Welcome to "Ask Joe," our RealJock advice column, written by our regular contributor, Joe Weston. Joe is a life coach, workshop facilitator, lecturer and peace advocate with a deep commitment to the possibility of individual personal fulfillment. Looking for some clarity on tricky issues in your life? Share what's on your mind with Joe—concerning work, personal awareness, love and romance, meditation and spiritual exploration, or just about anything else that's getting between you and your life goals.
Write to Joe:
Reaching Joe couldn't be simpler: just email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your identity will be kept anonymous, but do note that questions may be edited for length and clarity.
I'm a 24 year-old guy from Colombia. Last year, I met this guy on Facebook; he's from North Dakota. At first I didn't suspect I would fall for him but as the days were going by I felt that things were getting serious. We started a nice relationship and I was planning on going there to visit and meet him in person, but unfortunately, that didn't happen. Five weeks after we had became boyfriends, we broke up. He said that he couldn't put up with the distance and, well, I understand that. Some time later, I sent him an ecard for his birthday, and he decided to talk to me again. In fact, he sent me a package containing a shirt reading "Someone from North Dakota Loves Me," a postcard, a poem, a picture of him, and a half-dozen red roses. I had never felt so excited and wowed like that before in my entire life. I talked to him to say thanks and to try to get things back to "normal" but he just didn't want to to give it a try. After several attempts to contact him again, I just gave up. He just ingores me; he won't even reply to any of my missed calls or messages.
I really felt for this guy and I miss him so much. I feel I am stuck on him and that I can't forget about him. I guess his sending the package was his closure, but what about mine? Please, what can I do? I want to get my life back.
I’m sorry to hear you are feeling hurt from this encounter. It never feels pleasant and we all wish we never have to go through it. But unfortunately, in the realm of human relationships and love, break ups and broken hearts are all part of it. There is nothing I can “say” that will make you feel better. The quickest way to get over these feelings is to feel them fully. Get it all out. And while you are crying, and throwing pillows, and writing sad poems and pining for your lost love, you can also celebrate! Celebrate that you can feel so deeply, celebrate that you can love so much, celebrate that you found someone who moved you in such a deep way and know that if you did it once, you will definitely do it again.
The beauty of breaks-ups is that the next time you will know better. You don’t need to close your heart to other men, but you surely can be more careful how quickly you go forward; let the other guy work a bit harder to win your trust and love. By doing this, you combine love and wisdom—the perfect ingredient for long-lasting supportive, nurturing relationships.
You can decide what you need to do to help you find closure. Write him a letter letting him know how you feel and letting him know how gateful you are for the good times and the lessons he has taught you. You don’t even have to send the letter. Just writing it and deleting it is enough for you to get out your feelings and thoughts. (Although you might discover you have a talent for writing and end up publishing a book of love poems, who knows?) Go alone to the woods and yell as hard as you can how you feel until it is all out of you, take his gifts and create some kind of ritual to let him go, or throw yourself a party as a way to officially end your connection to this guy and remind you how fabulous you are.
So, it’s time to end feeling left behind and start moving ahead!
I think I already know the answer, but you seem to give expert advice so I thought I draw you my scenario. I'm gay, but not out to anyone. Several things are inhibiting me including friends and family which includes expected values and obvious religious and social expectations. To sum it up quickly, I come from a big happy extremely religious christian family, and live in a somewhat rural area where being gay is not socially acceptable at all.
My problem is not new to me. I've repeated the pattern a few times. I make friends with guys that I like, and we become great friends... and then the dreaded inevitable... I fall for them. Falling in love with my straight best friend is a difficult dilemma. I see them everyday, we hang out, work out, chill together. Deep inside me is this itch to just tell them how I feel, that I'm gay and that I have feelings for them, but I always stop myself because I am afraid of the consequences. They usually express to me somewhere along the lines, if we see a gay person or something, how they think it's wrong and they don't understand that. They usually have a girlfriend, of coarse. I'm straight-acting, sensitive, and I try to be open with my feelings; no one would ever suspect my inner turmoil. But, I'm guessing that my best friends know that maybe I think about them sometimes or something. Anyway, I'm lost, confused, torn apart, and frustrated. I should face my fears and be myself, but I know I will lose the respect of some of my friends and family, and yes, if they love me they will still be my friends and not treat me differently, but I think it may take a very long time for some, and frankly I don't think they would be willing or interested to go through that with me. So what should I do? Come out? Move somewhere new and start a new life? The major problem is that I still wish I was "normal", you know, straight. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
—Lost in Between
I really feel your inner turmoil and your pain. I wish I had a solution for you that would make your “circumstance” go away. But, according to what you write, you seem to be clear that you are gay and somehow you believe that being gay is not normal.
I want to be sensitive to your situation and concerns. It sounds like coming out would have a lot of consequences. I cannot tell you to do that. That decision is totally yours to make. I can tell you though, from my own experience, from the experience of friends and of clients, how important it is to live in your truth and create a life for you that resonates with your values, your desires, your needs, your passions, your life purpose and is a clear expression of who you are. I have seen so many go through years of torment convincing themselves that they could “make it work” and not speak their truth. They didn’t want to rock the boat, or hurt anyone else’s feelings. But in the end, and after much pain, they eventually do make a shift and ultimately find the peace, fulfillment and happiness they so dearly wanted. In the end, they realized that the number one person they had to take care of was themselves.
The issue, LiB, is not that you fall in love with straight men. The issue is that you so passionately want to express your love and desires with someone and don’t have anyone in your surroundings who you can do this with. It is a natural, human drive to want to connect, find intimacy, nurture and be nurtured by another. You are opening up to this drive. And it is also normal for good friends to feel intimacy and love for each other without it becoming a sexual relationship. So, until you make some choices, let yourself feel the companionship and interaction you have with your buddies, but be sure to not make more of it than it might be.
And take your time with how you may address opening up to a more gay lifestyle. You don’t have to do it all at once. Maybe find someone to talk to, or seek out some groups, make some new friends that aren’t part of your circle, or read some books of others who have a similar story. You will know when and if the time is right.
Hope you find a way out from in between,
About Joe Weston: Joe Weston is an international workshop facilitator and personal life coach. Born and educated in New York, Joe lived in Amsterdam for 17 years and now lives in California. He is committed to helping others embody spirituality and supporting them on their journey towards personal fulfillment and empowerment. Joe brings a wealth of insight to his work based on many teachings, including Tai Chi Chuan and a variety of spiritual traditions—plus his experience in theater and various organizational trainings. He also volunteers for the Liberation Prison Project, teaching Buddhism to inmates. To find out more about his workshops and his personal coaching, visit www.joeweston.com.
Joe will be offering a monthly class in Oakland, CA: Full Body Meditation, combining different physical disciplines as a preparation for a successful mediation. Check here for details. He is also leading a Respectful Confrontation one-day training in Oakland on May 1 and a weekend workshop in Vancouver, BC on June 11 - 13. He offers a 25 dollar discount to RealJock readers. For more info, click here.