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.
Hey there Joe,
I don't know who else to turn to. I am in love with my friend—let's call him Pete. He is gay, like me, but I never expected to have these strong feelings for him. I do not want to put our friendship at risk, nor do I know if I can make him happy. To tell you the truth, I guess I am afraid of what will happen. Will he say he doesn't feel the same way? Will he stop talking to me after I declare myself? What if I am not what he looks for in a guy? All of these questions run through my head and make me want to keep my love a secret. So, I'm afraid. Afraid of being hurt, and just overall everything. I have now been avoiding him for a month, which includes not going to the halls of the school he is in, screening his calls, and not returning his text messages. He has recently texted me saying that it is hurting him that I am avoiding him. He really wants to know what is wrong, and he even began crying when he saw me today. I don't know what to do! Please help me in making the correct choice about our relationship.
—Afraid of Love
Thanks for getting in touch. I can feel how hard this is for you. You are feeling what it means to take a risk. When you take a risk you open up to possibly failing and getting hurt—and you open up to happiness and fullness of life. This is life at its richest. This may not feel so good, but enjoy it. You are in love! Follow your heart.
It seems that you are no longer able to keep silent. Pete seems to be persistent in finding out what is going on with you. That is a good sign. He values your friendship enough to make himself vulnerable by trying to get clarity about your pulling away. He even felt safe enough with you to cry and show his true feelings. This is the sign of a good relationship. You may not become lovers—there may be reasons why it won’t work out for you to become boyfriends—but you are getting the message that your friendship is strong.
All the fears you express in your letter are what people go through when their feelings change with a friend. Some of these feelings may actually be true—maybe he doesn’t like you as much as you like him, maybe he is attracted to a different kind of guy (you could probably find that out by looking at his RealJock profile and seeing if he has a hot list!)—but that doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t be open to exploring a more intimate relationship with you.
Talk to him. Let him know how you feel about him. Let him know your concerns. Assure him that no matter what happens, you are willing to make sure the friendship survives. So, you ask for a correct choice. Well, AL, there really are no correct choices. There’s only the choice that feels closest to your heart and your truth. The only incorrect choice you can make would be to not speak your truth! Be courageous, let him know how you feel, and give him the space and time to digest it all and sort out how he feels.
With warm encouragement,
I'm 38 years old and have never been with anyone at all, because my father didn't like me being gay, so for a while I had to lie to everyone—even to myself. Now that I have finally let go of the lie, I'm trying too hard and too fast to get where I should be, as if I would be able to make up for lost time. So two weeks ago, I saw a guy on some site where you can show your pics and videos. There he was just dancing, half-dressed, for the camera, so I checked out his other videos. The next day I watched him again and something in the back of my mind kept saying to find more about him. And I did, I googled his user name and found him on another site and fell totally in love with him—his looks, what he wrote about who he was, and the similarity to me in what love represented to him. So, being an inexperienced gay guy, I rushed to send him an email. The first was just saying that he looked good, but then I went a bit further, saying that I had fallen for him and was almost ready to move to be close to him. Well, you get the idea; I went too far and I should let the waters calm before sending more e-mails—but, blinded by my love, I've sent one every two days! I can tell he read some of the emails, but he's never replied to any of them. I think I scared him. So ten days later, here I am, still feeling lost.
On another note, I have to say that I have some empathetic or psychic talent, and I've never been pushed to get to know someone like I was with him. I keep having this feeling that our paths need to meet. In fact, I strongly feel that we are meant to be together, as if it was written in the stars. I believe in path numbers, and my path number (three) keeps coming up with regard to him—like I have recently experienced three connections to Alberta, the province he lives in (I live four provinces away). I was planning to go camping in his town this summer, but not necessarily to meet him—even though it might happen!
So, dear Joe, can you help me in a situation that really has me spinning?
Can I be frank? Okay: Leave the guy alone. You say you are in love with him. You don’t know him, so you can’t be in love with him. You are in love with your fantasy of him. My guess is that, since you didn’t have the opportunity in your younger years to express your feelings and your desires, you developed a pattern of living out your love life, and your need for intimate contact, in your head. This is not a bad thing. Actually this is very, very common for gay men who aren’t in an environment where they can be open about who they are and what they desire. The challenge is to go from having an active fantasy life to a healthy and vital interactive personal life.
So, you found a real person on the internet that fits the description of your ideal fantasy man. Yes, this is a real person, he really exists. But the fantasy man you have created out of the limited information you have of him is not real. Leave the man alone and start taking a look at your own fantasies. If you can really look at them, you can get a lot of information about what you desire, about your deeper feelings, and about what intimacy means to you.
I imagine that there is a lot you still have to learn about relationships and human interaction. Take your time! Get to know yourself first as a gay man, explore more about how you connect with others and also learn more about intimacy. If you say you feel you are psychic and you are interested in numerology, then you are probably a very sensitive person. That’s why I say take your time and make sure you connect with others who are also sensitive and will understand you.
And yes, you seem to see a lot of synchronicities with this man, but, you know, there are always synchronicities. And you never really know what the message is. Maybe the three references to Alberta are trying to give you the message that you will eventually meet a man named Albert, or that you need to look to the west and watch more sunsets! Who knows? When the right man shows up, there will be other synchronicities.
Keep your feet on the ground,
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 Weekend Training in Washington D.C. on March 12-14, and offers a 25 dollar discount to RealJock readers. For more info, click here.