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Beau Bye

By Mink Stole | Posted 7/25/2001

I was involved for several months with a man who just told me he's gay. I was devastated, but I'm trying to accept it because I still care about him a lot and want to keep him in my life. He says he never meant to hurt me, but that he only recently realized it for sure himself. I believe him, but it's still hard. Oddly, my friends don't seem surprised at all. They all claim they knew he was gay and it was just a matter of time before he acknowledged it to himself and to me, but we were so connected emotionally that I never had a clue. What's confusing me now is that he's still very affectionate toward me, and often tells me that I am beautiful and he loves me. Does this mean he's not sure about his sexuality? He's not dating any guys.

Hopeful Romantic

Dear Hopeful:

I hate to do it, but I have to throw a big bucket of cold water on whatever illusions you might be hanging on to about a love life with this man. You know he didn't suddenly "decide" to be homosexual just to end your relationship, but gay is gay and straight is straight, and it's no good wishing it were otherwise. We don't choose our sexual orientation any more than we can choose to be tall or to have rich parents or naturally curly hair. And if learning about it upset you, imagine the turmoil he must have been going through.

A new awareness doesn't mean that all former feelings suddenly dissolve, however. Just because he's gay doesn't mean he didn't genuinely love you or that he no longer does; he just doesn't love you "that way." And if he tells you you're beautiful, he means it--he's gay, not blind. But don't mislead yourself; just because he's not dating a man at the moment doesn't mean he doesn't want to. As disappointing as this is, you must come to grips with it, the sooner the better.

We all want to think that we're mature enough to handle emotional upheaval gracefully, but downshifting smoothly from lovers to friends is damn near impossible for anyone, regardless of the reason, so don't expect to be OK and cool about it overnight. If you're still yearning for what he can't give you, it would be wise to take a step or two back, give yourself time to heal. Understanding he didn't mean to hurt you doesn't mean you're not in pain. Eventually it may turn out that you've traded in a lover for a best friend, which would be wonderful, but until then you don't need to feel guilty for not being Miss Emotional Superwoman.

Why do men always want the woman they can't get and throw away the ones who want them? It's happened to me a couple of times. As soon as I let a guy know I am completely in his corner he dumps me to chase after somebody else he has to bribe with expensive dinners just to get to go out with him, after the most I got was takeout pizza. Is it a challenge thing? Is it an age thing? I'm still in college, but am I facing a future of having men treat my devotion like so much used gift wrap? Do they ever learn to value a woman's love and support?

Fearing The Future

Dear Future:

It's a big sucking fact of life that men in our world are taught to value themselves and women are taught to value men. Even in this post-feminist era, women's literature and magazines focus more on making us more attractive man-bait than on making us more interesting to ourselves. Little girls spend far more time dreaming of their wedding days than their college graduations. This is a serious social problem that can't be solved by the mere substitution of graduates' mortarboards for antique lace bridal veils.

While there are some who prefer the chase to the capture, most men want their feelings reciprocated. But at the same time they're hunting for mates, they're also focusing on their careers and other interests. It isn't that they want women who are hard to get, but that they are attracted to women who are confident and motivated. What they don't want is the responsibility of being the center of someone else's universe. A woman's love for a man does not, as some women seem to believe, entitle her to his total attention to her happiness and wellbeing. In other words, what she thinks is her due for her tender loving care he may very well be experiencing as suffocating dependence.

It's normal to want to fall in love. You just have to be careful in your search for emotional fulfillment not to devalue your own intellectual and creative needs. In a way you could be lucky that these men have left you. Unless you learn to balance independence with romance, you could get caught sacrificing your youth to some menial job in order to put your ambitious young husband through law or med school. Then, when fairness would dictate it's time to reward you for all your love and support, he could toss you aside for a new, younger, trophy wife with her own successful career who makes a much more appropriate partner for such a promising professional.

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Think Mink archives

More from Mink Stole

Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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