Ask Amy: Woman questions her orientation

Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I have been together for five years. We were long-distance for four years, and then last year I moved to Florida to be with him. He has always said he doesn’t want to live anywhere other than Florida.

Initially, I didn’t think that would be a problem, but now I’m wondering. My family lives thousands of miles away, and I miss them terribly. I resent that he’s unwilling to compromise about things — like where we live, for instance.

To top it off, I don’t feel attracted to him. Sometimes I feel attracted to women. I’ve never been with a woman, but these feelings really confuse me. I’m 34 years old. If I were gay, wouldn’t I have known it before?

People are beginning to ask us if we will marry, and the thought makes me feel queasy. My parents had an acrimonious divorce, and I thought I was opposed to marriage because of this. Now I wonder if there is more to consider.

I worry that I run away from good things when I have them. Despite the fact that I’m not always happy here, sometimes I am, and my boyfriend is incredibly supportive and loving. I love him, but I’m not sure I’m “in love” with him.

We live together, I have a job here, and any real change would have to be a big one. What should I do?

Amy says: In the news business, we call what you just did — “I’m not sure about moving and by the way I might be gay” — “burying the lead.”

So let’s go back to the part of your narrative where you wonder about your sexual orientation. This is the part of your story that is truly about you.

There are no rules about sexuality. The current thinking is that sexual orientation happens along a wide spectrum. You can discover or uncover different aspects to your personal and sexual identity at any point in your life.

You have a lot to sort out, ideally with a therapist’s help. You need to peel this onion, be ruthlessly honest with yourself about each and every layer, and make some changes (perhaps even big changes) — knowing that in life the thing that matters most is not whether you make mistakes (or change your mind about things), but whether you act with integrity toward yourself and other people.

Funeral faux pas

Dear Amy: My father died in January. For the viewing, the funeral home created a display of photos and symbolic items (small grocery cart, apron, shopping bag, etc.) honoring my dad’s life as a grocer in our small town. Over 1,000 people came through the reception line to speak with our family members about my dad.

As one of my friends came through the line, she laughed at the display and said loudly that it looked stupid. My brothers and sisters, and our other guests, certainly witnessed her behavior. I have not been in touch with my friend since then, primarily because I have not resolved my feelings and have not forgiven her. I am torn about what to do, as this is a good, longtime friend.

Amy says: I can understand why this upsets you. This remark was unkind.

Only you can decide whether you want to try to revive your friendship with this person. Regardless of your relationship, you should express how you feel. Keep it simple: “Marsha, I have to tell you that I am still upset by what you said at the funeral home.”

She may (and probably will) discount the force of this statement, or blame you for being sensitive. Accept this in advance, but speak your truth. After that it will be easier for you to move on.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com

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