Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Consolation Sex and the Guy You Can't Get Over

Now what do you think of this, doc? Some time ago I ended a friendship with a dear friend because I realized that I was falling for him and he made it clear -- after much hemming and hawing -- that he did not feel the same. He did not want to lose my friendship -- neither did I -- but I explained to him that it would be painful for me to be around him, especially as he had recently taken up with another man. [Let me make it clear that I had been under the impression -- as all of our mutual friends were -- that J. and I were in a relationship, but apparently that never occurred to J. We were intimate, hung out together all the time, but he just didn't feel that special something that I did. That's life. Regretfully, I moved on.]

Okay. Months went by. I avoided J, who worked in a bar I had frequented. One evening, at another place, I ran into my "replacement" -- J's new fuck buddy. We fell into conversation and had many drinks together. Apparently, R -- the replacement -- had also come to the same conclusion that I had. That J. was great, but that all R was to him was a "friend with benefits," that J. was no more interested in a relationship with him than he was with me.

One thing led to another and the two of us went to his place and had sex. Who shows up the next morning but J -- he and R were still friends, unlike J and me -- and he actually got angry that the two of us had slept together. He acted as if he had been betrayed. He has made no commitment to us, and while R and I definitely think the other is attractive, what we had was just some nice consolation sex, probably never to be repeated. Our bond was J, pure and simple.

So, what's going on here? The three of us argued and talked for an hour and got nowhere. It is clear that J. doesn't really want either of us for a lover. So why does he give a damn that we slept together? Could you shed any light on this? T.

I'll try. Maybe because he was left out of the fun and didn't get laid the night before like you two did?

Seriously, his actions may not be rational, but they are understandable. You were someone he may not have seen as "the one," but nevertheless he enjoyed having you as a friend [with benefits]. You ended the friendship -- wisely, I feel -- but he still feels rejected. [Ironic, I know, since you ended the friendship because of his rejection of your romantic feelings.] Now he sees the pattern happening all over again -- R will probably have to end the friendship just as you did -- and he sees the two of you drawing closer while he feels left out. We all need friendships, just as we need special relationships, and we especially need friendships when we have no special relationship.

Now I'm going to assume that you're correct that J just wants both you and R as friends or fuck buddies and nothing more. Still, he misses the times you and he hung out together and may have been trying to recreate them with R. Now R has gone and fallen for him, too, and all J can see is that he's in danger of losing yet another good friend.

I've met guys like J. No doubt he's attractive, likable, charming. He hasn't met "the one" yet, or may not even be looking. [Not to give false hope, but it may not even be you or R who's the problem, but simply bad timing.] Yet there's something about him that makes most of his friends or fuck buddies fall a little in love with him. I've met guys like this who may not even be that handsome, but they are nice and fun and sympathetic, hopefully a little exciting as well, and people just wind up getting hung up on them.

You have to realize that, even if he's young, he may have been through this over and over again. You may not even have been the first friend who fell for him and then walked out of his life. He may not be hurting as much as you are, but he's hurting. And he may see the two of you sleeping together as a way of getting back at him ( which certainly may have been on R's mind) when he really did nothing wrong -- he just didn't return your more serious feelings.

And you and R -- if you're totally honest -- are probably still hoping that some day something more than friendship will develop with J. I can't blame either one of you for getting some consolation sex with one another [although I sense you're being accurate when you suggest it will go no further.]

That being said, J still can't tell either you or R who you can sleep with anymore than you can dictate his social or sex life to him.

I feel bad for all three of you, as I've been on both sides of the fence, and it's never easy. No harm was really done as far as you're concerned, as you'd already decided to move on and end the friendship with J out of necessity, although I understand you could have done without this misunderstanding. R, who may not have quite reached the point you have, is probably wishing he hadn't answered the door when J came a'callin'. [Wonder why he did?]

Yet there's hope for all of you. You and R have to remember that the next great -- and real -- romance might be just around the corner. J may be a special guy, but he's not the only special guy.

And maybe until he's ready to settle down or meets that certain someone, J should stick to being friends with couples.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gay/Bi Hubby

I think my husband may be bisexual or gay. We have been married for three years. The sex is okay, but frequently he seems distant or disinterested. I am suspicious because I frequently see him looking at other men in a certain way, and he is always very affectionate with them. On the other hand, he is virulently homophobic, so much so that it's like he's covering up. There is nothing stereotypically gay about him, but I know that doesn't mean anything. He always has good excuses for his occasional absences. We have other problems in our marriage, but if he is basically gay, I think it would be best for me to know it, and for us to go our separate ways. I hope you can help. Anon.

It sounds to me as if you have a general dissatisfaction with your marriage, regardless of your husband's sexual orientation. I do have to agree with you that if he is essentially homosexual, it's better if the two of you accept that you might be better off as friends instead of husband and wife.

Being affectionate with other men is not always problematic, but the fact that he is so homophobic (especially in combination) is definitely troubling. That often is a sign that a man is covering up issues with his sexuality. In some cases it's not that a man has homosexual feelings -- although that is often the case -- but that he's terrified that people will perceive him as gay. Men who are constantly putting down gay men often do so out of their own insecurity [over a variety of issues], some real or imagined sexual inadequacy, or a basic inferiority complex that is the root of most prejudice.

Then again, they could be deeply troubled by homosexual feelings and use their homophobic outbursts to, as you put it, cover up.

But there is also the possibility that your husband's preoccupation or disinterest, as you term it, is caused by something entirely different. His homophobia could simply be a narrow-minded attitude fueled by some feeling of inadequacy, as previously noted.

I would suggest that you sit him down and ask him about his homophobia. Don't accuse him of anything -- simply ask him why he has such a problem with gays. Gently lead into a discussion of some of the things I've mentioned. [Please take care if you think or know that he can be physically violent!] If he seems confused by his sexuality, you can suggest he get counseling. Another possibility would be for the two of you to see a marriage counselor as a couple.

In the long run, even if he isn't gay, your marriage may need the help of a professional counselor or therapist.

Good Luck!

NOTE: Here is another post about a woman who thought her husband might be gay. And there are other posts on this blog about mixed gay/straight marriages. Type "mixed marriage" in the search bar at the uppermost left hand corner of the blog and a whole list will come up.

Hairy He-Men Homosexuals

I know there are lipstick lesbians, but are there also he-man hairy-chested homosexual men? Anon.

Yes! Many, many more than anyone imagines.

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times -- repeat after me -- the gay community is very diverse.

Macho Gay Men abound, but hopefully most of them are "macho" in demeanor and not in mentality, although even in the gay male community we have our cave men -- for better or worse.

Gay Old Friends

Dear Dr. Bill, Love your blog. [Thank you! "Dr." Bill]

I grew up with a friend I will call "Nate" in elementary school from K-8. He and I were very best friends -- joked together, played together, trusted in each other, worked on many projects together. (Nothing physical ever happened, in terms of experimenting.) He and I essentially went our separate ways when we went to different high schools. There was little contact during high school, mostly because he never seemed to want to be in touch with me at that time of his life. Then, I went to college in New York for pre-law and he went to college in Canada for architecture and we lost touch altogether.

I do a lot of Google sleuthing to try to find old friends, for whatever reason (maybe I find it hard to let go of the past; or maybe it's just hard to find friends now who seem as great as childhood friends). Anyway, I discovered through Google searching that my Nate (who I have not seen in 30 years) is gay. Just like me. I suppose I always wondered if he was. But I never knew for certain until I saw various things on the Web that make it clear he's gay, and out, where he lives.

The thing is: Nate doesn't seem to want to communicate with me, and I don't know why. I have sent a few letters and emails and just get back silence in return. In one long email I came out to him and really expressed a sincere interest in getting back in touch, reminiscing, catching up. It just seems that we would now have more to talk about than ever. But he seems to have no interest, or something is holding him back. I can't think of any arguments or bad feelings between us at all.

Naturally I don't want to phone him and put him on the spot, if he cannot even bring himself to write to me. Talk about awkward. I don't want to make Nate think I am stalking him or that I am really needy and won't just let him be. And yet, we were such a big part of each other's lives as kids that it bothers me he is ignoring my efforts to reach out. I feel rejected, or that the friendship is being betrayed (even if it's not exactly a current friendship).

I know, I know, get a life, right? Move ahead, not back, and don't live in the past. All good advice. But why is it so hard to do that?

Possibly it's hard for you to move ahead because of some dissatisfaction with your current situation? Maybe it isn't this guy at all, but what he represents? I'm assuming that childhood was basically a happy period for you, and maybe you hope that reconnecting with this old friend will bring back some of those happy experiences. However, a person can find happiness with new people and new experiences at any age.

You have to remember that you haven't really seen this guy or interacted with him in thirty years, and his memories of you and the fun you had together may not be as sharp as yours. He's all grown up now, as are you, and despite the fact that both of you are gay, he may feel like the two of you have very separate interests or attitudes [just because he didn't reply doesn't mean he didn't read your letters or emails; you may have revealed things that made him feel the two of you would not get along as you did in childhood. And I definitely would not phone him!]

You also mention that he didn't seem interested in staying friends when the two of you went to separate high schools. Sometimes old friends just grow apart and not just in distance. It doesn't necessarily mean he has anything against you but more that he's dealing with his own reality -- then and now -- and connecting with an old friend he hasn't seen since he was basically a child is not a top priority at this time. You may just have caught him at a bad moment.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to reconnect with a childhood friend, and I can understand that you feel a bit rejected and disappointed, especially as it turns out that both of you are gay. If you had some kind of special feelings for him during those youthful days it would probably intensify the feeling of rejection. If you're like most people you've fantasized about what it might be like if you two of you met face to face after all these years, and you're frustrated that it may never take place.

The truth is that some people really don't want to go back into the past. I had great times in college, for instance, but not once have I ever had any desire to go back for a reunion. Your old friend may have so much going on in his life right now that he just doesn't have either the time or desire to renew acquaintances -- and let's face it, you and he haven't really been friends -- or even acquaintances in any realistic fashion -- in many a year.

It's possible that he's just going through a busy period and will get in touch with you when he has a chance to catch his breath. You've told him how you feel, offered the invitation -- the rest is up to him.

But if you don't hear from him try not to feel too bad. People change as they grow older. They need different things, have different attitudes.

In other words, it may be more about him than about you.