Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] My girlfriend broke up with me because her family doesn’t like that I’m gay

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer

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[Two Pronged] My girlfriend broke up with me because her family doesn’t like that I’m gay
'I’ve done all I can to save our relationship, but I don’t know if her family is angry at me because I am homosexual or what'

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr. Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in three continents, he has been training with Dr. Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.


Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr Baer:

Good day to you both. I am gay. My girlfriend and I broke up because her family doesn’t approve of our relationship. Ang kitid ng utak nila (they are so narrow minded!!) – telling her to stay away from me because I’m like this.

I don’t think that’s right. That’s discrimination! I come from a good family, I don’t smoke or do drugs. I spent my elementary years in a catholic school and my high school years at UP Iloilo. We are now in our last year in college. We’re both 20.

Now I’m picking up the pieces and people tell me “kumapit sa Diyos” (cling to God).

The problem is that priests have varying opinions regarding homosexuality. Some are ok with it while some are parang pinapatay (seem like they’re being killed) upon hearing the subject.

How do I pray to a God when I’m not sure if He’s condemning me because I chose to stay gay, or if that God loves me in spite of my being gay? They say that God is the only one I can ask help from.

Well, I’ve done all I can to save our relationship, but I don’t know if her family is angry at me because I am homosexual or what. I hope you can grasp the depth and breadth of my dilemma.

Thank you in advance,

Robert


Dear Robert,

Let’s start with your dilemma. You hope we will understand you but leave us with no idea of your motivation for wanting to marry and tell us nothing about your relationship with your gf (let’s call her May) and her views on your orientation.

Instead, you seem to blame May’s parents for your breakup and involve God in the debate.

It is probably fair to say that most parents would not choose a gay man as a prospective partner for their daughter. Marriage is difficult at the best of times and a son-in-law who prefers men is likely to complicate rather than simplify matters. Then there is the issue of children. Plenty of gay men are fathers but a gay man is not everyone’s choice as a role model for their grandchildren. In other words, homophobia is not necessarily why May’s parents are not ecstatic about you but you do not appear to have tried to discover their true motivation for opposing you either.

As for May herself, you are silent as to her views and simply imply that she is content to follow her parents’ wishes by ending your relationship.

In summary, you probably have little to no chance of resurrecting this relationship unless you can engage in some serious communication about the problems with both May and her parents.

As to your concerns about God’s attitude to gays, Catholics do not have a monolithic interpretation of God – some favor a benevolent supreme being embracing all orientations (and practices like contraception and masturbation), some a more punitive one strongly opposed to anything except straight sex within marriage; it is a broad spectrum. However, as there is almost zero official tolerance of practicing homosexuals (though the current pope has had a few kind words for non-practicing ones), this leaves you with few options if you are not celibate.

As you are only 20 years old, it is understandable that your religious views are still in the development stage. Discernment comes to different people at different times and to complicate your life societal attitudes towards gays are constantly evolving, and even influencing the Catholic Church. However, it is incumbent upon you not just to passively wait for enlightenment to be bestowed upon you but to seek your own path towards the truth. This journey may be strewn with obstacles so for greater guidance and to keep you on track, perhaps you should also consult a suitable spiritual adviser.

Best of luck,
JAFBaer

From Our Archives

[Two Pronged] I’m gay but I enjoy female sexual partners more

[Two Pronged] I’m gay but I enjoy female sexual partners more

Dear Robert:

Thank you very much for your letter.

You are frustrated at the world, particularly at May’s parents and at the people (including priests) who give meaningless advice like “kumapit sa Diyos.” If the quote attributed to Churchill – “If you are not a liberal when you are young, you have no heart” – is true, then now is the time to express all that you are feeling. Thank you for trusting Mr Baer, me, and our Rappler readers with the situations – homophobia, hypocrisy, injustice – you despise.

Thank you even more for writing to Two Pronged (written by columnists some might consider “old fogies”) to gain a deeper understanding of what you are going through. Your heart may be angry at what we write, but I am hoping your brain might consider that perhaps some of our views may be worthy enough to be included in your perspective.

I am speaking specifically of your charge of homophobia against May’s parents. I agree with you 100%; homophobia is despicable. I hope May’s parents open their eyes sooner rather than later or, barring that, I hope May learns the difference among blind obedience, filial respect, and continuing to do what she believes is right. If May’s parents disapprove of any relationship between you, then that is definitely homophobia. However, if May’s parents disapprove of your relationship not because you are gay but because they fear your relationship will lead to marriage, then that is understandable.

Since you are gay, it is safe to say that you are not sexually attracted to May. It probably means you will have to fantasize about someone else when you make love to her. And how long could you be faithful to her before you search for someone who truly set your loins on fire? This is not the sort of marriage you deserve, Robert. Neither does she.

True, sex is not necessary for a good marriage; however, usually its presence makes marriage even better. There have been many studies that support this statement, but for me, the best one is The Salience of Sexuality in the Early Years of Marriage, Journal of Marriage and Family, 1983, 45 (2) pp 289-299.

One respondent in this study says: “If you’ve got it (good, marital sex), it’s not important. But if you don’t, it’s extremely important. It’s one of those things that if you’re happy with what you have, it sort of blends in with the rest of life. But if you don’t have what you want, it’s like a toothache. It just gnaws at you.”

So May’s parents are not necessarily homophobic when they want to prevent your being with her. It seems May’s parents would be just as adamant with a heterosexual suitor who was in greater lust with somebody other than May.

Here’s hoping that you realize that, when it comes to sex, it would be infinitely better for you to be with another man, the same way we hope that “heterosexual” May would be better off with a straight male.

After all, we don’t want to have a seeming toothache gnawing at you…though admittedly, other things to gnaw on might be welcome.

All the best,

MG Holmes

From Our Archives

[Two Pronged] My husband and I barely have sex. I think he might be gay.

[Two Pronged] My husband and I barely have sex. I think he might be gay.

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