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My ex is gay. How do I not take it personally?

Anna Pulley, @annapulley

RedEye's sex columnist

7:08 PM CDT, March 12, 2014

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Dear Anna,

My last relationship ended because my now ex-boyfriend realized he was gay. I’m trying to be OK with everything, but how do I not take it personally? Especially when my friends are acting like it’s the biggest deal? —Ex-Factors

Dear Factors,

My last relationship ended because my ex-girlfriend realized she was straight. You don’t take it personally because it’s not personal. You could have the most amazing, bedazzled, show tune-singing vagina in existence and it still wouldn’t change the fact that your ex prefers dudes. It happens. People break up all the time, for far pettier reasons. It may not help you, but it certainly helped me to take the mimosa-half-full outlook: Losing a lover because he was gay (or straight, in my case) absolves you of any of the blame. You didn’t do anything wrong! How could you have? You simply lacked back hair and a disposition for “Wicked.” 

I’m not sure why some people (your friends it seems) tend to consider this type of situation to be the ultimate slight. I’d guess it has something to do with feeling like not just that <i>we</i> were rejected, but that all of womankind was rejected! That our essential, elemental selves were rejected! But we shouldn’t. Heterosexuality is doing just fine, thanks. 

It all boils down to a basic incompatibility. Is it really worse to be left because of a revised sexual orientation, rather than any other number of situations, like being left for another woman, being left for your sister or being left for a blow-up doll named Francine? Is it better to be dumped so he can “find himself” or because you “are in different places in your lives”? My point is that it always sucks, regardless of how we hierarchize our grief. And the more we dwell on “what went wrong” (which, again, is nothing! You are blameless!), the harder it is for us to move on. Focus instead on healing yourself, on patching the good pieces of your life back together, and you’ll be fine.

As for your friends, it’s not the “biggest deal,” or even a big deal really, but I’d bet they are spinning it that way because you got your heart broken and it’s their misguided attempt of righteously siding with you. Try not to let them get a rise out of you. The next time they attempt to make it into A THING, shrug your shoulders and change the subject. They’ll get the hint eventually and move on.

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