first boyfriend syndrome?

22 12 2009

from the moment of our birth we spend our lives being shaped by the world around us.  our parents, our siblings, our school friends & teachers, our colleagues, our community, our culture, our politics, our environment.  it’s a dense tapestry that’s impossible to ignore, a limited spaghetti bowl of potential paths that’s difficult to avoid following.  it defines who we are, as individuals, and as any collective by which we are defined by others, or choose to define ourselves.

before we even meet our first significant partner we’ve been conditioned, we’ve assembled an array of expectations of what that partner, and life with that partner should be like; from fundamental gender roles to trivial points of etiquette.  it culminates in the package deal we call marriage, complete with the ubiquitous (and i believe ridiculous) vow “till death do us part” – unless you get divorced and, perhaps, have another go at it.

for gays, it’s a little more complicated.  we’re inculcated with all these expectations, but we’re not officially held to account by the vows and institution of marriage (and in still too many ways, not by the myriad laws of the land in which we variously live – rights and resposibilities – either).  this has provided space for many gay couples to explore relationships and lifestyles that deviate from the hetero married norm, and for many this has been very rewarding.  it’s also given gays a reputation for having short-lived relationships, sometimes abandoned too easily.

it’s said (by the collective wisdom of the internet at least ;) that the more “firsts” you experience with your first serious partner – kiss, sex, cohabitation, travel, & everything inbetween – the harder it is to let go of that dreamed-of future when the core relationship evaporates.

so, take a guy raised in a mixed Christian & Chinese culture with the usual array of expectations of their future partner, who moves to Australia to make a new life, discovers he’s gay, doesn’t “play the field” much before he meets his first serious boyfriend, cohabitates, and – upon those inculcated expectations – dreams their future together.

then what happens when life doesn’t pan out like the fairytale demands?  no disastrous acrimonious breakup, just a gradual fizzle of what once was there…

i suspect this is what i’m dealing with in J.

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