Ask Amy July 8: Woman questions her orientation

2014-07-08T00:00:00Z Ask Amy July 8: Woman questions her orientationBy Amy Dickinson Tribune Content Agency Arizona Daily Star

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? — Unsure

DEAR UNSURE: 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.

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.

More than 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. — Grieving

DEAR GRIEVING: 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.

DEAR AMY: I liked your response to “A Mom,” who worried about other parents’ reaction to her partner sleeping over on the weekends.

I think she was looking for you to weigh in on the issue of sexual orientation, but you framed it perfectly: Parents have a right to know about all adults in a household if their kids are spending time there. — New Fan

DEAR FAN: Thank you.

Contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@tribune.com

Follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.

Contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@tribune.com

Follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson’s memoir, “The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them” (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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