Dear Barb – Compare and Contrast

Dear Barb:

My husband and I recently separated because he “discovered” he’s gay. We have shared custody of our two little boys age three and five. Everything was fine for the first while, as my ex kept his lifestyle away from the boys, but recently he has met a partner and they are planning on moving in together. I have a real problem with this. I don’t want my children exposed to his lifestyle. I tried to discuss my feelings with my ex, but he says this is who he is and he does not want to hide it from our children. I threatened to keep the boys from him, but he says I can’t do that. I am not trying to keep the boys from him, just from his lifestyle. Why can’t he keep this private so our boys are not influenced by it? Thanks Dawn.

Hi Dawn:

Your ex is right; you cannot keep your boys from him simply because he is gay. That is discrimination based on sexual orientation. Whether they are influenced by his lifestyle is debatable. It’s an unfortunate situation that your ex didn’t realize he was gay earlier, but the reality is that he is gay. His ability to be a good, caring father is not based on his sexual orientation. You cannot expect him to keep his lifestyle from your sons anymore than you are expected to keep your lifestyle from them. So accept the situation and move on. Thanks for your question Dawn.

Dear Barb:

My boyfriend and I have been together for six months. He had been married briefly before we met; the problem is that he is always comparing me to his ex. Every time I do something, he points out the way his ex did it. I am getting really sick of this, but I haven’t said anything to him about it. I actually don’t think he realizes that he does this all the time. Should I just wait and hope that eventually he will stop doing it? We get along really well and I don’t want to bring it up if it is going to cause problems between us. Help! Paula.

Hey Paula:

It is already causing problems, so yes I think you should discuss this issue with your boyfriend. It is possible he doesn’t realize he is doing it. Being compared to a previous partner does not provoke a good feeling in the present partner. I don’t think you should wait and hope he eventually stops doing it. Chances are if you wait too long it will be even harder for your boyfriend to change. So discuss it with him and if he is resistant to changing this behaviour you may have to go for couple’s counselling. Often people think only married couples or people who are living together need counselling, but That’s not true; anyone can benefit from counseling. What’s more it is probably better to get this resolved before you move in together or get married. Hope I was able to help.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.