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I'm Straight, My Gay Ex Boyfriend Wants to be Friends

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Dear Ramon,

I am a straight female who is just ending a five year relationship with my boyfriend who is now coming to terms with either being bisexual or gay. I am furious with him! Over the course of the past year and a half I have given him several opportunities to tell me that he wasn't happy. He's been lying to everyone in his life. Everyone is telling me to support him but I don't know if I can do that right now. While this is something that certainly must be hard to deal with - he's had many years to come to grips with it. Meanwhile I have been planning out my future with the stupid jerk. Now I hate him and don't want to. He would like to be friends but he has been telling so many lies to so many people that I will never know if he is actually telling the truth or not. Any suggestions on how to deal?

Thanks,
Mad as Heck


Dear Mad as Heck,

You have every right to be as upset as your name says you are. Let's talk about your ex-boo's same gender loving feelings for a minute. Coming to terms with same gender loving feelings is an extremely difficult process. You say you had dreams and plans with this man? Well, for many gay men (myself included) we had future plans for ourselves until reality sank in and we realized that those plan didn't include a female spouse. Gay men struggle with internalized homophobia, depression and even anger, fear of rejection and loneliness. In other words, coming out is not like buying a mortgage, when you wait for the right opportunity to do so. Coming out is an internal process that frankly takes some men a lifetime. So, when you confronted him on his sexuality, if he wasn't ready to accept it himself, there was no way he'd disclose it to you just because the opportunity presented itself.

I tell you these things not to gather sympathy or make excuses for your ex, but to help you and others understand that being gay or bi isn't a "choice" or a "preference" and coming out is a painful process where one is forced to deal with the fact that their perceptions of the world (not to mention those imposed by others) was not what it seemed.

Society generally perceives gay men as being weak. Society false perception says only a strong man has a wife, maintains a household and has kids. Being gay goes against that grain. Gay men that don't have the courage to define their own lives, fall into this societal mold set before them. They get girlfriends and marry unsuspecting women thinking that it will all "go away" or that their gay life isn't meaningful enough to actually act on- or if they do it's not serious enough to ruin a relationship. Here comes the irony of the situation: Society says we shouldn't be gay, but at the same time says we should be honest and disclose ourselves in order to protect others from our the results of our potential deceit. Then, once we disclose ourselves, society comes back around and repeatedly reminds us of how bad being gay is.

Some gay men cower down to this pressure and choose to live the lie instead. So where do you as a straight partner come into the picture? You get caught in the middle of all of the lies, hurt and deceit. I, for one, believe that I define my own life, not other's perceptions of me. That being said, men on the down low should be brave enough not to enter into heterosexual relationships without being honest before the start. I'll admit that there are some men that do not discover same gender loving feelings until after they are in hetero relationships, but for those that do know or have an idea, entering into man-woman relationships or sustaining one just transfers their own internal pain onto their unsuspecting loved ones.

Your feelings for your ex are absolutely valid. He lied to you and a relationship, friendship or otherwise, can never be sustained on dishonesty. He involved you in his journey and now that he's got it all figured out, he wants you to continue to stomp along. You have every right not to want to do that.

It's obvious your ex was thinking about himself when he refused to come clean (despite the reasons). And he continues to think about himself by asking you to just forget it all happened and be his friend.

I think it's time you thought about yourself. Tell him how you feel. The man you cared about lied to you. Express how his dishonesty has hurt you- not to mention potentially put your health at risk. Sure, it seems like he gets all he wants while you're left in the bargain bin; but it's time you protect yourself and not let this situation affect your future. Just keep in mind, gay or straight, a liar is a liar and a cheat is a cheat, regardless whether it's with the same or opposite gender. Forget what your friends have to say about the situation. You obviously still care about him. You must decide if you can forgive and be friends. You're in full control of the situation now. Let your heart and rational mind sort themselves out, then do what's right for you.

Best,
Ramon

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