Free-form love

Joey Garcia

My daughter dated boys through high school, but never seemed really happy. Now she is in college and madly in love with a young woman. Her father and I are happy that she is happy. Recently I confided in her that I had wondered long ago whether she was a lesbian. My daughter became very upset and insisted that she is not a lesbian. I told her that she is in denial. I apologized immediately but she left the house and hasn’t responded to my voicemails. I feel awful. How do I repair this mess?

Say this: “You were right. I was wrong. I’m sorry for imposing my belief system on your life. I love you but I didn’t show it well that day.” Then, hang up. Or if you have the privilege of an in-person convo, be silent while she responds. Let go of any attempt to mother her. Be present as one heart to another.

You must also forgive yourself for clinging to old habits of defining people, lives, gender, sexuality, etc., according to careful categories. A cultural wave is washing us clean of those limitations. Join here: Your daughter is in love with a woman but that does not define who your daughter is. Your daughter’s love for, and partnership with, a woman is an experience of love that does not conform to physical form or definitions linked to sexual activity. Your daughter is simply in love with a person who happens to be in a female body. If you really want to push yourself beyond stereotypes, grab a pen and journal to free-write with this prompt: Who would I be, how would I live and who would I love if I did not define myself by the sex I was assigned at birth? There’s freedom—for you, for your daughter and for the community—in your honest response.

My husband returns soon from a seven-month deployment. I was lonely while he was away so I rented a room to a college student, but never told my husband. After my roommate and his girlfriend broke up, one thing led to another and we had sex. I don’t think my husband has been faithful, either. Should I tell my roommate to move out before my husband gets here? Or do I tell my husband everything and work it out?

Why hold a hookup with a renter closer to your heart than you hold your man? Open up to your husband and admit you cheated. But yes, have your roommate move out first. And stop rationalizing your affair by saying that your husband probably cheated, too. If you love your husband, and believe being together teaches you to grow in love, stay married. If not, create a life that changes you and others for good. The first step is to understand loneliness. Sit by yourself in a quiet place, close your eyes and connect to the place inside you where you trust you belong and are appreciated. Breathe into that positivity until it floods your body. Once you embrace your ability to create fulfillment, you won’t use people to fill your empty spaces.

Meditation of the week
“As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold the person down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might,” said the singer Marian Anderson. What’s all the flap about?

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