Rob (RB) asked me why I got involved with a married man (Jim) when I didn't know what was going to happen with his marriage, when many gay men would shy away from married men.
Well, I don't usually write long postings, but, I think I have to put in a few details of my life and about me to answer this question.
I first noticed I was different from other kids since I was in third grade. I always was the boy that watched other boys play rough games or boy games. I was never outcasted, however. None of the kids bullied me; I guess I earned enough respect from being the best student in class. Up until I finished 6th grade, I don't think any of the kids had called me names.
At home, however, my oldest brother gave me a little hard time...sometimes. I was not efeminate. But, I guess he caught on that I didn't care for boy stuff. So, he probably tried to roughen me up a little bit.
After the fall of Saigon, my dad, having been a University professor, was forced by the communist to teach with a salary that was barely enough for his own breakfast. Therefore, my mom had to go to different parts of the country to buy and sell different things. At home, she constructed a stand in front of our house for my grandma to sell bananas and coals. I was eight at the time. It has been in my nature to help my family. So, I helped my grandma sell bananas. And one day soon after we started, I ventured by myself to the big market far away from my house and bought a whole bunch of candies to bring home to sell to the locals. It worked. Then, I raised ducks and chicken. I traded them at the market. And we ate some, too. Anyway, I formed a very strong bond with my grandma. At night, I slept in her bed. She always fanned me to sleep. For some reason, my oldest brother thought boys might be girly if they sleep with their grandmas.
In hindsight, there were other things that might have tipped him off...LOL. My two younger sisters were left to follow me, and we had no toys. So, every time I went to buy candies, I would by some tiny, cheap plastic pots and pans for me and my sisters to play. We had fun. I didn't understand my brother's action at the time. But, I remember vividly the one time that he told me not to hold my hand the way I did because it was like a girl. That was the first time I was conscious about what people might think of me.
Events after events, my family and I moved and became fishermen and escaped from our country as boat people.
We were accepted to the U.S., and we had been poor for a long time. But we were greatful. It was heaven compared to living in Vietnam under the communist regime. We couldn't afford much. So, I became creative...LOL. Well, there happened to be a Vietnamese Nutritionist student who came to my house to teach my mom how to cook some American food. Then, my mom took a class on cake decorating. So, being the one that always help my mom, I did every thing with her. I helped her make doughnuts and decorate cakes. Not too soon, I could make roses like a professional...LOL. I was a boy in 9th grade...not usual! From then, for everyone's birthday and at every Christmas, I made donuts and cakes, Yule logs and all. My cousins and other relatives found out and started making fun of me a little. I didn't give a shit. My family didn't have money, so I did it for my family. Actually, I didn't feel good listening to those comments. I had choices, and I chose the choice to ignore them and make cakes for my family.
Throughout high school, I helped my brothers mowing lawns and trimming trees for the more well-off people. But, during my senior year, my mom decided to buy a pair of commercial sewing and hemming machines to work at home to make some money. I couldn't let my mom work by herself. So, she worked on one, and I worked on one. I was very good at hemming clothes. So, I was the talk of the neighborhood. We lived in the Vietnamese ghetto where most of the kids were gangsters. And, here I was hemming clothes...At least, I made an honest living... :). Then, my second oldest sister decided to go to beauty school. But, she didn't know much English. So, every night, I would sit down with her and read her books and practice curling hair with her. Of course, more people talked about that. From that, I knew how to cut and perm hair...LOL.
As I grew up, there had been more and more negativity associated with being gay or looking gay. In short, I became petrified that people might know I was gay by the time I got to college. Embarrassment was an understatement when people made any source of gay reference. I don't think people knew I was gay. But, I developed a paranoia, a horrible paranoia.
I put myself in my own prison as a result. I became sad and felt hopeless. I couldn't concentrate in school. Medical school was the worst time. I skipped school most of the time and just watched TV to pass the time. I could not sit down for more than 5 min to study without thinking about how hopeless life would be for me as a gay person. It was only until a few days before the exams that I could study. It was because I had no more time to think about any thing else but to somehow gulp down all he information to pass the tests.
My worst enemy at that time was my skin. I had and still have very nice skin, and often people would compare it to a girl's skin. I hated that. Oftentime, I held a razor in front of the bathroom mirror wanting to make scars on my face. Thank God I didn't. A lot of time, I prayed to God for me to finish school so I could give my parents a nice life. Then, if I died, it would have been OK.
Over time, I had become totally closeted. No one knew I was unhappy. I am someone who likes to smile and laugh all the time. At least, I make people laugh. But, no one knows that, at night, I would stay awake for hours crying inside. I rarely literally cried, but inside I felt just like crying. I felt hopeless. I convinced myself that I could never have love, with a man. It was just impossible.
Then, one day, a big, extremely painful event in my life happened that forced me to come out. I am not ready to talk about it yet. But, because of that, I broke out of my cage. I started dating. I allowed myself to find love. My family was all supportive, but my mom was so afraid of me dating. She had and still has so much empathy for gay people, but she had been so afraid of me getting sick that she was so resistant every time I went out with someone.
Anyway, now that I was open to the world of love, I never wanted to take it for granted. I value and treasure love. I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted someone I love who loves me back. But, I also knew that I could not leave my closeted lesbian sister by herself. I promised my mom I would not leave her by herself. I promised myself not to leave my sister by herself. She has always been there for me, as well as my single youngest sister. They would not leave me by myself.
So, I cannot be with anyone who requires me to live with him. That is a huge limitation. With this comes my understanding toward other gay men who have their own limitations. With Jim, and every one I had dated, I had been honest about this up front. Jim was also honest about his family from the beginning.
In general, I am afraid to date a married man who hides from his wife. I really don't want to break up anyone's family. But, in Jim's case, K had allowed Jim to date way before he met me. The one thing I didn't know was that both K and Jim did not expect Jim to fall in love with me.
With me, as long as I love the person and he loves me and accepts my situation, I was willing to go through many hardships. If I feel loved by that one special person, I'm happy. I have learned to be creative with my life and, hence, my relationship. I require that person to truly love me. As long as we really love each other, to me, we can love each other in any situation.
I love Jim very much. He's a very caring person. He cares for K and his kids. I know he loves me a lot, too. He's willing to be with me even if I can't live with him. That is just very special. I just hope that during his hard time, I could make him smile every single day.
God, this post has been so long, I'm exhausted. I can write more another day if anyone is interested.