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Thread: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

      
   
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    Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    First off, I'm an Asian guy who's living in an Asian country (not my native country). I speak a decent amount of English and I have a good knowledge of Western culture. In fact, I consider myself more of western style than asian style. Or so I've heard from other people.

    I've been through several relationships. However, all of them are with people from the same country. Well, back then I didn't have smartphone and my local language skills weren't so great so dating foreigners was close to impossible for me. So basically, I'm quite clueless about dating culture in the West, except what I learned from TV and movies (admittedly I've watched A LOT of American TV shows and movies - but my boyfriend isn't American).

    So comes OKCupid. I created an account out of boredom (after having so many failures dating with the local over JackD). Then my current boyfriend happens to be the highest match with me in my area - there aren't many people on OKCupid here though. We messaged back and forth, but more in the style of email than chatting. I never planned on dating Westerners - not that I was being racist but I was afraid that the cultural gap was too huge to overcome. But of course friendships are welcome, especially with people whom I can enjoy talking to that much.

    Anyway, after the first two dates, I still thought that we were just friends. We of course talked a lot and laughed a lot, and I had a lot of feelings for him. But being a shy guy I held myself back thinking I wasn't really attractive to him and I didn't want to actively push the relationship any further. On the third date, he invited me to his place and we had sex for the first time. I stayed late till midnight and he hinted that I should leave for my last train. I took it as a cue that he considered the relationship to be not a serious one. It turned out that I was wrong - I had to leave simply because he isn't allowed to have guests overnight at his place. But being a stupid guy I couldn't bring myself to ask the question. I only learned about it after a week.

    So after the third date, I thought he just wanted to have fun and that was it. But he contacted me again and asked me to come to a social event with him, and he introduced me to a good number of friends. The day later I suggested that he visit my place as it is more convenient. He was eager to come and stayed the night. We had a lot of fun together the days later, but we never really talk about the nature of the relationship between us. Then one night, he casually mentioned that he forgot to change his OKCupid status to "seeing someone" as he keeps getting messages from people. I was surprised, and to be honest, happy to hear that our relationship was more than just for fun. Then yesterday, I was just casually looking around OKCupid (I was bored and was just checking the questions), he seemed not to be very happy about that. I think he wasn't particularly jealous, but he talked as if I should totally stop checking the website (I don't mind not checking it though!). The most puzzling thing for me is that I don't really understand the nature of our relationship, and I feel that I have misread him quite a lot.

    And the biggest issue for me is that he will only be staying in the country for several months more. After that, he'll go back to his home country, and probably pursue a degree there. To be honest, I haven't feel like this for a while and I really enjoy the things between us. On one hand, I feel that I don't have the ability to grasp the nature of the relationship (how I keep reading the signs wrong etc); on the other hand, his departure will tear me apart if I go any deeper than a casual/open relationship. I'm not sure I can handle long distance relationship either, considering that my citizenship doesn't allow me to travel freely to his country.

    So I need some advice. How should I approach a relationship like this? What is the sign I should look for? I was chatting with him one day and I jokingly used a heart symbol, and I think he was a bit freaked out by it. Of course I played it down, and I didn't mean that I loved him either. But for us Asians, sometimes we do flirt a bit at the beginning of the relationship just to get the idea if we can go any further. Also, sometimes he acts quite aloof from me, but sometimes he's passionate and eager to have me by his side - I guess it's the culture thing here but I can't read him any further. Any advice to keep my head cool?

    Another thing is that how do I know what he wants after his departure? I know that I should ask him, but considering we've just dated for less than two weeks, I don't think it's the best idea. Without the knowledge, I can't really let myself fall too deep. I'm worried that I may miss out the chance of having something more with him.

    Sorry for the long post and any grammatical mistakes. It's midnight here and my head isn't at its best. Any suggestion is very much appreciated.

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    Re: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    Just talk to him. Ask him about where he sees this relationship is going. Ask him where he sees this relationship going after he goes back to his own country in a few months. You are not a mind reader. If you have questions then ask. Hopefully, you'll get some answers.

    Then tell him how you feel about this relationship. Communication is the key.

  3. #3
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    Re: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    just be honest.

    you really enjoy his company and spending time with him, but there's nothing wrong with not wanting to move too fast or get too serious if he's going to be leaving the country permanently in a few months.

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    Re: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    I agree with the other two comments. You need to talk to him because he will be leaving & you said you can't leave so there is no real future. I am from California & I know here guys like to play games & are hot then cold with you. Some people like the chase or be chased to prove you are interested. He may be doing that & trying to judge your reactions. Good luck & have fun until you have to part ways.

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    Re: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    Thank you for all the replies.

    I understand well that I need to talk to him, one way or another.
    To be honest, I'm the type who often rush in a relationship and then stop to realize that I painted the illusion myself. That's why I'm trying to keep a clear head and to not let the emotions blind my feeling.

    Probably I should phrase my question into a "when": when is the good time to ask? I'm afraid that if I ask him right now, I may scare him away and he may get to think that I'm demanding some serious commitment from him. Probably I'll have to wait a little bit more because we're still at the very early stage of a relationship. I just hope I don't ruin the moment by asking such questions too early.

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    Re: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    I think you should just talk to him. Like what the others have said. Ask him where does he see you guys at? Like is it a serious thing or not. And explain to him how you feel. You should make it clear. If you get too attached and you guys aren't in the relationship you thought it was... you'd be devastated.

    Have you asked him about why he wasn't happy about you going on OKCupid? And maybe by you doing that he might think that you're not into the relationship like he is. It goes both ways. Why don't you talk about that with him?

    Was there a reason he freaked on the heart symbol? It might just be in your mind though. But basically what I'm saying is to talk to him. Now is a good time as any to do it. Start off with asking about the OKCupid incident first then move from there maybe?

    Just a suggestion. Let me know how things go for you guys.

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    Re: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    So tomorrow he's leaving for a trip abroad with his housemate. I'm not jealous of this but I feel a bit empty that he didn't even bid me goodbye. We haven't met for several days already as he and I are rather busy with our work, and he always seems busy to talk to me over instant messaging. I have the feeling that he won't bother to message me during his trip.

    I do hope that this work out, but I try not to put too much hope in it. It's hard enough to meet someone who's both good looking and with great personality here :-(

    Oh and I have a question. From what moment can you call someone your "boyfriend"? As per my understanding, dating doesn't make you boyfriends. I have only experience of asking someone to be my boyfriend before having sex rather than calling each other "boyfriend" or whatnot after having sex. Not that the first method really worked out for me though
    Last edited by cluelessdate; May 1st, 2013 at 12:20 PM.

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    Re: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    If you have stronge feelings for him you should ask him now about taking the next step. Just so you know where he stands on the idea. I would say you can call him your boyfriend once you both have the same understanding that you are commited to each other. With him going on the trip & not talking to you or busy all the time, he may be distancing himself from you after you were still on the dating site. He may have been hurt, annoyed or jealous but you can't move forward until you talk to him.

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    Re: Cultural gap - I'm kinda clueless

    Thank you for your reply, but I'm don't think that he's upset about me being on the site. After all, I wasn't checking on anyone and was just looking at the message box and his profile (with him being the sole person I frequently contacted with). He still goes on JackD and Grind'r often, and his answer for one of OKCupid's question "Are you OK if your partner still has an active profile on OKCupid?" is "yes". So no, I don't believe he has any reason to be upset with me.

    Tonight, I just took all the courage to sent him some funny video and he didn't reply. However, when I asked him later whether he wanted to go to a concert with me or not (I was expecting a "no" as I didn't think the singer is of his liking), his answer was a yes, and "to rub it into his ex" (who is a girl and a big fan of the singer). Finally, before saying goodbye he said something like "thinking about you all day" and ended it with "can't wait to have sex with you" (the language was toned down a bit - he was very direct with the "f" word). (To be honest, the second line totally ruins my cheering mood after reading the first line)

    I don't know what's going on but before he left, whenever he wanted to meet me, he'd always said that he was desperate to have sex with me. Well, it's not just sex between us though. We do other things like cooking and watching movie and talking, and I always feel there's something more in the way he looks at me. But whenever it comes to words, it always goes back to sex.

    What should I expect from him? Is he hinting that our relationship is just for sex and nothing more to expect? I can accept the latter but I'm afraid that I might ruin the chance of having a serious relationship if I ask him about it too early.
    Last edited by cluelessdate; May 4th, 2013 at 09:47 AM.

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