My friend Mary knows I cam, but I asked her to keep it a secret. A few weeks ago, our [mutual] friend Jane found out somehow, totally freaked out and texted Mary about it.
Mary told her I’m fine, but Jane said she couldn’t trust me as a friend now. She said she wanted to stage an intervention with my family to get me to stop! But the freakiest part is, she’s ghosted me ever since. I only know what’s going on because Mary told me.
I’m terrified everyone is going to find out about me now. What do I do?
Scared & Confused
Dear Scared & Confused,
I’m really sorry this happened. Getting outed can feel awful, and hearing about it secondhand is horrible. Your situation is tricky. Let me break my advice down into chunks because you have several things to consider.
Know Who Your True Friends Are
For starters, take the time to thank Mary. The people we need to focus on in life are the ones who love, support and defend us. We should never take loyal folks who are willing to defend our choices for granted.
On the other hand, what kind of friend is Jane? You didn’t trust her with your cam life before — how would you rate her behavior now that she knows? Maybe she felt betrayed that you kept this secret from her? Even so, her initial reaction was pretty judgy and controlling. Sounds like you had good reason to protect your privacy! And if she really was worried, it’s hard to figure why she contacted Mary about it, but not you.
Now that your secret is out, it’s your task to determine what kind of relationship you want with Jane. That will determine what your next steps are. Someone wise once said: You know how you feel about someone by imagining them no longer in your life.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath. What if Jane wasn’t your friend anymore? If that’s unbearable, then she’s worth fighting for. If not, then perhaps you’re better off letting her go. I don’t know how close you’ve been in the past, but from where I’m standing, someone who checks out rather than checking in isn’t much of a friend in the first place. It’s always painful to outgrow people, but that’s part of life. But if you believe in your friendship, then you need to address what’s happened head on.
Have a Plan
Before you do anything, get a reality check. Talk over what happened with someone you trust. Reacting because you’re panicked or furious is a really bad idea.
Of course, you can always choose to do nothing and wait for her to make the first move. I would highlight the word “choose” — meaning you consciously decide doing nothing is the best course of action. Denial is no way to solve problems. It’s far better to affirmatively state to yourself: There is nothing I can do about this, so I’m going to try to move past it, than feeling like you should be doing something, but you’re not exactly sure what, so you just keep putting it off.
Talk It Out
If you do decide to confront her, here are some suggestions for how you might start the conversation: I understand the fact that I cam upsets you. If my friendship is important to you, please listen to why I do it. If you have concerns, let’s talk them through together. However, whatever you think of my choices, I am asking you to respect my privacy. It’s nobody else’s business. If you’ve already told other people, you need to tell me who. I deserve to hear about it from you, rather than find out about it later.
You and Jane may have some hurt feelings to talk through. Although your relationship is at a tricky juncture right now, I encourage you to tell her how she made you feel. She’s an adult and can be held accountable for the consequences of her actions. If she is a good friend, even if some things are hard to hear, she will listen. If not, that tells you what kind of friend she really is.
One final note: coordinating a family intervention is no simple task. If by now, Jane hasn’t even made an effort to text you, I’m guessing that was a threat made in the heat of the moment that will never be acted on. I’d try to let that fear go.
Sometimes the people we think are our friends turn out to be nothing more than people we thought we knew. True friends who stick with us through thick and thin are precious and rare — take care of them. Everyone else, it’s okay to let go.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself.
Lola Davina is a longtime veteran of the sex industry and author of Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, a self-help book for sex workers now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and wherever else ebooks are sold. Contact her at Lola.Davina@ynotcam.com and visit her on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
Image of Lola Davina courtesy Pat Mazzera.