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June 16, 2009 -
Just because you think he's gay, doesn't always make it so

I’ve been to three dinners with a colleague, who I suspect might be gay. I don’t have any “evidence,” except that he’s 38, single, and never been married. But if so, I’m very interested. 

As a friend noted, how many guys have repeat casual dinners with another man, unless at a sports bar, or business meetings? 

However, even if the answer is no, I’d still want to continue to meet for dinners, because I’ve enjoyed our many conversations. But I’m unsure if it’d be awkward for him. 

Should I express my feelings? 

- Is He, Or Not?

He may be gay, but that doesn’t automatically mean he wants more than friendship. So treat him as you would any new friend – take time, and when you feel some trust between you, tell him about yourself, including that you’re gay. 

But don’t come on too strong – sharing this information also doesn’t mean he’ll immediately want to date you. 

Incidentally, in a world of metro-sexual men and wide ranges of personal styles, you’re an example that “gaydar” (immediate recognition between same-sex people) is an outdated myth. 

I’m getting divorced after 11 years living with an abusive and bullying wife. As immigrants from the Middle East, I couldn’t abandon her alone here, though she hit me regularly. 

Our child was born five years ago, but she remained her bullying self. I left, felt guilty, went back, and experienced clinical depression for two years, which caused unemployment and debt. 

When I pulled myself up, updated my skills and got a job, she made me feel guilty for the debts and made me stay. 

For six years, I was treated as the sole provider (not as a husband) and worked overtime, while she enjoyed several oversees vacations, and the debt increased. I was still regularly abused. 

Six months ago she finally got a job and I’m happily leaving. However, I agreed that all the debt was my responsibility, and I also have to pay a sizable alimony lump sum, according to Shia tradition after divorce. That makes me very poor for the next four years; and impossible for my child to spend nights with me as I live in a sub-standard place. 

I will still be subject to bullying and control. But, if I refuse to pay the alimony, and let the law of the land handle it, I haven’t remained true to my words. 

Should I accept the debts as mine though I was bullied into it? If I don’t pay, she may lose our house, which I agreed to give to her, but four more years of being bullied and made guilty scares me away from her.

- Still Bullied

Return to the faith leaders with whom you made your commitment, and tell your story – detail the years of abuse and not being treated as a husband. Explain that the full burden of payment will negatively affect your ability to be with your child overnight. 

Suggest compromises – e.g. you pay the whole debt, and the alimony sum gets reduced; or your wife contributes to the debt, and the alimony is paid in installments over a longer period. Make sure any arrangements clearly state your access to your child. 

Be mindful that you never have to accept abuse, no matter what financial deals are made, or what community you come from. If she harms you – or your child - or threatens the safety of either of you, go straight to the police. 

I’ve ended a five-year relationship with a man who had inappropriate relationships (not physical) with women, used singles sites, even received explicit photos. 

He’d moved from his hometown due to a damaged reputation, and left his children behind. We met, and fell in love. 

Now, we’ve discovered he’s bipolar, has ADD, and PTSD.  He lost his job due to alcoholism and moved back home. 

We’ve been talking about re-connecting.  He wants me to move across the country to be with him, but I have everything here - a house, a car, a great job, my family. I love him. But I don’t trust him or his family, and I could get stuck there.

- What to Do?

RUN… to a psychotherapist, to understand why you’d consider risking all for someone you don’t trust. 

Unless he’s dealing with his alcoholism, getting behaviour therapy and medication, and stopped “playing” single, he’s a train wreck to avoid.

Tip of the Day: Dating, gay or straight, requires the same start: knowing what’s essential about the other person.

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