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Blind (and Desperate) Love

by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 06 May 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Dear Neighbors to the North, Through Facebook you read personal stories, outside of your circle of friends, for instance a shared appeal from a Fleming, a person in his fifties from the province of Antwerp. The man had met a man from West Africa a few years ago, his ideal husband and partner according to his post on Facebook. At his own expense he had the man come over to Belgium, in the hope and assumption that he would be able to marry him in no time.

Red tape, however, stood in the way. When filing the marriage application, the civil servant of the Civil Registry scent trouble, and the Public Prosecutor was called in, prompting a judicial investigation. The application of marriage was refused, as the man in question appears to be already married in his home country and father of two children. A new residence permit and the marriage are refused because the application of his now expired permit was full of lies.

That the Fleming didn’t know about the marriage and the children apparently did not bother him. In his appeal he expresses his love for his African partner and seeks help from friends to prevent the deportation of his friend to his homeland. In their defence, the Fleming and his friend’s lawyer state that on the African continent it is quite normal to marry and have children, so as not to be socially disowned. Something that even here was quite common not that long ago.

The situation is painful for more than one reason. The Fleming concerned had never been in a relationship or knew love or affection, as he writes himself. At fifty-two he fell in love and shared an apartment for the first time ever. The fact that this partner had lied to him from the beginning, apparently, didn’t bother him at all. It was irrelevant, according to him. Not even in the social context of Africa, where homosexuality is not accepted at all, partly because of the continuing influence and power of the Catholic Church there. So, for the African man in question it is quite possible that he had to lie intentionally in his homeland and had to get married. The fact that he kept this from his new partner, cannot - to read the comments - count on much sympathy.

The reactions to the Facebook post were utterly harsh, as people who are not connected with the Fleming can also respond on this social medium. Those who do not know the person and his sensitivities, and therefore do not have to censor themselves. Very painful. The reactions also showed that this is not the only recent case. There appeared to be a lot of investigations into apparently organized African networks to trick Flemings.

This vulgar discussion took place on Facebook, the social discussion is of a different order. Now that I am closer to fifty years of age, I am fortunate to be in a long-term relationship. I see in my immediate circle of friends - of around same age - one after the other single friend panicking. The midlife crisis undoubtedly plays a role, and just as in the straight world, older gays often have to makeway for younger gays who take the hearts of their potential partners who prefer younger people in their bed. In their search for a partner and the accompanying love and affection, some values no longer seem to count from a certain age. As long as they are not alone.

That a lot of older gays - and perhaps also other groups in the GLBT community - put their self-esteem on the line not to feel alone, while their eyes are closed to problems, is very sad indeed. It is understandable to a certain level, but beyond that it becomes pathetic. To come to the conclusion that in certain periods it can also be useful and even pleasant to live alone, can save someone from personal calamities. It sometimes requires a lot of effort, but most of them come out stronger. Now let that aspect be exactly what life is about. Enjoy!

Yours sincerely,

De Ket



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