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Ask Joe: Advice on Honest Conversations

By Joe Weston

It's a new year—so what better time could there be to ask for advice from our advice columnist and 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 Your identity will be kept anonymous, but do note that questions may be edited for length and clarity.

Hi Joe,
A few months ago I split from last boyfriend, who was abusive and cheating. I hadn't realized how damaged I'd become until I didn't have my ex attacking my character at every moment. I've recently met this great guy (we're both 20 years old); we have been on a few dates, he came over frequently and we would just sit and talk. I'm ecstatic about getting to meet someone so great, but while I was going through my trials with my previous relationship, so was he. His ex was clingy, obsessive and dramatic. I like to think that I'm none of those things, however, I tend to think far too much. I feel like I can't just accept something for what it is: a compliment, a suggestion—hell, even a phrase. I over-analyze everything, and once I've exhausted innumerable meanings as to what was said, I begin to attack myself, pointing out my flaws and lashing out.

One night, my new guy and I were lying in my bed, just talking and cuddling and he snuggled close, put his lips to my ear and said "I love you." I was stunned for a moment, but it felt so right, and I reciprocated the love. And now, he seems to be becoming unavailable both emotionally and physically. I'm not sure what to do, what exactly he's been through, but its eating at me. I can't take many more nights of staying up all night, trying to find out what is so horrible about me. I am who I am, I'm kind, gregarious and funny, but—does he see me in the same light? I just don't know, some help would be greatly appreciated.

—Already Over Me?

Hello AOM,
I think you are saying that you met this great guy, but your past relationship is getting in the way of this current one. Is this correct? If the answer is yes, then I suggest you sit down with your current partner and do the following:
  1. Tell him how much you love him.
  2. Let him know that you feel that there is distance between you and could he please share with you how he is feeling and what might be bothering him.
  3. Listen patiently and don’t interrupt.
  4. Let him know that you are willing to do whatever it takes to work on your patterns that stem from your past love that may be having a negative effect.
  5. Ask him what he needs to feel open and secure with you.
Then, go and get help and support to work on your patterns that stem from your past relationship. See a therapist, read some books on abuse, and how to heal wounds from past relationships, find ways to empower yourself. If your present partner is willing to stay with you, then be sure to have regular talks with him to check in and see how things are going. Let him see that you are making an effort to grow. And don’t forget to let him know how you are feeling and what you need. Let yourself be loved and recognize that not all relationships are abusive.

Remember, love yourself,

Hi Joe,
I am gay. But my best friend...? I can't tell. I have tried to read his body language, and although he talks about girls, he shows some signs that he may be gay or bi. Like, one day when we were at my place, I noticed him stealing glances at me with a suggestive smile. Then he stood up and said he wanted to leave. I noticed him having an erection, so I flirted with him, telling him how big he was. He asked if i wanted to see it and i said "yes!" He unzipped and I touched him, then all of a sudden, he pulled back. Twice more I have held his dick in my hands, but he won't let me go beyond that. He constantly writes me text messages that he loves me. And I love him too. We spend lot of time together, but I'm afraid to ask if he is gay.

Please help, I am dying for him! What should i do or say to him?


Dear Lovesick,
There is a very simple way to find out something you want to know—ask! What more proof do you need????? He sends you texts that say he loves you, he gets aroused when he is around you. What more does he need to do? Do you actually need him (or me) to hit you in the head with it?

The reason you are struggling with what to do is because you are asking the wrong question. Worrying about whether or not he is gay is a waste of your time at this point. He can have a crush on you and still be attracted to women. Or, his attraction to you may be the first time he is opening up to feelings and desires he has never had. The reason why he may be on the fence with you is because he may be confused, or he may be frightened of love. Who knows? This happens in all relationships, whether they involve partners of the same sex or not.

So, just ask him what’s going on. Tell him how you feel about him and ask him if he can share with you how he is feeling. But be sure to do it in a safe, intimate space, where both of you will be secure enough to express your feelings. If he says he loves you and wants to pursue something with you, great. If he says he’s not ready or doesn’t want to open to you in that way, it may have nothing to do with whether he is gay or not. And either way, be patient. He may not be as open and willing to share his feelings as you are.

But whatever he says, let go of the torturous, old-fashioned need to label people into rigid categories. Open up to what is really happening. This is about love, affection, excitement, passion. Not about how you—or he—need to fit into society’s view of you.

If you are dying for him, go and talk to him.

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 is currently writing a book entitled “Mastering Respectful Confrontation: a Guide to Personal Freedom and Empowered, Collaborative Engagement.” He also volunteers for the Liberation Prison Project, teaching Buddhism to inmates. To find out more about his workshops and his personal coaching, visit

Joe leads lectures and workshops in Respectful Confrontation around the world. His schedule includes Oakland and Washington DC in February, Austin, TX in March, and Milan, Italy in April. For more info, click here. For more info, click here