Annie’s Mailbox for Jan. 7, 2011: Tell the track team I’m gay?
Dear Annie: I’m a 17-year-old high-school senior and homosexual. So far, only my closest friends know, but of course, that’s not going to last long.
I’m wondering whether I should tell my track team now or wait until they ask about it. All of the guys are my friends, and we are really close, but I’m worried that when they find out, they will distance themselves from me. My closest friend tells me I shouldn’t bring it up unless they do. The problem is, I’ve already been asked awkward questions and put in difficult situations where I’ve lied to avoid having them find out.
I know I could try to postpone it until graduation, but that’s a long time from now, and track practice continues the entire year. Annie, I have no idea what to do, and I trust your opinion. Please help.
— Not Sure
Dear Not Sure: Your track team may already suspect that you are gay. You do not need to make an announcement, but if they ask specific questions, you might feel better if you tell the truth. There may be some initial fallout, but if they truly are your friends, they will come around. It will help to have the support of the coach and a school policy that encourages acceptance.
However, if you believe the team members will make your life difficult, it is OK to wait until after graduation. There is no right or wrong decision here. You should do what makes you most comfortable. We hope you have confided in your parents, and we also suggest you contact PFLAG (pflag.org) for specific suggestions and support.
Dear Annie: Now that the holidays are over, I have a gripe. I’ve been dating “Jack” for several years, and he still spends a portion of the holidays with his ex-wife and grown children at his ex’s home.
Jack was divorced before I met him, but his children still expect him to come alone to these family gatherings. When I tell him I’m unhappy about this arrangement, he says he’s doing it to make the kids happy. I feel left out. I also worry that there may be unresolved feelings between Jack and his ex-wife.
Do you think I am wasting my time with Jack? We have the same argument every year at holiday time, and I’m beginning to think things will never change.
Dear Confused: It would be nice if the children wanted Dad’s girlfriend included in these family gatherings, but they do not. You can keep arguing with him every year, or you can take the classy approach and tell him to have a nice time with his children while you make your own plans elsewhere. If you suspect he is still interested in getting back together with his ex, however, that is a different issue and should be openly discussed.
Dear Annie: I have a better response to “Losing it in Canada,” whose children chew with their mouths open.
The next time the kids start smacking when they chew, the parents should announce, “We have told you both repeatedly that is rude and unacceptable behavior. Since you cannot chew with your mouths closed, we will give you foods that don’t require chewing.” Then promptly replace their solid food with a bowl of soup — preferably one that is nutritious but not appealing.
Do this consistently each time for a week. Then return them to solid foods for dinner, but let them know that at the first smacking, it’s back to the soup routine. The kids will be chewing with their mouths closed in no time.
— Been There, Done That
Dear Been There: Your method may be effective, but it is also rather harsh. Punishments with severe ultimatums often escalate beyond what was originally intended. We wonder what happens if they slurp their soup.
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