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Chris Kryzan

December 1999

Dear Chris,

I'm a 20 year-old gay male college student just seeking some advice. The answer to my question seems so logical to so many people, but not to me. I was seeing a guy for a while, and we were convinced we were in love with one another. We were both very, very happy. Then we both went away to college and we are now four hours apart.

I recently broke up with him. He changed so much at school, I felt like I didn't even know him. He became mentally abusive over the phone, and started drinking excessive amounts and smoking at school. Before we broke up, we didn't have a chance to see each other physically - it was all done over the phone. I'm aware that that wasn't the best way to do it, but I just knew it wasn't working out between us.

I didn't break up with him for anyone else, I really still love him and care about him. I know he feels the same way - but I can't deal with the abuse. He would tell me I was annoying him, or to shut the fuck up, or that I was fag. He's not out and I think that has something to do with it. I felt like his hidden dirty secret - none of his friends at school knew about me.

We shared so many great times and when I think about him I think of that, and not the awful changes that have occurred between us. I finally told him everything I felt and laid down all the lines about what I expected to receive from and put into a relationship. He seemed to understand, but I don't know what to do. I'm told not to go back to him - my friends tell me I was miserable when were together, but I think I should see him in person again and give him another chance. But he's seems like such a different person - what should I do? We've both hurt each other too much.

Sincerely,

Ken

******

Dear Ken,

It's often hard to think straight in the middle of a relationship -- what seems obvious to your friends and others around you is muddied by the emotions you feel for the other person.

It's hard to say what happened to your boyfriend to make him change the way he did, but I think it's likely you hit the nail on the head when you mention that his not being out has something to do with it. In fact, this happens more often than you might imagine.

When one person is in the closet and the other is not, the closeted person often feels jealous, and then resentful, of the freedoms the other person has. At the same time, the closeted person is implicitly telling themself that their sexual orientation is a flaw, and in a way, they believe that (after all, people are open about the things of which they're proud, right?)

So what happens is the relationship turns abusive. You become the very visible evidence of what they could be, but have chosen not to be. And he lashes out at you, when really the person he is angry with, and hates, is himself.

Is there a future for the two of you? That's hard to say, but I do believe in the capacity for people to change. And I would suggest to you that he needs to change before you decide to get together again. Most likely it's going o require that he come out, come to terms with being gay and feeling good about it. That he loves himself, before he is ready to love you as you deserve.

You both have my best wishes, for what lies in front of each of you.

Chris
chris@kryzan.com


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