If I Could Choose

Oftentimes I despise feeling attracted to men. I love my gayness, it just sucks to be into men because we’re socialized to be uncommunicative, uncaring, and overall unsatisfying. Most days I wish I could choose not to be attracted to men, because then I wouldn’t risk abandoning my values or settling for someone mediocre.

About a week ago I felt super angsty reflecting on how I have no choice being attracted to men. In between walks, jogs, and playing tennis, I thought about disconcerting actions I’ve observed from people I know who are also attracted to men. An ex-friend started dating a guy and called me crying one night because the guy said he didn’t want to move in with her after they had dated for only four months. Another friend got engaged to a man who literally won’t consider going to therapy and once over dinner attributed all of his self-growth to his romantic partner, my friend. A former ill-informed crush of mine dated a guy for five years, who he almost broke up with every six months. When this former crush did break up with his boyfriend, instead of working through his issues, he continued to date more men who had to point out to him that he was still in love with his ex.

The fact that over 70 thousand people retweeted this makes me feel so seen. I’ve heard quite a few people say “well at least my relationship with (insert mediocre man’s name) is healthy” and it’s like, uh, yeah, a healthy relationship is the bare minimum.

I get angsty thinking about these people and their choices because I feel afraid that if I do date a man, I might follow in their footsteps. I feel fear that I will either lower my standards, become overly dependent on a man, or lack the self-awareness to know what would be most healthy for me. If I could just choose not to be attracted to men, I wouldn’t have to worry about any of this. I’d feel no fear because I just wouldn’t feel any desire for a man in the first place.

After letting myself feel sad and frustrated about my attraction to men and also how there’s no super cute man of color I currently have to crush on, sigh for a couple of days last week, I listened to “Icy” by Itzy and re-recognized some fundamental truths about my life, centered on how I have taken steps to prevent my worst fears from happening. My closest friends and I exude compassion, excellent communication, and self-love without a man, so I won’t settle for anything beneath what we already have. I already know myself and cherish myself without awards or a romantic partner so I wouldn’t care less if a man didn’t want to move in with me after four – or forty – months of dating. I’ve gone to therapy and addressed my internal issues so I won’t engage in codependent behaviors, and I’ll catch myself if those behaviors emerge.

My best friend Bri and I zoomed a couple of hours ago and she literally created the most amazing title for our Zoom call. She’s referencing all the Asian guys I’ve had crushes on in the past who we disposed of, thus freeing my heart to dance on their remains. Anyway, I’m confident I’m a compassionate person.

Most of the time, I do feel I would make my life so much easier if I could choose to stop being attracted to men. However, I can radically accept that I am into men and still cultivate a life worth living. I didn’t choose to be raised by an abusive mother and I managed to flourish in the face of that adversity in part because of excessive self-disclosure on the internet, lol meta. And even though I write about my experiences with crushes and my attraction to men on this blog, I actually spend very little time in my day to day life thinking about or interacting with men, because I’ve filled my life with so many activities that relate to compassion for others and social justice instead.

Who knows, maybe a man will manifest who has radical leftist politics, likes books, can make me laugh, will buy me Jeni’s ice cream, egg on my fanboying of BlackPink, is kind and communicative, and can eliminate white supremacy I’m kidding obviously I don’t expect any man or any person to satisfy everything I want, that’s what attractive fictional men are for. In the mean time I’ll stay wonderful with myself and my closest friends and my values. In some ways, these blog posts help reinforce that if I ever do meet a man I end up dating, I felt so happy and fulfilled before him, just as I would with him, and after him.

I love these tweets so much for envisioning a world where romantic relationships with men aren’t centered! Though I’m open to dating a man (begrudgingly) right now I have the most warm, supportive, and funny community with my closest friends and it’s fabulous.

Does anyone else struggle with feeling attracted to men? What are your general responses or reactions to this post and/or my neuroses? What do you think I did in my past life to deserve being attracted to men in my present life? Hope you are all well and until next post!

14 Comments

Filed under Personal, Society

14 responses to “If I Could Choose

  1. From when I started reading your blogs till this day reading your blogs provided me with inner strength, helped me to understand myself and prioritizing healthy values over just good looks in many ways. I realized that I don’t have to settle for less than what I wish for. Though finding someone as self aware and value driven as You feels hopeless case sometimes because of my cultural and social factors, I’m becoming the one by opening myself up to the more value based ideas and inculcating them in myself.

    here I also want you to know that I haven’t dated anyone so far and still I’m in my closet at the age of 21, mustering enough strength to get out of it and hoping to stand for myself and for social justice, at the same time it is the most terrible thought I could think of. lot’s of love from Asia!

    • Awww thank you so much for this kind and vulnerable comment, I really appreciate it! It means a lot to me to know that my writing has helped in your journey to understand yourself and cultivate inner strength. I’m glad to hear that you know you don’t have to settle for less than what you want and that you’re in the process of being who you’re searching for, even if finding “someone” feels hopeless.

      I’m sending a lot of strength and warmth in your direction in terms of being in the closet and not dating anyone; I hope you take the time that you want/need and proceed at a pace that feels good to you. I also hope you can find people close by or far away who help you feel connected and centered even when the journey is rough. Hope to hear from you again in the future!

  2. I never thought of it this way, that being attracted to men is a sad thing. I think it’s a great thing we are in love. Yet, I do agree that there are so many men who take pride in the toxic way they treat their partner! I’m glad to know that you will continue loving yourself, despite the people who might hurt you along the way. The Earth is full of those who care and and don’t care and love and neglect love. If you want to get out there and find The One, do so. If you don’t, it’s fine, too. As long as you know either way yourself needs you.

    • Yes thank you for validating my self-love in the face of challenges! Hahaha if I ever encounter a guy who I believe to be The One I’d most likely be open to pursuing him in some capacity, though at this point in life I’m pretty cynical about if that person exists, which I feel okay about. I appreciate the notion of either way knowing that yourself needs you which really gets to what this post is all about. Thanks so much for dropping by Thi, I hope you’re doing as well as possible!

  3. If I happened not to be with Matthew in the future, I certainly wouldn’t go seeking out another man to be with and live with. It’s been really hard for quite a few of us being thrown back onto our husbands only during lockdown and I certainly ache to see my best friend and cherish the connections I have with real-life and more electronic friends!

    • Awwww I’m sorry to hear that it’s been difficult to adjust to being in lockdown with Matthew. I appreciate how you’ve consistently connected with me via online and I hope that you have been able to spend some time with friends and connections that normally take place in real life, virtually or some other way. And I hope that COVID will dissipate sooner rather than later.

      • It’s not just me who has found it hard, which gives me some reassurance – even my friend who we all think of as being so loved-up mentioned the other day to another friend that she was getting a bit tired of always being with her husband! I’m sure he’s tired of me, too, although we have just bought a new washing machine which will remove one cause of strife (our current one is too loud to run when he’s working, which is quite stressful). (Also: oh the intense glamour).

        I have managed to get a decent amount of companionship in real life, as well as regular sessions online with my best friend – however, unfortunately we’re just going back into a harsher lockdown here in my city. I’m just hoping as it’s not at all clear that we can still go running in pairs. We are locking down with police powers on Tuesday here, and socialising is being reduced country-wide on Monday, again with police powers, so I have runs set up with two friends tomorrow and Monday.

  4. You always write such thoughtful entries. I’m curious if you ever felt that this blog might somehow get in the way of your career?

    I’ve always wondered why I was cursed / blessed with being gay. It’s taken a lot of pain and years to accept who I am. In a relationship, sometimes you have to compromise on some easy things (food, movie choices) and some tough things (e.g. balancing time with friends rather than with partner).

    I don’t know what you did in your past life. Perhaps you were a female in a previous life. I once visited a medium and asked why I suffer from insomnia. She said I was a night watchman in a previous life. My fear of heights stems from being thrown to my death many lives ago. I have no idea if any of this is true.

    I hope one day you’ll write an entire blog that are all strike throughs (cuz that’s where all the juicy stuff is…).

    • Awww thank you for saying that Matt! Hmmm yeah I have, though honestly I think for me I just feel that there will always be rewards and risks for being radically vulnerable in the society we live in. I feel like I value being my true self and connecting with readers more than the professional repercussions, especially because I don’t feel like I’m sharing anything problematic on here. In terms of my research/academic career, I think my CV speaks for itself. In terms of potential therapy clients, I think I’d work to maintain healthy boundaries that ensure their wellbeing. Appreciate you asking about that because it definitely made me think.

      Thank you for sharing about your journey with your sexual orientation. Would you mind me asking what helped you along the way to accept who you are?

      Haha I so appreciate how you appreciate the strike through thoughts! Gotta be my authentic self somehow hehe. (:

      • I think what helped was talking with my gay cousin. I didn’t meet him until a family reunion many years ago. And I think through blogging – there were a lot of people I could relate to and knowing I wasn’t alone.

  5. priya

    Thanks for another awesome, thought-provoking and introspective post Thomas! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how validating your writing is. I totally get your frustration with being attracted to men. Ugh men are just so disappointing :)) It’s really confusing to disentangle your personal attraction to men from patriarchy and heteronormativity. I’m glad you have solid friends that treat you well and make romance a possibility, but not a necessity in you life! I’m several years younger than you, but your posts help me sooo much with reflecting on my own worries and leftist idelogy -thank you Thomas!! Also thanks for sharing those tweets -love seeing women who believe in their self worth!!

    • Awww thank you Priya for your kind words about my writing! Yes, men are so disappointing. It can be hard to disentangle the personal and the political, though I do love processing what comes from what and more deeply understanding that. I appreciate you appreciating my friendships and it brings me joy to know that my posts are helpful with your own worries and your leftist ideology. Sending lots of warmth and strength your way and hope to hear from you again in the future. (:

  6. Gillian

    I am totally with you on this, Thomas. There have been many times that I have wished I was attracted to women because I have had a lot more really amazing and close platonic friendships with women than with men, for the reasons you talked about in this post having to do with how men are socialized. I haven’t dated in 5 years because I took the time to learn more about myself and work on the personal issues I was dealing with, and like you, since then I have decided that I don’t want to settle for a romantic relationship that is anything less than what I deserve. Also just wanted to say that I love your Goodreads reviews, you’ve read or want to read almost every book that I want to read. I also love that you’re studying to be a mental health practitioner who puts such strong value on social justice. I’m in a social work program and want to go into clinical work, and social justice is a core focus for me as well. Can’t wait to read more of your blog, thanks so much for all of your wonderful writing!

    • Awww Gillian thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a warm and thoughtful comment! It helps me feel less alone to know there is another person (in addition to me, my friends, and several people on Twitter) who have wanted to be attracted to women instead of men. I’m glad to hear that you’ve taken time to learn more about yourself and work on your personal issues – if only a past crush of mine had done/would do that instead of trying to date, lol. Anyway, yes, just from this comment your kindness radiates and I hope you continue not to settle for anyone or anything that’s less than what you deserve, both romantically and in other contexts too. Thank you also for sharing that my Goodreads reviews are helpful/meaningful to you, that definitely motivates me to keep writing them. Yay for fellow clinicians/aspiring clinicians who are into books and refusing to settle! Hope to hear from you again at some point, and until then sending lots of warmth and strength your way.

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