• Photo for Ask Joe: Advice on Coming Out and Coming Clean
    Photo Credit: Joe Weston

Ask Joe: Advice on Coming Out and Coming Clean

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 feel like I'm too young for a relationship. I have the Cinderella story relationship. We both have steady income, I'm a full time student, so is he. He's a sweetheart, so much so that it annoys me often. He is everything I've ever heard of anybody wanting. And I have never shown interest in being in a seriously committed relationship. I don't feel anything for it other then annoyed when it impedes on my life. I want to finish school, and have a career i enjoy, spend time with friends and family. I don't feel a need or want for fulfillment from another person. I don't even have sex often. And now I feel this shame that seems to be fueled by guilt, that I'm just fooling him, or that I know he wants to have sex and I don't so i know he's having major blue balls, and anger at myself for dealing with this to spare his feelings.

I don't know what to do and I feel selfish that i'm just going with it. He's 23 and we've both been living on our own since 18; he was with a guy for a couple of years and I'm his rebound. I've never had a relationship last longer then 3 months. I don't know what to do.

—Cinderella Story

Hey Cindy,
It’s okay to not want to have a full-time monogamous relationship when you are young. It’s a good idea to explore. Nobody says you have to have a textbook relationship. You and your partner can define the relationship any way you want that feels right to you both. You both seem creative and intelligent. I’m sure you could create your own, new fairy-tale life with him.

Cinderella’s power was her ability to wish, wish, wish, from her heart for the things she wanted. Her wishes and desires mobilized the magic needed to create her “happy-ever-after” life. It seems that you are having trouble accessing that part of you—the place where you have deep desires and an excitement for life.

If you are asking me what you should do, I would say you should take a look at why you are not allowing yourself to enjoy the fun and juicy things in life—sex, romance, deep companionship. What would happen if you allowed yourself to dig as deep as Cinderella and tapped into your passion for love and romance? Find your own inner-Cinderella.

Sounds like your inner-Wicked Stepmother has control of the situation, keeping you focused on “important” things like school, responsibility, family. Yes, those things are important, but they don’t have to eliminate the rest. If you don’t think you can open to your desires and find fun ways to be in relationship with Prince Charming, I suggest you stop leading him on and talk honestly with him.

Just remember, it ain’t always easy to find someone who fits the shoe,

Hi Joe,
I am 19 years old and entering my second year at college. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time figuring myself out. Growing up, I always questioned whether I was gay, straight, or bisexual. I've never had a boyfriend and I never had too many girlfriends. My attractions to men and women are definitely different. I'm attracted to women on an emotional level, just not on a physical level; however, I am attracted to men physically. I have never had sex with either gender, and I am still in the closet about my attraction to men.

I've fallen for a girl before, but I was always afraid to take the relationship to a physical level because I feared I would not be aroused. This is why I'm not sure if I would be able to marry anyone. Maybe I'm just in denial about my sexuality, but if I am, how was I able to love her? I know it was love because I have never experienced that kind of connection with anyone else.

I've never discussed my sexuality with anyone. I feel like my family knows because my siblings have asked me if I was gay. Sadly, I always denied it. I never wanted to tell them because they don't seem very fond of homosexuality. My parents never questioned me because I feel like they are in denial about my attraction to guys. The reason why it's so difficult for me to come out to my family is because 1) I'm not exactly sure what I am and 2) I come from a strict Roman Catholic family. I know they would not except it. I'm afraid my family would stop supporting me financially. I don't work. I just go to school. I take on rigorous courses at school, so I wouldn't be able to get a job with my type of schedule. Plus, I honestly don't know a lot about independent living and paying for expenses.

Not only is my sexuality impacting my relationship with my family and supposed friends (I have a lot of homophobic friends and I feel like if they found out, we would not be friends anymore), it's affecting my future goals. I want to become a doctor. Sadly, I have never heard of a doctor being gay. I have volunteered in a hospital, clinical labs, and shadowed doctors, so I know what the medical environment is like. I would love to go into internal medicine. Unfortunately, the patient contact is what's questioning my success as a doctor. I feel like many patients and other medical professionals would be homophobic and would not feel comfortable working with me. In addition, I feel like getting through medical school would be hard because (I may be generalizing this) it seems as though many medical students are very conservative. Now, I understand I can always keep my sexual identity a secret, but I have heard people tell me I sound "gay" when I talk. Becoming a doctor is seriously the only thing I want to do with my life. I love helping patients. Sometimes, I wonder whether I should become a type of doctor where I hardly have any patient contact (like a pathologist), but I don't want to base my professional decisions off my sexuality. It hurts me to say this, but sometimes I feel like I should just give up on my dream of pursuing a medical career and go into something else.

There are many topics I would love to discuss with you about because I've never told anyone about these things before. But I've basically outlined the most important issues in my life. What would you consider my sexuality? What do you think I should do with my friends and family? Should I hold off any talks until I am financially stable (which probably wouldn't be for a long time because I hear many medical students need their parents to financially support them)? How should I even go about telling them? How should I handle my issues with pursuing my future goals?

—Pre-Med Predicament

Dear Pre-Med,
Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, you have a lot on your mind. I would say that you are an expert “thinker.” You make many assumptions that aren’t based on any facts. You are confused and unable to take action because you don’t have enough information.

So, you are a student and interested in medicine; let’s try a scientific approach. You have done all the mental work, now it’s time to do some extensive research. You can never make a decision if you are gay or straight or bi until you go and have encounters with men and women. You have to gather the data of each experience (how it felt, how it is different, etc.) and then you will have a better idea of where your preference lies. There are many men in the world who have found ways to integrate their attraction to both men and women into their lives. Get in touch with organizations for bisexual men and read up on the data and stories. Go to meetings.

Because you don’t know any gay doctors doesn’t mean that there are no gay doctors. Of course there are gay doctors, both out and in the closet. Do your research and find out where they are. Find ways to learn and talk about sexuality. See a councilor or therapist. And start finding out how people support themselves financially and live independent lives.

After the experiments, you can make some choices in your life. Not before. Until this time there is no reason to talk with your family and friends, or not go to medical school. Keep this exploration to yourself and anyone else you meet who is also experimenting with you. But I will say that, if your family is already asking you if you are gay, they may not be so against it as you think. Honestly, to me it sounds like the one who has the biggest issues with homosexuality is you. Maybe it’s time to look at your own homophobia.

So, go to school, don’t talk to your family, become a great doctor. Explore your sexuality in private and with curiosity. With patience, you can and will create a happy life for yourself.

Have faith and patience,

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 will be holding a Respectful Confrontation workshop in Washington, D.C. on November 12 - 14 and an erotic massage workshop for men in Vancouver for Body Electric on November 27 - 28. For more info, click here