I guess I have questions… or maybe thoughts? It’s complicated.
I’m a cis gay man. I think? I think that’s a part of it.
I wish I was more masculine. I feel like my life would have been a lot easier if I had been… that it would be easier in the future if I were… I kind of hate that it never came naturally to me. Never has. Probably never will. And, it gets hard. I feel like I’m not allowed certain sports or hobbies or… just things in general, because I’m not “masculine” enough for them. Honestly, same thing when it comes to “feminine” things to. I feel like I’m not allowed to want them because I won’t fit in… should I just give up on them, or try to force it? I’m too fem to be masc and too masc to be fem… but like… I kind of want to be both?
So it makes me wonder… am I a man? I mean. It fits… sort of? I often feel like I’m not the right kind of man or am sort of a “failure” as a man. That’s probably just a lot of internalized bullshit that is really toxic. Doesn’t help that I have certain people in my life who will tell me they accept me, then police my gender in the next breath.
But does all of this make me nonbinary? I’m not sure.
And sex… oh sex… Never done it before. Sex is a complicated thing for me. Given the fact that gay men can be so fixated on masculinity, I feel like a somewhat fem (and fat) guy like me will never be found attractive. Kind of sucks, to be honest. It’s to the point where I can’t imagine myself having sex with someone. I can’t imagine myself being seen as a sexual being or seen as sexy… or even sexual. I can’t really connect with my own sexuality, to the point where I wonder if I’m damaged or have too little self-esteem or if I’m just… not into it.
Funny enough, I jokingly call myself “the pervert friend”, because I’m comfortable talking about sexuality. I’m very open. I just haven’t done anything. I’m pretty sure I want it. I want to be loved. I want to want someone and be wanted by someone. I want intimacy. I’m pretty sure I want sex… ?
So… I guess I just don’t know if the labels I’ve used for myself for the past several years fit anymore. I mean, I clearly have a lot of unpacking to do, a lot of unhealthy relationships to manage, and a lot of thinking to do. But, I don’t know where to start. I don’t know if this is just the thoughts of someone who feels that he doesn’t fit the mold and, therefore, must clearly be something else. I don’t know what to think.
I guess I’m asking for even some reassurance.
I don’t know the answers. I don’t expect you to know all the answers either.
But what would you say to someone like me?
Dazed and Confused
This is gonna be a long one so I apologize in advance for that. I’ve been having some strong resentful feelings for my ex and I can’t seem to get over him. Let me explain.
At the start of last year I (m) started seeing a guy who I had a huge crush on for the longest time. I should also mention this is was the first guy friend I’ve ever had a crush on and the first guy I’ve dated. Originally he didn’t feel the same way about me. He actually had a crush on someone else at the time. This didn’t stop him from sleeping with me however at a party and after a few weeks of being patient he did tell me he was starting to have feelings for me as well and eventually we started dating. We went out for a few months then he broke up with me, stating he had mental problems and couldn’t handle a relationship at that time. Me caring about his well being was understanding and told him as soon as he’s better we could try again. Only I found out later that was a lie, he was just spoon feeding me some bullshit so he could go out with the guy he originally had a crush on. I was pretty devastated for a while after learning that. I felt betrayed and used. It seemed like I was only a placeholder until this other guy became available.
Anyway, after a few months I met someone else. We hit it off right away, started going out, and almost a year later we’re still together. I can honestly say that my relationship with my current bf is the best I’ve ever had. We connect on so many levels, we share a lot of the same interests and we love each other deeply.
So all in all things worked out for me in the end but here’s my issue. My ex, who I’ve blocked and unfriended on every social media site I can imagine is still part of the same friend circles me and my boyfriend are in, so no matter how hard I try, from time to time he still pops up in my periphery. And every time he does I just feel overwhelmed by feelings of anger and resentment. Before he and I even went out, I’d like to think we were pretty close friends and the way he led me on for a few months only to discard me as soon as it was convenient for him, like I was tissue paper just destroyed all that good will between us.
I know these feelings are unhealthy and that I’m better off with my current boyfriend, but I don’t know if deep down there’s part of me that still cares about him and that’s why I feel this way. I don’t want it to impact what I have now because like I said, we’re all in the same friend groups. Now that things are starting to open up again it’s inevitable that I’ll be running into my ex at some meetup and I don’t know how I’m going to react.
I’ve often thought about sending him a message and just laying it all out there to him and try to bury the hatchet so to speak, but I’ve had some friends tell me that’s a bad idea, that he can just claim no wrongdoing and turn it back around on me and make me feel even worse.
Sorry this was so long. I wanted to provide as much context as possible. I’d be forever grateful for any advice you can provide 🙂
Still Resentful For Some Reason
Dear Dr. NerdLove:
I’m a cis woman who has been happily married to a kind, gentle, cis man for 3 years. The only area where we are mismatched is our libidos — mine is very high and his is not. But we’ve made it work and for the most part and sex has been enjoyable, if a little dull.
Over the past couple of years, I have developed a serious interest in “rough sex.” Without going into too much detail, there are several things I would like to try that sound very enticing to me.
During our last sexual encounter, I talked to my husband about this beforehand and asked him if he would incorporate a few of these things to try them out — like biting me and slapping different parts of my body. He agreed, and it was the best sex we’ve had in a long time. It did not hurt me, and I found everything incredibly enjoyable.
The next day, I was talking with my husband about this to see how he felt and if he liked it. He said it was alright, but he’d prefer to just have “boring sex” (his words) from now on. I was disappointed, but didn’t know what to say.
The rougher sexual encounter has made me hungry for more. I want to do it again. But, I know it made my husband uncomfortable so I won’t force him to do anything. I can’t stop running scenarios around in my mind of things I really want to try, none of which I can do because I know my husband won’t be up for it.
Why can’t I just let this go and be satisfied with what I do have? Is there something pathologically wrong with me?
Counting The Bruises
Hi Dr NerdLove.
Long-time reader, first time writing in. My problem is quite minor, and not technically a “dating” issue, but it’s been weighing on me regardless and I’m hoping you’ll have some insight.
The short version is that many women I pass by in public places seem to have very strong negative reactions to me, and I can’t figure out why.
It usually goes like this: I’m walking through town in the daytime to work or to get lunch or meet friends or what have you. A woman comes walking the other way or exits a shop or something. Our eyes meet by chance (inevitable when you’re keeping an eye out for cars and bikes or whatnot), and the woman in question violently jerks her head away, turns her body away from me, and starts walking faster. She’s using her whole body to signal: “Ew, no, go away.”
Here’s the weird part: I never have any intention of interacting with these women. I’m just going about my business when they enter my line of sight. I don’t say anything, I don’t leer or stare or ogle, I don’t catcall, I don’t look at them for more than a second. I just notice them, and keep walking.
Obviously, women have every right to be cautious around unknown men (or unknown male-looking NB people, in my case). These women are also all young and attractive, so maybe they’ve had to become hyper-vigilant even beyond the standards of other women. It’s just that this reaction seems to fly right past caution and straight into immediate, visceral fear.
A more specific example will illustrate what I mean (and was also the catalyst for this letter). I was at work, returning to my desk from the bathroom. A woman I had never met came through the door I was heading to. Our eyes met and she flinched with her whole head, like my gaze was a slap to the face. Her body language became panicked, her eyes darted around the room, and finally she ran through a side door in a completely different direction to the one she’d been going before. I didn’t know what to do, so I just kept walking.
Some extra context: this was in the middle of the day, in a crowded building, in a brightly-lit room that saw a lot of foot traffic, and I obviously worked there.
So with all that background, I guess I have two questions I’m hoping you can help with: firstly, how can I clearly signal to women that I’m not going to approach them? Secondly, what is it about my appearance that triggers such a rapid and extreme response? It’s happened too often now to write it off as a few very traumatised women; it really feels like it’s something about me.
I’m honestly stumped as to the second question. I’m not physically imposing, I dress conservatively but well, I’m young, I’m fit, I don’t have resting bitch face, I’m not ugly, and I’m meticulous with my grooming and hygiene. In short, I feel like my appearance is totally inoffensive. The fact I’m Māori might be a factor, but it feels unfair to just assume all these women are racist. My female friends are as confused as I am.
This problem has been getting me down because I don’t want to be a source of stress for anyone else, and also obviously because it really hurts my feelings when it happens. Plus, what’s going to happen when I meet a woman I do want to approach?
Before I sign off, I should reiterate: I’m not demanding that these women talk to me or smile at me or welcome me approaching them or anything like that. I just want to be able to go about my day and mind my own business without being treated like a landmine. And if this letter sounds like it’s trivialising the struggles of women who get harassed and catcalled, it’s really not my intent. I understand the world is dangerous for them; I’m just sick of being perceived as the danger.
So yeah, that’s my letter. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!