T. Rivas, 2016
In October and November 2015 I had some contact
with a man with a Western background who had a platonic relationship
with a boy in an non-Western country. He agreed to do a written
interview about his topic.
My contact with the respondent in this case was established through Dr. Frans E.J. Gieles who had placed a request for information about platonic friendships on a forum for 'pedophiles'. My respondent wrote to Gieles:
Perhaps the best example is my current long-term young friend. I'll call him J. He is 17 now, but I have known him since he was 10. Over the years we have spent a lot of time together.
From the winter of 2010 until the summer of 2014 -when I moved farther away- we spent nearly every weekend together. He slept over dozens of times, we celebrated all of his birthdays and every Christmas together. We must have gone to the movie theater dozens of times together, and we went many times to various water parks and amusement parks.
When he was 13 I took him and a friend on a trip to a major city and stayed over night in a nice hotel. In the spring of 2014 his father helped me to rent a new apartment in the apartment complex where he lived.
I hardly knew his family at all and it was actually the first time I met his father in person. They are by all means a normal functional family his parents are together - but J has three older sisters and they all lived in a small apartment, so I guess J had good motivation to want to spend time outside the house.
I have lived about two hours away from J for the last year, but he still messages me regularly and visits me about once every other month. I also send him money each month to cover the utility bills in the apartment that his family helped me rent, and I let him play there since I only use it for storage now.
[My friendship with] J is the most substantial "young friendship" I have had in my life, and I could talk about it in a lot more detail. During the time we were living close together, I had many close young friends, but I remained closest with J and our friendship lasted the longest of all.
T. Rivas: How did your friendship develop?
Answer: My relationship with J. is something of a long story. I met J. in April of 2009. I lived on the third floor of an apartment building in a small town consisting of a couple of dozen high rise apartment buildings. I had a neighbor who lived in the same building as me one row over. We worked for the same employers.
J. entered my life in April of 2009. I came
down from my apartment late one Saturday afternoon, and I found my
neighbor and a boy we both knew playing with a group of other boys in
the parking lot. My neighbor had ordered a sofa that was delivered early
in the day and while they had been waiting for it to arrive, this group
of boys that lived in the apartment complex took notice of them and
This group of kids included J. who was 11 years old at the time and several other young boys. My neighbor and one of the other boys became close quickly, and J. took a liking to me. The next day the kids called to us from the parking lot and we went down and spent the day playing outside with them. We walked to this nearby lake, and J. insisted on holding my hand along the way.
Things developed this way for a few months. We spent a lot of time playing outside in the nice weather. Our town had a large stadium, and we often played soccer or baseball there or in our parking lot.
J. always wanted to be near me, and I would give him a shoulder ride everywhere we went. Meanwhile my neighbor continued to furnish his apartment. He had the sofa, a decent television, and lots of video games, so his place became the natural spot for us to hang out.
My initial attraction to J. wasn't really
physical. I think it was more this sense that since I was a Boylover, I
was really happy to at least have a nice young friend that really liked
me whom I could spend time with. I guess it seemed like a welcome
Things started to change over the summer, though. I had been playing outside with J. and some other kids when my neighbor and his young friend returned from a shopping trip, and J. and I went up to their apartment. J. immediately sat down in my neighbor's lap, and my neighbor didn't seem to mind much. I guess I knew at that moment that things weren't going to go smoothly, and it was the beginning of a rivalry between my neighbor and I that grew increasingly bitter over the years and never really ended.
By the end of the summer, J., along with two other boys were solidly my neighbor's young friends. I had no one, and I had to settle for being a guest in my neighbor's apartment where I could watch him play with my former young friend and the other boys.
By March of 2010 some of my students began asking to visit my apartment and these included kids J.'s age and a year younger. J. and a friend of his were not my students, but J.'s best friend S. was, and S, was one of my first visitors.
I purchased some video games of my own and by mid-spring I had my own groups of fifth and sixth grade boys visiting me kind of parallel to what my neighbor had going on next door. Things were really still quite innocent and simple at that point. The kids would usually just stop by for a few hours and play some video games or play outside and eat lunch together.
Around the same time, my neighbor had
gotten a nice car and had begun taking
I guess I was somewhat self-conscious, though, and I was always comparing my neighbor's relationship with J. to my relationship with S. and wondering how we compared. Things went on relatively peacefully between us, though, for a few months, and this period of our life essentially peaked in the winter of 2011 when my neighbor and I took J. and S. on a trip to an amusement park.
Then something very unexpected happened in February of 2011. It was my neighbor's birthday and J. showed up at my apartment rather randomly and unexpectedly while some other kids were there. He wasn't generally in the habit of coming to my place, so at first I thought he might have wanted my help to plan something for my neighbor.
Honestly, though, I was really happy to see him and have him at my place. Later I picked out a cake for my neighbor and we brought it over to his place together. However, I gradually learned from a mutual adult friend that my neighbor and J. had had some kind of falling out. I'm not sure how much he actually knew about it, but it seemed to do mostly with the idea that my neighbor was becoming far too possessive of J. to the point that J. was feeling smothered.
Things broke between them rather quickly. It was almost literally that one week J. was my neighbor's young friend and then the next week, some time in late February 2011, mine. He never reunited with my neighbor, and we have remained friends continuously now for the last four and a half years.
My neighbor went with me and a group of boys into the city to celebrate a boy's birthday shortly after that, but it was just too awkward for him. He didn't seem to have the presence of mind to try to compete for J. or win him back, and I guess he essentially gave up. It's probably something he regretted for a long time.
My renewed friendship with J. was essentially the end of my friendship with my neighbor. By that point I had many, many boys spending time at my apartment, and I didn't really have much time to spend with my neighbor anyway. Following that we rarely saw each other outside of work-related situations, and we eventually became silent enemies.
I guess really this is where the story of my current relationship with J. begins. Starting from early spring of 2011 J. and I became quite inseparable. He was a regular at my apartment along with S. and lots of kids a year and two years younger.
I was elated to have J. back. It really was
an overwhelming feeling of joy. I'm not even sure what to compare it
with. I guess it was like the idea of believing you had lost something
really important forever and then having it back in your life. It
In a way it might sound like the beginning of "happily ever after," but it really wasn't. In a sense it was around that point that my life started to resemble the story of the "Pearl." Along with J., I gained what had up until that point been my neighbor's fear and paranoia over losing J.. I lived in perpetual and relentless fear of losing him back to my neighbor. I guess I believed that losing him back to my neighbor would be even more humiliating and unbearable than it was the first time around. However, I suppose I was smart enough to learn from my neighbor's mistakes.
Although I didn't know exactly what had transpired between them it was clear that J. was not interested in physical contact, and I also considered it quite obvious that my neighbor's possessive nature was a big contributing factor. For months I had to "play it cool." While I worried constantly about losing J., I had to put on an act that I was totally confident and unconcerned about our relationship. I think it was what what J. needed. He always seemed very comfortable and happy to be at my place or to go out together with me and his friends.
And we went out a lot, usually with S. but with other boys too.
I guess the biggest developments came that summer of 2011. The first was at the end of June when I took J. into the city to celebrate his birthday. On the way back he called his mother and asked permission to sleep over my apartment. I didn't even know he was planning to do that, but I think we were both so excited when she said yes and S. got permission as well. That became the first sleep over I had at my apartment. It was the first of what became hundreds of sleepovers with probably over a hundred different boys over the next few years.
I hardly knew J.'s parents at all. His
mother worked at a sandwich shop I visited a
One aspect of J.'s situation that may have made my home particularly appealing, though, was that he lived with his family in a rather small apartment with his three older sisters, so that probably wasn't especially comfortable for him. My apartment was huge compared to what most foreigners have in his country, but with a living room, one bedroom, and kitchen I considered it "comfortably adequate" for one adult. To have a family with three or four kids in one must have been quite cramped.
Anyway, our second big development came in
August of 2011 when I took J. and S. to the capital of the country. I
really wanted to prepare this kind of dream weekend for them, and I
dropped a ton of money. I spent $1,000 for two nights at a luxury hotel,
and we went to a variety of amusement parks and a big water park in
I think the boys had a great time over all, but I would be "misremembering" if I said it was all perfect for me. It was actually a little bit of a disappointment.
The second day J. refused to pose for pictures at the amusement park and would look away when I tried to take one. To emphasize I never tried to take any inappropriate pictures of them. He just clearly wasn't interested in being photographed, and I decided I had to respect that even though I had spent all that money on the trip.
Perhaps the third biggest event around that time, was a trip we took in October of 2011. I took J., S., and two other boys their age to an indoor water park / spa [their choice] because I mistakenly believed it was this one boy's birthday. It was my first time being naked with a group of my young friends in this country, and it was my first time seeing J. naked.
That outing felt very symbolic to me, because I felt I was being included in a kind of intimacy that they shared with each other but from which up until that time I had been excluded. It also felt very natural and comfortable for me to bathe naked with them, and they seemed to enjoy it too. I guess also as a Boylover, sure, it's very enjoyable for me to be naked around boys that I care about.
There was also a highly symbolic moment
following the trip.
So, I guess I would point to these three "events" the June 2011 sleep over, the August 2011 vacation, and the October 2011 spa visit as definitive in terms of the nature of the way my relationship with J. progressed over time until it kind of reached this certain level of completion.
Were/are you sexually attracted or even in love with him? If so, does he know?
This question is a little difficult to answer, but it is/was/has been a long relationship that has kind of gone through many phases. Initially when I befriended J. when he was 10, I wasn't sexually attracted to him. I simply liked having him as my young friend and the relationship was genuinely platonic without really having much sexual aspect to it. We were close for about four or five months before he essentially became the other guy's young friend.
The period of time when my neighbor and J. were together lasted about 19 months. I continued to have feelings for J. during that time but they weren't really sexual in nature. I can only really describe it psychologically as this idea of having lost something important and really wanting it back and not being complete without it.
J. was 12 going on 13 when he essentially broke up with my neighbor and quickly became my young friend again. I don't think I would say I was overtly sexually attracted to him at that point. The feeling was more like "elation" at having him back in my life, and I was also paranoid about losing him again. However, as time passed I think I became increasingly close to him and also sexually attracted to him.
By that point I probably would have said that I loved him, but I'm not sure I would have said that I was "in love" with him or not. I think my sexual attraction to him probably peaked around the time he was 13 and a half. After that I think I would say that my sexual attraction to him probably gradually decreased over time. Also by the time J. was 14 I was involved in various relationships with some boys his age and a little younger. By that point he was a little too physically mature for me to be fully interested in him in a sexual way.
Now at 17 and a half J. is essentially "out of my age of attraction" as I'm not really attracted to adult males. However, we are still good friends. Despite the fact that J. and I were quite close as friends on some level we never really talked about my sexuality or what he assumed / thought about it. He briefly had a girl friend for a few months when he was 14, but they broke up and he said he didn't want to have another girl friend again until he was an adult. Sometimes I suspected he might be gay, but we just never talked about those kinds of things.
What does this friendship mean to him (as far as you know)?
I think J. values my friendship a lot. I'm not sure he could describe it in words. I think it just is what it is.
What does it mean to you?
I feel like I have made a lot of mistakes and messed up a lot of things in my life in all areas of my life. J. kind of represents to me one thing that I seem to have gotten right. I think winning him back from my neighbor, staying close with him until adulthood, and seeing him turn out okay has been a very important part of my sense of identity.
I guess this relationship is something that
I hold onto to as evidence that I did something right in my life and
also that the last 8 years of my life the years I have spent in this
country weren't a total waste, essentially that my young adulthood
wasn't entirely wasted and that I have something valuable I can take
away from it.
Are there any interests you have in common?
Yeah, J. and I have shared a lot of interests together over the years. Initially when he was a little kid we spent a lot of time playing sports outside together like soccer and baseball, but I'm actually not that interested in sports. As he got a little bit older, I would say our biggest common interests became video games and movies. J. really loves movies, and we must have gone to the movies about 50 times together over the years. I'm really not exaggerating. I think I have probably been the movie theater with him about 50 times.
I think he especially likes super hero fantasies. I think he has a bit of an escapist's personality and enjoys fantasizing about having super powers or just being somewhere and doing something more interesting with his life.
J. spent a lot of time playing video games
at my apartment.
Those are perhaps some of the most peaceful memories from that period of my life. Just being alone with J. in the apartment with nothing else to do and relaxing of the sofa half-watching him play some game. When he was a little older J. started playing a computer game League of Legends that I also play a lot. J. and I also like steak and going to steak restaurants. We also like amusement parks and water parks, bowling, and playing chess.
In terms of more abstract things, I think I also like the fact that J. is a free thinker. He doesn't see the point of religion and he's not the kind of person that always has to be doing things just because other people are doing them. He is social and capable of making friends but he he doesn't feel a need to always fit in and be a part of some group. I think I have always been attracted to his self-restraint and self-control. He always liked having fun, but he was always rather practical and in control of himself.
He was never a burden to have around and I generally found it soothing to be around him. That would be compared with some other kids that were always doing things to stress me out.
How close are you in terms of sharing your thoughts and feelings?
I feel like J. and I talk about all kinds
of things, but there just seems to be some
Any really special, personal and moving moments you shared?
Really, I have had so many special moments
with J.. We spent an entire period of my life together, but it was
another period of my life now, and already it feels far away. I wish I
could think of more specific anecdotes. At the time there was always
something going on that made me feel motivated and excited about being
When he was 12 - 13 we had this little ritual in the evening. I would walk him home to his apartment, and as he would walk up the stairs, we would wave to each other from each floor's window. On my 30th birthday he made me some special birthday food and brought it to my house.
He was always excited about something. I think he did many things for the first time with me like trying new foods or going to new places. Just every time he visited I was thrilled and relieved that he would be there.
Do you have any mutual friends?
J. knew a few other Boylovers in our social circle, including my neighbor whom I guess would be a mutual enemy. I don't know exactly what my neighbor did to J. or how serious it was, but my neighbor remained obsessed with J. for years after they broke, and J. never wanted to have anything to do with him again. That's another thing we don't talk about, and I don't ask him about. J. was never close with the other Boylovers, but they were a part of our social circle especially as I ended up sharing an apartment with two of them.
J., of course, also knew the dozens and dozens of kids that hung out at my apartment. By the end the boys I was friends with spanned about a four year age continuum with the kids J.'s age being the oldest.
He wouldn't have considered the younger kids "friends" and he really disliked younger kids hanging out at the apartment, mostly because he found them loud and annoying and they took up space and occupied resources. About a quarter of the kids that visited, though, were J.'s age. Out of those kids S. was his best friend.
I guess about 50 kids their age visited my
apartment, and their social groupings were a bit fluid. There might be
about three or four cliques of kids their age who visited in groups at
any point, but they generally considered anyone their age to be a
"friend" it's partly a cultural thing and who was in
which groups could change a bit. The number of kids J. wanted to include
in his group at my apartment decreased more and more over time, though,
to the point where he probably would have preferred to just allow S. and
one or two other close friends around.