QuestionMark? #96

July 21, 2016by Mark Rutherford

My job does not allow me to be out, by that I mean I work for a very major company, and the guys I work seem to really dislike gays.  They have no clue about me but it really hurts when I dont have the guts to say FU dude I am one of these guys you’re talkin about…


What are you really asking here? Are you just angry that you are not “out” at work and want to let off some steam? If so, this is as good of a place to do it as anywhere. Being able to feel comfortable as an out and proud gay person takes some guts, although times have changed in the past decade or so in corporate America. The Advocate, with Melissa Etheridge on the cover, just did a piece about being out in the big business corporate world. There were some great stories related in the piece. Both men and women executives from such diverse places at IBM, Perry Ellis, and VISA talked about their experiences. The common thread in each of their stories was the concern over coming out and the impact it would have on their career. Every one of them was glad they made the tough decision to come out.

Of course, this is not always the case. There are very real problems that gays and lesbians encounter everyday in the workplace. We are discriminated, on varying levels, in many aspects of our lives. Which is why you may have a decision to make. How long do you want to go on hiding at your place of employment? How safe is it for you to come out? Is it that it is unsafe or that you are just afraid? That being said, it’s okay to be afraid. That’s a perfectly legitimate response. We all are afraid before we do something that will have the power to change our lives.

The question for you remains will you ever face your fear and allow yourself to step out of the shadows and into the light. Then maybe one day you will be able to say “FU dude I’m on of those guys you’re talking about”. To top that off, if you say it with some tact and kindness (something severely lacking in our world) they may actually respond in a positive way. You may have the power within you to change their minds. Show them that “gay” is more than a concept or a political issue. It has a human face. That face is you. If they like you, they are forced to look at their preconceptions about gay people. And there is the possibility that they may begin to believe/act/respond/vote different. Imagine…..that’s a pretty awesome power in my opinion.


My GF and I are so different and we like different things but yet we really love each other.  Sometime I wonder what we love in each other as we have so little in common…


Have you ever heard of the saying “opposites attract”? Technically, there is some truth to this. In his landmark book, “Getting the Love You Want” Harville Hendrix began a dialogue that continues today, over 3 decades after the book was first published. He calls his theory Imago which is the Latin word for “image”. The theory has its roots in Freudian theory and Attachment theory and almost any book written about relationships in the past thirty years uses Hendrix’s theory as part of it’s foundation. That his theory says is that we are attracted to people who fit a certain subconscious image that we have had in place since our childhood. The people we are attracted to have both the negative and positive character traits of our early childhood caretakers. This plays out in a number of different ways. Certain couple’s tend to develop. There is the “fuser/isolator” couple where one person wants to always be together and the other always seems to “need space”. There is the “avoider/confronter” dynamic in which one is always nagging the other who is always going out for a walk or taking nap.   There are a few different couple types. The common theme is that they always seem to be the polar opposite from their mate on a number of different levels. If one is outgoing, the other tends to be shy and introverted. If one is a thinker often times they mate with more of a feeler personality. A histrionic person is almost always balanced out by a calmer, level headed other half. The list goes one.

The fact that you and your girlfriend don’t have anything in common on the surface doesn’t mean a whole bunch. It’s almost set up that way. There are couple’s who are very different but yet have some same common interests. These people are just lucky. The rest of us have to work at maintaining a connection with the one we love. Find things that interest you both. Each of you look at your mates interests and take one of them up as a hobby so you have something to connect on. I tell this story often in therapy with clients asking the same question.   When I initially met my partner of 13 years, we had very little in common other than we were both male, both gay, and both attracted to each other physically. Over the years I have learned to love his business of Real Estate. We have invested and renovated numerous projects over the years. Would I have been involved in this if I were not in a relationship with him. A resounding “no” would be the answer. And yet I take great pleasure and pride in the projects we do together. Conversely, he has grown to love all kinds of music. We take numerous trips to New York to see all the Broadway shows. Music theatre has always been a passion of mine. Would he have been in the audience of the Broadway show “Wicked” three weeks ago if he had not met me. Probably not. But it turns out he loved the show almost more than me. He was even able to spot one of the actresses from her Broadway debut in RENT. This is not the work of an amateur anymore. I use the expression “we have grown into each other”. Because that is what we have done and that is the task before you and your girlfriend now. I wish you the best of luck.


I have been with my (?) for 3 years.  The sex is OK, not great anymore and the fire seems to be gone.  We don’t do IT that often and I am wondering if it means that we don’t love each other like we use to…


“How do you keep the music playing?”….question from that great 80’s song. One thing we have to get straight right off the bat is one simple fact. Sex is not necessarily love and love is not always necessarily sex. Remember this adage and you will always find yourself more comforted. Sometimes you can have great sex outside of the confines of a relationship or love for that matter. The two are not always interconnected. Of course, we would always like the two to go hand in hand in a relationship. Try to remember what you found so “hot” about each other. Talk about some of your hidden fantasies. Find new and interesting places to be romantic or have sex. The “mile high” club is not just reserved for strangers passing in the night. It can also be a long term couple out to spice up their love life. Is he into role playing?

All of this is just part of the picture. In an effort to rekindle what you feel like you have lost from your boyfriend, you must talk with him about your feelings. You must also give him a chance to express to you what is going on for him. Apart from all the new ideas and kinky twists, you must feel like you are able to connect at an emotional level as well as a sexual level. When you can feel trusted, understood, AND hot and attractive…well, then you’ve achieved something.


I’m in a love triangle and not sure what to do about it. I’ve been with the same man for over 10 years. We’ve had a great relationship. Both of us are financially secure so we can travel and afford the finer things in life. Last New Year’s Eve we went out to a large circuit party with a bunch of friends. There must have been about 5,000 men there. It was amazing. We were partying pretty hard with our buddies and having a blast.

All of a sudden there was the hottest man in the middle of our circle. He was a good 10 years younger than us and just gorgeous. I’ll call him Dorey. He was smiling and looking at both my lover and I. Needless to say he stayed with our group the rest of the evening. After the party we took him back to our hotel and had the most amazing three way sex I have ever had. We exchanged numbers and he called the next day. We went out to eat and things just fell into place from there.

Since then, we have seen each other at least 3 times a week. We spend a couple of nights a week together and he has come on two of our vacations with us. I like him a lot but I also love the life I had with my lover before he came along. I’m also sensing a stronger connection between my lover and Dorey. They both deny it but my instincts have always been correct and now I’m questioning them. Our friends have signed on the idea of a threesome very well. They even call us by a new name. Have you ever heard of the term “trouple”? It means a threesome couple. But I’m having doubts and not sure what to do.

Signed, Rich


Dear Rich,

I have seen and counseled many threesome relationships in my practice. It seems as if you are re-experiencing some of the same insecurities as you may have experienced at the beginning of your first relationship. Only now it is compounded by the fact that there are three people to worry about. This seems very logical to me. At the beginning of any relationship there are sure to be doubts, questions, and concerns. Why should this one be any different? Just because you have been in a relationship for 10 years does not exclude you from these feelings. Dorey is the new X factor and he must be considered when examining your feelings.

As far as advice goes, you must sit them both down and talk to them about your feelings together. Even if you are reconsidering your decision to be in a threesome relationship, or “trouple” (I like that term, thanks), you owe it to both of them to tell them together. If some part of the dynamic needs to change, all of you must be a part of the change together. Even if it is just you saying to both of them, “I thought I was okay with this arrangement but now I’m not anymore. I want to go back to being just a couple with my lover. But I also want to be respectful of you.” Or “I kind of like what’s going on here but I have a few concerns that I’d like to get out in the open with the three of us.” Make it something that breaks the ice, addresses the issues, but doesn’t shame them or put them on the defensive.

If you decide to stay in the relationship, I would suggest a few visits to a skilled couple’s therapist who is knowledgeable about the gay community and the concept of threesomes. Don’t lay this on your garden variety therapist. Chances are they will be unprepared to deal with the complexities of a “trouple”. Therapy affords you the luxury of laying out all your fears and concerns on the table. It will also give the two of them to communicate to you what they are thinking and feeling.

Great sex is a good thing. Great sex with more than two people can be an even greater thing. But don’t mistake wanting a fun sexual threesome from time to time with a much more complex three way relationship. They are very different things.