Relationships / Relationship Troubles

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"I identify as bisexual, and have been dating a guy for nearly two and a half years now. For the past several months I've been having very strong feelings for a female colleague of mine and this weekend we hooked up. She has feelings for me as well but we can't date because of workplace rules. Is it worth breaking up my relationship with 2 years guy for a person I can't even be with? I can't be out at work or at home. Thank you for taking the time to read this."

Question submitted by thisispoppycock

Kristin says:

Hello there, Poppycock.

Here is the thing: breakups shouldn’t hinge on whether or not you have the opportunity for another relationship or not, they should hinge on how you feel about the person you are dating.

From the tone of your question, I am getting that you are in a monogamous relationship. You have feelings for another person, and those feelings turned into making out… and guess what? Your feelings for this other person didn’t go away. They intensified. Which also means that, dating or not, you are in an emotional (and now physical!) relationship with this other person. Even in many non-monogamous relationships, this would be past the point at which you would need to tell your partner about these feelings (and those actions).

I totally get having to stay closeted for various reasons, but, all on its own, that can be a very heavy weight to bear. Adding on to that heavy stuff with another, ongoing secret is going to slowly press on all your bones and muscles and tendons and cells until you find yourself swirling around on the inside of it all, totally confused and very, very lost. That lost and confused part is where most of us make super careless decisions and do things we wish we hadn’t.

Another thing that I would like to point out: you didn’t tell us anything about how you feel about your boyfriend! Not to read too much into the absence of that content, but liiiiiiike… my gut tells me that your feelings for him are rooted in the history and length of your relationship together and not the current state of the partnership itself. Your question essentially says: “If this girl and I could date, I would leave him without thinking twice.” That means that you and this boy should not be together, because, if for nothing else, it is incredibly unfair to him.

I think you need to come clean with your boyfriend and/or you need to break up with him. If you decide that telling him about the girl would only add insult to injury, fine, skip it, but it’s time to walk away. You have things you need to explore, and you aren’t going to be able to do that and also be a good partner to him at the same time.

It’s scary to take that step into the unknown, and many of us are afraid of being alone – but it is when we take those steps and find that solitude that many of us actually discover what we need and who we are.

Good luck. <3

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“I’ve been fooling around with my straight best friend for 6 months. Surprisingly, he made the first ‘moves’ and we progressed from there, but we agreed to keep it as ‘friends with benefits.’ But we act like a couple – we do everything together, and we both even say I love you several times a day. The only thing he won’t do is admit we’re ‘together,’ even though our close friends even say we’re a good couple. I call him Mickey (from Shameless) because he won’t admit he’s gay. Do I just wait?”

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Shane Billings Says:

In times like this I find great comfort in the electropop yodeling of Gwen Stefani, whose first solo album demanded that we ask ourselves: What you waiting for? 

Not-so-totally long ago, I fell for a guy who kept small Warhol prints hanging on the wall of his bathroom, each with a different quotation. One, in particular, read: “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.” So I’d be visiting this guy, and I’d be in his bathroom, checking for boogers or stray hairs before smoochy time. And I would see this particular print and wonder… Does waiting actually make it more exciting?

Like, waiting at the DMV never made my registration tags sparkle or shimmer. Two hours in line at Space Mountain maketh not a spacier thrill. Waiting, in and of itself, does not promise meaning or value to the futures we’re hoping for.

So to answer your question: no, you shouldn’t JUST wait. Take your Gwen Stefani moment, and find out what exactly it is you’re waiting for. Waiting for Mickey to admit he is gay could be frustrating and insensitive to the reality that he may be searching for a different way to define his own sexuality.

Instead, pair the waiting with a variety of other things, like a behavioral platter of fruits and soft cheeses. Tell Mickey how you’re feeling about the dynamic in your relationship, and that you love him. Then wait a little.

Enjoy the current status of your relationship, and take pleasure in the fact that you’re able to do everything together. Expand your definition of “everything.” Wait a little more.

Watch a few Nora Ephron movies. Read a few Nora Ephron books. Then wait a little.

In a relationship, waiting can be a courageous act, so long as the waiting doesn’t make you inactive or resentful. Be generous and be kind. Give Mickey time and space to define his sexuality on his own terms. Appreciate your role in his discovery.

**
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“I’ve been with my girlfriend for two years now, and whilst I adore her, things are becoming a little strained. She’s started a new job, hates her manager and is having a rough time, whilst I’m super stressed over finishing my Masters degree. I want to be as supportive as possible for her, but I’m having a hard time too. Help!”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Kristin Says:

Okay. I’ve totally got this one… because I’ve TOTALLY been exactly where you are slash kind of ARE where you are and I had a revelation yesterday while I was on a dock by the ocean thinking thoughts. Here we go. When we get into long-term relationships with people, we tend to feel incredibly comfortable being open, honest, vulnerable, and vocal about the things that are going on in our lives. That’s an amazing thing on most levels, because it means being connected and allowing for someone else to comfort us in our weak moments.

HOWEVER. We also tend to get so comfortable in that space that we forget that our emotions and moods (and expression of those things) has a big impact on our loved ones. Your girlfriend is struggling and you are stressed and you need each other to lean on, yes… but you’ve crossed a threshold where those struggles/stressors are actually making you LESS able to be a good partner. (Mayday! Mayday! *pulls alarms*) You now need to do two things:

1. Most importantly, you need to talk to your lovely girl (let’s call her Pasta bc I’m hungry) and explain where you’re coming from, gently and with lots of love. When she is having a good, calm moment, pull her close and say, “Pasta, I want you to know that I love you and I am so glad that we have each other to talk to when things are hard. I know you’re struggling right now and I am here to help in any way I can. Lately I’ve been feeling a little frazzled with my own stuff, and I thought it would be great if we could find times to vent, but also make sure that we have time to have fun and enjoy the good.” If you want you can then play that Tegan and Sara song about where did the good go, but only if you think she’ll laugh as hard as I would if we were having this conversation.

Essentially, you need to communicate that you both need to be operating at full capacity to take care of each other, and that you need some time to navigate the world and your own stressors without being under the constant strain of hearing/worrying about hers. Gently. Calmly. Lovingly. Cool?

2. Here’s my small revelation: our partners cannot take care of all that ails us. Maybe you already knew that, but I don’t think I did until very recently… and maybe your gf doesn’t realize that yet either. I tend to think I AM HURTING GOOD THING I HAVE A WIFE TO TELL WHO WILL LISTEN AND HELP… all the time. And all of the time is too much of the time! I am a strong person who has friends and family and myself and a cat and a journal and sidewalks to stroll on and a million other outlets for what ails me.

As people with loved ones we need to make sure that we use all that is available to us instead of defaulting, always, to the person who is often closest to us (in both proximity and emotional-feels). Maybe you can also talk to your girl about this, bc I wish I had had that realization about forty years ago. You know?!

Last thing before I leave you to your journey: it sounds like y’all love each other very much and this is a hard time. That’s okay. We have ups and downs and you’ll learn things from this down that will help you tackle the next one even more readily. Good luck to you and darling Pasta <3

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“There’s this girl who works at a coffee shop that I’m super into, but she just has a high school diploma and I’m working on getting my masters. We’re both into each other, but I can’t get over the fact that she isn’t really doing anything with her life. Am I a horrible person for letting this get in the way?! UGH! How do you handle education inequality in dating?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Shane Billings as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Shane Says:

Oh man, those girls in coffee shops…. putting heart shapes in your cappuccino and drizzling their number with chocolate syrup. I hope you don’t even drink coffee, and you’re just ordering it to seem caffeinated and cool for your barista boo-thang.

With situations like yours, it’s important to not let the idea of a thing (the implications of her education level) interfere with the thing itself (your mutual attraction). There’s nothing wrong with wanting specific qualities in a partner, including a certain education level. However, your concern seems rooted in a couple of assumptions – that MAYBE your coffee shop lady doesn’t have an advanced degree because MAYBE she doesn’t have ambitious goals for success, or MAYBE she doesn’t care about her future. Don’t give those “maybes” any control over your love life.

Truth is, your coffee shop lady lover is doing things with her life. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much, but she’s got an income and a love interest… and most people would kill for just one of those (please don’t kill anybody). I’m willing to bet that if you ask her what she’s doing with her life, she’d have an answer. And that’s the fun stuff! Getting to uncover all the details that make a person complex and three-dimensional, those are the things that will anchor your feelings in reality.  Maybe she is, in fact, too cool 4 school. School – especially higher education – is not for everyone, and isn’t a comprehensive metric for success or value in a person’s life. Don’t hold it against her.

So take a hot minute, while you’re sipping your hand-crafted mocha made special by your barista lover, and think about why higher education is important for you in a partner. Then take another minute (OMG so many minutes) and see what Aziz Ansari has to say about dating, specifically how people often realize that the qualities we say we’re looking for… don’t match the partner we actually become interested in.

You’re not a horrible person, at least not in this case. Maybe you don’t pay your taxes, or maybe you fart in crowded elevators. But like I said, “maybes” are just emotional contaminants, and don’t deserve the swaying power they have over our decisions. Don’t let the idea of a good relationship defeat an extraordinary opportunity that looks and feels different from what you expected.

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