ASK RAVEN: MEN OF COLOR
Dear Raven, I have a very close relationship with my mother and father. They've been married for over 20 years and seeing their love and relationship brings me joy. It has also set the bar very high for what I expect to have when I choose to get married myself. I've dated some amazing women but when it comes down to committing I seem to do some self-sabotaging because I fear they might not pan out. I want what my parents have but I also want to get out of my own way. How can I do that?
Ending a relationship preemptively because you are afraid it wont pan out has less to do with your parents and more to do with your own fear of commitment. While I believe you when you say that its been a joy to watch your own parents relationship unfold, It makes me wonder if you have an idealized version of their relationship. Maintaining any marriage requires vulnerability, compromise, communication, fighting, making up, division of labor, flexibility and the everyday mundane tasks of running a household.
My advice to you is to ask one or both of your parents about the tougher times, parts of their relationship that felt challenging. Listening to them talk about these times and moments might give you better insight into what made their relationship what it is today. I also suggest you speak to a therapist. Love avoidance is an issue that stems from fear of smothering or abandonment. If you are struggling with the former or the latter, its important to have someone help you unpack whats motivating the self-sabotage
Dear Raven, my best friend since I was a child recently shared with me that they are bi-sexual. My initial reaction was confusion as I had seen him pull some of the baddest women. But now that this has passed, I really want to be there for him as he figures out how to share his truth with his family. His mother is a hardcore Christian woman and has blatantly condemned anyone she sees who isn't 'straight'. I know he is struggling with this and has had his anxiety spike up, how do I help and also show him that he is worthy of living a life with whomever he chooses?
Sounds like your friend is about to pull some of the baddest dudes as well. But all jokes aside, its great that you want to support your friend during this time and that you were able to accept and support him. Take the time to educate yourself about how to be an ally to him. Make sure that he doesn't have to do any additional emotional labor by having to explain things that fall under the Bi Man 101 category. Don't assume that he has anything figured out or that there is a timeline in which he should. Grow WITH him.
The coming-out process is unique to all and complicated for many. It can happen all at once, in stages, or never at all. Encourage your friend to seek mental health support, read memoirs/first hand accounts, of other men who are struggling with similar issues that he can relate to. There are podcasts, and books, meetups, even support groups. Your pro-active support will show him that you are an ally and a friend. Even if he decides to do none of the above, it shows that you are a reliable support.
Dear Raven, I've never been to therapy before but I am considering it. Could you share some things I should ask my therapist to vet him/her? Also, if I'd rather have a male therapist that is a Latinx man like myself, how do I find some options?
This is always a great question. We’ve previously shared a thorough list on how to do this.
Click here for details on where to look for a therapist, what questions to ask and potential costs.