Dear Dr. Frankie,
I am a 50-year-old lesbian whose been married to my wife for 6 years. We’ve known each other for 23 years and have been together for 12. My wife just left me for the 5th time. One of our issues is whether or not to have children. She left me last year but came back briefly after I agreed to have children. We went through three inseminations and they all failed. She said we could take a break then try again. Last month, I got home from church and she unloaded the fifth bomb on me. I am tired of her dragging my heart through the mud, throwing me away like a piece of trash, and changing the rules on me. She is also a bit of a control freak and has to have her way, with the baby thing, etc. I can't seem to please her and she is very demanding. At first, she pursued me like a dog on a bone, but when she finally got me, (after 12 years of pursuit) she started to back away. Then the leaving started. She always comes back, but I am getting a little tired of this pattern. She is the love of my life, but damn, why is she so stubborn? She is easy on the eyes, but hard on the heart. How do I get over her? Who is gonna love a 50 year old lesbian? We had a lifetime together and it is hard to not think about her. What do I do?—Dumped in Texas
You sound like a hostage on a runaway rollercoaster ride. Your wife has had a chokehold on the controls but you should realize that you are perfectly capable of taking control to reach your desired destination. You and your wife have known each other half your lives; of course you share a deep connection and love. The intolerable fact is that just because your wife keeps coming back to you, it does not mean that you belong together.
Compromising by having children to please your wife or to keep her in your life will only end one way: Catastrophe. It’s not fair to you, your wife and especially the child, to bring a life into the world that you are not 100 percent committed to. Having a child affects every aspect of one’s life and will place an enormous amount of stress on an already-stressed relationship. As Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, “having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.”
The good news is that you do not have to feel like an unwilling passenger in this hand basket. Once you decide to be the captain of your ride, set firm boundaries. At least four times you have let your wife crawl back into your marriage. You are selling yourself short by letting her come and go as she pleases. You are also showing her that you do not have the self-confidence and backbone to put your foot down and prioritize your needs. It will certainly be difficult to break this well-established pattern of her whimsical coming and going, but in the long run it will be far less painful than the hand basket ride you are currently on; we all know where they end up.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I have two problems. First, the women that I am attracted to and develop interest in don't reciprocate. They become attracted to me for a little while, but then pull away, lose interest, and only want to be "friends." On the other hand, I’m not attracted to the women that do develop an interest in me. I'm starting to wonder if my standards are too high because apparently I want what I can't have.
Secondly, I don't know how to approach women. I have a pretty good "gaydar," but I live in a state (Arizona) where it's difficult to figure out who is a lesbian and who isn't. I typically meet women online because that way I know they like women. I'm afraid to approach women in public because I don't to offend anyone and cause unnecessary drama. I've been to a couple of lesbian clubs/bars, but I've never connected with anyone there. Plus, most of my female friends are straight. Any advice on any of this?—Alone in Arizona
Without knowing more I would say that if the women you were attracted to never showed any interest (even short-term), then its quite possible you were setting your sights too high. But the fact that women are initially attracted to you but later lose interest, indicates something different. It sounds as if you are doing something, consciously or subconsciously to create this shift in the relationship. Next time you meet a woman who fits this mold, be very mindful of your behavior. Pay close attention to the verbal and especially non-verbal cues you are sending. Non-verbal communication makes up over 90 percent of communication as opposed to 10 percent verbally. The psychologist in me wonders if deep down you harbor a fear of attachment or intimacy that leads you to subconsciously push a potential girlfriend away.
In an effort to identify and correct the problematic behavior, seek out a trusted friend who will be honest. This is tricky because most friends won’t have the ability to be honest and provide potentially hurtful or embarrassing feedback. Your friend must be someone who genuinely has your happiness in mind. If no one fits the bill then contact a therapist, or dating coach who will give you honest feedback.
In terms of approaching women, be smart. The calibration of even the best gaydar can be faulty. If you don’t know that the women you want to speak to are gay then stick to online dating, friends of friends, or consider using a matchmaker. Seek lesbian activity groups online. Get out there and expand your social circle. Submit a confidential profile on my website, littlegaybook.com. If meeting the woman of your dreams seems impossible in Arizona do not rule out the possibility of relocating for love.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
Ten years ago I dated this women for about three months. We did the typical U-Haul thing but the inevitable break up was bad. We had no contact with each other since then when she suddenly emailed me and said she wanted to be friends. We were both dating other people but began spending time together as friends. She told me she is very attracted to me and I am also very attracted to her. We both broke up with our girlfriends and slept together once. The next day she told me she couldn’t leave her girlfriend. She never told her girlfriend that we had sex. I never got back together with my girlfriend, but she has stayed with hers. She and her girlfriend will own property together and she says she can't leave or they would both be in financial ruin. Am I being naive? Will she ever leave her girlfriend? She tells me all the time she loves me and has never felt this way about anyone before. She says she loves her partner, but there is something missing and she is not "in love" with her anymore. Am I falling for a line? —Gullible Gal
Your friend is certainly making sure that her own needs are met, and unfortunately at your expense. She is using you to fill the emotional void that she is experiencing in her own relationship. By saying this I do not mean to imply that she does not care about you, it sounds as if you have a friendship and real connection. But her conduct is selfish and she clearly has neither her partner nor your interest in mind. She is maintaining the material lifestyle to which she is accustomed by staying with her partner that she claims not to be in love with. She has not been honest with her partner about having sex with you and I would be shocked if her partner knows about your ongoing emotional affair. Additionally she is stringing you along with promises to be together when the real estate market rebounds.
In my experience if a person truly wants to be with someone then she will make the difficult decisions. This might mean she leaves the relationship with the clothes on her back and the money in her pocket. You should be telling yourself that you deserve more. Don’t you want someone who thinks you are worth it? Someone who believes that you also deserve to be happy? And another problem here; would you want to be in a relationship with this woman, knowing full well that she is capable of having such an intense emotional affair with another woman? You know the old adage; if she does it once…
Finally, this woman is distracting you from being able to freely date. If you aren’t addicted to the drama and are truly wondering if you’ll live happily ever after together than call her bluff. Since she claims she has never felt this way about anyone, lets put her to the test. Tell her you doubt her motives and need to prioritize your own happiness. Sever communication with her and see what happens. Will she decide you are worth it and leave behind her designer wallpaper and granite countertops for true love? I would be very impressed, and quite surprised, if she did. On the other hand if she chose to stay with her partner then at least you have done your part to put an end to your torment and can move on with a clear mind.