One evening, Tiffany and I were sitting in my room while discussing social issues for it has been a while since she visited me. Tiffany has been one of my great friends for the last 15 years and we used to spend a great deal of time together sharing many things in life such as going out, reading, discussing, watching movies, and playing. An issue emerged during our conversation regarding our relationship as Tiffany complained that our relationship had been going downhill with time due to influence from my other friends. Even though we shared similar cultural and religious backgrounds, we had different social perceptions of romantic relationships of the same-sex that made her jealous when she realized that I was associating with a gay friend.
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One Friday evening, Tiffany and I were sitting in my room as usual while discussing social issues that were happening in college relative to our relationship. We discussed different romantic relationships such as heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual relationships. Then, it emerged that Tiffany had been monitoring my movements and noted that I had been associating with a gay. Tiffany confronted me to explain why I was associating with such kind of people as friends yet I had other people with straight sexual orientations. She became very jealous of me associating with a gay because she thought that he was converting me into a gay and thus she feared that she was going to lose me. I confessed to her that I had been associating with the gay friend for he needed my assistance for him to leave homoeroticism and lead a normal life with straight sexual orientation. Tiffany did not like the idea of me associating with gays for she held that gays are immoral people in society who are there to destroy the relationships of other people and particularly her relationship with me and therefore, she warned me never to befriend anyone of them. It was very hard to explain to her that gays are people in need of our assistance so that they can have straight sexual orientations and normal relationships. Tiffany further threatened that if I was not going to desist associating with gays, she was going to leave me. Ultimately, the argument degenerated into a war of words before Tiffany stormed out of the room.
Relationships that Challenge Social Norms
Analyzing the state of our relationship, I realized that same-sex relationships and interaction posed a great challenge to our relationship. Tiffany had misunderstood that I was also becoming gay since I was associating and interacting with a gay friend. She strictly observed social norms and viewed same sex as a taboo that solely serves to violate conventional traditions and beliefs. Though I knew that same-sex relationships are against social norms, my intention of associating with a friend who was gay was to help him get out of the situation, but Tiffany assumed that I was leaving our heterosexual relationship for homoeroticism. The misunderstanding emerged because I assumed that Tiffany knew that I held a straight sexual orientation and further did not tell her in advance that I was intending to rescue my friend from homosexuality. Moreover, I did not understand that Tiffany was so homophobic. Eventually, we settled the matter as she understood my intention and I too realized her homophobic nature
Tiffany did not only argue that my association with gays is not morally right, but also she was afraid of losing me. She was very jealous as she thought I was going to become gay because of my constant association with my friend. She developed cognitive and emotional jealousy for she had fears about the relationship. Dain explains that “cognitive and emotional jealous are hurtful thoughts and emotions due to fear of losing a partner in relationship” (2008, p.9). Observing my whereabouts secretly, she became troubled and developed false beliefs that I was neglecting her so that I can have ample time with my gay friend. On my part, I presumed that both Tiffany and my friend needed my assistance and I thought that it was my moral responsibility to ensure that all of my friends got out of their problems. I found it unethical to desert one of my friends just because of the difference in sexual orientation. Ultimately, I realized that jealousy emanated from our secrets for Tiffany spied my whereabouts while I assumed that she knew my intentions of associating with a gay friend. Sharing our secrets diffused jealousy and we lived happily thereafter without any fear threatening us.
Due to the unfounded fear of losing me, Tiffany assumed my association with gay was the cause of the problems in our relationship for she had complained that I had been spending more time with friends while leaving her alone. Although our relationship was very okay, Tiffany developed a horn effect about gays for she wanted me to leave my friends and give her ample time and attention. Since Tiffany belonged to the group of straight sexual orientation, she viewed other sexual orientations very negatively and did not want even me to associate with them. She perceived friends negatively for she jealously thought that they were destroying our valuable relationship. Tiffany was very afraid that our relationship might break; therefore, she became defensive to protect the relationship. Understanding that her horn effect against gays resulted from her homophobic nature and jealousy of our relationship, I promised and assured her I was going to do all I could to keep her company and strengthen our relationship.
Dain, E. (2008). Communication challenges in relationships. New York Review, 1-12.