Opposites Attract

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I like Britney, he likes Gaga.

I like movies, he likes video games.

I like walking, he likes running.

These are just a few examples of the everyday battles we face because of our completely opposite tastes! At times it can be quite frustrating, especially when I want to watch a film and he looks like he’d rather rub his face on a cheese grater. But in the long run, I think it’s good that we are so different. He may think I am stubborn and set in my ways (which I am), but the truth is I really value his opinion, and it often challenges me to re-evaluate my stand on things, even if it doesn’t always come across.

And I like to think that the same goes for him. I’ve seen a big difference in him since we’ve been together. for example, I’m a neat freak and hate a messy house, whereas he used to have a very ‘relaxed’ approach to housekeeping. But nowadays he probably does more housework than me. He’s always washing dishes and clothes! And I’ve also developed a more lenient approach to what I consider messy.

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I remember an episode of Modern Family that was about whether people can change or not. When asked how much people could change, Mitchell replied “People are who they are, give or take 15 percent. That’s how much people can change if they really want to. Whether it is for themselves or for the people they love.” This always stuck with me. 15%. Is it a lot? Is it not enough? Is it realistic? I don’t know what your opinion is on the subject, but for me, I came to the conclusion that I would be happy to be 15% adaptable. It’s a good percentage to aim for! It’s high enough to see a difference, but not so much that you lose yourself in the process. And for the one I love, I will more than willingly try to get up to that 15% in order to make him happy, because I know he is willing to do the same for me. Sometimes I may fall short, but I really try. 

And this mentality has worked out well for us when it comes to the tricky parts. But it’s funny because even though we have our differences, in other ways we are so in-sync. We have the same dark sense of humour. We often finish each others sentences. We have the same fashion sense and are always stealing each others clothes. And I can almost always tell what he’s thinking and he knows me really well too. These natural similarities are the reason we were so attracted to one another in the first place, and the differences only help to make these connections that much more special.

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We may still argue about what takeout to get, and we are always on opposite sides during a celebrity argument, but in the end it doesn’t really matter. I love him because he is so different to me. It keeps me on my toes. And making up after a heated argument can be quite thrilling too!

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Welcome to the Neighbourhood

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I’ve taken a little bit of a break from WordPress over the last couple of weeks. I was very busy with work and honestly wasn’t feeling very inspired.

This week I’ve started following some new blogs, and have just been quietly absorbing this lovely community, regaining my focus and admiring some wonderfully written works.

It’s made me evaluate what I want my blog to be about, and what I want to say. I think I’m going in the right direction, but I just need a little bit more discipline!

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed a lot and I think has been well received has been the Man Crush Monday. So this is something I’m going to continue to do frequently, and hopefully consistently!

Also, I like sharing personal experiences and advice. As one half of a gay couple I am always fascinated when I discover blogs with similar lifestyles and stories. Finding people who can share my aspirations, obstacles and milestones is always fun, and I hope to be more of a voice in that sense.

When I started, I had it in my mind that Pink Suburbia was going to be about my gay life in suburbia, and while it is still an ongoing theme, here I’m able to share my passions for film, television, entertainment, and most importantly, my husband.

With Pink Suburbia I’ve created a little online home for myself, on a gay-friendly street with the most fascinating neighbours. So if you’re reading this, it means I have another chance to welcome you to the neighbourhood! On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Secret Love Song: A Secret Love Story

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Little Mix released their new album just over two weeks ago, and there is one song that for me personally stands out above the rest.

On the deluxe edition of the album ‘Get Weird’, you will find a stunning little number, tucked away in the tail end of the collection. Secret Love Song, Pt II is a wonderful ballad about, well, a secret love.

On first listen, I picked up on the main themes of the song because of the heartbreaking lyrics:

You and I both have to hide on the outside
Where I can’t be yours and you can’t be mine

Straight away, I felt a connection to the lyrics. It reminded me of the time before I came out. I had been with my boyfriend (now husband) for a few months. We were actually already living together! But still, I hadn’t admitted to a large part of my family that I was gay. At the time I was living far away from my mother & sister (who already knew), and I felt it was important not to rock the boat or let my religious family members know in case they didn’t react well.

It’s quite funny looking back now, because we were actually really good at sneaking around. My family helped me move into my new house, not even realising that I was moving in with my boyfriend! But as amusing as it is now, I remember it was actually really frustrating at times having to keep such a huge secret.

I had met the love of my life and I couldn’t even share it with my loved ones. We would go out, and I would always be looking over my shoulder, worrying someone would recognise me. I hesitantly held his hand in public, but I could never relax.

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Eventually, I came out to everyone very publicly on Facebook. It was a massive relief, not to be afraid of showing affection to the man I loved. Most of my family didn’t react very well, and I lost contact with a lot of them over my relationship, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done. The freedom it gave me was incredible, and even though there was some negativity, I was mostly met with a loving response.

This song reminds me of how far I’ve come and the lengths I’ve gone through to prove that my love is something special. Unfortunately, there are still many people who have to live their lives in secret, afraid of being rejected, or even worse, killed for loving who they love.

I’m posting this song and my story because it really touched my heart, and I wanted anyone else out there who relates to this  in some way to know that who you love shouldn’t have to be a secret, especially because you just can’t help it.

PS: Thank you Little Mix for such a great song and embracing it as an LGBT love anthem. ❤

Lazy Sunday…

After the week I’ve had, I want nothing more than to continue to lay in bed, watching time go by. At least for a little bit longer.

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This week, I’ve been on a training course for work, which was both fantastic and exhausting. Living in suburbia and having to trek to south east London has been like Frodo taking the ring to Mordor! But it was all for a good cause and actually made me look at my job as more of a career than just a place where I get paid every month.

I work for a fantastic company and I just feel like I could benefit from being in a different sector. I don’t know if I’m quite ready for it or if my bosses will think I’m ready right now, but it’s definitely a possibility and a challenge, which makes me optimistic.

However exciting that may be, I don’t want to think about it now though. I am very content next to my sleeping husband on this cold Sunday morning, and don’t want my mind to be anywhere else!

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I find that when it gets started its a one-stop train to crazy town, imagining all the best and worst possible outcomes and overthinking every little action. It’s hard to get a grip at times, so the best thing is not to wind it up.

I suppose all of us are a little bit like that. When we achieve one thing we are looking for the next. Which is good, overall. But we should just take the time to enjoy what we have, and appreciate the little moments too. Or even the non-moments, like the one I’m experiencing right now. I know tomorrow will come eventually, but I’m in no rush for it to arrive.

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Dear 16 Year Old Me: A letter about friendships

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As I lay in bed this morning, ignoring my alarm and browsing Facebook to avoid the inevitable, I found myself feeling a little melancholic (not only because I had to get up for work!). I was looking through my news feed and saw a lot of people who I used to go to school with. Some who were my close friends, some who were acquaintances, and some who I barely spoke to in the 6-7 years that I studied at the same school.

I had my group of close friends and I’m sure we all thought the world revolved around us. But now, more than 7 years after finishing secondary/high school, I hardly have any contact with my school friends. Nothing bad happened, we just drifted apart. We moved on from school, got jobs, went to uni, moved away, and eventually made new friendships. It’s sad but it’s a part of life.

What I feel a little melancholic about is the fact that there were a lot of people I never made an effort to get to know. Somehow I’ve ended up Facebook friends with some of them, and I will see them post something funny, or comment on a subject that I like, or even share a life event that I can relate to, and I think to myself ‘Why were we never close?’.

If I could go back in time and do it all again, I think that’s one of the things I would try to do. Be a little more outgoing and talk to different people. I can be a little bit shy in the beginning, but I think I’m quite outgoing nowadays! It’s been much easier since leaving school. I think because I was still trying to come to terms with my sexuality (everyone around me knew I was gay before I did!), I just wanted to blend in and be a part of the background. I didn’t want people questioning me about my sexuality when I didn’t even know the answer, so I just stuck with the people who I felt most comfortable with.

I don’t want to sit here and think about all the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s of my teenage life, otherwise I’m sure this would just be the tip of the iceberg, so I thought it would be better to write my 16 year old self a little letter instead:

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I wish I could explain to sixteen year old Matt just how important it is to be kind and true to who you are, but in all honesty I think that’s a lifelong lesson that has to be learnt the hard way…

Is Time Apart Good For A Relationship?

If time apart is important in a relationship, why do I find it so difficult?

Let me start this off by saying I am actually confused as to what has happened to me! (maybe some Blair Waldorf gifs will help?) I used to be this super-independent person who loved to have time to myself and found a million things to take up my thoughts. I enjoyed reading, watching television, cooking, working out (I was never a gym bunny but I liked to try), going to the cinema or eating out, occasionally having a drink or two (or twenty) etc. You know, normal things that people enjoy! Sometimes I’d do these things with friends, but often times I liked to have ‘me’ time (although I’ve never been one to drink alone!). But somewhere along the way, I’ve lost that.

love too muchIn past relationships, and even in the beginning of my current relationship, I was never very clingy. I found that really unattractive in a person I was seeing, and if I ever saw signs that I could potentially start to become overly-attached I shut it down! Roni had to practically claw his way into my life, because I would always make up excuses not to see him or not to have him come over. I didn’t like him coming to my house because it meant I had no escape when I wanted him to leave! If we met in a neutral place, I could make an excuse to get away so I could go home and watch Gossip Girl!

Over time though, I started to notice small changes in my attitude. As I felt more secure in the relationship, I started to enjoy his company more. We had our individual lives, but I looked forward to our time together. I preferred to be with him instead of alone or even with my friends. Some of the things that I enjoyed doing became less and less frequent, and then ultimately stopped altogether.

togetherBut none of this was Roni’s fault. On the contrary, he thinks it’s important for us to have separate hobbies. I do too! I just lost interest in a lot of things because… well, I don’t really know why! I’ve never been a very good multitasker, so having a full time job and relationship seemed to take up a lot of my energy. When I do have time to myself, it’s because I want to watch TV and he wants to play video games, not because we have really made a point of setting individual time apart. It got to the point where we didn’t really know what to do with ourselves, because we were spending so much time together, but we weren’t doing anything productive or entertaining.

That takes us to the present, or rather, this week to be more specific. Roni’s had to work late shifts pretty much every day of this week, and I’ve had a lot of time to myself. The first night was really weird! I literally couldn’t function and couldn’t think of anything to do, so when I got home I spent about 30 minutes staring at the wall. Eventually, I decided to go over to my mum’s house (she lives next door), and spend some time with her. The next day, I set some time apart to work on a few ideas for my blog. By the third day, I was really struggling to find things to do, and I had a bit of an epiphany as to how pathetic this really is, and just how damaging I’ve been to myself.

weakWhen you are in a relationship, it’s not like the Spice Girls say it is, two DON’T become one. When I was single, I always hated it when my friends didn’t make time for me. When I was single, it annoyed me beyond belief when people only spoke about their other half. When I was single, I found it ridiculous when couples were always together, and never did anything separately. And now what have I gone and done? To an extent, I’ve become what I despise! But I won’t allow the full transformation to be complete!

I need to take care of myself, the individual who has his own interests, opinions, values and personality. These are the things that made my partner fall in love with me and these are the things that will make him stay. Of course I want to share every waking moment with him. I want to, but I don’t need to. It doesn’t mean I love him any less, it means that we both need to be able to identify where one ends and the other begins, instead of morphing into conjoined twins!

friendsThis week has been a huge failure, because I proved to myself that I am incapable of being alone. However, I’m putting that down to the initial shock and lack of preparedness for the situation. So how am I going to move forward? I’ve already made plans to see my best friend tonight (this gif was the reaction when I called —>), and I’ve chosen a book that I am going to start reading in my spare time, as well as trying to focus some energy into my writing. Also, I’m going to make the most of the time that I do have with my husband this week. Because as well as being able to appreciate myself, I need to appreciate the wonderful man I’ve married who I can sometimes take for granted because he’s always present.

I say all of this, probably sounding a little selfish, but I know he agrees and understand where I’m coming from, as well as feeling he could use time to himself to do the things he likes. The intention is not to put my needs or his needs above our needs… However, in order for us to continue to be happy as a couple, our individual needs have to be acknowledged (so long as they do not break our vows and are not damaging the marriage, obviously!). And in order to achieve that, ultimately it’s going to take some time apart.

not invitedThe thought of him being out and me staying in is daunting to me, because we do so much together. But I understand it’s necessary. No matter how much I feel like I want to be a part of everything I simply can’t without being an overbearing presence. There is a part of me that fears that he will enjoy himself more without me than he does with me. The fear of losing him to a night out with friends sounds preposterous I know, but it’s a feeling that can be hard to shake. Again, not because of anything he has done, it is just insecurity, and I need to have more confidence in myself and our relationship. I know who I want and trust that without a doubt, I have to trust that he feels the same, and he hasn’t acted in any way that would suggest otherwise.

This is new territory for me though, as confidence seems to be a bit of an issue of late, but I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone a little and I’m cautiously optimistic to see where we go and how we evolve from here. There is a fine line between growing together, growing apart and simply growing in the wrong direction. Too much time together, and you merge; too much time apart, and you drift. The way I see it, there will be times when we get it wrong, and there will be times when we get it right, the thing to remember is that being in a relationship doesn’t define who you are, and being able to handle the moments apart is a real testament to your union.

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Cooling Down or Freezing Out?! Knowing When to End an Argument…

Are you really just cooling off after the argument, or are you giving the cold shoulder for days on end?

I am absolutely no expert in relationships or making them work! Whenever I give people advice, I always hate to come across like a know-it-all or as if I feel superior, because I believe that every relationship is unique, and what works in mine isn’t guaranteed to work in yours. This post is about something that happened in my relationship earlier this week. Ironically, it was a situation in which I didn’t follow my own advice!

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My husband has recently started a new job, which I am very happy about! (get that money, honey!) I’m glad that he is finally in a situation to make new friends and experience a little bit of what the city has to offer. He’s now working in a busy station in London, which is his first job here in the country (we recently relocated from Brazil).

On his first day at his new job, I was very worried about how he was getting on, with the language barrier and even just being able to get around London. He knows suburbia like the back of his hand by now, but London is foreign territory. I was hoping to get some texts from him to let me know when he would be home, if he got lost etc. Long story short, there was a lack of communication on his part, and overprotective instincts on mine.

giphy (3)Instead of discussing it with him, I had been advised to talk to him about it another time, so as not to ruin his first day (“he probably just got caught up in the excitement”). I tried to follow that advice… Big mistake! I am not a person who can hide how I’m feeling. I have the face of a slapped arse when I’m pissed off and everyone knows it. So when he got home, and saw my face, he asked what was wrong.

“I don’t want to get into an argument. We can talk about it tomorrow.” and what ensued was one of our worst arguments in a long time. In trying to put off the discussion, I unintentionally created an even bigger situation! We argued, and then stopped talking altogether, and then argued some more, and then we went to bed without speaking. There was an unresolved storm gathering over our heads, causing a horribly sleepless night.
giphy (5)The next morning, we tried to speak before going to work, but time was short, and things were still frosty when we went our separate ways. Eventually, we made our peace like many 21st Century couples, through Facebook (on Messenger though, not on our public feed!). And that evening we were able to sit down and actually have a civilized conversation.

The whole situation could probably have been avoided, had we just discussed what was going on. Roni hates it when there’s something wrong and I don’t want to talk about it or tell him what it is. My coping mechanism is to just close myself off and not deal with it. It’s an instinct that I am constantly fighting. We’ve had many conversations about it and try hard not to go to bed angry. Things had been doing really well, but sometimes if we don’t think through our actions and their consequences, mistakes can happen. We’re only human!

giphy (1)It’s never easy to air out negative feelings and emotions, and that’s why I used to run away from them. But the truth is, when we talk it out, listen and try to reach common ground, however hard it is to get to, it doesn’t have to prolong the struggle. You’re going to have to face the problem at some point! I would never want to get to the point where we give each other the silent treatment for days, weeks or months even. I guess sometimes it can be good to give yourself some time to cool off, but wait too long and you start to get frostbite.