The Georgia Straight

Gay, bi, or straight: no excuse for cruel behaviour

- By Dan Savage

I’M A FEMALE in my late 20s. I broke up with a toxic ex about a year ago and I’ve been walking around (my house) thinking I was over it. I never missed him and rarely thought about him. A brief backstory: in the final months of us living together, we started having more discussion­s about children and making a lifelong commitment. He told me he wanted both, yet at this exact time his moderate depression became more severe and he refused to get help. I tolerated his cruel behaviour because I knew how badly he was hurting. This ranged from icing me out to berating me and demanding I leave the home that we shared— my house—citing his need for “alone” time. One time he demanded I get up and leave in the middle of the night and go to a friend’s house! My self-esteem suffered. I finally left.

Fast forward to now. I find out he’s been dating a man. I can barely cope with the anger I feel about this. I feel like a casualty of his shame. We have progressiv­e friends! His sister has dated women! His parents are accepting! None of the reasons you list as appropriat­e ones for staying closeted apply to him, Dan! His inability to accept himself caused me the most severe emotional trauma of my life and I just feel enraged. I logically know this is not about me. It’s about him. So why does this retroactiv­ely bother me so much? Part of me wants to say something to him but I’m not sure that would make me feel better. I’d be very appreciati­ve of any guidance you may have. Not sure what to think.

- Bitterly Enraged And Really Distressed

I don’t want to add to your rage, BEARD, but that night he made you go to a friend’s house? It wasn’t “alone time” he was after. Dude was hosting.

Before I tell you what to do about your rage, BEARD, there’s something I wanna clear up: I don’t think having the opposite of everything your ex-boyfriend had—I don’t think having conservati­ve friends instead of progressiv­e friends, straight sisters instead of bi or heteroflex­ible sisters, shitty parents instead of accepting parents—are appropriat­e reasons for a grown-ass man in his 30s to stay closeted. When people are young and dependent on their parents, sure, having shitty parents and no support from friends or siblings is good reason to stay closeted in high school and maybe until after college. But it’s no excuse for remaining closeted into your thirties— and it’s certainly no excuse for using someone the way your ex appears to have used you, i.e., as a beard, BEARD. (Urban Dictionary: “The girlfriend or boyfriend of a closeted homosexual, used to conceal their homosexual­ity.”)

All right, BEARD, you have every right to be angry. You put a lot of time and effort into this relationsh­ip, and if turns out your ex is gay, well, that means he was lying to you and using you and wasting your time. It’s possible he’s bisexual, however, in which case he wasn’t being fully honest with you but may not have been using you or wasting your time. But gay or bi, your ex treated you very poorly and the news that he’s dating a man now is making you reassess your relationsh­ip and his depression, to say nothing of that night he threw you out of your own apartment because he needed “alone time”.

I think there are two things you need to do now: resolve never make excuses for someone who treats you with cruelty again. We all have our moments, of course, but someone who can’t treat their partners with some modicum of respect and compassion even when they’re struggling isn’t in good enough working order to be in a relationsh­ip in the first place. And I think you should write him a letter and really unload on him. Tell him you’re angry; tell him why. You may or may not get a response—you may or may not want one—but you’ll feel better after writing the letter. And who knows? If he responds with a heartfelt apology, BEARD, you may feel even better.

CIS MALE HERE. A number of years ago, I saw a woman for a few months and then we parted ways. NBD. However, I later learned she was pregnant and I’ve always wondered if the child was mine. We haven’t talked for years but we’re still friends on FB, so I see periodic updates and pics of the kid. It’s always just pics of my ex and her son and I don’t ever see pics of anyone that could be the father. However, this morning I saw a post saying that her son will be turning seven in May, which would mean he was born May 2014 and was conceived approximat­ely August of 2013. We stopped sleeping together the late July of 2013, so it’s probably outside the realm of possibilit­y that this could be my kid. We didn’t have a tumultuous breakup and she’s independen­tly wealthy, and we were in our mid-30s when we were together and it’s possible she went the sperm-bank route shortly after we broke up. At any rate, do you think I should ask her if the child is mine? I can see how that would be rude, but on the other hand, I kind of want to know. What do you think?

- The Kid Is Not My Son (Probably)

I don’t think the child is yours, TKINMSP, but then I don’t think the child is hers, either. I mean, your ex is definitely this kid’s mother and you may have a biological tie this kid—you might be his biological father—but ultimately this kid belongs to himself, TKINMSP, and he might like or need to know who his biological father is someday.

Backing up for a second. If you were fucking your ex without protection in late July of 2013 and she gave birth in early May of 2014, TKINMSP, there’s a small chance you could be this kid’s biological father. Sperm can linger in the vaginal canal for a few days before a woman ovulates; some babies arrive a week or two late. I’m not saying it’s likely, TKINMSP, I’m just saying it can’t be ruled out and only your ex knows for sure. So send her a letter. Open by reassuring her that you have no desire to reenter her life or enter the life of her child but that you’ve always wondered. Then tell her that if you are the biological father and they ever need a family medical history from you or if this child should want to meet his biological father someday—and if that biological father is you—you’re open to providing medical info and/or meeting up once her son is an adult—if you’re the biological father, TKINMSP, which you might not be.

Email: Follow Dan at Twitter @ FakeDanSav­age. Website: www.savagelove­

 ??  ?? Dan Savage advises a mistreated reader to unload on her toxic ex. Photo by Antonio Guillem.
Dan Savage advises a mistreated reader to unload on her toxic ex. Photo by Antonio Guillem.

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