The secret life of secrets

Joey Garcia

My boyfriend and I opened up completely,sharing all of our secrets, and it was a mistake. I learned that in college he had a brief relationship with another guy. I have no weird feelings about gays, but I don’t want to be involved with a guy who might turn gay again. We have been together for two years. I really love him, but I am afraid and have been avoiding him. I’m sure he realizes this, but I don’t know what to do. Please help.

You are afraid, and that’s understandable. It’s your way of trying to shield yourself from an imagined relationship rupture. But fear also inhibits smart decisions and the ability to see reality. Let’s try another direction: If you love your boyfriend and the relationship, talk to him. One of the reasons people keep secrets is the potential fallout from those they care most about. Don’t let your insecurities rule your love life. If your boyfriend had a brief relationship with another man, it does not mean that he is homosexual. If he is sexually and emotionally attracted to men only, then, yes, he’s gay. But he gets to choose how to define himself—or not to define himself at all. Your job is to understand that you cannot ever be certain what will happen in any relationship. Your worry that he will “turn gay” is really a fear that you cannot control what will happen in the future. That’s true. You don’t have total power over the outcome of your relationship (or anything else, for that matter). The question is: Do you value what you have? If so, continue working with your boyfriend to build strong and open communication, nourish your friendship and enjoy the chemistry between you. Be grateful for the trust you share.

When your heart is bursting with happiness for the goodness of your relationship, talk to him. You both deserve to hear each other out.

I drunk dialed my boss, who is gorgeous and very married. I’ve always had kind of a crush on him but never let on, of course. He hasn’t said anything about the phone call. I know I would feel better if I apologized. Should I bring it up?

Yes, but only in conversations between you and yourself. The next time you think about drinking beyond your limit, remember that aspirin and bed rest can’t cure career hangovers. And, although I’m an advocate of honesty and transparency, don’t bring up your dialing dilemma with your boss. Follow his lead by ignoring it. Move forward in a respectful and courteous manner. That means you should also stop your brain from obsessing about how good-looking he is. Daydreaming about him is not an act of recognizing his attractiveness. It’s pouring energy into a fantasy that distracts you from whatever it is that really needs your attention.

I’ve been divorced for 15 years and remarried five years ago. My wife manages to work some criticism about my ex-wife into a conversation every day. I have no children with my ex and haven’t talked to her in 14 years. I don’t give a whit about her. My wife flips out when I point out that she is fixated on my ex. I’m sick of these arguments. Any advice?

Accept that you have married a profoundly insecure woman who criticizes your ex-wife in an attempt to appear more attractive to you. When she belittles your ex-wife, she imagines herself as loyal to you. When you refuse to bond with her against your ex, she assumes that you’re not over your former partner. Your wife needs psychotherapy to understand that by breathing life into the past, she is ruining the present and threatening your future together.

Meditation of the week
“We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny. But what we put into it is ours,” wrote the Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld, who served as secretary general of the United Nations. Have you created yourself as an original?

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