Tuesday, November 24, 2015

On Long Distance Relationships Part 1(LDR)

It's no secret that my relationship started out as a Long Distance Relationship  (LDR).  Garland is from Toronto, and I am from Detroit.   We are a six hour bus ride apart.

I have had many women, especially those from Facebook, who participate in the AMWF community scene there, ask me for advice on their LDR, because mine has gone so well... We got married, after all.
The main complaints I hear from these women are that the men do not put time and effort into the relationship.  The man gradually looses interest, doesn't call or text or Skype as much as in the beginning.  The same old story.   The other thing I hear is about the fear of his cheating on them, because they aren't able to have a normal sex life.  Some also complain about excessive porn consumption as a substitute for actual sex, making the women feel like she isn't necessary, or the relationship isn't enough for him... Some men, to the point it causes sexual dysfunction when they are together.

Let's go one step at a time... This may take several blog posts, but I will try to cover the first two items on the list in THIS post.
1) Relationships, especially LDRs take work!
2) Do not start out with sending nude photos
3) Communication is key!
4) Trust is paramount!
5) Integrating your LDR into your daily life
6) Dealing with friends and family who don't take your relationship seriously
7) Have a sex life, even in an LDR!
8) Have an end in sight.
9) An LDR cannot stay an LDR forever... Moving in together and adjusting.

The first thing I want to say is that I have not had the experience of a man who isn't putting in the work, or looses interest over time.   Garland always put in a ton of time and effort, and I never had to worry about him loosing interest in our relationship.

Sure, when the newness wore off, the relationship settled into a routine and all that new-relationship passion wasn't there anymore...  But, that is normal as your relationship transitions through the phases that all relationships go through.   We talked about it, acknowledged it, and found ways to keep things fresh, and our interest in each other, and the sexual passion going.

To the outside, I'm sure our relationship seems idyllic and perfect, and I've known many who have said they aspire to have what Garland and I do with each other, with someone else.

Well, our relationship, like every relationship, is not perfect.  We fight, disagree, hurt each other... The difference between our relationship and those that fail is simple: Commitment.  We are both committed to making this work, and being with each other for the rest of our lives.

Happy relationships do not happen by accident or luck.  They take a ton of work, a lot of time, ample and equal effort from both sides, lots of patience, and above all else, an almost endless supply of love.

If you are trying to have an LDR with someone who is not willing to put in the work it takes, then there is nothing you can really do.   There is no way to force a person to want to spend time with you.

Many women also get into LDRs and make the mistake of moving too fast, especially when it comes to sending nude photos.  They believe that you start with nude photos in order to get the guy to be interested in you, and then it will, from there, turn into a relationship.

That is exactly backward to how it is supposed to be.

Garland and I spoke for months before he ever saw me even partially naked, in any way.

Ladies, please STOP giving yourself away so cheaply.  If you actually enjoy sending and taking nudes, then that's fine... But if what you love is the attention, or you have the belief that men will love you because you send nude photos... Please know that that is not true.  Men will not fall in love with you based on your willingness to send nudes.

If he's asking for this kind of thing before being offered, or right after meeting you, then chances are very good he's not serious about you and instead, just looking for a cheap... well, free, actually, thrill.

Now, later on in the relationship, maintaining a sex-life is extremely important... But when you first meet him, don't give yourself away so quickly.  You wouldn't sleep with a man on the first date, would you?  This is the online equivalent.

Any man who would get mad at you, or guilt you, or threaten to leave you, because you didn't send him nude photos, is not the LDR you want.

The man who texts you every day, spends hours with you on skype, who talks about you to his friends and family, and who saves up money to come and see you... That is the man you want.

Don't sell yourself short, and don't try to force anything that isn't working.  If he's serious about you, he will put in the time, effort, and commit the financial resources necessary to see you in person.

If he doesn't do those things, rest assured, he's just looking for some free nudes and a way to kill time between "real" relationships.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Racism within an interracial relationship

There are some people out there, who assume that just because you are dating or married to a person of an ethnic minority, this makes it impossible for you to be racist against either that minority, or even toward your significant other.

This is simply not true.

I've been asked a few times if my husband views me as his 'white trophy wife' and I can honestly say 'No, he doesn't.'.

However, I have seen posts from Asian men claiming that being with a white woman makes them feel 'empowered', and they use dating white women as a sort of revenge against white men they feel have emasculated them, personally and as a culture.

I have seen white women who treat their significant other as a prize to be shown off, usually at anime conventions or to the K-pop community.   Dating this Asian significant other affords them a sort of 'status' within that community.  You see them posting on message boards, setting themselves up as 'experts' on Korean culture, and saying things like, 'Well, my KOREAN boyfriend told me that...'

There are even some Asian men who specifically target girls who are K-pop or Anime fans, because they know these girls will likely date them, no matter what.

Within my own relationship, we are both extremely comfortable with each other.  We are not in the habit of denying each other's race, and neither is immune from making good-natured jokes about the other.  

My husband will often refer to himself as 'Yellow'.  I admit that sometimes, I joke with him and also say things like, 'Bae, you're so yellow!' (For instance, in reference to the fact he had never had a grilled cheese sandwich before.)

There are however, lines.  Lines which are not crossed.  I do not call him racial slurs, such as 'gook' or 'chink'.   Meanwhile, I have a black aunt (married to my white uncle) who has been known to refer to her children as 'nigglets'.   I would not repeat such words in regards to someone's children, ever...  But, I also don't tell her that she shouldn't say that.  It is her business.

The most important thing, when you are in a relationship with anyone is to make sure that what you are doing does not make that person uncomfortable.  If you are unsure, ask!!!  Different people will all have different sensitivity levels, and they are entitled to that.  They are not 'overly sensitive' if they ask you to stop saying something.  If they are offended, try asking them why and maybe learn a bit about that person.

If you truly care about them, it is worth it.  If you truly love them, you will take their feelings into consideration.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

And on the opposite side of the coin... The -boos.

There is a certain subset of white girls (I say 'girls' because they are usually very young) who develop an obsession with Japanese, or Korean (or both) culture (s).   More rarely, there are white people who develop an obsession with other Asian cultures as well.

These are the girls who are extremely excited by any and all things Asian, and they tend to think Korean/Japanese/Other Asian culture is inherently 'better' than Western Culture.

They tend to listen to a lot of music in languages they don't understand, and talk incessantly about their plans to move an Asian country.

In its worst form, these girls sometimes dye their hair black, and wear heavily winged eyeliner in an attempt to look more Asian... They can even falsely claim some level of Asian heritage.

These women also have the unfortunate tendency to fetishize not only Asian culture, but also the men of that culture.   They will openly admit that their main goal in life is to date or marry an Asian man.

For many of them, a western-born Asian man (like my husband) is simply not 'Asian enough'.  They want the freshest off the boat, or better yet, an Asian man living in East Asia.  He should be a walking stereotype, in order to please them and their desire for the 'exotic'.  He should eat every meal with chopsticks, take off his shoes upon entering his home, have a Buddhist shrine there, speak an Asian language fluently, perhaps know a martial art, etc., etc., etc.,

They do not look at Asian men as people, but more like purebred dogs to show off to their friends or family.  Their boyfriend is not an individual, but an avatar of his 'culture'.   They want something they see as 'rare' or 'exotic'.

I am not exaggerating, by the way.  I have seem comments on forums from women talking about their boyfriend by saying things like, "I love being stared at, and seeing people's eyes bug out of their heads.  I love the attention of having something rare."   Note that this woman referred to her boyfriend as not someone, but instead something.

These women and their mindset of treating Asian men as if they are rare Pokemon to be collected are, quite frankly, disgusting.   Just as I am not a white trophy wife for my husband, neither is he My Asian Husband(tm).

These are the women who ask me how I managed to get an Asian husband...  Well, the truth is, I was dumped into a group on Facebook for Asian men and White females (AMWF), and he initiated contact with me.  We hit it off, and the rest is history.  I did not go into said group with the idea of dating, let alone marrying any of the men.  I was just hanging out and chatting and having fun socially interacting.

Garland is so much more than his parent's country of origin, his skin tone, his hair color and texture, or the shape of his eyes.  Yes, he is physically appealing to me...  I have a very specific type of man that I am attracted to, and this includes brown hair and eyes, tanned skin, slender body, etc.,   However, there are other men who are not Asian who fit this description that I am attracted to just as much.  Ezra Miller, (the title character in the movie 'We need to talk about Kevin'), for instance.

When I come across these women, all I can think is... I really hope that people do not see me that way?   (I'm sure white men in relationships with Asian women often have the same fear... that they will be viewed as yellow fever fetishists.)

There is no real way to disprove this assumption.  It's a case where the more you deny it, the more it seems as though you probably do have a 'yellow fever' fetish.  There is no good way to answer the accusation.

The only solace I can take is that the person who loves me knows better.

He had his first run in with one of these girls last year, while taking a Greyhound from Detroit to Toronto.  The bus was nearly empty, and yet, a young girl in her early 20s sat down directly next to him, and proceeded to pull out her phone, taking selfie after selfie with her fingers in a 'V' shape, and quite obviously trying to get him to notice the anime background on her phone.   He spent almost the entire 4 hour trip on the phone with me, making it extremely obvious he was talking to his significant other, to ward off any potential of having this girl actually try to speak to him.

I generally know more about Asian culture and language than the average white person, and that was true long before dating and marrying Garland.  I have had Asian friends for years, all growing up, and in particular Japanese, Chinese, and one Vietnamese friend.   I speak and read fluent Japanese, as well as having spent a significant portion of my life in Japan.   That said, and in fact, because of such experiences, I am acutely aware of the fact that I am not and never will be Asian... However, I also have no desire to be Asian.  I am comfortable in my own pale skin.

I can only hope that the weeaboos/koreaboos/chiaboos out there will someday feel the same comfort with their own ethnicity and cultural background.

In the end, the truth is, that Asian men and women, no matter FOB (Fresh off the Boat), Eastern-Born, Western-Born, or currently living in East Asia, are all just people.  Just like Westerners. They have no magic,  they aren't any more 'special' and there is no reason to either put them down or raise them up on a pedestal.   We are all just people, living our lives as best we can.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

So your husband is... Asian?

I can't count the number of times that I've heard that question, with shock or derision in the tone of the person asking it.

I am legitimately confused as to why this is such an... issue... for people, but it seems that it is, in fact, something they can't help but be, at the very least, surprised by.

Yes, my husband comes from a mixed Cantonese and Vietnamese background.  His last name is Viet, but his second language is Cantonese.

This is an extremely common mix, in a small part of the world.  I've met 4 others with his racial and ethnic heritage, outside of his family of course, and yet... to most Americans he is simply an 'other'.

And, to many of them, he has no 'right' to be with me... a white woman.

I've had countless internet trolls on places like Youtube, who have made comments when they see my user picture (a picture of us), saying such things as 'I don't know what you're doing with that loser' or making (inaccurate, for the record) assumptions about his penis size.

I have no idea where the idea that Asian men in particular are "less than" white men came from, but it is pervasive... and disheartening.

Being in an interracial couple doesn't cross my mind when I'm alone with my husband.  When we're cooking together (both Western and Asian food), or when we're snuggling up in bed watching something on Netflix, his race or mine doesn't even occur to me.

It only ever crosses my mind when others point it out to me, or when we're in public and I'm acutely aware of being stared at... both Asians and white people do this, with about the same frequency.

When we go to the Asian market and the woman behind the register can't help but stare, seemingly with amusement, and also yet, a strange sort of pride by-proxy.  "Your boyfriend is Chinese? That's soooo good!" she said to me, in heavily accented English, the first time she got me alone.  She was not disapproving, but rather, almost elated for him.   As though he had scored a trophy and now all Chinese could take pride in his accomplishment.

My husband does not view me as a trophy.

Still later, at another store, three Asian men came around the corner of the aisle and all three stopped and did a double take when they saw his hand skirt down my lower back, making it clear we were on intimate terms and not merely platonic friends.   One of them craned his head backward almost all the way down the aisle watching us, and he too, looked like he wanted to give my husband a high-five and ask him what his secret was?

How did he do the seemingly impossible for an Asian man... Score a white wife?

It is, on some level, dehumanizing for me, to be seen as a trophy... But more than that, it makes me angry on his behalf.   Why should it be such an accomplishment for him to date a white woman? Why do they assume he's punching above  his weight-class, when he's with me?  And it's not that I'm some exceptional beauty either... It is solely because I'm white.

He is, without a doubt, the most wonderful man I have ever been with.   He is intelligent and practical, without being cold.  He is understanding and patient with my own shortcomings.  He strives for nothing more than to see me happy, and take care of me... and he is incredibly self-flagellating when he feels he's come up short.

He has a great love for learning and an equally good sense of humor. Both important traits if you're going to be with someone like me.

I honesty couldn't ask for more in a partner.

I really wish that more people could stop seeing us as 'That Asian guy who scored a white girl' and just see us as a happily married couple.

In order for that to happen, I started this blog, hoping that if people see us just that - PEOPLE - it will help them overcome their preconceived ideas about him, and about me, and see us as just a normal couple.

We aren't colorblind. We know we are different races, with different cultural backgrounds... Those things do play a part in our relationship; but, it's the smallest part.  The largest part is just the two of us, who love each other, for the people we are, not the countries our ancestors hail from.