“It was my 1st year at college when I met a guy online. The internet was getting popular and I’d gotten my first smartphone. We started to like each other a lot and got into a long distance relationship. We texted all day and talked for hours after midnight because it was cheaper. He was my first boyfriend and dating him felt exciting. It was the highlight of my life so far. The whole time, we knew that life wasn’t going to be easy for us as we were two men who were falling in love.

When I was in Thimphu for 6 months after flunking a semester, I spent most of my time with him. We’d listen to music all day and smoke joints. We also went on many trips together and made a lot of memories. I was over at his place a lot and my family started to have their suspicions. They tried to stop me from going out but by then it was already time to go back to college. Things changed after that. He had to leave the country for his studies and started ignoring me. We had been dating for almost one year at this point and I was taken by surprise when things ended without an explanation. I performed poorly in my exams that semester. My family was upset with my results and I had to tell them the truth. They were shocked and didn’t know how to deal with it. They also made me promise to never see him again. Dad almost hit me in front of the neighbours but mum stopped him. Later that day, he cried and told me that he loved me but couldn’t accept that I was gay. To avoid hurting my family any further, I tried my best to move on from him. I never even tried to contact him again.

It has now been more than 5 years. The last I heard of him, I learnt online that he was getting married to someone else. I felt terrible that day and even told a friend, “What if it was me he had married?” But I am also happy for him; he seems happier now. Besides, our relationship was good while it lasted, it just wasn’t meant to be. He must have had his own reasons. I had a few of his clothes and some souvenirs from our trips together. I held onto them for years and wore his shirts until I outgrew them. After a long time, I finally threw them all away. It was time to let go.”

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