Dear Ocky, I’m Being Treated Like a Side Piece

By OckyDub | Posted Jun 22 2017 | 9 Comments  

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In this podcast we read a viewer’s email asking for relationship advice. Check out the letter below followed by my advice and commentary.

Dear Ocky,

Me and my boyfriend have been together for about 14 months. I’m 27 and he’s 41. With both work and own separate homes. We like to travel, have fun together doing different activities. Of course I wouldn’t be writing if there wasn’t a problem.

I’m not the most masculine person, I’m kinda in between but he’s very masculine. I’ve introduced him to my family and friends but whenever his family comes to town he will not introduce me to them. He has told me he is not out to his family because they are super religious. It doesn’t stop here. He also has a teenage son who lives out of state. Just like with the rest of his family I can’t come around when his son is in town.

The real reason I’m writing is because his son will be staying with him for two months over the summer. He said we’ll only be able to see each other about once a week. I don’t think this is fair.

How can you be over 40 and still in the closet or ashamed of who you are? We’re boyfriends but I feel like I’m being treated like a side piece. Is it because I’m not the most masculine person? I don’t know, at any rate, am I over reacting?



About the Author

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

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9 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Rico
    Rico | June 22nd, 2017

    Not to demean, but the phrase "side piece" makes me giggle, like dude is the drive-by special at some gay Popeyes franchise ("I'll take a thigh and a breast to go") lol

    I don't think age, etc. is the issue (I have Herero friends with that age difference or greater among the couples). It's openness. If you enter into a relationship you need to be upfront about openness/discreetness. When you sign on with someone, gay or straight, you are signing up with everything that comes with that person, family, friends, their career, interests, etc. You need to put all that into the equation. The writer had to know early on that dude was DL, so that's an issue he needed to decide then he wants to put up with. Not every older guy is John Waters or Sir Ian McKellen (over they're WAY OLDER). Bottom line (no pun) you have to let the other person know form get go, I'll accept this in a relationship or not.

    Finally, age differences of a decade or so are going to bring generational considerations, which also need to be realistic. Millennials are just more open and comfortable in gay/bi skin than GenX. Plenty of older guys are DL/discreet for a number of reasons, for example, as Ock pointed out in a recent podcast, proctecting ones source of income because of coworker/employer views; or like a friend of mine, a corporate exec who mentors younger white collar black males (and females) in the job and the whole out thing might affect a number of professional relationships and unfairly cause the questioning of motives.

    The father/son thing trumps boyfriend status, and with all the other courses that black men need to chart in America, I'd give dude some slack on navigating a parent/child relationship. On the OTHER hand, as I always say, you can't hide forever in the digital age and older dude needs to be prepared to settle that matter once and for all. I'm thinking of someone I know whose ex-wife tried to out him out to his mother and child in divorce proceedings. Luckily for him it settled problem free, but what about older dude in this email? And does younger dude want to be involved with The Outing Drama with older dudes family if it comes to that?

  2. BlackguyExecutive
    BlackguyExecutive | June 22nd, 2017

    I am just gonna leave this song right here:

    It sums up my thoughts on this matter

  3. takeyourmeds91
    takeyourmeds91 | June 22nd, 2017

    He's absolutely not over-reacting. That sounds like a due process ultimatum to me. Either you start taking steps to invite me into your life or it's a done deal. Almost 50 damn years old acting like that.

    All this youth and you wanna play games…FOH.

  4. TreDaDon
    TreDaDon | June 22nd, 2017

    IMO, the younger guy is being unreasonable. A man with a child & homophobic family shouldn’t be made to feel like he’s being forced to come out to anyone. People have to do what they’re comfortable with in their own time. After 14 months, he knows if he wants to be with you whatever end of the masc/fem spectrum you fall on so I don’t think that’s the issue. I think age is the biggest issue because different generations see being out in different ways. If you grew up where being out was not much of an option, it is psychologically repressing in ways younger guys just can’t comprehend. That’s an impasse that’s difficult to move beyond. I don’t think forcing someone to do anything is fair. I do believe you at least deserve some type of schedule as to when you two can live your lives openly if that is important to you. But ask yourself, why is it so important to you? If the people in your inner circle & his inner circle that you guys are closest to know who you are to each other, what difference does it make? Is marriage an outcome that you expect? If it is, he needs to know that. You may not be compatible for a LTR. Maybe this is just a for the moment thing. Talk to him without pressuring him. Let him know that you’ll be there with him & no matter how his family responds you’ll always love & support him even if the relationship doesn’t work out. That fear of rejection of everything you know is so real. Believe me, I live in that shit & my partner gets frustrated but I don’t believe in being pressured or pressuring others. No, we’re not going to my class reunion as a couple. No, I’m not going on FB declaring that I’m “in a relationship”. My parents, siblings & all my closest friends know who we are & how long we’ve been together. Anything beyond that to me is a non-factor, it’s no one else’s business.

  5. Jai
    Jai | June 22nd, 2017

    I think the younger guy is being unreasonable. First of all, 14 months isn't long. Secondly, everyone family is different, not all Americans share the "American Dream" of introducing folks to their family. I will say that once a week thing is a mess though…I'd be looking at him like what? Let me guess, during that one time we meet you're gonna want to have sex?

    But anyways, even though both of you have your own, he has a religious family and a son. Respect that, they were there first and at the end of the day will be HIS family.

    I'm not saying he should treat the writer like a "side order". The writer should talk it out with his man and see what he says. Let him know how you feel first before you go to anyone else. Also, remember that you are boyfriend's, not a married couple…I'd def be looking at him crazy if y'all stayed together and he said that…lol

    Have you considered marrying this man in the years to come or will you stay bfs?

  6. mojoreece
    mojoreece | June 22nd, 2017

    I think it goes to the level of openness each partner is comfortable with. The younger dude prop wants to be more open and "out" about the relationship. Nothing is wrong with wanting that but youngins' level of being out and open prob doesn't fit well with his boyfriend. Being that his boyfriend is older with a child and religious family he has set up a current discreet/dl life that's he's comparable with.

    Over all he's going to have this talk with his older partner about these issues. If this is a non negotiable, which it prob is, since his partner is much older. Old dude prob not going to change just for yougin. Young dude prob might be torn between staying or leaving to find someone else who is willing to be more open.

    Latoya sang it best:

  7. Omega Level
    Omega Level | June 23rd, 2017

    Im reading the other readers comments and Im a bit puzzled. Because I don't think the younger guy is being unreasonable at all for the most part. As well as 14 months being a small amount of time.

    Time is relative as fuck. The world can change drastically in less time, your age isn't the same, and babies can be conceived and born is less time. What the hell is this about 14 months isn't long? LOL.

    The main unreason I think this young guy is doing, is to him self. Bro, you knew what time it was when you met this man. Maybe not on day 1 or month 1, but somewhere around the second month or so I'm sure you found out about his religious family, his son, and his need to keep things quiet and DL like. Yet you continued. Its ok for him and men to be DL and care about what their family thinks at 40 damn years old (even tho I view them as pathetic, but thats me and my side eye) just like its ok for you to want to be with someone that introduces you to their family and doesn't make you feel like a "side piece".

    I think people should be honest with themselves and others on what will work for them and what will not work. And be quick about expressing it or your just wasting everyones time. You can only be someones "Little Secret" if you allow that and you can only be "torn" if thats ok with you being so.

    Don't try to pressure anyone to now be something else when thats how they were when you met them in the first place. I understand feelings can develop and things you once saw and ignored bother you now, but I would communicate that with them as soon as I can. If they understand your feelings and are willing to work on it, than they care enough for you to consider this something more. If they don't care, you know what you gotta do. Have the strength and respect yourself enough to go find someone your more compatible with in areas you value.

  8. sekou
    sekou | June 24th, 2017

    I am not going to weigh whether 14 months is long or not, it more about how deep the connection is between you both.

    Re the side piece thing… I think you are over reacting … or reacting to how close you want to feel with him and the reactions you are getting back from him re his family situation. I would agree his family is his family and how he interacts is entirely up to him. I dont know the social and emotional connection he has with his family to say he should chose you and risk them. So i would respect his decision to keep his family /support system with him.

    His NOT OUT status is also cool … or better put, entirely up to you whether or not to live with…. , . It is something that you must have knew from before and you continued to love him . you shouldn't come between him and his process of coming out. So you made the decision to live with this aspect of his life. His son by what you described is very important to him, which should also be respected Too many sons are growing up without their fathers in today's day and age

    HOWEVER ….. once a week shit sounds like bullshit to me. He would have to make some compromise in this department. the relationship isnt only about him and how he deals with his outness . some compromise would have to be made IMO. in Jamaican "NOT A CLAUGHT"

  9. D | July 2nd, 2017

    This is what you are as a “boyfriend “.. None of this is rocket science. Put what you want and need on the table. Be honest about it before you get caught up in the perks of getting to know someone. Stop fantasizing. Most men as your described boyfriend come with all that and then some. This is what you’re attracted to and it comes with a price.

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