Man To Man: My Ex At My Wedding!
Q: I’ve remained good friends with my most recent ex over the eight years since we broke up. I’ve since met someone else and gotten engaged. My instinct is to invite my ex to the wedding since we’re friends, but is that crazy? Are there rules when it comes to inviting exes to your wedding?
Patrick via instinctmagazine.com
A: Are you ready for some wedding etiquette Instinct-style? Here goes, Patrick: You invite whomever you fucking want because it’s your fucking wedding and if anybody doesn’t like it, they can fuck the fuck off. Boom! My work here is done!
BEST FRIEND BLUES
Q: Ever since my boyfriend and I have gotten serious, I’ve felt like my best friend has been pulling away. He’s single at the moment, so I don’t know if we’re just interested in different things or if he’s jealous. I’ve seen him through many a boyfriend in the past, so I’m hurt that he doesn’t seem interested in doing the same for me. Should I confront him?
Jose via instinctmagazine.com
A: Talk, yes. Confront, no. If the traditional dynamic in your relationship has been you being Will to his Grace, this switcheroo is going to be new to him and he may not know how to handle it. This could bring up all kinds of stuff for him that he needs to work through. So rather than confront, set up a fun activity with just the two of you so he’ll know you’re still besties— like bowling, shopping, cruising porn stores, something you know he enjoys that can be done on neutral territory. While you’re out, express concern that you feel a bit disconnected from him lately and ask how he feels. If he pushes back saying, for instance, that you’re the one who pulled away, don’t take it personally. After all, when we get wrapped up in a boyfriend, it’s easy to forget that we could be letting our other relationships languish. The point is to repair and heal the rift, whatever the cause of it was, right? If he’s pissed off, apologize and gently—I said gently!—remind him how you were there for him through all his bounteous bevy of boyfriends. You guys have too much history to drift apart now. Take the lead and show him you value him and still want him in your life. The rest will be up to him.
WORKING OUT BEING OUT AT WORK
Q: There’s no reason I have to be out at work, right? I’m out in my private life, but I believe in keeping that separate from my work world. But some friends have accused me of therefore being closeted!
Carson via instinctmagazine.com
A: I always advise being as out as it is safe for you to be. Sadly, being out at work in some places could get you passed over for promotion, harassed, fired or worse. You, not your friends, are the one who has to determine how safe it is. Also, you, not your friends, are the one who has to live with it. Any shrink will tell you compartmentalizing your life (such as being “gay” with one group but “straight” with others) is less than optimal. The more you can openly be yourself, the healthier it will be for you. But the decision to come out anywhere, whether at work, with family, or at the Christmas Eve candlelight service is yours to make, and only when you are ready. Those offering support in this are your friends. Those trying to push you into something that could negatively affect you are bullies and Santa will give them coal.
Q: It’s a new year, Joel! What resolutions do you think gay men should make for 2014?
Jimmy via instinctmagazine.com
A: None! We only break them and then we beat ourselves up over it—and what the hell’s the point of that? So while you get no resolutions from me, I’m happy to offer some basic living-your-life-better suggestions instead. Here goes. When people, life and work shit on you, be kind anyway. You’ll hate doing it, but it’ll make the world—and you—better for it. Also, love anyway. Dance more often, and when you do, use the entire damn floor. That thing you’ve been dreaming about doing? Do! It! Resentment and anger are thieves stealing time from your brief life where you could be happy, so make the choice to be happy. It ain’t easy or simple, but it is about 75 percent a choice. Use all the colors in the box—then create some of your own. Laugh deeply, loudly and often…and screw the same way, too. Take time to be still and quiet. Cultivate gratitude. Have the balls to cry. And finally, give away kindness, love, and laughter as if your life depended on it because it does, darling, it does. Happy new year life, Jimbo!