Our weekly “Ask a Dad” finds our resident dad, Cody, answering questions and doling out advice.
I’m Out, Now What?
Dear Bearded Fruit,
I recently came out as gay! I am 17 and have always been attracted to guys, but always ignored it. I am very sorry I did that. I cams out to a couple of my friends and they all have been very supportive! My sister is okay with it, my brother is supportive, but my mom I think is still in denial. She said she loves me no matter what but she thinks it is just a phase and she wishes I was the other way. She asks me why I ‘think’ I am gay and I don’t have an answer because I know I am gay. Also, I go to a Catholic high school, so I can’t really be public right now about my sexuality. Is there any small way I could express myself? I just feel like my mom is ashamed of me now and I don’t know what to do.
— M from Pennsylvania
Dear M —
Congratulations on coming out! Taking those first steps out of the closet is a huge accomplishment, and you should feel very proud. Having a supportive family is a huge plus, especially if they’re giving you a private safe space to express your identity.
If you want to find a space space to express your burgeoning identity, start locally with LGBT groups. Check out any local LGBT organizations and community centers (click here for a good resource to begin your search) or local nonprofits that focus on LGBT youth. Check your area’s event listings for any LGBT youth nights events or LGBT community events in other safe venues. These events could be a great place to connect with other queer people and make queer friends.
You can also, always, resort to social media to connect with queer people (particularly queer youth) all over the world. But be cautious in how you connect with strangers on the Internet. I don’t want to sound like a Dad here, but you don’t want to hand over your personal information too quickly with people you don’t trust.
Welcome to the community! We’re glad you’re here.
What makes it “cheating?”
Dear Bearded Fruit,
My partner and I are in a four-year monogamous relationship. We haven’t had any discussions about it, but I have Growlr and Scruff on my phone, and my partner has expressed his dislike about it. I’ve never hooked up with anyone from the apps. I just chat with guys, sometimes dirty, and exchange pics. My profile says I’m partnered and just looking for friends. Recently, my partner was feeling jealous, and looked at my Growlr convos on my phone. He wasn’t happy with what he found, and he says it amounts to cheating. I don’t think it does, and we can’t find a way to resolve this. Help!
-J from Ohio
Dear J —
Your online app behavior isn’t the issue here, and neither is your partner’s response. (Although I wouldn’t really encourage anyone to feel empowered to go through their partner’s phone without asking. Not cool, Sherlock Homo.)
The issue here is the lack of communication about things that are incredibly important to a healthy relationship. If you’ve been together for four years, and you’ve haven’t talked about what each other considers cheating, what online behaviors cause each other concern, and what your individual expectations are concerning monogamy, you’re setting yourself up for something pretty heinous when one of you breaks these unspoken rules.
Healthy relationships require open communication, even when the conversations are difficult. What you may see as no big deal, your partner may consider a breach of contract. You have to negotiate these things if you want your relationship to work.
Sit down with your partner, and have a conversation. But make sure it’s not about the apps and the dirty conversations and the hurt feelings attached to this experience.
Have a conversation about what makes the other person feel safe and validated and respected when it comes to your mutually-agreed upon monogamy. Have a conversation about what you both want, what you both need, and what you can do to bridge the gaps when those things don’t quite line up.
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