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Ask Joe: Advice on How to Stay Together, And When to Stay Away

By Joe Weston

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 Your identity will be kept anonymous, but do note that questions may be edited for length and clarity.

Hi Joe,
I'm 22 and in a long-distance relationship with a 27-year-old. I live in Canada and he lives in Florida. I have plans to move in with him and his young son once I complete my career training up here in about a year. I am out to my family and close friends and my parents know of my relationship. My boyfriend was recently hurt on the job and has taken a turn for the worse, requiring amputation of a limb. Things are very up in the air right now, but he feels that I should not want him anymore, that I need someone "whole". I love this man and can't imagine spending my life with anyone else. He's pulling away from me as his surgery date nears. What can I do from way up here to convince him otherwise? My mom is telling me I need to find someone up here, but I have never had luck with that. I don't want another man, I just want my man. He has abandonment issues, so he thinks that one day I will leave him for someone else. How do I show that I'm not going to leave him?

—Not Running Away

Hey Not Running,
I’m sorry to hear about your boyfriend. That is a bad break for him, you and his son. I’m not sure how extensive the injury is, but with proper exercise and physical therapy (and of course love and support) he should be able to find some balance in his life.

If you stay in relationship with him you will probably have more challenges with his emotional injury than with the physical. The trauma of the accident, the feeling of no longer being whole, the fear that you will eventually leave him, are all factors that are going to color how much he is going to open to you at this time. If you are up for it, you are in for a big challenge. But if you truly love him and you think it is worth it, I think you should give it a try.

I do think that his injury should have an influence on your decision to move to Florida. I don’t think it is a yes/no question. Do you go to Florida or not? I would recommend you consider adjusting your plans to include a transition phase. Since you don’t know how he is going to react, and you also don’t know how things will be, when you get there, how about you travel to him for one week out of the month for a half a year to see how it goes?

He shouldn’t take this as you pulling away, but on the contrary, you being proactive to give yourself the space to create a place in the lives of him and his son, and also to give him the chance to see that you are serious about your commitment to him. This will create more stability for you, a chance to get to know his son, and more certainty for him that he can trust you.

This is just one way to approach it. I hope you find a way that honors your feelings and needs as well as his.

Good luck to you, brave man,

Hi Joe,
There's this gay guy I've been interested in for a while now. He's aware of my feelings and finds me sexy as well. Recently, we began hanging out as friends a little bit but not much. We were at dinner a couple of weeks ago, and he told me that he had no intentions of breaking up w/his boyfriend. I was understanding. Despite what he said, we have kissed on a few occasions. We even slept in the same bed but there was no sex.

The same night we went out, I told him that I would love to have one night with him, and he said something to the fact that it could happen. The conversation ended there. A week later, I called him and he bluntly asked me if I was "top or bottom". Then he asked me for my penis size. I told him the answers to both. He then said he wanted to see 'it' for himself. I then asked him to reiterate what we talked about a week before about possibly sleeping together. He then got a little defensive. He said, ''don't pressure me, it could happen but right now i'd have to say no. Please don't pressure me.'' I assured him I would never bring it up unless he wanted to discuss it. I really like this guy,and the last thing I want to do is alienate someone because of sex.

What do you think, Joe.? I know that gay men ask the "top or bottom" question when looking for a compatible partner. But do they normally ask to see one's penis when they are in a committed relationship with someone else? Do you think he wants sex with me or what? I can't ask him this again because i might alienate him. I need your help.

—It's Complicated

Dear Complicated,
It seems obvious to me that he is giving you exactly what you asked of him. He is in a committed relationship and you asked him if he would be interested in having sex with you. If he is in a relationship, and he is not planning on leaving his lover, than the best he can offer you is sex. Right? And that is how he is approaching it. The questions he is asking are the appropriate questions that gay men ask when they are only looking for sex. What else should he be asking you? “What’s your favorite color?” or  “Do you plan on having children?”

And his defensiveness and his being a bit more distant from you probably means that he is confused by your request and maybe even feeling guilty for considering this. He is trying to figure out if it is worth it to him and his current relationship to sleep with you or not.

My question to you is: why do you want to have sex with a man who is in a relationship?” What do you want from him? Do you want a romantic, loving relationship? Will he be able to give that to you? Do you know what his arrangement is with his partner? Is he in an open relationship? Will he be cheating on his partner if he sleeps with you? Is he already cheating on his partner by kissing you and sleeping with you?

Check your motives and be considerate of  the feelings of everyone involved. If you feel a strong friendship with this guy, what might you gain or lose by sleeping with him? Yes, you may like him. But if all you are wanting is a sex encounter with him, you may want to consider finding that somewhere else.

Time for motive check.

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 “Respectful Confrontation: the Path to Compassionate Engagement, True Power and Personal Freedom.” 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. He currently has spaces open for new coaching and bodywork/erotic healing clients. For more info, click here.