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My Ex Wants to Keep Hanging Out. Should I?

My Ex Wants to Hang Out. Should I?

Welcome to ¡Hola Papi!, the advice column where John Paul Brammer helps people work through their anxieties, fears, and life's queerest questions. If you need advice, send him a question at [email protected]

 

¡Hola Papi!

My ex broke up with me two months ago because he isn’t comfortable with his sexuality yet. We’ve still talked every day and hung out multiple times because we’re seeing how things go. I want to be respectful and give him space to grow, but I’m also worried I’m not doing the right thing for me by waiting an indefinite amount of time. What should I do?

Signed,

Gay in Waiting

 

Hey there, GW!

Baby, you got broken up with. Regardless of where your ex is at with his sexuality, a breakup is a pretty clear indication that you should be moving on. This “seeing how things go” path is not the one you need to be walking down. That’s how you get lost in a jungle.

I would say it’s nice that you still want to be there for your ex while he goes through this (pretty universally) difficult phase of his life. Coming into an understanding of who you are, what you like, and how you want to approach your precious time on earth is a turbulent ride. But I have to say, I’m not entirely convinced that what you’re proposing here is an act of altruism. 

I think it’s more likely that you’re still into him so you’re hanging around in his orbit in the hopes that he comes back. If he’s really about figuring himself out right now, I’m not sure staying in this in-between space with you is good for him either. I think it’s just convenient for two people who don’t want to rip the band-aid off. 

Life is like this sometimes, GW! As (gay) human beings, we have the incredible capacity to convince ourselves that the painful, unpleasant thing we’re subjecting ourselves to is the right thing to do because it’s the thing we’re most familiar with and because change is terrifying. Trust me, I understand that sentiment. 

I didn’t come out until I was 20, in part because I was afraid of how my life would change. I stayed in a secret closeted relationship with a guy for almost three years because I thought I’d never find someone else. I ate the same dry ass sandwich from the same grocery store every day for nearly an entire semester in college because it was there, it was cheap, and the idea of trying something else, something with flavor, felt like too much work. It’s hard to recognize when you’ve become a victim of routine.

But life happens anyway, GW, and at some point things change whether we want them to or not. One minute you’re sitting in your parents’ house on the prairie in rural Oklahoma where your biggest concern is that you’ll never find a wife, and the next you’re on Fire Island eating a chicken wrap you found on the counter because you have to eat something with your Prozac and downing it with a swig of black cherry White Claw because the faucet isn’t working. There’s not a straight line between those two things. There’s nothing but chaos, errors, regret, and hard decisions. 

Maybe that wasn’t the best way to illustrate what I’m trying to say here. What I mean to say is: We are all in the process of being fitfully created. Your ex is, you are, I am, and so are the hundreds of sad queer people reading this. Letting him go isn’t the same thing as being a bad friend to him. You need space from each other. It doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. But you both need to mourn your relationship as it once existed. It will not exist that way again.

I hope your ex figures things out, GW! And I hope you find a romantic relationship with someone you’re not broken up with. I bet it’s a lot easier to be boyfriends with someone you’re not broken up with.

Con mucho amor,

Papi

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