@Mr. B time to either challenge or confirm that view.
@nyc121212 LW says he has crushes on women and is attracted to women; we ought to take that at face value. He is not worried or insecure about his sexual identity (that might read something like "Dear Polly, I have never gotten an erection over a woman" "Dear Polly, I have no desire to make out with women, even though all my friends and society tell me to go for it"). His question is about overcoming anxiety about something he VERY MUCH WANTS TO DO WHICH IS FUCK LADIES. "Oh, well, maybe he's gay" is insulting to heterosexual and gay people alike. This is clearly a very intelligent and introspective dude . . .I'm sure in his many ramblings and self-relfections "maybe I'm gay" has come up. Lets give him some credit. (The reason I'm very sensitive on this point is that I have also partook in the "maybe he's gay!" glibness in the past, and gotten my ass handed to me on an identity politics platter). Unless LW swoops in on this point and *smacks* his head and says WOW I'VE NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT-- YOU PEOPLE ARE GENIUSES I'VE NEVER RECONSIDERED MY SEXUAL IDENTITY. Probably because women give him boners.
@lemmycaution Good call. I think online dating would make it clear for LW that the women he is meeting are, indeed, interesting in dating him and (open to the possibility of eventually) fucking. Making lovers out of friends of 2+ years is always tricky, and that seems to be one of the problems here. But I agree with Polly, there is NOTHING WRONG OR OPPRESSIVE WITH ASKING FOR A DATE OR PHONE NUMBER. Especially at a social event that revolves around a shared hobby or interest. Lots of people attend those kind of functions because its a way to meet people TO DATE who already like doing what they do. So yes: online dating, and continue to attend social hobby things.
@Fern Reno You do know that its really insulting to insist that someone's professed sexual identity (or identity of any kind) is not actually their identity, right? Would you tell a nervous gay person who has trouble identifying and dating other gay people "well, maybe you're just not gay!" No. Don't be a jerk.
@RobotsNeedLove I like that as a mantra: "Don't worry about missing the boat. You're on the boat"
@arc42 This reminds me of that Baz Luhrmann Advice song "Everybody's Free" in which he concluded "Take my advice or don't, but remember the sunscreen!" . . .I pretty much memorized that song, and I go back to certain lines once and a while like you go back to your list. I especially like when he paraphrases Eleanor Roosevelt: "try to do something every day that scares you." Because for really depressed people, just about EVERYTHING is scary, and it reminds you that is dosn't matter if the challenge is big in a universal sense, but that you take on a challenge that is hard and scary for YOU personally.
Dear LW, first a compliment: you are an excellent writer! I thought your letter was clear, thoughtful, and provocative. I am also someone who writes for my job (nothing literary, but wordsmithing and crafting prose none-the-less). It IS fucking hard. There are lots of days I just sit and stare at my laptop or re-read Dear Polly and newspapers. But if I leave my house and take my laptop to a coffee shop or a library and edit like three or four sentences, then I have succeeded in working for the day. I have all these fantasies about my super productive colleagues pumping out coherent prose while I sit here, drinking my coffee and procrastinating, and it leads to a shitty downward spiral of self-esteem. But I think those are fantasies I create just to motivate myself. Writing (and doing any job worth doing) is opening yourself up to criticism, and is therefore terrifying! But make some baby steps every day and you'll feel good about it. That goes for small gestures of social interaction also-- signing up for one dating website, talking to one person in line at the grocery store. I met my husband at a freaking lame-ass work mixer that I did NOT want to go to, but I was invited by a friend and I decided that the lame-ass mixer would be my "try one new social interaction" task for the day. And that one little task payed off.
I relate. When I was very little, I would try to get my mother's attention through asking her to read to me, being obnoxious while she talked on the phone, trying to hold her hand, etc. The response was usually, "Oh?! You need attention?!" (She was a very depressed lady and did not have the energy). I felt ashamed that I was needy, and learned to stop asking, and instead starting PERFORMING in a way that got positive attention (ie, like you and Polly-- being funny, charming, academically impressive). It is still very hard for me to call my good, old friends when I am feeling down or just want to talk. But I have started forcing myself to do it. And it feels good. And you must do it too. Not all people are your emotionally unavailable parents, or in LW case, your emotionally unavailable boyfriend. Some people-- the good friends-- are both happy to listen and happy to share their own cryface. Good luck to you on finding those people.
Second point: being vulnerable, to me, also means being strong. It means being honest enough to take responsibility for the things you are ashamed of, or worried about, or have legitimately screwed up. I don't think of the vulnerability and strength thing as a binary. They are very complementary processes. For instance, apologizing to someone is an act of both vulnerability and courage. Admitting "I treated you badly when I did ______. I hurt your feelings and I promise not to do it again, because I value your feelings" opens you up to criticism, but it also opens you up to a deeper, more satisfying relationship with people. (I'm not saying that LW needs to apologize to anyone, necessarily, but that is just a good example to me of an act that is both vulnerable and strong).
@beetnemesis its not petty and immature to distance yourself from someone who has deeply offended you, and does not seem likely to change in his attacks on your lifestyle/nationality/character. I think she is being plenty gracious to the husband to say "you can still be friend with this guy, but have him no where near me please, and try not to prioritize him over me"
First off, I am also pregnant, but under relatively easy circumstances, and I still feel vulnerable and anxious and overwhelmed all the time. With your experience, it must be 1000% the intensity and fear. On your behalf, I want to GUT your husband's friend and leave him by the side of the road so the (insert indigenous animals of his country) can eat his intestines. But I think he's a lost cause. So the real question is your husband.
Does your husband have a habit of forming relationships with dick weasels or just this one in particular? Is he generally a doormat around blowhards, or just this blowhard? He may be catering to this douche because he knows that the douche could easily turn on him and spew his unpleasantness on him rather than his wife (which is not a good justification for not jumping to your defense). He may feel insecure about his own decampment to America and thinks listening to his friends America-bashing and American-wife bashing is a deserved punishment. I guess I just read lots of WEAKNESS into your husband. Not neccesarily "bad guy-ness" but really really insecure weak sauce shit.