Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
Eight months ago my dream man jumped into my life. Three weeks later, I was snooping and found that he was cheating - the end of my dream. I want to confront him, but I'm afraid I'll end up out on the streets if I do. He supports me. I've never written to anyone about my problems before, but honestly, I don't know what to do.
Signed, Stray Cat
Dear Stray Cat,
It sounds like both of you are being dishonest with each other. You're snooping. He's cheating. However, starting today, you can choose to build a healthier relationship if you put it all on the table.
A healthy relationship is based on trust. A couple can't thrive in a relational environment of mistrust and suspicion. I'm glad you trusted me to write, but I want you to turn toward your partner and build a bridge of trust. Try talking to him openly and honestly about what you discovered. While he has a right to be upset with you for snooping, you have a right to confront him about his cheating. While it doesn't excuse your snooping, relatively speaking, his behind the scenes activity is more egregious than yours.
But before you have the conversation, it might be worthwhile to decide what kind of relationship you want. Is it quid pro quo? Is there love involved? Something in between? If you don't know, ask youself, "if my fear (money) wasn't a concern, what would I do about the situation?" Don't lose your dignity. Trust yourself. Share your thoughts and feelings with him.
Define what the limits are in this relationship, set clear boundaries, and start fresh with a new understanding.
All The Best, Angelo.
What do you think of friends-with-benefits? I have been "seeing" someone for three months when his "needs" come up. But little by little, I'm getting emotionally attached.
Signed, Hopeful Romantic
Dear Hopeful Romantic,
Friends-with-benefits is fine, but it only works when both guys agree that all they want is a casual relationship with no strings sex. It's vital to re-evaluate this type of situation every now and then to see where everyone's at, but it's essential to do so when someone's emotions come into play.
Since you're starting to have feelings, you need to tell him where you stand, or you could get hurt. Be sure to ask him how he feels too. He may, or may not, be in the same place as you. A frank discussion now can save you a lot of heartache later.
Since it's only "supposed" to be about "fun," you may think you "shouldn't" talk. Not so. Discussing a friends-with-benefits relationship openly, honestly and clearly, actually helps to navigate it more successfully. It allows everyone to "adjust" themselves accordingly.
While it's important to balance lightheartedness with seriousness, any good relationship has clear ongoing communication.
All The Best, Angelo.
The Gay Man's Therapist
Would you appreciate a safe, supportive environment to talk about personal concerns? Get useful tools from a specialist who understands.
Podcasts, Teleseminars, Advice On Demand, Workshops, Groups and Private Practice Available. Manhattan, NY Office Tel: (917) 673-5003. www.AskAngelo.com