Ask J-Ro: Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Rightly So…

My last boyfriend was really shit and kind of abusive. I’ve been through therapy and am pretty unscathed at this stage. i’ve just started dating this new boy who i fucking ADORE, but i’m very very reluctant to open up about my past- which is weird, as i’m normally v open and honest. what do i do? 🙁
When it comes to opening up about past traumas or painful memories in a new relationship, I’m always of the opinion that you should take your time, trust your gut, and don’t feel pushed into revealing anything you don’t want to. Someone has to EARN the right to access those emotional parts of you that are hidden from public view. So it goes with starting a new relationship. I think you’re right to be reluctant in opening up, and it’s not really to do with your new boyfriend.

It’s fantastic that you seem to have sorted through it in therapy, and come through it ‘unscathed’ as you said. However, that doesn’t mean you’re not still going to be wary as feck about any other man that comes into your life. Being over-cautious and playing your emotional cards close to your chest in the beginning is a defense mechanism, and a natural one at that. You may be ready to move on and found a guy that you adore, but deep down in the part of you that was hurt, it’s understandably going to take a wee bit longer to feel safe and secure.

The outside world these days will tell you that when you meet The One, you’ll click instantly. Like two soulmates bonded together for life, there’ll be no barriers between you and all your mutual emotional secrets and dark sides will be exposed and your worlds will mesh together for blissful eternity…that’s bullshit. All that intense stuff takes time and trust and patience. My advice is don’t worry too much if you’re not opening your soul early on, if it’s looking like it’ll be a long-term relationship that will come naturally in time. Trust your instinct. If you really feel like it’s imperative that he knows about it, you can give him the general gist of what happened without feeling too vulnerable. But don’t be worrying too much. Enjoy the process of a new relationship! You are more than the sum of your past experiences, and I’m sure he’s with you simply because he thinks you’re an awesome person.

So go forth and let yourself be adored, and lose yourself in the buzz of a new relationship where BOTH of you can explore getting to know each other’s pasts and get stuck into making a new future 🙂

Ask J-Ro:  No Laughing Matter

Jen, I’ve been a bit down lately due to homophobic comments slipped into normal conversations with a friend. They pass them off as humorous, but it’s still quite uncomfortable to say the least. I only recently started coming out as gay but he makes me feel ashamed of my sexuality. Thoughts?

2015/03/img_08181.jpg

First things first; don’t EVER feel ashamed of your sexuality. Your friend is clearly the uncomfortable one, not you. As us Limerick women say about people like that, “He’d want to go away and have a chat with himself”.

You made a seriously courageous decision to come out as gay, and your friends need to have a bit of understanding in how difficult it must have been to take the leap and tell them. In groups of friends, there tends to be a lot of mental categorising of individuals; the funny one, the mad one, the Star Wars nerd etc…and nobody likes it when the balance is upset because it shakes up preconceived notions about who people are. The reality is you’re still you, and you’re still their mate whether straight or gay.

If it’s just the one guy responsible for the homophobic comments, then he’s got his own issues that are feck-all to do with you. Not that it hurts any less to know that. Maybe he’s an out and out homophobe, or maybe you’re his first gay friend and he’s all discombobulated (Been waiting to use that word!). Or maybe he’s not secure in his own sexuality. Either way, totally HIS problem.

Whatever the reasons are behind his obviously shite attempts to disguise his discomfort with ‘jokes’, it needs to be nipped in the bud ASAP. If for no other reason than to save him from losing a hell of a lot more friends down the line if he keeps it up.

Phase 1 would obviously be to talk to him one-on-one, not in an aggressive confrontational way. Tell him you find the jokes that he makes really hurtful, and as a friend he should be aware of what it took for you to come out, and hearing stuff like that won’t help ANYONE who’s thinking about doing the same. If he’s your true friend, chances are he’ll be thoroughly ashamed and won’t have realised he was hurting you. Then he’ll hopefully beg your forgiveness and find another source of ‘comedic’ material. If, however, he gets defensive and says things like “too sensitive” and “only a joke” etc, it means you’ve hit a nerve and he doesn’t like being called to his account for his behaviour. In which case you can move swiftly to Phase 2.

For Phase 2; I would suggest a subtle push of reverse peer-pressure. Have a chat with one or two other mutual mates in your group whom you consider to be loving, supportive friends to you. Let them know that what he’s saying is not funny to you, and is really hurting your feelings. If he’s saying these things in a group, and nobody is calling him out on it, they are complicit in his actions. So a simple request for others to call him out on his crappy homophobic comments – or, worse yet for him, not laugh or find it funny – could be the kick into the Personality Hole this fella needs. No harm for him to know what it’s like to feel real shame.

If he persists in being an insensitive gowl-bag after all that, feel free to tell him go fuck himself. There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to live a fantastic authentic life. Hop to it!

Best of Luck <3

Ask J-Ro: A Nuptial No-No

I am head over heels about this guy and he is mad about me too, but he’s married!! What do I do, am I mad to pursue it?

20150315-174312.jpg
pic by Ken Coleman

You’re not mad, but you will be very, very unhappy. No good will come of this. But you’re smart, you don’t need anyone to tell you it’s not a good idea to hook up with a married man. So let’s step away from the moral quandary for a minute and look at the practical aspects.

Brutal truth: If he was as mad about you as he says, he would not be with his wife. Or at the very least he would be a stand-up man and not let anything happen with you until he has been honest with his wife (and kids if he has any) and started making arrangements to separate and sort out places to live, financial arrangements, custody agreements if needed, and a million other heartbreaking world-shattering things he would have to do out of respect for everybody involved, including you. Is he willing to do that? Because that’s what it would take for you guys as a couple to have any kind of chance out in the open.

Next thing you need to ask yourself: Is his time more valuable than yours? Because if you guys DO go down the road of getting involved while he’s still married, then the answer to that question is going to be yes, unfortunately. You’re the one who’ll be second fiddle to everything organised, lest his plans are uncovered and you both get found out. Fuck that. You’re NOBODY’S lesser priority.

Ultimately you want someone in your life with integrity, and who puts you first. You’re not just a distraction for a man looking to alleviate some boredom in a marriage that, let’s face it, could be getting a lot more attention on his part and thus be far more rewarding.

Nothing wrong with thinking a married friend is hot, and there may even be a bit of chemistry, but write it off as human & evolutionary responses and look forward to the real thing that isn’t hindered by life-long vows of faithfulness to someone else 🙂

PS: If they did it WITH you, they’ll do it TO you. You’ll never have a moment’s peace or trust ever again. Not worth it really is it?

Lastly; what would you tell a friend who came to you with this?

BEST OF LUCK! <3