Saturday, April 27, 2013

Setting The Table and The Emergency Supply Run.

After getting the cake I returned to T's house.  He and his parents were all changed for the party.  (He looks damn good in a suit.)  I had brought my suit with me, but had not put in on yet since I knew I would be working.  He drove his parent to the party and I drove my own car by myself.  I wished he could come with me, but his parents don't drive and I needed to have my car with me.

T was supper stressed.  He is a planner.   This party has a lot of moving parts and he wanted everything to go well for his parents. By the time we got the church hall, it was clear the preparations were behind schedule.   He asked me to help with setting the tables with plates, chopsticks, and the other things you might expect. 

I got half the plates out and couldn't any find more.  It turned out not enough were purchased.  T asked if I would take him and his mother to the store to get more.  T was even more stressed and I knew he appreciated me driving him.   Off we went and got all the last minute stuff.  When we got back it was time to finish setting up.

All together it was a couple hours of work to get everything ready.  I was happy to help out.  With everyone doing their part it made me feel like I was part of the family.  I was actually a little disappointed when we were finished. 

We finished just before the guests were due to arrive.  It was time for me to get changed.


Java said...

It all sounds pretty positive. I hope the rest of the evening went well. I'll check back for the rest of the story.

Sunne said... sounds good so far ;)

Anonymous said...

I hesitate to write till I know how the story comes out but I think a few things are clear from what you’ve written so far and in the past.

T is from a different culture and that is as integral to who he is as his eye color or his sexuality. And inherent in that are some of the qualities you know and love about him. With it though comes some things that seem to be causing problems for you, namely the very strong feelings for family and the duty a child owes to his family that is different in most (but by no means all) Western cultures.

You need to understand that this is not like a bad habit or thoughtlessness, say forgetting your birthday or putting the cap on the toothpaste, that he can simply change. It’s who he is and to fail to come to terms with that is going to make you unhappy and cause all kinds of conflict for T.

On balance is T a good man? Does he put you first in most things (after family and career)? Does he understand and support your relationship with your ex-wife and children? Does he love you and do you love him? Are you secure enough with your place in his heart that you can take a back seat to his family?

Of one thing I’m certain: T’s family will always be the hub around which his life turns. It is who he is. He has offered you a place in that world but it’s up to you if you can accept it on those terms. Not displacing his family does not mean he loves you any less or you mean less to him than they do. It is the foundational element of his culture and in order to accept that and the rules that govern it you must be a fairly independent personality and be secure in his love for you. Only you know if you can be happy over the long term with a cross cultural relationship.

Most of your readers seem to want T to change. They take the Western view that the kind of filial devotion he shows to his family is wrong. I'd submit that expecting him to change that is unrealistic. Most people who feel this way would be aghast at asking someone from another culture to "speak English" or insist that they assimilate quickly once the emigrate. This is much the same thing. They are asking T to give up something from his culture that has severed them well for thousands of years all in a single generation. You might force him to do it...but could he ever be happy if he did? It's neither right nor wrong if you cannot accept it. But trying to force him to change it is futile and will make you both miserable

jim said...

Hi Anonymous,

I would agree with you 100% except for one thing, he has siblings who are married. His brothers who are married live with their wives and their kids. The brothers put their wives first (as they should) before other members of the family. I think it has less to do with Asian culture and more to do with the relative value of gay vs. straight relationships.

But that is a story for another post.

Anonymous said...


I've found in all families like T's that have such strong family dominated structures, it always falls to some siblings much more than others especially when there are lots of kids. Historically, it was a single female child that bore the brunt of familial obligations. Never is it born equally. I'd suggest that T's single status as well as his occupation and income (and own personal devotion to them) that has caused this role to fall to him.

I'm not saying it doesn't seem unfair but in my experience it always seems to work this way and one sib gets the largest share of responsibility. Since T was "single" until recently, the patterns and expectations existed long before you arrived on the scene. It's not personal. I suspect T would have these same difficulties were he straight