I am struggling with some decisions about what to do for Pride. Every year for almost a decade I have gone with my two best friends. One of them is married to his partner of two years, and they practice monogamy. The other one is in an open relationship with his partner of seven years, but they seem to be making it work. I am the only single one in the group, but since my two besties make time for me sans partners, we still have a strong friendship.
My issue comes up at big gay celebrations. My monogamous friend won’t even check out other guys with me, and my friend in the open relationship goes crazy like he is on the primal hunt for a new sexual partner everywhere we go. I am not judging them, and I like sex as much the next guy, but I prefer to not flaunt the details of my sex life everywhere I go. When I have a sexual partner, it is at my home, because it is my business. I really wish that we could find some middle ground for Pride so that I am not once again having my good time ruined by one prudish friend, and one slutty one.
Stuck in the middle.
Hi Stuck. We think we know you. Then again, it could just be that you are like every other group of three best friends. Margaret Cho once said in a stand-up special that in every group of three there is the smart one, the pretty one, and then there’s the ho. We are guessing you are the pretty one. Probably sort of a brat too.
You say that you are not judging, but you absolutely are. You even called your friend a slut. That is the most obvious form of slut shaming there is. You are also judging your monogamously minded friend because he does not want to check out guys with you the entire time. This probably means that he is the smart one, and he is one of those types that simply wants to discuss the history of Pride, and debate with everyone and their partner about what should be happening, and where, and how Pride has sold out. He’s not wrong, he is just boring.
Here is the thing. Pride was started because of riots. It was a reaction to being continuously bullied, harassed, assaulted, simply for daring to exist. It was people who were tired of being shamed for being their authentic selves deciding to stand up and say that they deserved the same rights as every other citizen in this country. It has stood as a rally cry for 50 years, even though smaller riots and advancements were happening long before that.
One of your friends wants to be his authentic, monogamous self. The other wants to be sexually liberated and hunt for new partners and enjoy his sexuality in a country where it is not illegal. Neither of these things are wrong.
At times in the LGBTQIA+ community, especially when it comes to gay men, we have had to fight so hard to be more than our sex lives, that we start to pretend like they aren’t part of us at all. We fear that may be what is happening to you. You are not comfortable with either of your friends expressing their sexuality on their own terms in healthy ways. Isn’t that what we fought for?
When is the last time you allowed a trick to stay the night or invited him to meet your friends? Would that be getting too close to a relationship for you? When is the last time that you met a guy and flirted with him publicly? Do you get most of your hookups from dating apps? You didn’t provide enough info for us to really know, but anytime someone says that they are keeping their sexuality discreet, it sets off alarms for us. Before Pride goes into full swing, have some honest conversations with yourself about why the behavior of your friends is so troublesome for you. Happy Pride!
How do you break up with your entire group of friends? I am a 24-year-old man and while I have graduated, I haven’t found my dream job yet. I found a position as a server at a fun restaurant and I am loving the extra money that comes from the influx of tourists each summer. Being in this industry, having a lot of cash, and being able to sleep in means that most of the people I hang out with like to party all the time. I enjoy going out occasionally, but it seems like for this group they live their lives in bars or drunk around firepits when the weather is right. Most of them come from privileged backgrounds so they aren’t really concerned about the future. I care about them, but I am starting to want more. I save a lot of my money, and with a flexible schedule, I would like to travel and maybe sometimes go camping without a truck bed full of alcohol to get us through two days in the woods. I guess part of me is wondering if we stop partying together, will we still have anything in common?
Damn Buzz, that sucks. It’s a tough situation you are finding yourself in. You can take comfort in the fact that you are not the only person your age that is feeling this way though. Clinical psychologist Alex Fowke defines this as a quarter life crisis and says it is “a period of insecurity, doubt, and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships, and financial situation. It’s a tough place.
We know because we all went through it as well. You start to look at random hookups in different ways, you don’t see being the most wasted person at the party as a badge of honor anymore, and you are starting to wonder about your future.
Do you have to break up with your entire group of friends? Maybe. It could be that once you decide to stop partying with them all the time, you will realize that you don’t have much in common with them. There is also the possibility, that if they are the same age as you, a couple of them could be feeling the same way. Our advice is to first start suggesting some activities that can’t involve alcohol at all, or that it would be awkward to be intoxicated at.
A wise person once told us that when you quit drinking you figure out exactly how many drinking buddies you have. If the people you are spending time with can only be around you when they are drunk, that’s pretty messed up. They probably aren’t people that you should be investing your time in anyway.
You sound like a good guy Buzz. In our experience most people have large groups in their early 20’s, and while those memories are great, usually only a couple of those friendships will survive into your 30’s. Keep doing you, and you will end up ok.
If you are having trouble with your friends, lovers, and friends you make love to, drop us a line! firstname.lastname@example.org