Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Paranoid about the Down Low

Dr. Bill, I just read your response to 'Asking your boyfriend if he is gay' 4 Mar 2010. My fear that my boyfriend has been with other men could be due to paranoia. I watch TV and hear about men on the 'down-low'; men giving their wives/girlfriends AIDs and I am afraid. So, how do I really know, how do I confront my boyfriend and ask him if he has been with men and not offend him? Thank you Ms. Paranoid

First of all, there's no real need to confront your boyfriend unless you have concrete reasons for thinking he's attracted to other men and acting on those attractions. [I give some of the reasons for being suspicious on that earlier post.] Because there seem to be so many men even in these more enlightened days who are attracted to men but married to or involved with women, I suppose it can make some women a little paranoid. But remember that there are many more genuinely heterosexual men then there are gay or bi men, so the odds are in your favor.

If you feel a need to broach the subject with your boyfriend, you can say you found out a friend of yours is gay and see what his reaction is. This will hopefully lead into a discussion on homosexuality and you can monitor his opinions on the subject. You can playfully ask if he ever experimented in that direction. A lot will depend on his reactions to what you say. If he admits that he "experimented" you can ask for a fuller explanation. As I've said many times, a man who has had sex or relationships with other men in the past doesn't suddenly become heterosexual. It just doesn't work that way.

But unless he's getting sexy emails from guys, has joined a gay dating service, or has gay porn on his computer, chances are that your boyfriend is straight.

As I said in the earlier post, if you are convinced your boyfriend is gay, sit down and have a talk with him. It takes a very special person to help someone she loves comes out of the closet, knowing that it may forever end their romantic relationship. Remember not to "accuse" someone of being gay -- it's not criminal to be gay or even in the closet. You can't just tell someone they're gay, especially if they are repressed or deeply closeted and ashamed. But sometimes an honest discussion can lead to a positive result.

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