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Dear Mark,

 

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years.  Two wonderful but very rocky years.  I am 36 years old and he is almost 20 years older than I am.  However, that isn’t the problem.

 

Dear Mark,

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years.  Two wonderful but very rocky years.  I am 36 years old and he is almost 20 years older than I am.  However, that isn’t the problem.

 

The reality is that I have had an ongoing drinking problem.  I have been in and out of AA for years.  I have quit for periods of time and have done great.  After a few bad alcohol related problems, one of his stipulations was that I get into recovery if we were going to have a relationship.  I did, and things were going good for a while.  Then I felt like he became very controlling in the relationship and, over time, I began to feel lost.  So I started secretly drinking again and things blew up between us fast.  I moved out as I knew neither of us could handle the situation.  And we separated.

 

Since then, I have not only gone back to AA meetings but have also, for the first time, gotten myself into 1 on 1 counseling.  I am learning a lot about myself.  One of the things I’m realizing is that I really do love this man and do not want things to be over with him.  I have tried writing these feelings to him and sending him cards, but he doesn’t want any of it.  He says he’s heard it all before and he’ll believe it when he sees it.  I just want him to know I love him and that, despite his fears, things really will be different this time.  What should I do?

Signed, Loves Labor Lost

 

Dear Loves Labor (maybe not Lost),

 

Don’t worry too much.  All is not lost.  The relationship may well be over, but all is definitely not lost.   Your boyfriend is right on a number of levels.  He has seen this behavior in you before.  He knows how good things can be and how bad they can be as well.  The reality is that you don’t know if things really will be different for you or not.  You may feel like they will be at this point in your recovery, but you don’t know for sure.  What you do know is that you want to make these changes in your life.  If they happen to also bring him back into your life, great!  If not, the changes you are making are still wonderful and will change your experience of your life, whether you are single or in a relationship.  This in and of itself is worth the effort you are putting into it.  I commend you on your efforts.

Give him time.  Continue to subtly demonstrate to him how you’ve changed.  Do not require that he support your changes or even react to them.  He has been hurt and is protecting himself.  Figure out if he even wants to see you on a temporary basis.  If he does, take it day by day and make no demands on him for future commitments.   If you continue in your recovery and are able to change your life  through therapy, he will begin to see these changes for himself.   You will not have to tell him.  Good Luck.

 

Dear Mark,

 

My girlfriend and I want to have a baby.  We have discussed possible donors and have come up with a few possibilities.  The most promising one, in my opinion, happens to be my girlfriend’s brother.  He is kind, intelligent, funny, handsome, gay and healthy.  And since I could be the one carrying the baby, it wouldn’t be any sort of genetic problem.  But the thought of having him as a donor totally freaks my girlfriend out.  She thinks it would be too weird for her and him.  I think he would be okay with it, but for some reason she thinks he is a bad choice.  Do you think it’s because he’s gay, too, and she’s afraid of our baby turning out to be gay?  Maybe I should just go to him without telling her, just to see if he’s interested, to make things easier.

Signed,   Baby Bothers

 

Dear Baby Bothers,

 

You need to have a longer discussion with your girlfriend before you go any further.  Going to her brother before completely talking this through with her could be a disaster.   She would feel disregarded and it would create a bad dynamic between the three of you if indeed he said yes.  Tell her your concerns.  Find out exactly why she feels the way she does.  Having a baby is a big joint endeavor and all the fears should be put on the table ahead of time – especially for a gay relationship in the politically conservative state of Florida.  She has a right to be anxious.

 

I suggest both of you spend some time doing some research on gay parenting.  Attend a gay parents group at your local GLBT center.  Sunserve Counseling Organization out of the MCC church in Fort Lauderdale is doing some great work for gay parents.  Ask questions.  Buy some books on gay parenting.  The Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide is a wealth of information and can be helpful answering some of your questions.  I also suggest going to a therapist who specializes  in gay and lesbian parenting issues.  Do all of this before bringing anyone else into the discussion.  It will be worth your while.

 

Mark Rutherford is a  licensed psychotherapist in private practice in West Palm Beach.  He can be reached at 561-835-6821 or at MDRutherford@aol.com

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