Problem page archive entries:
March 1st - 18th 2012

Name [Patrick] Age [25] Gender [M]

Hopefully you don't mind long letters, because this situation has a whole lot of backstory!

My bisexual boyfriend and I met at the end of July, 2010 (It is now just shy of February 2012, so we've been in a relationship for roughly 1.5 years). We were both dating other people at the time we met, him seriously, myself very casually (he had been with a woman for 10 years - I had been with a boyfriend for a couple of months, though I had known him significantly longer). Our chemistry was strong enough that despite seeing other people we wanted to meet. Long story short, we hit it off instantaneously, I broke up with my boyfriend, and we fell in love 'officially' over the next several months.

Around the holidays, he admitted to me the reason he had not left his live-in girlfriend yet was not only because of rent issues and paperwork and such things, it was because she was actually his wife, and though her child from a previous engagement is not his, my boyfriend has been his prime father figure for most of his life.

I tried hard to understand but failed fairly miserably, as I was unbelievably hurt and shocked at this admission. We did not speak for while, but throughout our relationship we had cultivated relationships with some of each other's friends and it was related to me from many sources that he felt incredible guilt and wanted to stay together - I missed him terribly, so we got back together. He promised he would begin the divorce within the year and swears he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but I'm not so sure.

It's now been 1.5 years since we met, over one year since The Great Revelation, and more than a year since his promise to divorce. But we are still stuck, generally, in the same place. He is still supporting her, though he is now only supplementing her rent slightly instead of paying the great majority of it, keeping them under his health insurance, otherwise giving her monetary support when she claims to need it. Although we've discussed living together, this has made it fairly impossible. I can support my half, but he's afraid he'll be unable to support his while he remains tied to her financially. My answer to this is: untie yourself; however he still feels tremendous guilt over ending their relationship for the reason he did (basically because he met me, fell in love with me, and no longer could take being closeted) so he can't seem to cut the rope.

I honestly love this man, and I can see myself with him for the rest of my life. But I just don't know how to deal with his marriage anymore. The other day I snooped upon some text messages between he and his wife and saw a conversation about how they wish to remain friends and are so glad that their friendship can remain intact despite what happened between them; but frankly it makes me physically ill to consider them being friends until he has taken steps to end their marriage.

I am mature enough to realize that he wishes for her child to remain in his life, and I am okay with that, and I realize that being okay with it means I'm going to have to be okay with their being friends (otherwise why would she entrust her child to him?) - I just wish they would cool their frequency and casualness of communication down until they have taken serious steps to change their dynamic.

So.. I don't even really know what advice I'm looking for. Is this relationship going nowhere? Do I simply need to have more patience? Are my views on his relationship with his wife unrealistic? Is he just playing me? Can you tell I'm going bonkers?

Thanks for your help -

Patrick

Reply

Hi Patrick,

You were understandable upset when you found out that your man was married and that he is a stepfather, and you don't need me to tell you that he should have been honest from the beginning. But leaving his wife of ten years and his stepchild, along with the huge changes involved in being open about his sexuality for the first time, and allowing for the fact that he clearly loves you and doesn't seem to be up to anything with his ex wife, means my sympathies lean toward your partner.

But there are no villains here. You rightly want 100% commitment from your partner and you don't want to feel that he's got a lingering 30% stake in the marriage. It's right, for all three of you, that he gets a divorce: it's a statement of his intentions toward you and leaves no doubt that the marriage is over. It would represent a new set of rules and a new beginning for all of you.

As for his relationship with his wife going forward, this is harder to define. They're obviously close and know each other well, as two people who shared their lives for ten years will. He's also got a relationship with his stepchild that he'll want to maintain. I think having this women and child in your lives, to some degree, is something you'll have to accept, and he has a right to maintain a friendship if he wants to. However, it's not wrong of you to be uncomfortable and to request change if the amount of contact is constant or frequently gets in the way of plans you make as a couple. Recent events must have been painful and tough for the ex but she needs to move on and learn to be less dependent on your partner.

Take comfort in the fact that he loves you and made massive changes to be with you. It's just about the biggest statement of love that I've ever heard of: he ended his marriage of 10 years and came out because he fell for you. Apart from throwing himself on a sword there's not much more you can ask him to do to prove he's serious. I am surprised you'd ask anyone if they thought the relationship was going anywhere or whether your partner is playing you or not; these seem like flippant notions that don't belong in discussion. This guy has earned massive respect.

You're not unreasonable to ask him to get the divorce sorted and to redefine his relationship with his wife, but be patient as he cuts through those last few strings.

Name [Karan] Age [16] Gender [M]

Hey Jason!

I accepted by sexuality recently. I'm open to few people.. particularly my best friends. I have gone through bullying and sexually harassment through by life. In 9th Grade the people around me sexually assaulted & abused me. I cried for help but no ones helped. All others were busy laughing at me. I was through garbage at every time i left for home. These memories are just SO painful. I even have thought about suicide but kept myself away from these thoughts away from me. I need help to confront more people about this. Though i keep on smiling but only I know how much i'm hurt and broken from inside.

Also, I'm really scared about what my parents and other people might think when i come out. I'm DONE with leading a life of a lie. I just cant keep my emotions inside anymore. It feels like shit.
I have fallen for quite a few straight men & it sucks to think that they will never ever love me back the way i want them to. I have never met any homosexual people. I wish i could just talk to someone who feels the same.

Sorry for pouring my heart out.. I just need help. I'm struggling.

Reply

Hi Karan,

It's appalling that you were sexually assaulted and abused while under the care of the schooling system. Did you speak to anyone in authority about it or go to the police? The reasons the abusers give for their attacks are irrelevant: there is no justification for how you were treated and the perpetrators should be reported. 'He's gay' should not be a way to get out of facing justice for criminal activity. If you feel you can, I urge you to seek advice and support on this. It would help you to move on and find some peace if the people who assaulted you were punished.

I think it would be helpful for you to speak to a counsellor to help you process the painful experiences of the past and prevent them from impeding your future hapiness. It sounds as though you have some good friends to talk to, so continue to open up to them when you're feeling low and need support.

bgiok is a UK-based website and I don't know of any gay-friendly counselling services or other resources to help you in India, but I can suggest that you visit the GayBombay website, the largest LGBT Yahoo group in India/Asia, for relevant, country-specific information.

Name [Jack] Age [15] Gender [M]

i dont want to be gay because i want to get married and have kids i feel like killing myself i want a normal family which kids i could take care of and put them to bed please i would do anything not to be gay and dont give me information that is not related to this article.

Reply

Hi Jack,

Firstly, if you have suicidal thoughts please speak to someone: a teacher, parent or adult friend. You could also call Childline if you'd rather speak to someone who doesn't know you. Please call the Samaritans if you are feeling desperate. If you frequently feel very low and/or anxious or are bothered by constant negative and troubling thoughts, you may benefit from counselling. It's not normal to feel unhappy most of the time. Speak to your doctor for an NHS referral.

There's no need to be rude when asking someone for help. It's nobody's fault that you are gay and it's not a bad thing or a punishment, nor is sexuality something we have any control over. A gay person can't become straight any more than a straight person can become gay. I believe we are all born with our sexuality already defined and waiting to reveal itself. It's the things we experience as we grow up that make us feel good or bad about ourselves - not being gay itself. A world where being gay was considred as normal as being straight, and celebrated in the same positive way, would be one where I woudn't need to run this website and one where you'd feel good about yourself.

I set up bgiok to help people to feel better about who they are and to see that life can be a positive, happy place, with love and success, whether they are gay, bisexual or straight. Globally there are some groups who claim that they can 'cure' homosexuality, but I believe it is mentally harmful and damaging to self esteem and self image to pursue such 'treatment'. You don't have to search far to listen to testimonials from gay people who've been down that route and suffered as a result. Homosexuality is not a mental illness or health problem and is not classified as such in this country. Happy people are those who like and accept themselves and who surround themselves with people who accept them too.

It's normal to desire a family but family can take many forms. Being a heterosexual person who marries and has children is the most common form of family, and the one we're most reminded of in television and in advertising, but it doesn't guarantee happiness any more than another different type of family does. Is it so dreadful that your future may be happiness and fulfillment with a male partner and adopted children? The feelings are the same. The love and commitment is the same. The world has lots of children who desperately need a family, and the planet, could it speak, would likely ask us to stop making new ones!

It doesn't lead to happiness to hate who you are and pretend to be something else. It leads to lies and frustration, and usually a wife and kids who find out that Daddy is an unhappy gay man in 10 years time. Read my being gay FAQ: it may answer some of the questions you have. Looking at your situation differently, realistically and in a positive new way is essential to feeling better and being happy.

Name [Anonymous] Age [12] Gender [F]

My parents are strictly religious and DEFINITELY against homosexuals. When they say terrible things about gays and spew hatred, it feels like they are stabbing me.

I'm not even sure I'm lesbian. I'm only 12. I mean, I think I am, but it could be just a phase. Well, since my parents are so strict, they forced me to let them see my emails. They saw some messages from BGIOK. At first it was "Forums are dangerous, stay away from them, they're where adult rapers try to trick you."

Then, they found out what forum it was. I felt like I was going to die, like the world was going to stop. After a long lecture about the Bible, the way we're "meant to be", and family, they said it was probably just a stage. They keep asking me things about what could have influenced me. And making me pray about getting bad, wrong thoughts out of my head. I'm also banned from the computer, and I'm sneaking on here right now.

I'm glad they think it's just a phase, but that might not last. I'm acting like being lesbian is wrong, and what they're doing is working. And my life just got a whole lot harder.

I can't get any help from school because I am homeschooled. And my parents won't let me go to any real school for now; since it's the middle of the school year.

Help??

Reply

Hi,

What you need at home is to have your feelings acknowledged and respected, and you're not getting that. I don't buy into the 'phase' thing, as anyone who's a regular reader will have noticed, but it is true that sexuality is complex and you may find that it changes and takes shape over the coming years in ways you might not have expected. Still, I'm certainly not saying you will wake up heterosexual tomorrow and feeling that you are lesbian is a valid and important thing.

Sexuality isn't bad or wrong in itself; it just says who you find attractive and, ultimately, who you might fall in love and share your life with. It's not a curse or health problem. Your parents feel differently, so you're in a situation where the key to happiness and peace for you while living at home lies in managing their behaviour while being true to yourself. It's not easy balancing these things: your parents want to feel that you are keen to change and live up to their ideals, while you want to be accepted as you are and have the freedom to grow into whatever is natural for you.

Since your parents have such strong beliefs, grounded in religion, I doubt that a calm conversation about sexuality will bring about their acceptance of the situation. But it's unacceptable to be forced to try to pray your feelings away and to be made to feel bad about who you are. I suggest you don't engage your family in the topic of your sexuality any further at this time. It's probably best if they think you've forgotten about it. This means they won't be so pushy about the prayer business and giving sermons about homosexuality. You know how they feel and you don't need reminding of it daily. Since you can't change who you are you have little choice but to behave in a way that doesn't aggravate their homophobia. I'm not asking you to lie to them or to sneak around: simply don't bring the topic up and don't get into arguments or confrontations over it. A peaceful home with less pressure, albeit one where your feelings on your sexyality are not respected, is better than a volatile and unpredictable one. As things become calmer at home you should find that your freedoms increase again and you are monitored less. I hope that you are once again able to use the forum and benefit from the camaraderie and understanding there. If you have a particularly close and supportive friend, you might think about confiding in him or her about your situation so that you don't have to shoulder your worries alone.

As you get older you can raise the subject again, especially if you find yourself with a girlfriend and the issue becomes more pressing. Though I can't guarantee that the news will be any more popular than it is now, you should at least be taken more seriously as a young adult who has more life experience and a stronger sense of who she is.

It's understandable if your parents have put you off religion and made you think about a homophobic god who's tormenting you, but that's doesn't have to be the case. Read my religion section for better and more constructive ways of looking at the relationship between religion and homosexuality.

Name [Specialchild] Age [15] Gender [F]

Dear Jason,

For a couple of years now I questioned these feelings I was having towards girls. I pushed it back, told myself I was straight. It was uncomfortable for me, felt embarrassed every time my eyes trailed towards a girl. So I confided into my school's counsellor, who directed me here. First of all thank you, for all the stuff here on this website, it has helped me, but I need more help. I am leaning towards being gay, but there's still a part of me where I can't decide if I'm worrying about being who I am, or if its a signal that I'm wrong about who I am. I really like this girl but I'm not sure if it's a strong attraction or just hormones messing with me. So, to sum it up, how do I truly know I'm gay?

Thank you,

a confused girl :)

Reply

Hi SpecialChild,

Worrying about being gay doesn't mean that you are gay or bisexual. Being attracted to girls - finding them physically attractive, sexually interesting and experiencing romantic feelings toward them - does. Sometimes a person can worry so much about how they feel that they lose the ability to see their feelings clearly. If a person does not want to be gay and is scared of that possibility, the ensuing negative bias can make it harder to see the truth. Someone who is not scared or anti and just sees how their feelings develop naturally over time is in the best position to discover their sexuality.

Even someone who is very open minded and not worried if they turn out to be gay may need time for things to become clearer. I knew I was gay when I was 15, but I get emails from people as young as 11 who feel they have a strong sense of their sexuality. At the other end of the scale, I get emails from people in their 20s (and sometimes beyond) who are still struggling to find that sexuality confidence and surety. It's a deeply personal journey, affected by all sorts of external factors and inner struggles, and there are no rules about when you should have answers.

Give yourself plenty of time and try not to foster a negative outlook on any possibility. If you feel okay about being either gay, bisexual or straight then there are less obstacles between yourself and the truth of your sexuality as it takes shape.

Name [Dannielle] Age [17] Gender [F]

im a lesbian and have been since year 8
i have just moved into my girlfriends flat
ive just started a new college i want to tell all my new college friends that im a lesbian but im doing a beauty course and i dont want them to not let do their hair incase they think ill jump them

Dannielle

Reply

Hi Dannielle,

It sounds like you have a lot going for you: a girlfriend who you live with and a new college course to embark on - positive stuff.

Are your college friends the sort of people who would think that because you are lesbian you simply couldn't control yourself once you started giving them a trim? Have they revealed that they think gay people are sex crazed, disrespectful and suffering from social disorders? They'd have to be a very small minded bunch with offensive views. They'd also have to be the sort of people who would think that your girlfriend means nothing to you and that you'd happily risk your relationship for a chance to leap on them. Does this really sound like the people on your course? Could you fears be getting the better of you? Try to focus on the facts - what people have said and done - and not what your worried mind conjures up.

Your college pals may already have their suspicions about you, since living with your girlfriend is a big clue! Even if you haven't introduced your partner as such, people aren't as daft as we sometimes assume.

Being lesbian shouldn't have to be a daily equal rights campaign, but on the other hand you shouldn't have to spend the next year hiding who you are. My coming out section will help you decide how to proceed.

Name [David] Age [18] Gender [M]

Hi,

I need some help. I'm feeling kind of bad about being gay because I can't make guy friends. I have a lot of "girlfriends" but I can't seem to make guy friends. Apparently they aren't used to my mannerisms and are kind of scared or uncomfortable being near me. What can I do? I don't want to change who I am just to make guy friends but I really want to have guy friends. Is there anything I can do?

Thank you,

David.

Reply

Hi David,

You shouldn't ever change who you are to please or appeal to a group of people. You're not doing anything wrong by being you.

When I was in secondary school I also found myself surrounded by female friends. I found it easier to talk to them and they tended to be more sensitive and open minded. Guys around my own age were a pretty horrible lot and it wasn't until college and university that I met straight and gay males who were grown up and relaxed about sexuality and didn't worry that my being gay reflected badly on them.

It's a shame that the guys around you seem to be uncomfortable with a gay guy, but I doubt that all of them feel the same way. Regardless, you may need to look outside of your immediate circle for the male friendship you seek. Perhaps a social group around a hobby or interest, or an evening class or activity. If it's gay males you'd like to meet you could look into gay youth groups or perhaps a society at your college or university.

Friendship isn't something that can be forced, but you can certainly put yourself in situations where you might meet people who share you interests. You'll also find that the world outside college and university will provide you with more opportunities to meet people with a grown up and relaxed attitude toward the sexuality of their friends.

Name [CJ] Age [17] Gender [M]

Hi,

I'm fairly new to this asking for help thing, but I really just don't know what to do.

I have recently come to grips with my sexuality, at-least internally. I can say it all I want in my head which makes me feel okay about myself until I realize I can't possibly say it out loud yet. No one seems to think I'm gay and everyone seems to like me - gay or straight, male or female - as a friend. This is probably why I have reservations about coming out, but I think that's normal, right? I know I will come out one day, I sure do plan on it, but I really don't want to just yet because I'm still scared to death of what others might say.

Here's my problem; I am a senior in High School with about three months of school left until graduation. There's this guy who just this school year I started becoming friends with and we just got closer as the year has gone by. I've sorta fallen in love with him.
I really don't know what to do about it. He has often said some suggestive things to me, homoerotic and otherwise, but I know he has already had sex with quiet a few girls. He doesn't have a girlfriend now and he's told me he doesn't want one for a while because he only gets hurt by them. He still flirts with girls, but for some reason it also seems like he flirts with me.

I really don't know what to make of him and his actions, which is weird because I pride myself on being able to figure people out. Is he just trying to be a silly straight kid acting gay as a joke? Is he a scared closeted guy like me, or possibly bisexual? I know you can't really answer that question just going off of what little I've told you, but maybe you could help tell me what I can do. Should I confront him about it? How would I? Should I outright tell him I'm gay or that I think I'm falling hard and fast for him? If I do come out to him and he rejects me, would I then be ousted and be revealed to the whole school? Should I ignore it, ignore him and just try to move on with my life and get a head start on getting over him and wait to express my sexuality in college later this year in college?

Every second I'm with him is the happiest and saddest moment I have... It's a very strange feeling that I admit I am no way use to. I usually know what to do for any situation before I get to it, (which is why I never need to ask for advice) but this... I'm just at a loss, I'm scared, and even more confused than before I was "out." I would greatly appreciate any insight, help, advice, whatever you'd like to call it, whatever you can give me.

Thanks so much!

CJ

Reply

Hi CJ,

It's hard to understand peoples' intentions sometimes and to work out what they might be hiding. People flirt all the time and it's not always a reliable indicator of sexuality. I've had straight guys flirt with me but I'm in no doubt about their sexuality. Flirting isn't always about romantic interest, and it can be found at work in many social situations. When all you have is guesswork you have to decide if you want to take the risks involved in getting answers, because you may never have them if you don't take some sort of action. Of course, you might decide that not having answers is acceptable too, especially given your position on coming out and how close you are to the end of school.

As you've pointed out, telling this friend that you have feelings for him may see you inadvertently coming out to the school if he reacts badly or doesn't put much stock in honouring confidences. Even in this worst case scenario, at least you'd have discovered how he feels and be able to move on. It's entirely possible though that he'll react favourably, either as a straight friend who doesn't care if his friend is gay or as a gay or bisexual who will appreciate your honesty and find some courage through your own. He may even be a potential boyfriend. He may even have his suspicions about your sexuality already. Lots of 'maybe's! I'm in a worse position to guess than you are because I don't have the benefit of knowing your friend.

If this friend means a lot to you and you intend to keep in touch after school, then the topic of your sexuality is going to come up eventually. I don't think close friends can sidestep things like that for long. Ultimately, it's better to know that someone has a problem with homosexuality than to enjoy a friendship that survives because of your self-imposed secrecy and censorship. So perhaps it's a case of when rather than if.

As for today: do you gamble the friendship for the chance of something more? That's a big decision that falls to you.

Name [Aoife] Age [16] Gender [M]

Hi Jason,

So I'm really confused about my sexuality, and not sure where to turn, cause I can't find any LGBT groups or anything in my area. See, I have sexual thoughts about men and women, but when I am not physically attracted to men when I actually am around them. Being with a man, even kissing them seems disgusting to me, but to have sex with them, doesn't and that confuses me. But I am physically attracted to women in every way. I'd have sexual thoughts about them and be physically attracted to women when I am around them.. And when I think of the future and future relationships, I see myself with women and always picture myself marrying and have children with another woman and never a man. It's kind of the thought of having sex with a man turns me on, while being in a relationship with one or even kissing and holding hands with a man doesn't.. Does that even make sense..? I used to think I was a lesbian, but now I have no clue what to think and it's messing with my head.. I hope this all makes sense to you cause its super confusing to me.. Please help, advice would be greatly appreciated.

Reply

Hi Aoife,

Your email actually contains plenty of facts about how you feel and doesn't come across as confused as you might think.

You say that you do have some sexual interest in men, but that you haven't yet been around a man who's made you think that kissing and being in a relationship would feel good. You say that you find women physically attractive, and being around them doesn't seem to cause that same doubt and distaste that men do. You then say that when you look into the future you imagine yourself with a woman, even marrying and creating a family with one. So these are all firm statements about your sexuality and what feels right for you.

It could be that there are men out there who you would find completely attractive, but it does sound as though you lean far more toward woman. So it seems that you are bisexual, then, and like a lot of bisexual people you prefer one gender to the other, or have wholehearted feelings toward one with selective thoughts on the other. This may change slightly as you get older and become more comfortable with who you are. Your interest in men may develop or it may seem to fade. You'll get a better picture as you meet new people and have new experiences. I do not believe you will wake up tomorrow to discover that you have become straight; sexuality just doesn't work like that. How you feel is valid and real, right now, regardless of whether you're 16 or 60.

It's okay to pursue a relationship with a woman while acknowledging that there might be men out there that would appeal to you too. This doesn't make you a cheat or someone who can't be happy with one person. Having interest in both genders shouldn't paralyse a person into steering clear of both. It sounds as though women hold the largest part of your interest: tey bring positive and good things into your mind and there seems little or no doubt around this side to your sexuality. Certainly, you shouldn't pursue a relationship where the word 'disgust' is applicable when kissing or being close. I think the part of yourself that's speaking the loudest is the one to listen to, and you may well end up identifying as lesbian in the future, but don't shut down your mind to other possibilities as you continue to find your way.

Name [Bella] Age [14] Gender [F]

Hi Jason,

I have a very long story which I will try to cut short. Basically, I realised about 1 or 2 years ago that I'm a lesbian. I've never had a proper relationship with a boy, but I completely know that I don't feel at all attracted to them. Recently, I came out to one of my best friends, which was amazing because she was really supportive and I now have someone who I feel comfortable to talk to you about everything.

However, as a lesbian, I've found myself in love with a straight girl in my year. She's one of my friends. I know it sounds stupid when I say I'm in love, because I'm only 14, but I really am and it's really upsetting me. I've been depressed for a while now and I used to self harm. I just want to know what to do. Should I tell her how I feel? I don't think she's homophobic, but I'm just worried because this is sort of situation is bound to be awkward and I value her friendship a lot.

Also, I'm really worried about coming out. I know that in the long term it is a good thing, but I'm scared because I know some people in my year are homophobic - I go to a girl's school, and I've heard girls there speaking about being gay as if it's a bad thing, and using things like 'gay' and 'lesbian' as insults. It's hurts, because it makes me wonder if there's something wrong with me. I don't want to lose friends or be bullied for being a lesbian, but I do want to come out. I don't know what to do, sorry, please could I have some advice? By the way, your website has really really helped me, thank you so much for all the support you have given me into understanding and accepting my sexuality.

Reply

Hi Bella,

I think it's great that you are so sure of who you are and that you have confided in a friend and found support there.

I don't think you're too young to experience being in love with someone. Your feelings are real and valid. Falling for someone you can't have is a very common experience for gay and straight people. It hurts when such powerful feelings and longings are directed at someone who simply isn't available, either because they aren't a compatible sexuality or because they simply don't feel the same way. You say that the girl you like is straight so you know there is no chance of a romantic relationship. You also say that you value the friendship you have with her, so you've likely also thought about how this friendship is not a poor second to having her as a girlfriend.

The decision to tell her how you feel should be based on whether you think any good will come of this girl knowing that you have romantic feelings for her. Would it feel better to be open about it, or would it make you feel more vulnerable? Would you be able to manage your feelings better and begin to move on, or would it be investing more energy into something that can't happen? Would it improve the friendship or make it awkward? Would this girl thank you for your honesty or wish you'd kept these particular feelings to yourself? Some difficult questions to consider before taking any action.

Sometimes I think it's better to enjoy the friendship for what it is find other ways of dealing with those powerful feelings and moving on. A love interest can be stumped as to what to do with that information and it's a shame if they end up feeling guilty or bad when they are not responsible for the feelings of the other person. Read my section on falling for a friend for more ideas.

You'll always encounter people who have a problem with same-sex relationships, and it's always up to you whether you come out regardless. You aren't bad or wrong for being lesbian, and I don't think you should hide who you are because some bigoted people wish you would. There's plenty of advice on coming out in the dedicated section.

Share: