Dear KD: I Am Torn

Dear KD: I Am Torn

I have read most of the stories here, and I would like to share mine to see if I can get help.

I am Kweku, a Ghanaian. I met this guy (presumably straight) about five years ago during an assignment in an institution which has dealings with my workplace. He is a little skinny but has a good muscle tone, with dreamy eyes and lower pink lips that turns his smile into a heart-melting sight.

For the purpose of this story, I’m going to call him OB.

Initially, I had a crush on him but my introverted nature would not let me make any advances on him or even speak to him. I also didn’t want to be more exposed than I was, seeing as some people around me already suspected me of being queer because of my slightly effeminate nature. I instead contented myself with daydreaming about cuddling him and looking into his eyes all day in bed.

Around that time, I had just two gay friends, guys who became like family to me because I could be me around them and express the true me without fear. They were the ones who introduced me to the gay scene in Accra, taking me to LGBT friendly spots and clubs in Accra and the Chalewote Festival, an occasion that is low-key Ghana’s gay pride. We would attend parties and go on trips together. Often times though, I always felt stressed during those trips, because they always came with their boyfriends or fuck buddies. I didn’t know anyone but them, and was often on my own. I didn’t have a boyfriend either. They often tormented me with their teasing, saying I must have a boyfriend I was hiding from them. I would object, telling them I wasn’t in any relationship but they wouldn’t believe me, making their case with the obvious: that I had a good job and wasn’t that bad looking. So, of course, why wouldn’t I have a boyfriend?

Now, back to this work assignment where I met OB. He approached me one time and asked for a pen. I found that a little odd, because there were lots of people around he could have asked. I gave him the pen. But he kept coming back to ask me one thing or the other, and I soon figured out he was new at the job and was probably making mistakes and needed guidance. So, I asked him if he needed help and he said yes.

That was how we officially got acquainted. We started chatting about work stuff, you know, how long I’d been working with my company and so on. He had just completed his SHS and was looking for something to do since there was no money to finance his university education. After that day, we would meet up to chat like we had known each other a long time.

Soon, we exchanged numbers. From WhatsApp to Facebook, we were chatting all the time. I developed feelings for him, not the sexual kind. At this time, my initial crush on him had somehow morphed into a sense of responsibility over him, like he was a younger brother I felt responsible for. (I am two years older than him.) We would talk about his life at home and his girlfriend issues. He complained about how the girl he was dating was tormenting him with her unhappiness and I tried to encourage him to be patient with her. However, she eventually left him for some rich guy – her boss actually – and OB didn’t take it well. In consoling him, I told him to focus on his job and make a life for himself and girls would always come when he is doing well.

On his birthday that year, I posted a picture of him on my WhatsApp status, and that was when the trouble started. My whore friends start pestering me to introduce him to them. But I knew they were up to no good and all they would do would be to inadvertently out me by trying to get him into their bed.

When my birthday came around, my friends were trying to organize something for me. They were preparing a guest list of those who’d be there at the party, and unbeknownst to me, they had somehow gotten OB’s contact and had invited him. I didn’t know this of course, and the party eventually didn’t hold because I lost a close relative and it didn’t feel right to be making merry when I was mourning.

But my friends came for the funeral, and it was then that they told me they’d spoken to OB and invited him to my cancelled birthday party. They’d wanted to finally meet him in person at the party. When that didn’t work, they invited him to the funeral. And sure enough, OB soon came along. I was in shock, and a little panicked to be seeing the two lives I’d kept apart coming together. If I feared getting outed by my friends, that fear was legitimate. Because, during the dancing, my friends were very uninhibited as they threw themselves all over OB.

For several days after that, it felt awkward talking to him. Not that he acted strange toward me, but I kept feeling like he now knew this huge thing about me, and the fact that he didn’t bring it up unnerved me more than a little bit. I didn’t know if he was just open-minded or didn’t know how to ask me about his realization. However, we kept being friends.

Two years later, I went into some depression after I came out to my mother. She didn’t turn hostile or anything, but she expressed such disappointment that struck me with no small amount of guilt. The depression really began messing with me. I coped by eating, and piled on the weight. Then I began to withdraw into myself, away from any situation that triggered my guilt. This included all my gay friends. I just wanted to try and regain my mother’s trust and – yes, see if I could change.

Instead, the darkness was eating me up. Only abating every time I ate something. I would eat and everything would feel okay for a while.

Meanwhile, I had cut off my gay friendships, blocked these guys on social media. Those two closest friends of mine tried to talk to me when I sent them texts letting them know they were no longer to interact with me, but I simply told them it was personal. No other explanation. They tried to get answers from OB, and when he asked me, I told him not to mind them. When he persisted, I told him to visit me so we could talk about it. And he told me he thinks he knows what my reasons are. I know he thinks it’s probably because I don’t want to associate with gay people, but it is more than that. I have issues that I am dealing with.

He said he will come to see me and I know we have to talk. And frankly, I am scared.

Dear KD, what should I do? Should I come out to him? Will I find any peace from at least admitting my sexuality to someone who might accept me for it? And what if he doesn’t? After my mother’s disappointment, I don’t know if I can handle another rejection from someone close to me. I am still struggling with my sexuality, and it would crush me to lose this guy who I have come to think of as a brother.

What do I do?

Submitted by Kweku

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32 Comments

  1. Sim
    June 14, 05:31 Reply

    Oh Jesus…Uncle pls love your self. I’m not gonna diminish your struggle cus u got a real problem. 1st, love urself and be honest to urself.
    2ndly did u block ur friends, cus they gay? U got into depression cus ur Mama expressed disappointment cus ur gay? So why do u wanna suck OB into ur mess. Get help 1st pls. The world is becoming more inclusive 🇧🇷 and 🇧🇼, seems u miss the train dear. Get HELP 🏥

  2. BRYAN PETERS
    June 14, 06:09 Reply

    Depression is not as straight forward as it may appear. You need to get professional health. Get with a mental health physician and get help. Then you would have to love and accept yourself for who you are. You would not start to heal until you do. It’s not really an issue of whether or not to cut yourself off from your friends or come out to OB. These might make u feel better or not. But the true healing starts from getting help and accepting yourself.
    I wish you all the best.

  3. Lorde
    June 14, 06:12 Reply

    I think he already knows whats Up…. And he’s taking an extra effort to come over to visit… straight or not…. I think he’s trying to be a good friend… you can come to him…. or at least try and be cryptic about it till he says it himself…. be strong hun…. it’ll get better

  4. Mitch
    June 14, 06:41 Reply

    One very easy thing that’s going to make all of this very bearable is you realising that you didn’t make yourself gay, you can’t change who you are and you need to start loving yourself for who you are.

    One thing about living a double life is that, someday, both sides are going to meet. So it’s easier and better to be upfront and unapologetic about who you are.

    That’s all you need.
    Be yourself!

  5. trystham
    June 14, 07:01 Reply

    You are putting your friends at arms length???? YOU ARE FUCKING PUTTING YOUR FRIENDS AT ARMS LENGTH????!!!😠😠😠😬😬😬😡😡😡

    • Francis
      June 14, 07:53 Reply

      Lol. I confuse die. You block the gay people that will most likely understand what you’re going through and start looking for solace in straight people that don’t know about you and could further worsen your mental health status if they are toxic homophobes

  6. Dimkpa
    June 14, 07:14 Reply

    The love of a parent is what many childeen live for. We do all we can to get their approval. Therefore having your mom express disappointment like she did is enough to make you depressed. Mothers also know how to guilt trip their kids so she didn’t have to be hostile to you in order to break your spirit. The fact is she hasn’t accepted you for who you are and that hurts.

    However, you can’t do anything about that. She has to learn. I am baffled when I hear stories of mothers who stop loving their own kids, stop caring about their safety and happiness because of what people, who shouldn’t matter, will say. Accept that she is disappointed, you can hope she will come around but realise she’s the one who is in the wrong, not you.

    The thing you have to do is love yourself. You need to realise that you were born gay just like millions of people around the world. It is not because of anything you did and nothing can change it. Wallowing in self pity won’t change it. Withdrawing from your friends won’t change it. It is a natural state of being. You need to embrace it, go out into the world and live the fabulous life you are meant to live. You have a right to do so like everybody else.

    With regards to coming out to OB, my opinion would be that it is not yet time to do so. You ask if you will find peace if he accepts you, but I feel you need to come to a place where you already have peace within yourself. That way his acceptance will be the icing on the cake and his rejection will be like water off a duck’s back.

  7. Nimdee
    June 14, 07:23 Reply

    Hmmmmmmmmm Opening up to a colleague at work don’t sound like a good idea to me. What if he tells someone else… And it goes on like that?

  8. Delle
    June 14, 08:34 Reply

    Until you unburden to someone, you won’t feel better. And you damn well need to feel better. Encasing yourself at home and ‘trying to change’ never helps (you’re only just stretching time, not dealing with the situation).

    Am I pumped that the first person you’ll be coming out to is a straight guy you have complicated feelings for? No.

    I think you need to come out to YOURSELF first. This might sound cliché, but you do not need validation from another person. This is who you are. You’re a gay man living in a world that knows little to nothing about what it means to be different because that’s all you are – different.

    You’re not WRONG for being gay. You can’t change your sexual orientation, I’m sorry. But you can have a better social life. You can have an amazing life with people who care, people who understand. Your mum reacted the way a typical African mum will, it’s not something that should throw you into a net of depression. She’ll come around. Eventually. And while she is at it, live your best life! Brooding and isolating yourself never helped anyone.

    As for the guy coming over, like I’ve earlier mentioned, I’m not so taken by your seeking validation from him. But if it so matters to you, then he sincere with him. Come out to him. He either accepts or rejects your friendship and if the latter happens to be the case, good riddance! You’ll make better friends.

    Please you have a lot going for you. Do not let people’s expectations throw you off course. It’s never worth it.

    • Delle
      June 14, 08:39 Reply

      And can you please UNBLOCK YOUR TRUE FRIENDS!? You need them now, more than ever!

      • mike
        June 17, 12:05 Reply

        Let’s play a prediction game.
        Judging from what he has told us about his friends, their lifestyle and little insight into their personalities.
        Do you see this ending well, positively with them around ?. Humans are creatures of habit, which means they’re predictable. If I know enough about you, I can predict what you would do at any given point in time.

        He is an introvert, introverts like introspect vias the term introvert. His friends can not help him here, especially not with the way they are. But he will pull out of it , by himself. Sulking is how introvert process things subconsciously, similar to the way a computer looks like it hibernates or slowed down, when its doing too much work.

  9. Chiedozié
    June 14, 09:35 Reply

    Coming out is first accepting yourself, looking at yourself unflinchingly and being at peace with what you see, so much so you can decide to share your truth with those who matter to you. Accepting yourself is the most crucial part, one that can’t be missed, because you can only handle rejection when you’re first at peace with and comfortable with yourself.
    Coming out should always be your decision. Not something you get pressured into by anyone, no matter how well-meaning.
    If you need anyone to tell you whether or not to come out to someone, then you’re not ready. You’ll know when it’s time.
    The most important thing is to work on yourself, your mental health, and your boundaries. It’s unhealthy sticking with friends who you’re scared would out you, just because they’re gay. There are people who would love and respect you and your boundaries, gay or not. Seek out those friendships, bearing in mind that you matter, you bring value, and friendship is not a favor anyone could possibly do you.
    Good luck.

  10. Temi
    June 14, 09:40 Reply

    Judging from what I’ve just read I think you’re still struggling and on a journey to acceptance. Firstly, why not find a place in your heart to love yourself.

  11. Scarlet_witch
    June 14, 09:44 Reply

    Kweku, I feel really sorry about what you are going through and I hope your mum comes around and while you wait for her I hope you heal.

    That said, I really think you should reconnect with your gay friends. You need them now more than ever because they know you and could be a great source of comfort for you at a time like this, if they are truly your friends and really embrace their sexuality which I believe is the case.

    I’ll also say you should put off coming out to OB till you are in a better frame of mind. To me, you seem very needy of acceptance and on the verge of being impulsive. I get that he is very important to you and it ll do you a whole lot of good if he accepts you but I honestly don’t think there is any guarantee. It’s a two way thing. He could be accepting of you or not whether subtely or overtly and I feel the later will not do you good.
    He is straight as you pointed out and so may not be very understanding about your being gay or it may take him time to process and it could scare him.
    So for now, please keep it on hold, reconnect with your old friends, give yourself time to heal and when you are in a relatively better frame of mind, then roll the idea of coming out to him in your mind again and see what your decision then may be.

  12. Malik
    June 14, 14:36 Reply

    Accept yourself first. Admit to yourself what you feel right now. You may be hesitant to say words as strong as “I am gay” but you can say, “I am sexually attracted to guys. It’s not any fault of mine, it is just where I am right now.”

    And then you can start to talk to people about it. Start from those close to you. Accept love from those who will love you regardless. Trust me, they’re in the majority. And to those who refuse to accept you, keep them far away.

    I think you should be honest with OB but don’t seek validation from him. If he doesn’t accept that part of you, let him be.

    There’s love and acceptance out there but I swear it starts from you first. Sending you love.

  13. Higwe
    June 14, 14:50 Reply

    There was a time around 2016 / 2017 I went into depression .
    I wanted something so badly and a silly mistake robbed me of it . So I went into depression .
    Mine wasn’t even food it was sneakers chocolate bar …I would pack it twenty or thirty and finish it before sunrise .

    *I had a gut the size of Texas* 😂😂

    I cut off all communications with friends even my family couldn’t get through to me until one day I had a life changing experience .One boy (a very respectful boy ) incredibly intelligent and smart for his age ,his mum swept our compound .

    He was thrown out of school because his mother was pregnant with her fourth child .This is a woman living in almost abject poverty !
    His dad was a mechanic and he was subsequently saving money for hospital bills and expenses of the incoming baby ..so that other guy had to drop out of school.

    So the day I saw he was now the one sweeping everyday unlike when he only helped out on weekends …I knew something was amiss , I asked him about it and he told me. That was when I decided to trade one addiction for another .

    I built a piggy bank and started putting money in there .
    Whenever I went out and hustled and got something , instead of buying all those chocolates I loved so much , I’ll take the money and put it in there. I did it for about three months and on December when he met me with the “broda gbara m Christmas ” I took the box and handed it to him .

    We broke it and I counted 55 thousand five hundred and fifty naira .
    I took him to the bank , opened an account for him and taught him how to use it .
    That was enough to cover his school fees from SS1 to SS3 (his school fees was only 2400 naira – a government school ) .

    The moment I did that I felt invigorated and rejuvenated …like I had a new life again .
    It was like in an instant every ounce of anger and depression in my body vanished into thin air .

    ***********

    Africans don’t know Jack about depression (even though a lot of them suffer from it )
    I would have given you the suggestion “talk to someone ” but what are the odds the person you’re talking to even understands what you’re going through ?

    Your two gay friends don’t even seem like serious minded individuals ..so I’m not banking on those two either.

    So my suggestion “undepress” yourself .
    It works perfectly when you trade one negative addiction for a positive one .

    There are a plethora of things you can channel your energy on and you’ll be surprised how you’ll stop thinking about all the lows in your life and start getting ebulient over all the highs you can encapsulate in your new positive addiction .

    Sometimes all it takes …is focusing on the problems of those who significantly have it worse than you do .
    Try it ; it works ! 😍

    • Mark
      June 14, 20:40 Reply

      This is the best of all. Trade one addiction for another. The negative for the positive. So much you can channel your energy on. Philanthropism is one of them.

    • trystham
      June 15, 05:20 Reply

      This is actually a story not even your narcissism could spoil for me. I’m so proud of u for what u did for that child.

      • Higwe
        June 15, 12:38 Reply

        This is actually a compliment not even your lack of intelligence can spoil for me .
        Thank you for the compliment .

    • mike
      June 17, 11:54 Reply

      What you did, is actually a real thing in psychology, substituting one addiction for a lesser harmless one.

      For example smokers are give nicotine patches, to replace smoking/cigarette.
      Nicotine patch gives you all the feeling that comes wìth smoking you are looking for. The calm nerve, the arousal that comes with each inhaled. Gives you all of that without the actual smoke down your lungs.
      Untill you are strong enough to throw away the habit.

      Nicely done. I hope you were able to eventually able to deal with your real issue sha, because feel ģood syndrome, is actually a real thing.

  14. Bee
    June 14, 15:52 Reply

    Everyone has given awesome advice up there but I’ll just add that although you do need to talk to people who understand what you’re going through (read gay friends), I think you need to tell them that you are not out and that they should respect that. Y’all don’t lead the same lives. They should understand this. If they can’t, then you can stay at a distance; I don’t think you should block them because you need them.

    Good luck on your journey to acceptance and try to consciously make rational decisions along the way. Loving yourself cannot be overemphasized! Much love.

  15. J
    June 15, 02:08 Reply

    Please have friends that will have a positive influence on you… Your friends have their struggles too, try and have an understanding with them.

    Read “Honoring the self’ by Nathaniel Branden. It’s a good book, it will help you a lot.You don’t need his validation, if he can’t accept you like you’ve accepted him then so be it. Let him go.

  16. Kityyy
    June 15, 05:20 Reply

    Just invest un yourlife. Become autonomous. All those friends will go but your future is for you.

  17. Kittal
    June 15, 05:23 Reply

    I dont understand africans who often think coming out IS the solution. I dont think so. Just live your life

    • Pink Panther
      June 15, 06:23 Reply

      Coming Out is not a solution. But it’s part of the process of living your life. Sometimes, people (Africans included) have to come out in order to be free of certain expectations placed on them by family and society.

  18. PURPLE
    June 15, 13:29 Reply

    There is a theory that has always worked for me and I advice people to work with it. We all have ‘buts’ and things we might not be comfy about within and on us BUT you need to discover who you truly are,what you stand for,how you want to be TRULY seen and the future you have planned out for you(SELF DISCOVERY). 2. You need to TOTALLY accept all that you discovered. Find the happiness within and about it. Live on the positivities (SELF ACCEPTANCE) 3. Love all that you have discovered and accepted about your self. I mean real,deep love that nobody can penetrate through( SELF LOVE). These 3 are the basis. It takes time hunnay but on the long run you might just be glad you chose these.

  19. Mike
    June 17, 11:42 Reply

    Handle this things apart, when you are done figuring out you mommy issue, you can face OB.
    Attempting to handle this two things at once would just blur the lines, making you substitute one for the other, thereby leaving an issue unsolved.
    It’s how the mind functions, substitution.

    For example, without having dealt with this your mommy drama enough to figure out who you are, and get a grip on yourself, you will project it all on OB, if it now turns out his response is positive and accepting, worst romantic. You would be substituting his love and acceptance for your own self love and acceptance, which should come from a knowledge of yourself. Who you are now, that the cat is out of the bag.

    Cutting off your gay friends, is just you looking for answers and a form of identity, you are not so sure , who your friends are, is who you want to be. Maybe in the course of your life, you have never given this much thought.

    Coming out to your mom, is huge. It represents a vast amount of freedom especially psychologically. Freedom that you are not used too, freedom that you do not identify with or know who you are with regards to your new found freedom.

    Realise, that this is not about OB and has nothing to do with him, your mind is just blurring the lines, looking for an easy fix to healing.

    So take your time, deal with your shit, surprise yourself. You might even discover he’s not your type of man.
    There is something about hidding, sneaking around , that makes the wine sweeter than it actually is.
    Coming out you might opt for the real thing, real wine, real taste. A good wine is not about sweeteners, it’s about years of maturity and experience.

    Forget OB, you are strong, brace up.

  20. Emerald
    June 19, 08:50 Reply

    I am still struggling to understand why we the queer folk have to come out to anyone about our sexuality. Can we not just live like straight people do? When has any straight person come out to anyone?

    Kweku, I’d say ‘say nothing to him or anyone henceforth. They’d figure it out sooner or later and eventually come around. And if they don’t, lose no sleep over it. Live for you not for others.’

    I know I ain’t saying shit to anyone

    • Pink Panther
      June 19, 12:03 Reply

      A straight person does’t have to come out to anyone because the world already sees him for who he is. For a gay person to be seen, he has to let the world see that he is NOT straight. That is what coming out does. It gives visibility to the gay person. It tells his environment that he is here and going nowhere. So no. You cannot just live like straight people do, unless you want to be seen as straight. Coming out isn’t living for anyone. Coming out is in fact letting them know that you are out here, living for YOURSELF.

      And if you don’t ever want to come out, if you want the world around you to keep having heterosexual expectations of you, if you feel like staying in your closet is what’s best for you, by all means, do you. But don’t invalidate the importance of coming out simply because you’re not brave enough to take that step.

      • Emerald
        June 23, 09:45 Reply

        This has nothing to do with bravery or remaining in the closet (no one has put me in any closet). It’s about not being answerable to anyone, it’s about not looking for validation. Why do you have to call yourself anything other than human to start with? Why should there be an adjective to qualify me? So I grow up toeing a part different from what is generally accepted as the norm, so what? How does that make me less of anything such that I will have to be looking for acceptance or as put by you ‘to be seen’.
        I think that the whole concept of coming out is what led us to where we are now. People wake up to others worshipping gods different from theirs and life goes on. Do you know why? Because no one had to first announce that he or she is choosing to worship a different god and then ask for acceptance. If this was how sexuality was treated from the onset, we won’t be having this conversation right now.

        • Pink Panther
          June 23, 10:22 Reply

          You have a very warped understanding of what coming out means. The mere fact that you are comparing it to the worship of different gods is just laughable.

          Coming out may mean a lot of things to different people, but it is not about seeking validation from people or being answerable to people. I don’t for the life of me see what coming out has to do with how people identify themselves or about what adjective qualifies them. I don’t see how coming out makes anyone less than. You really need to reorient yourself on this subject. I don’t know how you didn’t even understand this in my comment. If you do not believe in coming out, that’s entirely your prerogative. But don’t act like it doesn’t play an important role in providing visibility to a community that society would like to believe doesn’t exist.

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