Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gal Dating Gay Guy?

Hi Bill, Thank you for your time. So, the guy I am dating doesn't know he's gay. My gay guy-friend had us over for dinner- says he's at least bi. It breaks my heart a little b/c I want him to be happy and he's so in denial. Is there anything I can say? I am primarily concerned for him , but I guess I don't want to get TOO attached and have him suddenly have an epiphany.... I'd rather he figure it out now, after 4 live-in girlfriends have cheated on him or left him b/c they "lost interest." I also don't want to contribute to the pattern. Thanks for your thoughts!!!!! AD.

Assuming the guy you're dating really is gay or bi, you have to tread carefully because some guys in the closet freeze up if you even make a slight suggestion about their sexuality. Bisexual advocates suggest that if he's genuinely bisexual he can have a sincere relationship with a woman, but he has to accept and deal with his bisexuality first, and also accept that he may be essentially gay, if that's the case. (Many women are uncomfortable with the notion of a bi boyfriend, which doesn't make them prejudiced, just leery over what the future may bring.) I don't know why your gay friend is convinced the boyfriend is at least bi -- there may be specific reasons or just a gut feeling.

I don't know if your boyfriend has a "macho" thing going on, but if you broach the gay subject with him it wouldn't hurt to start out by saying that there's nothing stereotypical about him -- if that's the case. Men who are in denial of their homosexuality have an absolute horror of being perceived as "queens" or stereotypical "fags." You can bring out the reasons for your suspicions, or say that your gay friend sensed something about him. Take it slow and easy, sensitively, assuring him that there's nothing whatsoever wrong in being gay. Explain that you care about him but you don't want to be in a relationship with someone who may be in denial over their sexuality and, as you put it, may have an epiphany months or years later.

A lot depends on his reaction. Getting hysterical or angry may not necessarily mean he's gay, but someone who's aware of and comfortable with his sexuality may more likely (but not necessarily) laugh it off and stay cool. There have been cases where a sensitive girlfriend has helped a man come out of the closet, and these gals deserve credit, especially when some of them may be in love with the guy and, understandably, would rather that he not be gay. But this is preferable to the women who feel they can "change" a guy, or are so unrealistic, possessive, or homophobic that they expect or even demand that the man in their life suppress his natural feelings for their sake. That's just asking for trouble in the long run.

You can start the conversation by asking how he feels about gay people and take it from there. Has he ever had sexual thoughts about men, or had a homosexual encounter? Make sure he's relaxed and lead him into it. The conversation may flow more easily than you imagine.

It may be difficult, but this is obviously a conversation you have to have. Feel free to ask follow-up questions.

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