By Candy Marcum Counselor’s Corner

Dear Candy,

So my date and I were at the Magnolia enjoying “Brokeback Mountain.” Halfway through, the guy on the other side of me slid his hand from the armrest to my thigh. I froze and kept my eyes glued on the screen while the guy advanced to my package. He didn’t unzip anything, but his interest aroused me.
All the while my date munched on popcorn, oblivious to the molesting stranger. When the credits rolled, Mystery Man left without a word. We also left, and later my date and I had raunchy cowboy sex.
I feel guilty that I never mentioned Mr. Mystery Hand to my date. And when we hook up, I fantasize about being fondled in a dark theater. I can’t bring myself to confess, and I’m wondering if I should break it off and go look for Mystery Man.
J. D.

Dear J. D.,
You sure got a lot out of that movie. The seriousness of your dating relationship will guide whether or not you should tell him about Mystery Man. If it was a first or second date, you don’t owe him a confession. But if a blossoming relationship is in the works, you should tell him.
Feeling guilty usually means there’s a connection between you and your date. Telling him about what happened lets him know what makes you tick, and it gives you both an opportunity to make decisions about the relationship. It sounds like you have more “playing around” to do before having a serious relationship. Have fun and be safe. Good luck.

Dear Candy,
I’m not able to develop meaningful friendships. I only have one friend: She’s straight, and I am gay. In the hopes of making new friends, I joined several queer groups, but it never works out.
I’m not overly shy, but I don’t just chat people up because I’m afraid people will think I’m prying. I do most everything alone except for when I’m with my best friend, which leads to a second issue: meeting someone for a relationship.
Ten years ago, I was in a year-and-a-half relationship and haven’t dated anyone since. I don’t like going to bars because of the smoke. Plus, I have no one to accompany me, and being alone in a bar can look funny.
If I could make a few meaningful friendships, I think I’d be happier. And hopefully, my happiness would lead to a lasting relationship.

Dear Lonely,
You’re too focused on how others perceive you. If folks misinterpret your motives, correct them. If you’re standoffish, people will leave you alone.
I support your desire to have lasting gay friendships. But don’t get in front of the process by second-guessing what people will think about you. You are impeding the process of making connections. Make eye contact. Smile. Talk to people. Good luck.

Candy Marcum is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Dallas.
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