Where do we go from here?

Dear Candy,
I’ve been in love with my boyfriend for the past three years, but very unhappy with the long distance between us. He accepted an amazing job opportunity and had to relocate several states away within the first year of our dating. It took us about a month to agree that it was the best decision for him and the best decision for us (at the time) to still try and make it work.
However, a part of me believes breaking up with him and seeing other men will make me feel better. Meeting other men like me in such a small town is difficult, and I can only imagine how better our relationship might’ve been if I was able to relocate with him. Candy, is it time for both of us to move on?

— Questioning a Long-Distance Relationship

Dear Questioning,
That you are asking yourself if you should date other men lets you know something’s amiss. Relationships are not static — they move and change. The decision you two made three years ago needs to be revisited today, and revisited together. Keeping this long-distance relationship because the pickings at home are slim is not a reason to stay in this relationship.

By dating other men, you will find some things out about yourself. Maybe you will find out you like being single and dating, or maybe you’ll find out it’s time to move to the town where your boyfriend lives. Or maybe you’ll find out the change you want to make has nothing to do with dating or a boyfriend, but everything to do with where your life and career are going.

I suggest you take a good look at yourself and how your life is going. Make a plan to live a more fulfilling, meaningful and fun life. Then look around and see who’s in it with you and where you ended up living.

— Good Luck, Candy

Dear Candy,
Am I just old fashioned? When I was growing up, and throughout most of my adult life, the term “queer” was used only to humiliate, denigrate, bully and hurt. It was a weapon used to wound the most vulnerable. “Queer” and “faggot” were simply never okay to use in public, and rightfully so.

Essentially, the word “queer” was our community’s “N-word.”

Yes, sometimes “queer” has been used in jest among friends (just as the N-word has become among some blacks), but never in reference to our community at large, and especially never by the straight world in reference to our community (i.e. the media, as it was today on NPR … “queer politics” … “queer culture” … “a queer celebrity”). Excuse me?!?!

Even reputable rainbow community organizations are now being goaded into adding “Q” to “LGBT” for fear someone might feel not so much “not included” as “not specifically singled out” as such. Many in my generation (60 years old-plus) are tempted to depart from any organization that embraces, very unnecessarily, this well-recognized term of derision.

Should I just “get over it,” as my young friends advise? Are they just trying to “take back” the word? (When was it ever “robbed” from us, by the way?) Or should I ask my wonderful black friends and colleagues to just “get over” their objection to the public use of the “N-word” in light of the parallel fact that some members of the African-American community refer to themselves, and their buds, with that term? Is it okay to use the “N-word” to describe the greater black community? Of course not. But I don’t understand the real difference.

– Anonymous and Over 60

Dear Anonymous,
You bring up a subject that is being discussed in all LGBTQ+ communities in our country. Thank you for helping the conversation appear in this column.

That is what is important — the conversation.

Our community is a tapestry of voices, diversity, identities and emotions that deserve to be heard. Your voice deserves to be heard, too. When diversity of ideas come together, the best decisions result.

Therefore, it is important you stay engaged and active in the conversation. I’d like to challenge you to stay active in the community organizations to which you belong and to ask your 60-year-old-plus friends to do the same. LGBTQ+ people do not disappear at age 55. LGBTQ+ organizations need to hear our voices, our needs, our beliefs and our ideas – plus, I too am an older lesbian active in our community.

Keep us in the conversation by your presence and activism. We 60-year-old-plus people always need a seat at the table!

— Good Luck, Candy