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I'm new to all this; falling for a South African


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So I just was googling different stuff and landed upon your guys' forum! Just thought it may be healthy to write on here and get some advice from others about the likelihoods of cyber international relationships working, etc.


For some background I am a 21 year old university student in Vancouver Canada, and I'm a gay male.


I've dated on and off here in Metro Vancouver, but have found the scene here absolutely abysmal and its not been the best. Just in the last two weeks, some odd things have happened. I'm a very geeky guy and have really found myself interested in South Africa recently since the Nelson Mandela death. So the night after I saw the news where they announced he had passed on, I randomly googled "gay South African guys".


Well long story short I found this profile of a really cute white 22 year old South African university student and we started messaging. Its been escalating quickly in the last 10 days. We text for hours every day. The flirting and everything is pretty intense. He's not out to his family or friends yet and has little experience in the gay world (where I have some; and I'm out). But I just find him so attractive and we click on so many levels.


We're planning to Skype next week to see what we're like with video and stuff. I'm curious if he'll hold up in that kind of face-to-face "online" interaction. But I don't know if I'm being completely silly and wasting my time or if this could maybe be something.


We constantly joke around about visiting each other and that he's never been to North America and wants to come to BC and how we'd do a road trip down to California. Or I would go over to South Africa and see that country.


In my head, I don't think it doesn't have to be anything other than a win-win. If we maintain an online friendship/romance, we could just be honest with ourselves about the obstacles. We could work towards visiting each other. And if upon first time meeting there is no spark, we can still pursue a friendship and enjoy one another's company.


The flirting is intense, but I don't think it has to be everything. If it wasn't to lead to anything, well I mean at least we made awesome international friends out of each other and can travel to each other's country.


Its weird, cause we're both like at the same stage of life. He's 22 and graduating from his undergrad within the year and so am I. We both don't know what's next and are so of wondering in figuring out our lives. We both really want to save up and travel.


He is physically 100% my type, and I mean conversation and face to face and in person interaction could be totally different I don't know. But any happy or cautionary tales are appreciated. I don't want to go into this blind. I think we're both sort of caught up in a fantasy.


But to a degree the romantic in me likes to think that things like this are possible. That I could end up meeting the love of my life through some random online occurrence. That we could travel and meet each other. Grow fond of each other. And maybe, just maybe, end up together. Its still incredibly early obviously. But this is the first time I've sort of ever pursued this kind of thing.


We're like on POLAR opposites of the globe. 17,000km a part. Like, if it was to grow into a long distance relationship and we met in person and committed to something, I think one of us would have to "give" and make a move. Me go over there or he come to Canada. Its a weird thought. South Africa looks beautiful, but its a far cry from Canada. Its a developing nation, and I'd be in a 10% white minority there who is looked at with a lot of disdain by the black majority (From what I've heard from him and read). Or he could come here. Who knows. Way ahead of myself.


But the difficult part of those situations is that to make a "move" possible for either side, pretty much requires marriage. You can't just date, or "live together" and pursue a normal trajectory like others. Visas and legal entrance to either country would require the other person to be married and receive a spousal visa.


Thankfully, both Canada and South Africa both recognize same-sex marriage, so that's not an issue. Its just an interesting prospect. That if you fell in love with someone half way accross the world, its a lot of obstacles to overcome. You can meet in person. Perhaps the chemistry is phenomenal. And you feel connected. But you can't just take it "day by day" because to end up together for more than just a few months you'd have to basically commit to marriage. Its the only legal option in.


A lot of heady stuff I'm thinking about, eh. Haha. I dunno. I'm a hopeless romantic, and this is the first guy I've ever felt so connected with, and while I want to keep a level head I don't want to necessarily right off would could end up being a life altering experience and something incredibe.

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I've been in your same situation (me in USA, him in Australia) and while I ultimately chose not to marry, it wan't because of the distance or the internet, and he wasn't a "catfish" , it was because he wasn't the guy for me. I had chatted on video with his parents, other family members and friends, but when I went for a visit I made independent arrangements for a place to stay so in case he turned out to be a game player or something I wasn't going to be stuck. I looked at it as a fun trip even if it didn't work out with the guy. In my case, the guy gave me a diamond ring and everything, and really wanted to marry me, and was available, but I wasn't ready to jump in.


A friend of mine had a similar affair (she in the US, he in Belgium), and after more than a year of talking online she went to meet the guy in person. The visit of a few weeks went great, so they decided to get married. She went back home, quit her job, gave up her apartment, sold most of her things and packed up the rest and flew to Belgium to start their life together. When she got there she discovered 1) a serious alcohol problem that he had successfully hidden all the previous time they'd talked and 2) he was married and reconciled with his wife. You can imagine the devastation.


I know other horror stories too--all have a similar theme of a person online not being who he says he is, or not really available (is married or won't come out of the closet).



Despite the horror stories I say go for it, and enjoy the process of getting to know each other, and be careful at the same time. It's way too early for you to know if he is for real or just playing online, given that he is not out. You also don't yet know if he is who he says he is.


Chat with him, find out if he is for real, and keep your eyes open for red flags (if you can't find anything about his real life-- run away). He may tell you he wants to keep things private because he is not out; that's ok only to a point-- the point at which one of you is going to travel to visit the other.


As the conversation unfolds you may discuss an in-person visit. If he doesn't ever want to move towards this, think of him as only an internet chat friend and concentrate on meeting someone closer to home. You have the rest of your lives to work this out, you don't need to rush or decide anything. Just don't invest emotionally until you know what you are getting into. Protect yourself.


As you say, it could be amazingly great. I hope it is!

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Thank you for the thoughtful reply! It helps a lot to hear about your story and others!


I am getting way ahead of myself at this stage. I think part of the intensity is we're both Christmas Break from university and have a lot more free time on our hands than normal. January could lead to us just drifting a part. Who knows.


I do know he is legit. We're already Facebook friends and its a legit profile. It goes back over 5 years to when he was in high school and everything checks out when I google his name under his university and sports records.


Skype will be another confirmation of his true looks/identity to make sure he matches his pictures. But I don't really have any doubts he will. There are some red flags. He is in a bit of a rebellion "drifter" stage of life. He is fighting a lot with his parents over his pain of being in the closet and has done a few drugs I would never touch and had a marijuana problem in 2nd year that caused him to fail a few classes and have to take a 5th year to finish. But I don't fully judge there either. I'm not perfect. I've dabbled in some things and there's bin parts of my youth that I've royally screwed up and have had to find my way back. Still, I think its good for me to have open eyes that he seems a bit of a risk-taker.


I think the win-win situation is the best way to look at it. Whether he visits me in Vancouver and we do a road trip or I visit him in South Africa, I think what I prefer is the following:


Continue to flirt or what not as its pretty harmless. Don't go into any committment. Long distance "steady" relationships with someone you've never met are absolutely futile. But I think a "rule" should be to not discuss with each other if we hook up with other guys. I wouldn't want to hear. Yet, still to be honest if one of us did find someone in our real lives and to clarify with the other it needs to remain just a friendship.


But if both of us maintain a friendship and a flirtation I think going to visit him would be great. If the "spark" isn't there then we just be good gay friends and can still have a blast and perhaps be good lifelong friends. If something does click then who knows; it could be something great.


And I need to put the whole moving/marriage BS out of my head. That's way way way way far ahead in the picture. I think that would only be even CONSIDERED if I had met him twice (he comes here; I go there) and everything still clicked then a serious evaluation would take place.

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But I don't think he intends to stay in the closet for too much longer. My sense is he is getting quite close to telling his family. They know something is "wrong" and he refuses to tell them so far. But he knows that the only way to move things forward with them is to tell them he is gay. Thankfully, religion isn't a component there.


It just sounds like South Africa is a much more uptight conservative country when it comes to sex and sexuality. It has full legal equality, but I don't think he'd ever want to hold hands with a guy or be too open there kind of thing.

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I think you should go for it. It could be great. Who knows? Sometimes you just gotta make that one trip


My friend is from Canada and we are planning to meet during the summer. Yes I know right. Halfway accross the world. He don't know much about my culture either except that we are pretty uptight as well. We are keeping our expectations low but we have a pretty good idea of what we're getting ourselves into.


The key is to talk about it beforehand. Talk about everything. Get to know him better, his thoughts about stuff. Don't assume. Just ask whats on your mind, if he's as smitten as you are about him, I'm sure he'll be glad to answer. If he's right for you, it could only get better.

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Wow, so time for some updates!


Its been three weeks of daily non-stop talking. I'm just sort of blown away by it all. The time difference between South Africa and Vancouver, Canada is 10 hours, so our common "awake" overlap time is my mornings/his nights and vice versa. So we literally text and talk first thing when we wake up and last thing before we go to sleep. The strength in our bond already is shocking to me.


We've Skyped three times already and his mannerisms are great, and he is definitely into me. The internet is apparently awful in South Africa, so we can't Skype all the time until he's back at university.


We have basically approached all subjects with no bars held. We talk about a lot of superficial stuff. Food. Pop culture. Politics. Our parents. Life. Worries. We ummm....have sexted twice, very intensely. Nothing on Skype. But the last time tonight was an actual turning point in things. Afterwards we talked about some serious life goals and dreams...and he basically left me on Cloud 9 this Christmas Eve with this a comment that he already "got lotsa love for you already man" and that I made this night really special for him and that he cares about me.


And we talked openly about just pursuing the status quo. Keeping it open minded and realistic. But not writing each other off either. We discussed how that if an opportunity arose in our own lives, to not stop ourselves from going out on dates or seeing other guys for someone we haven't met. Even though we do feel quite strong already. Things is we are both in the last year of our university degrees, and he's in the closet until he graduates (he's not in denial, just doesn't want to risk financial issues with his parents until he's done). And both of us are sort of frustrated with the lack of guys our "type" in our own respective lives.


So the idea is to continue pursuing the feelings and emotions we have right now for as long as we both mutually get something out of it and enjoy the connection. Its not a guilt thing or obligation. And if one of us does meet someone else we just maintain a friendship.


But that we're both going to work towards making the reality possible of me visiting him, or him coming here or us meeting somewhere in between (likely Europe as its half way between Canada/South Africa), and seeing what its like in person. If sparks fly. If it feels like something very real on a 2 week trip together. We re-evaluate the situation from there and figure things out from there.


But it just feels amazing that the passion and intensity is like nothing either of us have ever experienced. Part of me thinks its being caught up in the fantasy. But we're both very similar. There's a surprising amount of mutual attraction.


We both have the same values too. Want a relationship and commitment. Part of me thinks I'm insane. I wouldn't dare tell any of my family or friends because they would think I'm so stupid. But there's almost a peace about it...I know I have somebody out there who is thinking about me everyday and who I'm thinking about and it gives me more drive in my daily life.


I feel like nobody needs to know at this point. Until I actually met him in person and if things developed out of there, then I could be more open to my friends about it.


It just feels almost surreal, as its like some contrived cheesy Hollywood movie plot line. I dunno. I hope it lasts. Haven't felt this good in a while.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update again! haha...


I dunno guys. Its just so new to me still (7 weeks in). Advice and insights are always so welcome. Its just been a whirlwind. So we've texted non-stop. Like throughout the day, every day, since we first talked. He's gone on a training trip to a remote part of Africa and the cell service is limited so I've had to move from WhatsApp to regular SMS but he still pays the 25cents/whatever it costs to text me sometimes 5x a day. And he like was the first one to drop the phrases (a) "my man" and "Lotsa Love" in the sign off. Neither of us have much experience with relationships. It just feels so good. Like he told me yesterday in text that he likes me a lot, and I was blunt back. And we've Skyped (like video; face to face; I know he's all legit and who he says he is; there's no worries there) like 6x before he went to this remote area. And in February when he's back home in South Africa we can't wait to Skype again.


I'm already thinking of like getting his mailing address out of him and planning something simple, yet sweet to get him a surprise at university for Valentine's Day (dunno if that's a thing there, but its a thing here so whatever!!! haha).


I have talked to my mom and my best friend lightly about the subject and I'm actually surprised they don't think I'm crazy.... My mom is giving me warnings, but she like compared it to when she had pen pals and other stuff. For me its just so comforting to know you have *SOMEONE* wherever they may be who is similar to you and gets you. And I don't look at it as a temp. fix either. I mean we're still both *sane* about the reality of the situation. I haven't met him in person. We are really into each other though and are hoping to work hard towards either of us visiting each other in the next 9 months. I hope by the end of summer to get to meet him. Here in North America or there in South Africa. We have talked openly about it. Like just go in with no expectations. Its just a cheap trip to either place with a suave tour guide. If chemistry is there, let's go for it. If not, lets just be open about the situation, be friends, and still enjoy the experience. I think its healthy...


It still seems insane to me. But the place I live....it doesn't feel that out of the realm of possibilities. (I'm in Vancouver, B.C., Canada). So many immigrants here and bi-racial/bi-national couples. What I've witnessed here I don't think that falling in love with a guy half way around the world IS that atypical. I mean immigration is pretty liberal here. Getting ahead of myself again.... Yet still, it seems like its not that hard of a dream if both individuals feel a connection and have a dedication.


Am I stupid to give this a shot? Right now I just want to keep up with the texting, get back to Skype when he's back in the civilized world, and keep on with what we're feeling. And I'm feeling on my own end, should he have the ability to accommodate me, that I want to visit him this summer in SA and see what its like in person. At the very latest next November....


Anyways...advice...stories...anything...much appreciated...sorry if this is odd having a gay long distance relationship detailed.

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