Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Girlfriend fears she is hanging on to a closeted boyfriend

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

I have been dating my boyfriend since I was 17, and we've been together three years. He was raised in a fairly strict Catholic household, and when his brother came out as gay, it was ugly. The dust has since settled but the situation reinforced the family's stance.

As my boyfriend grew up, people would ask him if he were gay, based off body language indicators, clothing choice, the tone of his voice -- none of which are truly evidence -- and he always denied it. He's very closed off to others, doesn't talk about himself often, and we've done a lot of work getting him to open up to me.

While he struggles to use terms such as "gay," "straight," or "bisexual," he has shared things with me that suggest attraction to men -- exploring gay porn, pointing out men he finds attractive, watching a plethora of LGBT films -- but it has never been acted on whatsoever. I have often wondered, and asked, why he hasn't broken up with me to do some exploring, but he insists he would/could never, and he also seems to think no one would really want to be with him. He also has told me he could never break up with me because he doesn't want to throw away what we have.

I'm concerned I'm lying to myself and hanging onto a relationship with a closeted man, which is not a life I want for myself.

I think he's tired of discussing it, which is a feeling I share. He has told me he does feel attracted to me. Any insight would be tremendously appreciated.

-- Stuck and Confused

Told you how -- in words?

If yes, then there's your answer.

That he rejects the idea of dating men with, to paraphrase, "Men wouldn't like me" vs. "I don't like men"? That's an answer, too.

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