One of the hardest aspects of coming out of the closet is being in relationships. I recently received this inquiry from one of my blog followers here at YourTango.com:
"I loved your article Top 10 Gay Relationship Mistakes That Keep You From Your Man. But how do I deal with my partner's single friends inviting him to gay pride trips/events that include sex parties? We have been in a relationship for three years and it still happens. I don't think he should cut off his single friends, but he and they should know he is in a relationship. HELP!"
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Here's how I responded:
Sounds like the two of you need to have a "Fierce Conversation." In fact, get the book, Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. While you're getting that book, I'm curious. Have you talked about your concerns with him? If not, why not? But before you do: What is it that you're most afraid of when he goes off to these events?
If it's fear that he's hooking up and participating, then there is a trust issue and that needs to get addressed ASAP. However, I hear that you may be afraid if you bring this up in conversation something bad is going to happen. Right?
Here's my advice:
- Decide how these trips make you feel. Write down everything so you can get real with yourself before you start any conversation.
- Pick a time, and some place neutral, then let him know you'd like to have a conversation about something that's been on your mind.
- Don't come from an accusatory space when you have the conversation. Simply start with, "When you go on these pride trips with your friends I feel (BLANK), and I'm wondering if that's how you mean to make me feel." Keep the focus on how the situation is making you feel and dig down to the core of the issue, which it sounds like may be trust. It's about the situation until it becomes about something he has done.
- You might try the straight forward approach with caution. "When you go on these trips, I'm curious if you're still participating in the sex parties?" You might preface this with, "Now that we've been together for 3 years, I want to make sure we're both on the same page. Can we check-in about how we both feel regarding monogamy?" This way you can feel out the situation without dropping the bomb that could break the relationship, or lead to a heated battle.
- If you find out that he's in a different space regarding the monogamy/sex parties thing, then it's time to re-evaluate how this relationship is working for you.
Regardless of where this situation ends up, from my perspective, it sounds like there's 3 issues to work out.
- Are you still in a monogamous relationship? If not, can you live with that?
- What are the trust issues that need to be addressed, not only around this situation but in other areas of the relationship?
- Is it really about him going with friends or about you not being invited along?
Relationships are tricky no matter how hard you work at them. The key is trusting yourself, your partner, and the relationship. If you can't do that, then you might as well move on!
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