Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
Plus, do you hate your best friend's new boyfriend?
By Angelo Pezzote, MA
My best gay guy friend, let's call him Joe, has gotten involved with a man who is obviously a loser - and actually is kind of scary. All of Joe's friends hated him instantly the first time they met him and we all think he's nothing but trouble - maybe even dangerous. But Joe seems to think he's found the perfect man. What can we do?
Signed, Worried Friend
Dear Worried Friend,
The best thing is to talk to Joe directly about your concerns. It is possible that you have good intuition. You want to avoid ganging up on your friend as a group. Do not speak for the group either. Have each person speak for themselves. I suggest you start by tell him you are coming from a place of caring and support. Use "I" statements like, "I fear that...," I believe...," and "I feel..." Avoid saying provoking things like "we think...," "he is...," and "you are..."
If you confront Joe, he may get mad at you and your relationship with him may become strained until he is able to see what you see in his boyfriend. A person falling in love does not see their beloveds faults. This is normal. If Joe does get defensive, he may not feel he could talk to you if he had a problem with his boyfriend and as a result he may turn more to him. This sounds like something that you do not think is good for Joe. So to avoid that, you may want to slowly chip away at the issue and not blast him on it. Aside, if the boyfriend makes an immediate serious threat and Joes life becomes in real danger then contact the police right away.
On the other hand, each person in the group has their own feelings about Joes new relationship. The conclusions of a group can be powerfully prejudicial and tragically condemning as the history of the Salem Witch Trials tells us. Has the group gotten to really know the boyfriend? How do people in the group feel that Joe has a new relationship? If Joe is normally a good judge of character, consider these questions before taking any action. You might also need to consider respecting him as an adult that is capable of making choices for himself.
This is the first time I have ever approached this question with another person besides my partner. We have been together for 6 years and he is HIV positive and I am HIV negative. As time has passed his sexual drive keeps going down. He has tried everything and he says he just doesn't feel anything. Do you know of any further steps to maybe help put the spark back into the fire?
Always Looking To Keep The Fire
Dear Always Looking To Keep The Fire,
Thank you for the trust you are placing in me. It shines forth in your question how committed you are to keeping the passion active between you and your partner. Romance in a relationship normally ebbs and flows over time. Lust for a partner naturally decreases over the life of a relationship and as each person ages.
However, there is cutting-edge scientific research by anthropologist, Helen Fisher, that shows that the best way to reignite romance with your partner and keep it burning is through novelty. The key is to keep doing new things together and having new experiences with each other. This increases a pleasure chemical in our brain called dopamine which plays a huge role in the good feelings of romantic love and drives up lusty testosterone levels. So get the creative juices flowing and surprise your partner with spontaneous, caring, fun things to do and keep your romance red hot! Yet there is more chemistry going on here.
Decreases in testosterone from HIV and uncomfortable side effects of HIV medicines can put the brakes on lust and take anyones mind off of sex. Who would be in the mood if they were feeling drained, nauseous, cranky and suffering from rashes, pains, diarrhea or a bad headache? Be supportive of your partners need to say when he is not in the mood for sex. He may be having valid physical reasons. His physician may have some solutions.
A large part of his loss in sex drive can be psychological too. Feeling down and nervous can be normal responses to the heavy pressures of living with HIV, including concerns about not wanting to infect you. His not feeling anything might be a sign of depression. You can suggest lovingly to your partner that he be evaluated for depression by a psychiatrist. Treatment is available.Couples therapy could be a wonderful part of that treatment and it would be a way to try something new for you guys. Therapy is an educational tool for personal growth. It does not mean there is anything crazy about either of you or that your relationship is bad.
Continue to talk to your partner directly about this stuff. Move toward him. Find out more what his inner world is like lately. At the same time, be sure to talk to him about your desires. Get your needs met too, but at the same time be open to looking at the part those needs may be playing in this as well. Together you will find a solution that works best for your relationship.
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