AUTHOR

Relationships

Love Affair between an Arab and a Jew

My name is A, and I am a twenty-eight-year-old Arab Muslim Palestinian. I come from a society that will never accept I am  gay. I am well educated, successful, and I speak four languages. Social media has made it easier for me to chat with friends from all over the world. A few months ago, I met a sixty-five-year-old Jewish man from Israel online, which further complicates our relationship. I have fallen in love with him. I have never felt toward another man the way I feel toward him. We have managed to meet a few times, but it is very hard. I don’t want to get married to a woman.

I have three problems: (1) I am from Palestine and he is from Israel; (2) I cannot tell my family about this relationship, and it would be difficult to meet him in another country without some explanation to them; and (3) I have been thinking of ending my business to move somewhere so I can be with this man. I would like to hear your opinion on my situation.

Thank you for sharing your story with me. I know that even telling me this involves some risk to you. I frequently hear from others who live in cultures hostile to homosexuality, particularly Muslims and Arabs from the Middle East; however, your situation has some unique circumstances. Even here in the United States, where same-sex marriage is legal, some men are caught in the crucible with the volatile elements of culture, religion, and sexuality.

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All Relationships Are U-Shaped

Hi, Loren.

Thank you for your article on age discrepancy in gay relationships. I am in my mid-forties, and until recently I had a partner who is twenty years younger. For most of our relationship, the age difference was never an issue; we accepted each other and were bound by love. Some of our friends and family commented on and questioned our relationship, but eventually they felt the love. Unfortunately, our relationship ended. He asked me to let him go so that he could take charge of his life. We still care for each other and will support each other, but being in a relationship now is not going to happen. I am seeing a therapist, meditating, eating well, exercising, throwing myself into my work, and leaning on my friends. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All relationships are U-shaped and go through difficult times. I believe that fidelity is based on trust and loyalty rather than sex, so I would ask, If loyalty and trust are still there, can other things be done to save it? Don’t let go of it too soon.

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Age Differences in Gay Couples

I’m a twenty-five-year-old openly gay man, and I’ve always liked older men. Many of my gay friends who are close to my age are critical of me and suspicious of my motives. My gay friends don’t understand it, but I don’t understand it myself, so I can’t explain it to them. I feel like I’m the only one who has this problem. I’d like to understand this better. Can you refer me to anything I might read about this?

A young man once said to me, “If I see a handsome gay man my age, he might as well have a vagina. I feel nothing.” Another said, “I don’t get aroused if I see some hot young man, but if he’s with his grandpa, I get excited.” This phenomenon is more common than most people realize, but it is rarely talked about and almost never researched. You are not alone. Continue reading

Monogamy in Gay Couples

Dr. Olson,

I don’t know how to ask this, not even sure if I should, but I will. Given that there is a difference in sex drives between younger and older men, and you are significantly older than your partner, did that ever create conflict for you and/or him, and if so, how did you resolve it?

You may ask me anything—my life’s pretty much an open book—but I also suspect that you are more interested in your own sex life than mine, and I’m guessing you are concerned about differences in sexual desires between you and either a much older or younger partner. Continue reading

When Should I Say “I Love You”?

Sir,

I am a mid-20s, gay male from [East Asia]. I have not come out. I have found the love of my life and he is in his mid-60s. I am from a higher caste than he is, but neither of us see that as a problem. I think he considers me his son. I have met his family and they accept me. We speak to each other about very personal things, but we have never spoken about our love for each other or my being gay. I think he knows that I love him. I want to tell him that I love him, but I am afraid to for fear of losing this relationship. What do you think I should do?

Everything you’ve written points to the fact that you love this man and that he loves you. Although the words haven’t been spoken, your behavior toward each other suggests this is true. It now appears that you are at a turning point where you wish to take your relationship with him to another level. Is it time to say “I love you”? Continue reading

Am I Too Old to Start Over Again?

I am a sixty-two-year-old, retired, financially secure man, and I would like to start dating, but I don’t know where to turn. I am openly gay and a couple of years ago my husband who I’d been with for twenty-five years died suddenly of a heart attack. We had a wonderful relationship, and now I am very lonely and want someone in my life again. I dated one man for a while and later learned he had a wife. I’m considered handsome by my friends, physically fit, and drink only socially. I read and I like to travel. I don’t like gay bars and I’m not interested in meeting someone just to have sex. Do you think it is possible at my age to find someone? Is it too late for me?

I receive questions like this quite often, sometimes from men who are recently leaving heterosexual marriages after coming out but also from men who’ve been widowed after having been in long-term, loving relationships with a spouse. Men who’ve lost their partners seem to have a particularly difficult time of it. The latter group has built a social world based on being a part of a couple, and now that structure is gone. And just like their heterosexual peers, they sit at home eating dinner alone, staring at the chair where their former lover used to sit.

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Grieving the Loss of an Older Partner

The following was written by someone who’d read an essay I wrote about younger gay men who are attracted to older men. I frequently hear from younger men who are questioning why they are exclusively attracted to significantly older men, but this subject isn’t frequently addressed. This type of relationship is also often misunderstood even by those of us in the LGBTQ community. I wrote about it in Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight in a section called “Men with Rounded Corners.” Here are “Jim’s” comments (edited to protect his identity and used with his permission).

I just read your essay “The Curse of an Attraction to Older Gay Men” in Psychology Today, and it was strange to read something so personal, insightful and very close to my own thoughts. I have read it a few times and have shared it with friends. I will order your book when I get back to Ireland.  Continue reading

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