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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1124
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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Hello there, I DESPERATELY need your help. This is in

Resolved Question:

Hello there,

I DESPERATELY need your help. This is in regards XXXXX XXXXX ex-fiance who I've remained friends with. When I first him, he told me about his abusive childhood. His father physically and psychologically beat him daily - made him out of the dog bowl, sleep in the garage when he misbehaved, etc, and his mother never protected him because she was too busy protecting herself. They eventually got divorced and she remarried and started a new life. My ex, Tony (name changed) stayed with his abusive father until he got kicked out at the age of 16. He lived on the streets & in shelters and finished high school. He then went into the marines because he wanted to work in law enforcement. He then reconnected with his mother after several years of no contact. He also reconnected with his twin brother whom he lost contact with. He was happy in the military because he finally had a "family". He told me he had a few girlfriends but they all cheated on him and this devastated him. Because of his childhood + his girlfriends' infidelities - he had a lot of pain that he expressed in anger. When we became a couple, he was enamored with me for about 6 months but he easily angered because he had trust issues with women. His mother degraded him a lot, she was very manipulative and didn't show him unconditional love. He in turn, did everything to gain her love and approval. I tried with all my heart to love him, encourage him, support him but he eventually left after a spat we had and said he never loved me. He came back a few months later and told me he was absolutely in love with me and he's petrified of me hurting him so he flees. Well he left again after we discussed marriage. Again he came back and he left again. I noticed he would leave each time he would express how much he loved me and wanted to marry me. When he got out of the marines, he was planning to stay with his mother and stepfather for a month or so until we found a place to live. He then got into a horrendous car accident and wasn't doing good for about 6 months. As soon as he could walk fine, his mother kicked him out and told him he needed to be a man and experience life. This devastated him because he desperately needed his mother's love. He then turned to a marine friend for help and this guy turned his back on him, his twin borrowed money and then turned his back on him, he was too embarrassed to tell me what was going on with him. He felt that I turned my back on him too because we weren't together anymore (he left again when he told me how much he loved me and how he's so scared of getting hurt). Here comes the shocker:

He tells me last month that he's gay. That many gay men have told him that women have broken their hearts so they turned to being gay and he believes this. His justification for being gay "I get along so well with men, they've never broken my heart and women are so fickle". I asked him if he was attracted to men or ever watches gay porn and he says "oh God that's disgusting". He called me today & tells me "I met a great guy that's just like me and went through the same pain I did and I've never been happier. I now know I'm gay and that I have always been gay. I can't get hurt anymore. And I was born this way". My first thought was of complete sadness for him because I don't think he's gay. I believe he's desperately looking for a bond with someone that won't leave him and that will understand him. I'm not looking to get back with him because I lost feelings for him a long time ago but I do care.

What in the world do I do? Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

I am so sorry to hear what your ex fiance has been through. It is very sad that a child would need to experience this by the people who are supposed to love and protect him. I am also sorry for all the hurt you have been through in the relationship and I think it is wonderful that you have been there for him as well as been understanding and patient with him. Even now you want to continue to help even though you no longer want to be in a relationship and that is true love that he never had. I understand why you are hurt by this. You know him well and are on the outside looking in. He has been through so much that I believe his thoughts and emotions are distorted. He has been through so much not only as a child, but growing up as well with ex girlfriends, friends, and personal life.

What his father did was hurt him badly and traumatized him. He always wanted the love of his father and did not have it. He is a man and needed it all the more to guide him through life and be a role model for him. I believe the reason that he turned to men is not because he is gay, but because he is looking for love from a man to replace the love that he has not gotten from his father. On top of that he has been hurt by women in the past and afraid to go through that again, so his solution to all of this subconsciously was to turn to a man to get the love he needed.

If he truly feels this it would be hard for you to change it. However, I would try explaining this to him as well as try and show him all that you know about him so well. Showing him the reasons you believe he is not gay from what you know about him may help him to see clearer. I would not tell him directly to stop nor judge him, point fingers, or criticize him since this will only be counterproductive. Rather tell him how much you care for him and are concerned because you know him so well. Tell him that you want the best for him and are worried because you want him to make the right decision. I would encourage him to think through this instead of rushing into it. Get him to think about his future and if he wants to marry and have children since he may just be thinking about his feelings at the present time.

I would strongly recommend he gets into therapy. He may be resistant, but it can help him to repair all these broken feelings within him and understand why he is feeling that he is gay. Sometimes counseling can be so painful in the beginning because it brings out all of the emotions that were hidden for so long that we really do not want to deal with, but if he continues on with it he can actually understand his past in order to change his future and live the life he thought he could not.

I would not give up on him. Your goal would be to be there for him unconditionally while continuing to encourage him to get the counseling. Ask him to at least try the counseling before making such drastic decisions. Prove to him in subtle ways why he may not be gay in addition to what I wrote above. Making points such as he thought the porn was disgusting and etc. Talk with him and get into what he is feeling in regards XXXXX XXXXX gay in order to respond to his direct feelings.

Unfortunately, you can not force him to change, but by doing all this can help support him and maybe realize being gay may not be for him. It may not happen over night, but if you love and care for him I would not give up because this is part of love. In the future he may thank you for not allowing him to go down the wrong road since you were there on the outside looking in and able to see a clear picture that he could not.

Lastly, don't only mention this all the time since that too will push him away from spending time with you or talking with you. The subtle ways need to be, so he does not realize such as talking about things in general and letting him think for himself. However, the direct conversation would need to be balanced with regular conversation in order for him to not feel pressured.

I understand that it is difficult to see someone you care about going through this. It seems until now you have really been the only one there for him, so I would encourage you to not give up on him. He really needs you as a friend whether he admits it or not. I think it is wonderful how much you do care for him for even taking the time to come here.

Please if you have any more questions or need any clarification don't hesitate to ask. I am here to help and I wish you both the best and hope he gets the help he needs. It is not too late for him to live a happy life that he deserves and has been since he was a little boy.
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1124
Experience: I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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