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Getting Deep #22: Gay Uncle, Widowed Dad, Studying, Lying Friend

Q&A with Dr. Dorothy: Your tough questions answered

dorothy ratusny
Dorothy Ratusny is a Certified Psychotherapist specializing in Cognitive Therapy.

I think my uncle is gay. Is it possible my uncle likes men?

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It’s entirely possible that your uncle is gay, but without historical knowledge of his behaviour toward men and observations of his interactions with them, you can’t know unless you ask.

My mom died in a car crash last year and my dad was a total wreck. About two months ago, he started seeing someone. Part of me is happy for him but another part thinks he’s cheating on mom. He says if I’m unhappy with his new relationship, he’d end it for me. I kinda do want him to end it, but I feel bad about it. Would it be wrong of me to tell him to stop?

It’s important to recognize what you would be doing by asking your dad to end his new relationship. You are thinking about his new relationship from your perspective—with your feelings impacting what you would like him to do. However, your dad’s experience is obviously different; it is quite likely that his new relationship offers comfort and companionship. Even though you may not totally agree with it, attempt to see your dad’s new relationship from his perspective. See the positive impact it is having on his life before you ask him to end it.

I have a hard time concentrating on my homework. Can you give me some helpful techniques to stay focused?

If you are easily distracted, do your homework in a quiet place alone. Recognize when your mind starts wandering. Practice “catching” yourself when this happens and then refocus your attention on your homework. You will have to redirect your attention a lot at first. Stay with this. Once you can easily recognize when you are distracted, you’ll be able to refocus your attention immediately. Try also giving yourself structured study sessions. Use a clock to set up half-hour study periods and stick to them. Take short breaks in between to give your mind a break. Knowing that you have to concentrate for only a half-hour at a time makes it a little easier. Once you have these techniques mastered, you will be far more productive in completing your homework.

Student studying at a desk

My best friend is always lying to me about herself. She’s always claiming she has all these encounters with guys that she doesn’t actually have, among things. She’s also always cursing in front of me even though she knows I don’t like it. During recess, she’s always leaving me alone and hanging with other kids. She doesn’t act like my best friend. I’m not sure if I want to be friends with her anymore. Is she a friend worth keeping?

To best answer that question, I would suggest a simple exercise. Make a list of all of the qualities you would want in a best friend. Think about the kind of friend that you are to others, as a way of giving yourself ideas for your list. Once the list is complete, put it aside for a few hours. When you come back to it, compare all of the qualities, personality traits, and behaviours that you would ideally like in a best friend to the best friend that you currently have. Notice what things are missing from your friendship. Your best friend should have most (if not all) of the criteria on your list. If not, you have your answer.

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