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-   -   Safer sex, trust, and long-distance relationships (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25125)

nycindie 06-28-2012 12:27 AM

Safer sex, trust, and long-distance relationships
I talked briefly about a potential new relationship in my blog, but it's had me thinking a lot about the safe/safer sex aspect, and other things.

Basically, I live in NYC and he lives in Brazil. He is getting involved in a business which will bring him to NYC two to four times per year, and he's expressed that he'd like to see me again. He seems eager to start a relationship with me. So far, we've only met and chatted for a bit, then had dinner together the next night, talked some more, and made out a bit, nothing more.

I'm trying to figure out if I am actually interested in him, but a few things have me a little confused and unsure about how this can possibly work. It's not really the distance factor, in terms of us being able to get close or maintain a relationship, but it has to do with how to manage certain things due to the distance.

One thing that keeps coming up for me is a good deal of skepticism. I know this sounds self-deprecating, but I don't understand why he finds me so appealing that he chased me for almost two city blocks to talk to me. When we had dinner and were talking about relationships and his possibly visiting me, he said something like "Who knows, I might fall in love with you." But statements like that are just so suspicious to me.

He is a much younger guy, says he is a doctor, and supposedly getting divorced. He tells me his wife already moved back to Europe to be with her family and that they've been separated for a while. Apparently he works in his practice about 60 hours a week and looks forward to his trips to New York as a getaway, in addition to a new business thing he's getting into. In my mind, I just don't know how I can really believe and trust someone who lives so far away, and comes from a different culture. How do I verify anything he says?

And I keep thinking, really, why me, an overweight woman 16 years older than he? With all the beautiful young women in Brazil? He said he thinks I am beautiful, but could there be something else he would want out of a relationship with me? Dumb questions, I guess, but the distance just makes me wonder if I should just take his words at face value, although I am usually very good at reading people and he seems like a good, genuine person.

The other thing is how it will work if I ask him to get tested for STIs. Medical websites about STDs and STIs are always saying that hooking up with people from other countries is always a bigger risk. How would it work? Have him get tested here in NYC? Have him bring his test results from Brazil? Then what kind of agreements do we have in place when I wouldn't ever really know what he's doing, far away in another country? And especially since it would have to be a more casual type thing, not polyfidelitous. How do you people in LDRs work this out?

And what if he comes to my city for his next visit, and I don't feel ready to have sex with him yet, just because I may want to be cautious. Is that unreasonable of me? He probably only stays a week here at a time. But I feel that if he really wants something to develop between us, he needs to be patient for me to adjust to such parameters.

The thoughts in my head may have been tumbling out here in a convoluted, confusing way, so I hope I'm making sense. I just have a lot of questions about the practical aspects, I suppose, of this situation and how to manage all the doubts. I don't think it's impossible, but others here may have some feedback and tips that I may not have thought of. Any kind of input is welcome, I'm just not sure of how I feel about this at all.

AnnabelMore 06-28-2012 12:45 AM

Some people are attracted to people who are older than them. Some people are attracted to people who are heavier than our culture's ideal. Some people are attracted to other people's spirits and personalities, with their physical bodies entering relatively little into it. This guy could be any of these. Unless his plan is to crash at your place and then steal your stuff in the night, or con you with a story of woe and take your cash, I can't imagine what an alternative motive from him might be. I mean, it's not like you're a rich heiress he can bilk. I would just go with it, while staying in touch with your intuition to see if anything seems shady.

As for STI's, someone down the street can lie to you about their safer sex practices just as easily as someone halfway across the world. It comes down to a couple of old adages. Trust but verify -- it's perfectly ok to ask him to get tested in NYC with you. And hope for the best but prepare for the worst -- insist on barriers.

Certainly I would say it's fine to expect him to wait until you're completely comfortable... that should *always* be the standard, right? Plus, it's not like he's coming to NYC just to visit you, he'd be coming there anyway, you're just a bonus. And anticipation makes the prize sweeter, yes? ;)

Pretzels 06-28-2012 12:53 AM

*cough* green card *cough*

How long have you spent with this fellow? If you're the suspicious type, I highly recommend against a LDR under almost all circumstance. There's just too much that you can't know that will drive you crazy.

nycindie 06-28-2012 01:53 AM

I realized after I logged off that I wanted to come back and add that I did not post the "why me" stuff just to fish for compliments or anything like that. It's just I am wondering how one establishes trust and gets to know someone when there is such vast distance in time and space between seeing the person.

I'm still married (separated) and he knows that, so marrying me to get a green card is not an option for a while, although it did occur to me. He did say that he sees his long hours as a necessity for the next few years, and he seems to love his work. And he stays in very nice hotels, dresses well, seems comfortably well-off.

It's almost too perfect.

I'm not normally suspicious, I guess that's why I am having a hard time with all these doubts. I'm just wrangling the LDR aspect.

Tonberry 06-28-2012 09:46 AM

I think rushing sex that you are not comfortable with because you won't have another opportunity for a while would be a mistake. Have sex the next time he visits after you are fine with it, and not a second sooner. And if you are fine with it the day after he leaves, oh well, he'll be back if it's going to last, right?

I can't say what attracted him to you, and if it does seem suspicious, stay on your guard, but whatever you look like, remember people have different tastes. It could be that all the "pretty, young" females in Brazil seem to look better to you (and might to other people, too, which could have been your experience) but to him you're exactly what he's attracted to.
If that's the case, it's possible he saw you, thought you were his dream female, physically speaking, and wanted to approach you and not let you go.
If that's the case, he'll be fine with waiting until you're ready. If you're that special to him, he won't want to risk ruining it, as frustrated as he might get.

Either way, sex because you think you'll feel guilty if you don't seems like a terrible idea. You don't owe him sex because he finds you attractive and he's nice to you. This reminds me of insecure teenagers who have sex when they're not ready.

I don't mean to insult you here, and I'm sorry if I seemed disrespectful. You're someone who has shown good judgment in the past and a lot of maturity, and I think you realise that pressured sex is a bad idea. Just don't torture yourself over it, and be confident. If he gets upset about it he wasn't worth it in the first place. If he's really too good to be true, he'll be fine with it.

Good luck, and I hope everything is true despite being so perfect. Keep an eye out for anything fishy, but don't forget to also enjoy the good times :)

nycindie 06-28-2012 04:36 PM

All the stuff I was saying was just the rambling in my head, to show the thoughts I've been having about it. I know I wouldn't have sex if I didn't want to. It was all just to illustrate the problems I see inestablishing trust in a LDR. How do we do it?

CielDuMatin 06-28-2012 04:44 PM

The STI thing is tricky, so safer sex all-round, I'd say, unless he is willing to get tested here and share the results, but even then, how do you know what other sexual relations he has on his travel?

The thing that bothers me is the thing about his wife - he says they are separated - how do you verify that in any way? He may be a happily married guy in Brazil with kids, and he is looking to set up a relationship for himself when he makes his frequent trips to NYC. that's definitely not unheard-of. The question if, how much you care about that, I suppose.

Magdlyn 06-28-2012 05:02 PM


Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 141357)
...the problems I see inestablishing trust in a LDR. How do we do it?

Well, I'd chat online a lot. I don't think you like to do that, tho. How about Skype? (but again, with your current financial situation, I don't think you even have internet at home... ) And then meeting him irl and spending time together, getting a feel for his interests, communication skills and the like.

Eventually, with lots of communication, you will get a sense of the real him.

You and he don't need to be Romeo and Juliet to have a certain kind of fulfillment. If he only comes to town 2-4 times a year, it could remain a nice casual FWB kind of thing.

And of course, a voluptuous experienced pretty lady of a certain age is wicked attractive to many men. I keep telling you that, you keep not believing it! :p

Tonberry 06-28-2012 06:27 PM

How do you normally establish trust? Is it from discussions? From shared experiences? To find the closest possible thing we need to know what the in-person thing would be.

A few options would be, if you like the physical aspects of things, to exchange letters and every so often physical items. The shipping will add up, though.
If you like shared experiences, then you could possibly watch a movie together over the computer, or play a game... but I'm not sure if you'd want to do either. You could also read a book at the same time and talk about your impressions for instance.
If it's discussions, then the solution would be to talk often, obviously.

If you normally get close through experiences and physical things, it's going to be the hardest. If you get close through talks, even if they have to include voice, it's already much easier to keep that aspect in a LDR.

How often do you see him while he's away? How much do you know about his life when you're not talking?

Anneintherain 06-29-2012 12:06 PM

I'm guessing I couldn't do LDR unless there was a lot of communication, or it had already been a local relationship. Previous posters have asked good questions - just what would make you feel like you could know him enough to be comfortable? If you think it is too good to be true, is there a way to do a easy background check on somebody not local? (If he is a Doctor, there should be SOME searchable information on him (admit I'm having trouble myself finding that info for Brazilian Dr's), I tend to get suspicious so I would probably seek it out and look for inconsistencies before he was back in town, if anything looked fishy I wouldn't roll the dice.)

As for safe sex - well if I couldn't trust my ex-husband of 12 years, I figure I can't trust anybody. Condoms for sex and oral sex is my routine for non long term relationships, and as awesome as it is, I don't mind forgoing oral sex until I feel I've known somebody long enough time to get a sense of who they are and what other relationships they are in, whether that's 6 months or never. There is nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution, and anybody worth having a relationship with wont be pissy you wont throw caution and common sense to the wind.

I too think if I had a spark with somebody, was comfy with casual, and it was going to be 2-12 times a year when they were in town, I'd still feel safe enough with my current safe sex rules to stick with them and go for it.

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