Ask Dr. Jay

by Dr. Jay Nagdimon
September 1996

Dear Dr. Jay,

My name is Elizabeth and I'm 16 years old. The first girlfriend I've ever had just dumped me and I was shocked to say the least. Everything was going great, I thought. But out of the blue, she says she doesn't want to see me or any other girl. She says she's not gay after all! I feel like she led me on. I don't understand. How can someone be gay one day and straight the next? How can I keep this from happening to me again?


Dear Liz,

People don't change their sexual orientation like they change their clothes. It sounds to me like your ex is having an identity crisis. At an early age, we all consider ourselves heterosexual. Heterosexuality is the more common sexual orientation and there are few examples of gays and lesbians. It may be that your ex is at a much earlier stage in her coming out process and in her development of a stable identity.

If your ex is truly in the throws of a difficult coming out process, then it's best not to consider her actions as leading you on. She may be doing the best she can, given the prejudice and homophobia in America. In order to successfully share our life with others, we have to be able to be comfortable with ourselves. This goes beyond dating. It holds true for all types of relationships. Ideally, we should all be completely comfortable with who we are as a person, but that's often hard for people, straight or gay. Just don't be afraid to talk about what you're feeling with your partner. This way, you'll develop a relationship based on trust and open communication.

As for avoiding this in the future, there's no sure-fire way. Getting a sense of how comfortable a person is with their sexual orientation would be a good first step. Ultimately, however, relationships are always a gamble. What many gay people fail to realize is that we must allow ourselves the same dating process as heterosexuals do. We need time, just like anyone else, to learn our likes and dislikes in others and come to understand what we are like in relationships. Most heterosexuals have many romantic partners before they find the "right" one. Gays and lesbians should be afforded the same privilege.

Jay Nagdimon, Ph.D. was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His early involvements included six years of volunteering at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center's Youth Department. Jay worked on the Gay and Lesbian Youth Talkline, both as a volunteer and later as a trainer of new volunteers. He also was very involved in the Center's Pen Pal Program and youth newsletter.

You can e-mail Dr. Jay at DrJay@oasismag.com. He will try his best to respond to everyone, depending upon the volume of mail received.

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.