My little gay brother doesn’t know he’s dating my old sex friend. Do I have to say something?


Hi Jake,

My younger brother came out last year at 27. Coincidentally, I’m also gay, but I’ve been out since I was 19 (our mom loves having two gay kids!). My brother recently texted to tell her that he started dating a guy and that they are officially dating. When he first told me, I was so happy for him (Yes, little brother!). I asked her to send me a picture of the boy. He sent me the link to the guy’s Instagram page, and that’s when things got weird. My brother’s new boyfriend is my old FWB from college who I’m no longer in touch with! Even worse, she wants to take him to our family holiday dinner!! I do not know what to do! Do I tell my brother? Do I wait and act surprised when I see my old FWB? Or do I approach him early? The holidays are fast approaching and I’m dreading it.

Brotherly crush

Dear Brother Lover,

Congratulations to your little brother! It’s amazing that the two of you can share the gay experience together, even though I’m sure you didn’t plan to share it so much (eg Jerry Springer music).

Clearly, your old hookup friend has a “type,” so much so that two of his mates share the same genes! It definitely puts you in a strange situation, because now you have information that could be perceived as important to share, or even essential.

At the same time, you don’t know if your ex-FWB even realizes she’s dating your brother, or if you’re somehow overstepping your bounds and affecting their relationship by saying something. What is your responsibility here?

Before I give you my thoughts, let’s first acknowledge how strange the situation must feel for you. It might be a good idea to talk to one understanding therapist about it, because no matter how you’re going to handle it, it’s a strange thing to imagine your brother having the same kind of intimacy as you, with the same person.

Maybe it even causes some jealousy in the way siblings can be competitive about various things. Maybe you’re wondering who’s better in bed or if your ex feels stronger about your brother than he does about you. Or maybe you feel a bit of anger, wondering if your FWB knew he was crossing a line. It might be helpful to talk about all these feelings with a professional, or at least a close friend.

Now, to the immediate concern. If a client came to me in therapy with a problem like this, I would advise them to imagine all possible scenarios and try to put themselves in each one while assessing how they would feel emotionally.

By immersing yourself in how each course of action will make you feel in your mind and body, only then can you determine what feels best for you, with the least amount of anxiety, anger, guilt, or discomfort. Once you figure out what would work best for you emotionally, you have your answer.

In your current situation, you have outlined several options. Waiting and acting surprised when your FWB shows up at home for the holidays, for example, can make you feel inauthentic and anxious when you imagine yourself in that situation. Having to lie or deceive in a situation can be stressful. You may be about to come clean and reveal that you actually knew about the relationship before. So this might not be the best approach.

On the other hand, when you imagine immediately telling your brother about your previous relationship with his boyfriend and laying it all out on the table, you might feel a little relief (even if it’s a little uncomfortable). This is a sign that you are on the right track. Keeping something as monumental as this and not revealing it can create a build-up of anxiety, especially if you’re usually pretty close and communicate well with each other. By telling your brother right away, you are showing him your loyalty and respect.

The last resort of contacting your ex-FWB early can feel a little too manipulative, when it’s really not your place, and feel off. You may feel guilt or shame when you try this scenario. The person that’s important to you here is your brother, and it’s not your job to get involved at this point, especially if you haven’t been in contact with him since college. Obviously, you might end up talking about this at some point in the future, especially if he eventually becomes part of your family, but this shouldn’t be behind your brother’s back.

Playing out all the scenarios and seeing how they feel in your body and emotional state is your test return to make the best decision for yourself. We can’t always please everyone in our lives all the time, but you can make sure that you are acting within your own moral compass and that you are in integrity with yourself. Remember, at the end of the day, blood is thicker than water…or a boyfriend.

Are you struggling with your own problem? Arrive at LGBTQ therapy space to schedule a free video consultation with an LGBTQ doctor in your state who fully and authentically understands you. And don’t forget to follow us social for LGBTQ mental health tips and more!

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Jake Myers the founder of LGBTQ therapy space , the first national LGBTQ owned and operated teletherapy platform. He has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles (with an LGBT specialization) and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston College. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist in CA and FL, with an online hotline private practice own based in SoCal.



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