Thursday, 1 September 2011

It's Good To Talk

Firstly I would like to apologise for the absence of the column 2 weeks ago, the truth is that I got my week’s in a muddle and thought I should have been writing the following week.

Hi Kate,

I am 24 years old and have been living on the island for nearly 6 months; I love it and am having a brilliant time. My family back in the UK has been really supportive and I’m in touch with them over Skype several times a week. I have brother 2 years younger then me and he has been coming for a long weekend nearly on a monthly basis. We are close but there is a problem. He is gay and when he comes over he basically spends his first night with me and then disappears for the rest of the time wondering in when he feels like it usually in a bit of a mess before flying back to England. I love my brother and have no issue with him being gay but I am also very close to my parents and for some reason he has decided not to tell them and asked me not to. Which puts me in an awkward position because when he gets back they often say that he is moody and grumpy and they have worked out its because he goes out and has a mad time when he is here so have started asking me what “we” get up to which in tern puts me in an awkward position.

I am also beginning to resent the way he is treating my very small apartment and the fact that in reality we hardly see each other when he is here. I also worry about his safety, he is new to the scene and I am very protective of him.

Any ideas on what I should do in terms of telling my parents would be much appreciated

Many thanks
An annoyed but loving sister!


Thank you for your letter and I can hear that you are concerned and annoyed with your brother for having to keep his secret and not being able to share your worries about what he is getting up to whilst here on his monthly visits. So, there seem to be two quite distinctive issues here. The first is regarding his sexuality and the confidentiality of that.

I can understand that you feel it is a big secret to keep and that maybe you would like to be able to talk about it to others that are close to get a better understanding of it yourself. Even though it is clear you have no obvious issue with him being gay it can still come as quite a shock and it is completely normal for you to need a period of time to adjust your expectations of what his future may now look like.

I also understand that it puts you in a difficult position with your parents but I do wonder why their assumption that both of you are going out together needs to be colluded with by you. Can you not say that since begin here he has developed his own group of friends and that often you do not go out with him? This does not have to be anything to do with his sexuality does it? I also would like to understand a little more why you feel the need to tell your parents, sexuality is such a personal and important part of someone’s life and maybe if you explained to your brother who you do seem to be very close to why you are finding things so uncomfortable he might start to consider telling them himself at some point in the future which might be the better scenario for all concerned.

The second issue i.e. that of him using your apartment to come and go as he chooses is one that many islanders talk to me about, we live here and work and over the summer season we seem to be hugely popular but there has to be a balance between holiday makers coming to stay and us being able to live our day to day lives. Maybe an open and honest conversation with your brother about how you are feeling about everything will help him to understand why you are beginning to feel restful of his visits and may enable him to see the need for changes in the way he is treating you and your hospitality.

I do hope things improve for you and please do let me know
Warm regards

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