Dearly Beloved, Should I Let My Boyfriend Go?

In this week’s Dearly Beloved, the advice column from author Michael Arceneaux, our dear reader is wrestling with whether or not to break up with a boyfriend. It’s not just the distance between them harming the relationship, it’s that they come from two different worlds. In one, it’s legal to be gay. In the other, not so much.

If you want Michael’s advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start your letter with Dearly Beloved!

It’s a thing.


Dearly Beloved,

A few years ago, I fell madly in love with a guy I’d never even met. I’m not this type of guy. I’m always the one who would tell my friends in long distance relationships that they were acting stupid, so it took me a long time to accept that this was what I was doing, and that this guy was more than a friend to me.

Things were going great up until last year. We had plans to meet, we talked about a future together, but it was all derailed when he was pulled for mandatory service in his country.

Where he’s from, it’s still illegal to be gay, which also played a factor, because the army found out about our relationship. It was found he committed no crime, but he still doesn’t talk to me the same way.

A lot of stressors before this led to a breakdown in the relationship, which led to a period where we would do nothing but fight, despite having had not a single fight for the almost three years up to that point. He’s become someone I don’t know. He’s angry all the time and constantly trying to blame me for things that aren’t my fault to make me feel bad. He’ll tell me he couldn’t call or text because his phone was confiscated because they saw me texting, when in reality it didn’t happen. He’ll tell me his service got extended because of things going on between us, when in reality the whole batch got extended.

Right now, I just want to be able to give up on this relationship. I love him incredibly, but I also can’t stand it anymore. He wants it to be over, but he keeps saying things like “maybe in a year” or “maybe when this is all over” and all I can think about is getting back the sweet, loving, caring guy that made me fall in love from thousands of miles away against all my better judgement.

I don’t know how to deal with these emotions, and I feel I can’t really open up to my friends about it. I really need some advice.

Thank you in advance.



Dear Jamie,

What I learned as a teenage boy with feelings for other boys I couldn’t communicate with in person out of fear — so I turned to the internet — is that you can absolutely fall in love with someone you have never physically met. If your mutual attraction gives way to real intimacy, it can absolutely happen. You’ve admittedly learned that now, though I am very sorry about the situation you find yourself in.

Unfortunately, you two cannot be together — at least not when he is the military, and arguably, his native country.

As for his hardened character, it may be frustrating and it may hurt you, but forgive him. It may not be right, but one imagines he has taken on this harder exterior as a means of protection. He knows who he is. He senses those around him know, too, thus he faces imminent danger at every second of his life. That is an impossible situation to be in.

I’m sure, he, too, loves you, but you two just aren’t good for each other. It is neither of your faults. This is the fault of his nation and the homophobia that informs its policies.

Maybe one day you two can reunite and have the relationship you both deserve. But if not, at the very least, you got to meet someone that made you feel. Don’t let how it burned out blind you to that.

I realize none of this will comfort you in the interim. That is understandable, so I will just feel the sadness until you think it’s time to let it go. Just don’t blame him or yourself for how this turned out. You both were wrong, and for that, again, I am sorry.



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