Ask Amy: Gay man faces objectionable friends

September 17, 2012

DEAR AMY: I am a 61-year-old gay man. My parents (born in 1908 and 1914) and both of my brothers accepted me for who I am. I am out to most of my friends and family.

I have been friends with a classical musician and his wife and son for nearly eight years. I first became uncomfortable when the musician started referring to members of his orchestra who were gay using extremely offensive terms, but I maintained the friendship because they were good people, even though I found these comments cruel and demeaning.

After many years of friendship, I finally told the wife I was gay, and she said, “Well, you shouldn’t talk about it.” This hurt me very much; we had all been very close. I got angry and cut off the call. The phone rang a few times after that, but I was hurt and did not answer. Where should I go from here? -- Disappointed Friend

DEAR FRIEND: Like a good symphony, you should let this play out until you hear the final notes, indicating some kind of resolution. However, the resolution here will most likely not be in the repairing of your relationship, but in a choice you will have to make to let this friendship go.

You should give your friends the opportunity to renounce their point of view, but understand that while they may apologize to you personally, their views may remain unchanged. Let’s say that your friends contact you to say, “We like you and would never speak ill of you. It’s the other gays we can’t stand to be around.” Would you want to resume a friendship under these circumstances? I doubt it.

DEAR AMY: My girlfriend lives on the same block as her elderly mother. She has to purchase food and supplies for her almost on a daily basis. Her mom is about 90 and has some signs of dementia, but she refuses to go to a nursing home, and my friend doesn’t have the heart to force her into one.

She also has a stepsister who will not help out with the mother, even though she lives nearby. My friend would like to move away from her area to seek better job prospects, climate, etc., but she is constrained because of her mother. She knows she is fulfilling a big commandment by honoring her mother, but it is also sucking the life out of her.

The mother has changed her will to leave her few possessions to my friend, and her stepsister is now complaining about being cut out of the will. This sounds like trouble all around. She asked me to write to you, and we’d both like to hear your advice. -- Bothered Boyfriend

DEAR BOTHERED: There is a good chance your girlfriend’s mother faced a similar choice at least once during her long life. This is the choice to run or to stay.

Most of us face these lifestyle dilemmas. And while it would be easy to say that everyone is responsible for chasing her own happiness when and where she wants it, the fact is that, in this life, sometimes you should stick around because someone needs you. Call it fulfilling a commandment or simply doing the right thing, but the right thing is to take care of your elderly and needy mother.

Your girlfriend should seek respite and advice for the best way to handle her particular situation. Meals on Wheels can stop by her mother’s house each day. Her local Office on Aging can help conduct an assessment of her mother’s situation and connect her with local services.

DEAR AMY: “Sad in Sausalito” said her husband had “mini-tantrums” whenever she wanted to make an unscheduled stop while out together. The best solution would be for each of them to trade off choosing a stop.

Compromise, Amy! That’s the ticket! -- Faithful Reader

DEAR FAITHFUL READER: I agree.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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