal perfection in their careers, physiques, and personalities. Those who
dive headfirst into dating do so by hoping to learn as they go along. Both
approaches have valid points to make. One should never enter a relationship “just
because”. Similarly, one can only learn some things through practice.
Unfortunately, both sides tend to overlook the middle
road. Perfection in oneself – to say nothing of one’s partner – is impossible. In
ways both minor and major, we will always be broken. Conversely, if we do not
stop to reflect on why a relationship did not work out, it is too easy for the
intoxicating thrill of a new date to be more desirable than a connection or an
uncomfortable moment of self-realization.
In either case, people end up middle aged and probably unhappy
for different reasons. In the former case, it is because they have never kissed
a person and are the only person among their friends for whom that is true. In
the latter, it is because they have dated scores of people and yet never felt
more alone in their lives.
I think most of us lean one way a bit more than the other.
If you recognize a bit of yourself in what I have written, I would encourage
you to dip your toes in the other pool. You do not have to download every dating
app ever created and schedule back-to-back dates. You do not have to renounce
dating or commit yourself to a person who makes you miserable. However, a touch
of wildness or a bit of introspection will probably be more illuminating than
In either case, I think it is incredibly reassuring and
consoling to remember that everyone who has ever been in a relationship but is
now single has had a failure rate of 100%. Relationships are hard – but that is
To our queer Asian and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters:
It’s with great pleasure that we announce the launch of the G3S Writer’s Roundtable, a discussion forum and advice column gathering the wisdom of some of Tumblr’s best API LGBT writers. Aiming for a monthly release, a topic or question will be posed to the Writer’s Roundtable and a selection of their responses and commentary will be posted to G3S. In the same vein as the tinychats and the G3S Mentors program, our hope is that the Writer’s Roundtable will offer an additional resource of peer support for the Community. So if you have any questions about relationships, dating, sex, coming out, family issues, or anything you would like some advice on, send an ask to the G3S Writer’s Roundtable tab on our home page. We also welcome any suggestions for discussion topics.
Many thanks to @letters-to-charles and @life-in-grayscale for their support in developing this idea. Also, shoutouts to @ro-mantik, @gregasaurus, @abmos, @jsl009, and @medicasian for being on our Writer’s Roundtable! This week on G3S will be a preview of future editions of #AskG3S and we hope you’ll look forward to the sagacity of our Writer’s Roundtable!
It wasn’t until I started seeing someone I was on the fence about that I understood what was going on. After two dates, I couldn’t quite decide what I was feeling for this person — whether we would never see each other again or become friends or maybe date down the line — but I didn’t want to end the conversation either. So I would ping him occasionally, just enough to pique his interest and dangle the carrot of a possible relationship without ever actually following through with plans. To use a sports metaphor (my first ever), he would be on the roster but not in play; I’d decided to bench him. It’s despicable, manipulative, selfish behavior — and something we’re all doing.
Follower Fridays is a series of profiles highlighting members of Gaysian Third Space to showcase the diversity of gaysians in the Community. This week’s featured member is @tritaniumwhite.
Who are you?
Hi, I’m Tom. I’m an upcoming medical student, graphic & web designer, long distance cyclist, pupper lover, charcoal based artist, espresso enthusiast, biochemical researcher and nonprofit organizer.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Houston, TX. I came to Austin, TX for college and I absolutely adore this city. As a black sheep liberal city in a sea of conservative Texas, Austin holds a college town feel in a small centralized metropolis. It was a perfect city to grow and discover oneself. I’m moving back to Houston right now to start professional school there in the Fall. I’m down right sadden with having to leave the best city in Texas, but also excited to discover a city that I have yet to explore.
What do you do?
I’ve been a graphic designer for about 3 years now at my university. I’ve built websites, customized logos, designed branding and probably screwed up all the coding of everything I touched. But that really started out as a hobby. I graduated with BS Human Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and in a few days, I’ll be starting an MD program in Houston.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about the human element of healing, particularly with cancer, because of my mother. Last year, I partnered with a cancer fighting organization and cycled about 6000 mi. We raised funds and grants for specialized research, various support organizations and resources for the needy. It was currently the most difficult thing I have done in my life, and my first time having surgery after a harsh crash, but the experience was worth it.
What is your dream job (real or fantasy)?
My fantasy job is being one of those traveling food critic on the Food Network, just eating and traveling and then telling people how great it is…
My actual (current) job goals is to be a pediatrician who can utilize art to comfort children, address mental health and stress, and ultimately affect their quality of treatment and/or life. I read this one particular case where a pediatrician developed a game to ease children into MRI or CAT scan machines. I’ve never been scanned myself so I was told that the procedures could last up to hours where children are forced to stay still or be immobilized while metallic sounds are screeching from a giant metal machine. Instead, the pediatrician team dressed the machine and the room into a pirate ship theme and enticed their patients Peter Pan style to be “very quiet so the bad pirate captain won’t get you”. It’s the simple things that can make someone’s experience better.
If you could change the world with one idea, what would it be?
At first I thought about the US healthcare system. The highly commercialized and capitalized pharmaceutical and insurance companies, the harsh supremacy culture of healthcare training, the socioeconomic determinant of health and class privilege, and the business of monetarily incentivized medicine. I wish I could change that, honestly, but that change has to come from a governing body. That brought me to a broader perspective. The change that would address not only healthcare inequalities but significant culture and well-being of the community from liberties to rights would more directly stem from government. I believe our government should be more truly representative–by race, by gender, by class etc. What I see instead is a heavily privileged group controlling the country in their particular interests and the interests of their privileged supporters.