Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “Vietnam”

Goodbye China; Good Morning Vietnam

Ben and I are now in Vietnam, visiting Eve. Yesterday, he and I flew out of Zhengzhou. Unfortunately, our departure was somewhat unpleasant. Ben and I have been teaching at a university and were provided with an apartment just after we arrived. Yesterday, the apartment was checked to make sure everything that was given to us was still there. The woman who checked our apartment was supposed to arrive at 10:30am. She had also booked us a taxi to the airport for 11am. However, she didn’t arrive at the apartment until just before 11 and discovered that one of the items (a sheet) we were given was missing. Now, it is quite difficult to lose a sheet. We wouldn’t have taken it out of the apartment, so it couldn’t have disappeared. Regardless, we had to pay the equivalent of about $12 to replace it; not a big deal at least, but everything was so rushed. Thankfully, the traffic on the way to the airport wasn’t too bad and we went there with a very good friend, which was nice.

Ben and I flew through Guangzhou to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Our baggage was sent through to Saigon, but one piece didn’t arrive there. We had to spend a lot of time describing the luggage and filling out a form. Right before I wrote this post, the luggage did arrive, so we’re happy about that. Ben and I are also quite happy to be out of China. As soon as we left Zhengzhou, I could sense a change in Ben; he was suddenly much happier than when we were in Zhengzhou. I am very generous when I say that Zhengzhou is not the nicest place. At times, our relationship was strained just because we weren’t living in the place we’d like to. Ben and I are a bit sad to be leaving China though because it was the first place we really had a home together. After we return to Canada, it is quite likely that we’ll be living in different places. That being said, we’re still committed to each other. Recently, Ben’s mom has been helping us make arrangements for our wedding next year and we’re getting excited about that.

Here in Saigon, Ben, Eve, and I are all staying in a hotel together. I feel a bit sad because Ben gets to meet some of Eve’s family and I can’t attend. Poly isn’t really known in Vietnam and Eve’s family would not approve if they met me. I am happy that Ben gets to meet Eve’s family and that they get to have quality time together. At this point, the future of Ben and Eve’s relationship is so unknown; the time they get to spend together could be limited. Just over the last day, things have been good between the 3 of us and I anticipate that will continue. In a few days, we 3 are travelling to an island off the southwest coast of Vietnam. We shall all see what this vacation brings.

If you have any relationship questions, please email me at Cheers!

Reaching Out and Tuning Out

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m currently in Taiwan and Ben is in Vietnam. Recently, he met someone I will call Eve and they’ve hit it off. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got a message from her on OkCupid and when she added me as a friend on Facebook. When my partner(s) get involved with others, I like to build relationships with them. It’s very rare that others have reached out to me first, so you can imagine this was a bit of shock, especially because Eve has never been involved in a polyamorous relationship before. I think she really understands how it works, though. We’ve started exchanging pleasant messages and I’ve even been informed by Ben that she writes poetry and is interested in exploring an attraction to women. It’s also very rare that I meet a fellow poet, so for me, this is all great. She and Ben are going on a little trip this weekend and will see how things develop. If things go well, she’s interested in visiting us in China, depending on whether she can get a visa or not. Diplomatic relations between Vietnam and China have not been the best recently, so it could be difficult for her. Now, this isn’t to say my feelings about Eve have been entirely positive. Ben told me he hasn’t been attracted to someone as strongly as he is to Eve since he met me, which could be constructed as a threat to our relationship.

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is how women are programmed to act in relationships. We are often taught to find a man (forget what your sexual orientation may be…) and hold on to him as tightly as possible. We should be jealous and protective when another woman comes along because she might steal him away from us. If we have children with said man, we have to depend on him and keep him from being attracted to other women. Of course, these are all outdated ideas, but they are still present in our society today. I don’t think Eve would steal Ben away from me for a few reasons: Ben and I are as committed to each other as anyone can be. I don’t think Ben would allow someone to steal him away from me. It would also be against Eve’s interest to do so if she wants to build at least a friendship with me. It does seem like she’s coming into polyamory in the spirit of friendship, so I have no doubt she would betray me in some way. There is also the question of whether she would live close to us. She is interested in doing a Master’s and that could be in Canada, so we shall see where this all goes. In the meantime, I’m putting myself into a mindframe of tuning out from the normal programming I mentioned above. As the old saying goes, if you love someone, set them free. I sometimes have the feeling that Ben and I only met recently and that our relationship is still fragile. I remind myself how much can happen in a little over a year…

Thanks as always for reading! I await your relationship questions, which are always posted anonymously. My email address is

Being There

Ben and I had a unique experience, especially within Vietnam, this week. On Monday, Ben had a date with someone just outside Hanoi that went very well. I have to admit that I was a bit jealous about it, but I was very happy for him. The woman is Vietnamese and I was scared that perhaps Ben would want to stay in Vietnam to continue seeing her, but he did assure me that was not the case; she was also interested in living in another country. 2 days after their date, we both went to see her. I was very curious to meet this woman because she seemed very genuine and she clearly really liked Ben; she had been sending him lots of text messages that indicated her feelings. Unfortunately, our meeting didn’t go very well. Ben had spoken repeatedly about me and about how our relationship works, but she didn’t seem to understand it. She was warm toward me and she brought her very cute daughter along, but the meeting felt very awkward. I don’t think she knew what to make of Ben and I and she didn’t feel comfortable being affectionate toward Ben while we were all together.

What sealed the deal for Ben was the fact that she assumed we would pay for everything. After the 3 of us went to karaoke, I asked her if she could help pay for it, since we all sang and had snacks there. That’s when she told us she didn’t have her wallet – we weren’t sure if she was forgetful or if that was purposeful. The price of the karaoke wasn’t that cheap, especially by Vietnamese standards, and given that we had all sung, I felt it was fair to share the cost. After we left, she told us that she needed to take a taxi back to her motorbike and she needed us to pay for that taxi. We felt very taken advantage of and decided we wouldn’t see her again. She did apologize for asking for the money to get back to her motorbike and explained that in Vietnam, men pay for everything. I asked her if that is also the case when women see their male friends and she said yes. Several hours after the date was over, she sent several messages to Ben saying that he had invited her to karaoke, therefore he should pay. Karaoke had merely been a suggestion on our part, not a given. She also assumed that we were earning lots of money and since she wasn’t earning much, we had the duty to pay. Ben told her we’ve been volunteering in Vietnam and that we didn’t have the means to pay for her all the time.

Ben was fairly upset after all of this because he initially really liked the woman. This leads me to discussing one of the benefits of polyamory : After a disappointment, you often have another partner or partners to help you get over it. I pride myself on being there for my partners and I was happy to console Ben. I also know that if I went through something similar, he would be there for me. When I started becoming poly, this is something I had never considered and I think it’s a definite benefit. Although there is potential for more breakups when you have multiple relationships, there is also potential for more comfort.

Thank you as always for reading. Ben and I are about to enter China – we’ll see what the opportunities are like there for polyamory… If you have any questions about any relationship, email me at

Post Navigation