Sunday, February 16, 2014

Gay Oedipus Complex?

Sigmund Freud proposed the theory of the Oedipus complex as a stage in the psychosexual development of children. It occurs around 3-6 years of age where the child wants to sexually possess the opposite-sex parent. As psychologists, and Lady Gaga, are now advancing the belief gay people are Born This Way, it stands to reason that gay children would have the opposite type of Oedipus complex; they would want to sexually possess their same-sex parent. While some may argue children of the 3-6 year old range may not be sexually aware enough to possess a parent, it could also manifest itself in simply wanting to spend time with that parent while excluding the other. 

With the mixed messages gay men have received while growing up, especially from our fathers or the father figure in our lives, this could explain why many gay men have had strained or difficult relationships with their fathers; religion and other homophobic beliefs notwithstanding.

Well, maybe at least it explains mine. And my dating conundrums. 

When I meet a new man I'm interested in, either as a friend or a potential boyfriend, I get attached quickly. Perhaps too quickly. I want to know what's going on, what's he thinking, does he like me, too? When he doesn't reply to my text/email/phone call, I know he has rejected me. Either that, or he's in a hospital, lying in a ditch somewhere, or worse, he's dead!

And I ask myself, why? Why do I do that? After all, we only met for coffee, and I'm picking out china patterns before we've even had sex, which is a whole other can of worms I am afraid to open right now.

As I've met some really nice men in the three years since my divorce,  many of these encounters sent me all in a tizzy because I found myself interested in him and thought he was interested, too. As it turns out, he was interested, but usually in a third person,  so we could only be friends. Okay, that's fine. I could always use more friends.

But, I would go through all the same emotions, as if we were dating. Which we weren't, and weren't going to. Yet, I wanted to pursue the friendship with the same fervor as if we were. Well, he said he hoped to see me soon, he enjoyed his time with me, but since he hasn't called, he obviously didn't mean what he said. Oh my god, he's dead!

And I ask myself why? Why do I set myself up for this?

It's simple.

I am lonely. The loneliness has raised its ugly head. When I feel there is a connection, however strong or weak it may be, I want to see the friendship/relationship flourish, and immediately. And when it doesn't move the way I want/need it to, I feel rejected. 

And then I ask myself why? Why do I feel rejected? What's wrong with me? What did I do? But, what if I did nothing? Except maybe come on too strong too fast.

And I ask myself why? Why is this so familiar?

The answer finally came to me. 

My father.

My parents divorced when I was five, right in the middle of the Gay Oedipus Complex. I should be over it by now. The fifty-six year old is, kind of, but the five year old isn't. The ten year old isn't. The sixteen year old is angry because father wasn't around and the stepfather couldn't (wouldn't?) connect with him. The sixteen year old gave up waiting for the father to at least send a birthday card. Yet, our moving around all over the country didn't help the father stay in touch with the little boy. It wasn't entirely the father's fault, but excuses don't always help young children understand. Or heal.

While I have come to believe everything happens for a reason, and while my parents had their reasons for the divorce, I have become an innocent victim of the circumstances surrounding it. It was not my fault, but now I am bearing the burden of that injured child. Now that I have identified this part of my shadow, it is up to me to find the light to help manage it. 

And the only way I can think of is to embrace the loneliness, to embrace the fear of rejection-either as boyfriend or platonic friend, and to accept the fact that I truly didn't do anything to chase my father away; just as I may not have done anything in particular to chase those men away. I just need to remind the little boy, especially when a new man enters our life, that whatever happens, we both will be just fine. In time.

And for the men who reject me, either as a friend or boyfriend, they are missing out on one hell of an amazing man and a great friend.


  1. I agree with the last statement.

    1. Thank you for reading and your comment!

    2. We all make our own choices in life, The person "choose" to missing out on one hell of an amazing man and a great friend. Who lost is that? No need to sell yourself short, you know what you are looking for, 'til the right moment, shall you know ....

    3. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment! And, you are so right!