Friday, February 19, 2010

UNFINISHED BUSINESS -- very good pointers for me this morning. ;-)

Gay Relationships: Taking Care Of Unfinished Business

Posted: 18 Feb 2010 11:34 PM PST

Pgt_112106_1 Some men are pretty good at dating, but seem mysteriously unable to close the deal and form a lasting and committed relationship. There are plenty of reasons why this might be the case; one reason is that we often have unfinished business elsewhere in our lives that keeps us distracted or unavailable for the sort of intimacy that demands our fullest attention. Unfinished business comes in many forms.

For some men there are issues left over from their growing-up years that haven’t been resolved – issues like abuse within the family of origin, or stuff that created feelings of abandonment. We know that how we experience our family life during our early years influences the issues we bring to relationships as adults. It’s often necessary to make progress in dealing with this material before we can be truly ready for a satisfying adult relationship.

A guy who hasn’t completed the work of coming out is also going to find it tough to create a healthy relationship. If a relationship must be kept secret from family members, for instance, the partner of the man with the secret is likely to feel discounted – especially at times like the holidays. Coming out is good for an individual’s mental health and for healthy partnerships.

Remember the first time you fell in love? It would be nice if that relationship “took” and the guy involved became your one and only for the rest of your life, but that’s not usually the case. We usually date any number of men before we find the right qualities and mutual attraction that let us know we’ve found the guy to settle down with.

That means that dating can also leave us with incomplete stuff. Maybe we’ve never quite gotten over that guy who called it quits a year ago. Or perhaps we ended a connection with someone else and have always felt incomplete about the way it happened. If the relationship was of longer duration (say, a lover of several years with whom we parted company), the feelings of attachment to the former relationship can be even stronger. Maybe we continue to have business or emotional attachments. Maybe we’re still grieving, especially if the relationship ended with the previous partner’s death.

This sort of unfinished business will get in the way of establishing a new relationship if we are secretly carrying a torch for someone else, or if we feel we left such a mess behind that we find ourselves feeling guilty. It’s like part of our attention is elsewhere, not on the new guy in our lives. Cleaning up these messy situations one way or another clears away obstacles to opening our heart with someone new.

That cleaning up may or may not involve actual contact with the our ex. What may be most important is to determine if there is something left to unsaid or unspoken. If there are amends that need to be made and if the ex is willing to have allow that to happen, cleaning things up can be a healthy step forward for both you and the other person. If that’s not possible, there are other ways to bring a degree of closure to the situation. Talking things over with a friend or a therapist can help us figure out what, if anything needs to be done.

Relationships often touch us in deep places and make a lasting effect on us. Taking care of business old and new is one way we allow healthy intimate connections to flourish in our lives.

John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. -


Coop said...

'A guy who hasn’t completed the work of coming out is also going to find it tough to create a healthy relationship... Coming out is good for an individual’s mental health and for healthy partnerships.'

That one seems to have 'Coop' written right on it. And it hurt me just a bit.

I am 'Out'... and it feels great.
I've been emerging from 'the closet' for longer than I care to remember.

Coop said...

Me again :) It's amazing what a difference a day makes.

I read this article Yesterday (Saturday afternoon) and was a little hurt/dismayed by the 'coming out' passage.

I took some time to sleep on it and I don't feel as bad. That's why I wrote 'HURT' (past tense) today, Sunday Morning.

JustinO'Shea said...

Ehyah. . ."what a difference a day makes. . . 24 little hours. . . Nothing like "sleeping on it", or better still "sleeping with it. . " hehe

I do not agree with that statement. As a starter, as long as you are OUT to yourself, first of all and most of all, and then with your BF, go for it and make a life!

This business of being OUT has to do with personal honesty and integrity. Where is it written that being OUT means you have to create family havoc at Christmas dinner by announcing to every one there, "the more the merrier", and yell "Merry Christmas, every body, I am homosexual, I really am into guys, and I suck cock!"

Talk about 'inappropriate'!

Nor does it mean every morning raising a huge rainbow flag, plyaing 'Babes in Boyland' on your iPod! And having rainbow stickers all over our car [eewwwie how tacky!) Or that you and your BF-of-the week have to dress in the latest army desert fatigues and jack boots. . . .or boas and stilletoes!!!

I know two couples who have been partners/'married' for years and have never gone to Gay Pride parades in Boston or celebrated Stonewall. . .

These two couples have been friends of my parents since college. One of them is a partner in the law firm with my dad and his partner is in the English department same college where Mom teaches.
The other couple are both engineers and own their construction company where I have worked summers since early high school. The Commonwealth of Massachusets has had same-sex marriage for a few years now. These guys recently announced they've finally decided to legally marry each other come June. It will be quite the party, I am sure! haha They want a church wedding at the U.U. Church in Provincetown.

Both these couples have lived together for like a hundred years, it seems. Those who know they are gay and a couple just know it. . .period. The rest don't care!

Seems to me when it comes to "how OUT I may or may not be" is a matter of personal choice. With our yearning for and working toward loving and being loved, toward freedom to BE me, etc, in this area especially it is important to make my own choices, set my own levels, and not become another stereotypical statistic!

Who wants to be a cookie-cutter gay?!!! No. thank you very much.

Dare I say this, Coops? Stop worrying and fussing: it takes up way too much energy and wastes/limits the pizzazzzz of being you. . the Coops!!!

Huuuuaaaaaaahhhhhh! So there. . ;-)

Gary Kelly said...

Pardon me if I find all this stuff a little confusing. Do straights come out? Out to me means being somewhere you weren't before. So if straights come out, where do they go to?

If a teenage girl brings her boyfriend home to meet her folks, does she need to tell them that she sucks cock?

I think I must be missing something here.

JustinO'Shea said...

OH come on, Gary, you know that OUT statement was made tougue in cheek. Are you on a fundamentalist literal translation kick?

Then of course, you are using a literary genre similar to mine.

But you do get the gist, right? Good. . .I thought so.

ciao ~

Gary Kelly said...

Yes, I did and do realize you made your coming out statement tongue in cheek, Justino. Mine was meant to be tongue in cheek too but it seems that something was lost in the translation.

I promise to be less subtle in future.

JustinO'Shea said...

OKies. .COOL .Gotcha. . . I tend to ab slow when I am tired. . .and, duude, I am tired. Was a full weekend. ;-)


Stew said...

I think that the level of OUTness, is the personal choice. My husband and I have been together for 11 years and married for 5 of those. WE have never been the type to show PDA's. However, everyone knows. Many straight people are the same way. Then there are those that can't seem to stop touching eachother and professing their love to the world on both sides of the fence.
And the coming out process, never ends. Ever. You will meet many people over your life. And you will chose, who needs to know and who doesn't. It's your choice.

JustinO'Shea said...

That's how I see things too. . . I've learned much from "my seniors", without personal benefit of 12 and 5.'=))

Just like the rest of the Universe we ain't done yet. . .we are a work of art in progress.

Or like my buddy COOP said it "I've been emerging from 'the closet' longer than I care to remember."

How long has it been since The Big Bang? ;-)

Coop said...

Gary has a valid point. Heterosexual people don't need to "Come Out" Our Mothers didn't tell our grandparents 'Mom... Dad I'm attracted to men??'Nope.
That's why I always put Quotes around around "Coming Out".

I agree Justin. I read the article and was bothered by it at first but decided to keep my own mind.
Stew said it right: WE decide who needs to know about our sexual orientation.

I started "coming out" at 18. September of my freshman year in college.

I come out of the closet every day... when I choose the shirt I'll wear. HAH HAH HAH

JustinO'Shea said...

WOOO WOOOO< babes . . .like WoW. . coming out of the closet. . .choosing shirts YOWZZER. . . .
and undies too. . .??? wooo heeeee

Imagine. . .we even have trix n treats or tsexters. . ."What are YOU doing right now??" Oooooooooohh how untterly intimate. . . .

Fun to laugh, isn't it, Coops??!! esp about silliness in drag as serious. . .

. . ..and away we gooooooooooooooooooo tearing down that friggin closet door somebody invented!!! And some of us thought we HAD to . . .so we moved in. Think of all the rent and dues we've paid over the years!

And some of us got beat up and gang raped becuz we didnt live in the lie. . . .and paid the price too.

Alors, quelle tragedie!


Coop said...

There's No need to go around introducting oneself as "Hi I'm a homo." "Coming Out" has a place. Keeping one's sexual orientation secret also has a place.

Sometimes the need to deny and/or bury oneself deep in "the closet" disappears. But, at the same time, there might be no need for a "coming out" announcement.
Like if it's a tolerant and diverse environnment.

In that instance, if normal conversation calls for it, just mention it. 'What are your plans??' -- "My BOYfriend is taking me fishing this weekend.

I don't keep my undies in my closet, Justin. :P

JustinO'Shea said...

Good thing. . . keep 'em nice n close to you. . .briefs or boxers?
In case you never ask. . .hahahaha. . .rflmsao. .I do briefs, boxer briefs, commando. . . not into slings, bikinis, see thrus. . . .huuuuaaaaaahhhhh.