≡ Menu

“How Can I Tell My Roommate I Know He’s Gay?”

“Matt” and I met the first week of college and have been close ever since. Over the last ten years, we’ve seen each other through a family crisis or two, break ups, unemployment…the list goes on. We have so many wonderful memories and I love him dearly. We’ve been living together the last three months and — other than typical roommate issues — everything is going well. Yesterday, I had lunch with another old friend. She used to be very close to Matt (they dated briefly a million years ago), but they have been growing apart for a while. During our conversation yesterday, she dropped a huge bomb. Five years ago, Matt confessed to her that he was attracted to men and made her vow not to tell anyone. After he told her, he gradually shut her out of his life. She burst into tears as she was telling me this — obviously, it has been a huge burden for her to not share this with anyone and watch her friendship dissolve. She said she wondered if he’d told me as well, but was always too afraid to bring it up. She said she trusts me to do what I feel is best with this information, even if it means telling Matt that she told me.

I want to bring it up with Matt, but he hates confrontation and has a history of responding poorly to tough conversations. To further complicate things, we have a ton of mutual friends whom we see regularly, and they’ve always come to me and asked, “Is he gay?” I always said something like, “Well, he says he’s not.” Over the years, I’ve asked him if he thought he might be gay, emphasizing that it doesn’t matter to me if he is (I love gays!), but he always said no. When this comes up in conversation again amongst our friends (and it definitely WILL), I don’t know that I will be able to lie about it — even if I wanted to. Finally, I’m feeling a lot of emotion about this. Of course, my heart aches for my dear friend who has been keeping this secret for so long. But my feelings are hurt that he hasn’t told me the truth – after all we’ve gone through together and everything I’ve told him. I’m feeling a bit betrayed and angry that he would lie to me when I’ve invested so much in being a good friend to him over the years.

Today is my birthday and all of us are going to dinner. We’ll be officially celebrating this Saturday night. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed about how to approach this, deal with my emotions and let it go so I can have a fun time this week with all my birthday plans. And ultimately, I want to do the most loving thing for him — without compromising my own integrity or my living situation. — Worried Birthday Girl


First of all, happy birthday. If you want to make sure your birthday — and, more important, your friendship with Matt — aren’t ruined, you need to keep your mouth shut about his sexuality. The truth is, if Matt wanted you to know he’s gay, he would have told you, especially since you’ve actually asked him about it several times. He doesn’t want to tell you and as much as that may hurt your feelings, it’s his choice, and he likely has some very good reasons for not “coming out” to you. For one thing, maybe he hasn’t figured out yet what his sexuality is. All you have to go by is your own hunch and third party information that was learned five years ago. Furthermore, that information wasn’t even that Matt was/is gay. It’s that he was at one point attracted to men. Does that mean he’s still attracted to men? Not necessarily. Does that mean he’s attracted only to men? Who knows! Maybe Matt doesn’t even know, and that could be one reason he hasn’t chosen to share his sexuality preference with you.

When and if he’s ever ready to tell you whom he’s attracted to, you’ll know then. In the mean time, who cares?! What difference does it really make? It doesn’t change your friendship with him, does it? It doesn’t change your living arrangements, right? The only benefit I can see in your knowing whether or not Matt is gay is that he might feel liberated and more free to share details about his love life with you, which would might or might not strengthen your friendship and make it easier to live together. But, again, that’s Matt choice to make. Not yours. I cannot stress this enough. It is not your place to drag whatever Matt’s truth is out of him, particularly if he isn’t even sure what it is.

As far as answering the prodding questions from your mutual friends, why do you have to lie when they ask if Matt’s gay? You don’t know the definitive answer to that. All you have to say is, “I don’t know” or “Matt’s never told me whether he is or not.” End of story. I’m concerned that you have this need/desire to share more than that. If Matt’s as good of a friend as you say he is — so much so that you’re hurt he hasn’t come out to you — wouldn’t you want to protect his privacy? And to that end, even if you did have to tell a little white lie, who cares? Wouldn’t that be more important to you than sharing some juicy gossip with a bunch of nosy busybodies? (And, seriously, what’s wrong with them that they haven’t been able to drop the subject for years now? Why is it so important to know whom Matt thinks is hot? Are they still in junior high? If Matt wanted all of them in on his personal business, he’d tell them his personal business!!) I’m also wondering if maybe Matt suspects you don’t necessarily have his best interest at heart and that’s why he’s been hesitant to fully open up to you about his sexuality. Or maybe he knows what a “burden” it’s been for your mutual friend — the one he dated a million years ago — to know his secret, and he’s chosen to spare you a similar “burden.” Just something to think about.

Anyway, go enjoy your birthday. Enjoy the friendships you have. And take some time in the year ahead to refelect on what it means to be a good friend. Is it simply sharing everything about yourself, or is it accepting the people you love exactly where they are — flaws and wounds and all — and letting them grow at their own pace? As for the integrity you’re so concerned with not compromising, I’d say it takes a bigger dose to honor and protect one’s friends than it does to indulge in needless gossip. Maybe that’s something else worth thinking about as you gain another year of wisdom.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

{ 74 comments… add one }

avatar MissDre April 5, 2011, 9:10 am

Wow Wendy, excellent advise!!

avatar Desiree April 5, 2011, 9:18 am

I could kind of understand why (assuming the third-party information is even true) the LW would like to have things “in the open” between Matt and himself. I could see that, if nothing else, it could make things a little easier on the roommate side (it would be really sad if Matt felt like he couldn’t bring dates home). However, the information is extremely flawed: it is five years old and from a third party who is no longer close to Matt. It may not even be relevant anymore. Many people explore their sexuality in their youth. In any case, this is *Matt’s* personal life. I don’t think a person’s sexuality is an appropriate subject for anyone else to bring up, no matter how close the friend. And definitely get over this “need to share” with your extended friend base; I don’t understand the compulsion there. Even if you knew absolutely every detail of Matt’s personal life, why would you need to share it? Sometimes protecting our friends involves covering for them. Your extended friends have no special right to know whether Matt is gay or straight of bi or anything else. If Matt ever decides his sexuality needs to be a matter of public discussion, I’m sure he’ll bring it up himself. Until then, have a wonderful birthday with a good friend; eat cake and be merry.

avatar Amber April 5, 2011, 9:39 am

I agree, there should be no reason at all to want to share that information. I had a friend who told multiple mutual friends when my boyfriend and I decided to have sex. Not the same thing but it hurt our friendship because I felt like I couldn’t ever share anything with her again and have it be private. The LW doesn’t want to lose Matt as a friend because she feels compelled to share that information when asked.

avatar Desiree April 5, 2011, 10:13 am

Oops-I didn’t see that the LW was a girl..

avatar Leyahn April 5, 2011, 9:19 am

So, what does the LW want to do?
Out her friend before, or after, he gives the birthday toast?
I think LW is excited by the gossip. Pathetic.

avatar PFG-SCR April 5, 2011, 9:40 am

I’m not sure if it’s the gossip or that she feels he “owes” it to her since he confessed that to their mutual friend. She says:

“But my feelings are hurt that he hasn’t told me the truth – after all we’ve gone through together and everything I’ve told him. I’m feeling a bit betrayed and angry that he would lie to me when I’ve invested so much in being a good friend to him over the years.”

This is another example that people take someone else’s situation/struggle as a personal slight. It’s not always about “you”!

avatar jena April 5, 2011, 3:09 pm

I completely agree with that. the “I don’t know if I’ll be able to lie” about it seemed off to me. He’s your friend and your roommate, and youre not even sure if he’s gay, but you aren’t sure if you could lie IF someone asked about it (I can’t imagine its a topic that comes up often enough that she’d have to lie…more like she’d bring it up.)

Don’t out someone (especccially if you aren’t even sure) because you’re a drama queen.

avatar BoomChakaLaka April 5, 2011, 9:22 am

Yes, Wendy, YES! LW, I think you should consider it a blessing that he isn’t telling you. Look what happened with the friend he told? If you truly value is friendship, you’ll forget about his sexuality and focus on continuing to build a solid friendship.

Even if he did tell you his sexual preference, nothing should change about the friendship. It won’t affect how many times you go out to eat or even what you guys choose to talk about on a Thursday night. It’s just one small part of him, one very minor part.

avatar kerrycontrary April 5, 2011, 9:27 am

Great advice, Wendy.I think you made an excellent point that Matt may still be figuring out his sexuality. Coming out is a huge step in a person’s life, and they should be able to make the decision of when and to whom they come out to. It seems like the LW just wants to cause drama and be involved in the gossip. Most of this letter was “I, me, I”. LW, his whole situation isn’t about you! You don’t automatically “deserve” to know someone’s sexuality just because you are a close friend. Do not, under any circumstance, discuss this at your birthday celebration unless you want to remember this birthday as the year you had a horrible fight at dinner and lost a friend/roomate in the same night.

avatar SalMarie April 5, 2011, 9:27 am

I agree, excellent advice, Wendy! I would also add that IF Matt is gay (and this is still a big IF), perhaps the reason he hasn’t told you is exactly because of how close you two are. Sometimes the closer you are to someone, and the more you value that person’s opinion and friendship, the harder it is to reveal something like that. Even if he knows you would be supportive of him regardless of his sexuality, he may think that if he decides to come out to you, not only does he have to deal with the coming out part, but he will also have to explain or justify why he kept the secret from you for so long.

So, as Wendy said, let Matt come to terms with his sexuality (whatever it may be) in his own way, with the knowledge that you have already “planted the seed” with him that you will support him no matter what.

avatar Woman of Words April 5, 2011, 10:31 pm

Yes! This.

avatar PFG-SCR April 5, 2011, 9:28 am

Great advice, Wendy. I hope when the LW reads your advice and re-reads her own letter, she realizes that she’s not entitled to this information just because they are friends and roommates. If Matt wanted her to know something, he’d tell her, especially since she’s asked repeatedly. And, quite possibly, her repeated asking is the exact reason that he _hasn’t_ told her anything.

avatar RoyalEagle0408 April 5, 2011, 9:29 am

I think it’s odd that you would share what is clearly a very private thing with someone and then allow that friendship to rapidly dissolve immediately after. What happened between the friend and “Matt” is irrelevant to the LW’s situation because she’s not supposed to know. What good do you really think would come out of telling him you know he’s gay? You’d risk your friendship with him and your friendship with the girl who told you. Just keep your mouth shut.

avatar SGMcG April 5, 2011, 9:43 am

The most loving thing you could do for your friend is keep loving him – no matter what. His sexuality is probably something he’s still struggling to identify, but his sexuality is just that – it’s HIS to share or not. Can you imagine how you would feel if you found out others were going to him asking about your sexual identity? The friendship between the two of you would struggle if one has to constantly explain and/or defend the friend from others just wanting to pry. When he is ready to admit it to himself, I’m sure he’ll be ready to admit it to you.

avatar CollegeCat April 5, 2011, 9:49 am

I have to be honest this LW sounds like the kind of person I would be afraid to share a big secret with. After hearing the news the first thing that pops into her mind is what to tell all of their mutual friends??? I think she has been waiting for this moment for years and now that she can give them a “definitive” answer she wants permission. This is his business alone. I can’t believe she feels more loyalty to the other gossip-mongers than this supposed best friend of 10 yrs. Sexuality is a personal and private thing for most people. I can’t understand why the LW would feel entitled to know this information, let alone share it. This letter is not about how to be caring and supportive – its about how to ruin a friendship.

If she was a true friend she wouldn’t feel the need to confront him over something that is now just a rumor. She wouldn’t want to lose his friendship like the other girl.

If she was a true friend she would rather say nothing at all than answer their other friends’ questions.

If she was a true friend instead of being hurt that he didn’t come to her, she would be hurting for him – for the fact that he feels he has to carry this secret.

Lastly, if she was a true friend she wouldn’t end this letter fishing for birthday wishes… Honestly, what did that have to do with anything?

becboo84 BecBoo84 April 5, 2011, 9:56 am

Amen!

avatar PhillyD April 5, 2011, 9:53 am

One of my oldest and closest friends was ambiguous about his sexuality for years. Other aquaintences asked me repeatedly about him, but I’d always tell them I didn’t know and it didn’t matter. Because it didn’t. I loved him regardless. He had multiple opportunities to tell me over 30 years, especially as I have a number of gay friends he’d meet from time to time. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago he did finally come out, and that was only after he’d been diagnosed with cancer.

And you know what? It still didn’t matter to me. But what mattered to him was that he finally was ready to share, and knew we would have the same open and warm relationship.

This is not to say anything about your friend. Because what your friend hasn’t shared isn’t important to how he relates to you as a friend (unless you harbor some secret hope of getting together with him, which it doesn’t sound like it), nor the relationship that you have.

Don’t pressure him, don’t think his personal life is more important than it is. As many others have said, focus on what you have – a good friendship. Anything else is just extra fluff.

avatar Fairhaired Child April 11, 2011, 12:29 am

This.

One of my closest male friends has been questioned by everyone (to his face or to mine) about if he is gay or not. The thing is, it doesn’t matter. If someone was asking because they wanted to date him, they should ask him out on a date, not start it out with “I wanted to ask you out on a date.. but I don’t know if you are gay or not.. are you?” of course he wont date you then.

Most of the time when I’m out with my friend people assume he’s either my boyfriend or that he’s gay. When we aren’t conjoined at the hip anymore and people will come up and ask me if he’s my boyfriend/or is his my gay friend I state “Oh he’s just my best friend, we are just very affectionate, really he’s more like my 5 year old son.” Because, well he is. He’s childish in the fun loving/crazy way, loves to be in the center of attention in all ways etc. and that’s all the explaination I need to give, no we are not dating, but yes we are affectionate, and he’s my best friend/child thing. I don’t even have to go onto the is he gay or not conversation because, it doesnt matter to me. If people straight up ask me if he’s gay I just say “I have no idea but currently he’s… ‘dating _insert chick name_’ /’single’ ”

If one day he comes out, it wouldnt surprise me, but his persona doesnt surprise me either since he’s very much a “mama’s boy” and some people can translate “understanding females and relating to them” to being a “closeted gay”.

All I know is that we are friends and that when I get married one day that I want him to be in my wedding. What “side” he choses to stand on when that day comes is up to him, and in my eyes will be no reflection of his “sexual preference” but that he’s there to support me (on either side).

As for the posters that stated he may have lied and said he was gay to dump the girl, I believe that could happen too. My friend has used that excuse before as well as the excuse that he “suddenly realizes that he’s in love with his best friend and can’t fully love another woman if his mind is distracted by another, and therfore he would only be half the man that they actually deserve and its not fair to them that he not be in the relationship 100% for them” (totally not true but it makes him sound like a nice guy instead of an A-hole for breaking up with them).

becboo84 BecBoo84 April 5, 2011, 9:57 am

This is perhaps the most perfect answer from Wendy I’ve ever read. I wish there was a “like” button for her answer!

Dear Wendy Wendy April 5, 2011, 10:15 am

Thanks! There is a Like button, actually. Just beneath the advice is a little “Like” Facebook icon. If you like something I’ve written, I always appreciate it if you feel like promoting it on your Facebook page and drawing more readers this way. :)

avatar NolaGirl April 5, 2011, 9:59 am

It may be me but the LW’s comment “I love gays!” just rubbed me the wrong way. It seems like his sexuality is a very big deal to her and she makes a big deal about it to him – even if it’s “assuring” him it’s not a big deal. I just don’t see that it matters. Gay/Straight/Asexual, whatevs, he’s still your roommate and I don’t see that it makes a difference what he’s interested in in the sack as long as it’s between two consensual adults. I agree with some of the other comments here, if he wanted to share, he would share and any trying to pull it out of him will just make him not want to share more.

I think if anything, asking about it and reassuring him that “you’re okay with it!” is kind of counter-productive. If you want him to be feel comfortable talking to you about it, you need to not make such a big deal about it. It is what it is.

avatar Herself the Elf April 5, 2011, 11:06 am

YES. I couldn’t agree more. Gays aren’t pomeranians or purses. They’re just people. Sure you love MATT, and you love other gay friends you have, but “I love gays!”? They aren’t all the same! They aren’t a giant unit to be loved or hated collectively! They’re regular people!

I want to make this LW watch the “Disappointing Gay Best Friend” videos on YouTube.

avatar cmarie April 5, 2011, 11:18 am

Just a moment of defense: I don’t think she was equating gays with dogs, I think she was just trying to point out that she was gay friendly, albeit in an annoying way.

avatar Herself the Elf April 5, 2011, 1:00 pm

You’re right, it was a little uncharitable of me to use a breed of dog as a comparison; what I meant was that when someone refers to “gays” all as one big group that way—even if they’re trying to be positive about it!—it suggests that all gay people are the same, and it bugs me.

avatar cmarie April 5, 2011, 4:01 pm

Just so you know, I wasn’t trying to sound snarky or anything like that, I just have a bit of a Pollyana habit lol. I do understand what you’re saying though, it really is annoying when people imply, however inadvertently, that all gays are the same.

avatar Honeybeegood April 10, 2011, 6:12 pm

Anytime someone refers to a group of individuals by an attribute (blacks, females, males, gays, retards,) it tends to reduce them to that attribute and dehumanize them in a way.

Just expanding on what Miss Elf had to say.

avatar honeybeenicki April 5, 2011, 12:29 pm

I don’t think its just you who was rubbed the wrong way with that comment. It kind of scared me and then reminded me of a conversation a few of my friends and I had… the easiest way to tell if someone is racist/homophobic/biased against someone is through some simple statements:
“I love the_____!”
“Well, I have _____ friends!”
“No I’m not ____. Really I’m not!” or “I love _____, really I do!”

I know these are kind of a blanket idea and certainly don’t pertain to every situation, but I think it shows the LW might really be concerned if her roommate is gay.

avatar missarissa April 5, 2011, 5:10 pm

To be fair, is there a way to convey, in an internet letter, that you are … indifferent/supportive of an aspect of humanity (race, religion, sexual preferences, sexual orientation)? I’m having trouble doing it even in this post, and I have nothing to prove.
My attempt: Some people are not cool with the fact that some other people are not heterosexual; some people are cool with it in theory but don’t know how to act around said people; and some people are totally ok with the fact that some people are not heterosexual and are also are not affected by the sexuality of those around them when they hang out with those non-heterosexual people.

See? “I love gays!” sounded weird/bad when I read it and I figured people would have issues with it, but I have to agree that it’s hard to indicate, without sounding incredibly stilted, that you are not a member of the first two groups I described.

avatar Elle April 5, 2011, 10:08 am

Wow, Wendy, spot on!!!
Going on with Wendy’s idea – maybe he’s still trying to figure out his sexuality (maybe he’s trying to figure out if he’s bisexual, since you mentioned he dated your friend). You have to realize, once he comes out, it’s a one-way street – he can’t take it back.

I sympathize with Matt, although not to such a high degree. There is something in my past that I’m not comfortable sharing with everyone I meet. I tell only certain people, who I’m comfortable with, on my own terms. I agree with the other commenters – you should let Matt come out to you (if he is, indeed, gay) when he feels comfortable. Don’t add to the pressure, as you’ll most likely lose the friendship. Matt has the right to come out to you when he’s ready, on his own terms. And you should not take that as a way he views your relationship with him.

The only thing you can do is reaffirming to him that you have nothing against gay people. Since you’ve been friends with him for such a long time, I’m pretty certain he already knows that. So there are other things, that you don’t know about, that don’t let him come out to you just yet.

avatar TheGirl April 5, 2011, 10:12 am

I love it when I read a letter, think something, and then read on to see Wendy say the same thing I am thinking! KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, girl. Maybe he doesn’t want to tell anyone because he’s afraid it will get back to their parents and they won’t take it well. Maybe he isn’t actually gay and just told your friend that because she kept coming on to him. Maybe he’s asexual. Any which way you look at it, its HIS business and he’ll tell you his own good time.

avatar LeahW. April 5, 2011, 10:15 am

Wendy’s advice really only covers two possible explanations for why “Matt” isn’t out: he’s not actually gay or he is and doesn’t feel like telling people for whatever reason. But I’m leaning towards a third explanation: he probably IS gay (or at least bi) but has a lot of shame associated with it and doesn’t want to admit it to himself.

Being gay in our culture is not the norm, and for MANY people it is completely unacceptable. Matt has gone his whole life with people around him assuming he’s straight and maybe even wishing he was. You saying that you “love gays” is great, but Matt probably doesn’t want to be “a gay”, whatever that means to him.

So, what can you do? Keep your mouth shut, listen to whatever he does choose to tell you (which may be nothing) and tell your mutual friends to lay off! You had enough information to have a pretty good idea that he might be gay before talking to your female friend, and her story about losing him as a friend after his confession should be enough warning not to push the issue!

The fact is, he may NEVER be honest with himself, and that would be a shame. But if, years from now, he’s willing to accept that he may be gay, he’s going to need very supportive people in his life that he can talk to. Not ones that foist some new identify on him (“I’m so excited you’re a gay!”) but ones that listen to how he feels and can accept how difficult this realization probably is for him.

avatar SpaceySteph April 5, 2011, 10:31 am

I wonder if he told this girl he “dated briefly” that he was into men to break up the relationship, as this would also explain why he let their friendship fall apart too. Then maybe he never told his roommate because its not true.
I don’t know any men who have lied about being gay to get rid of a girlfriend, but one could exist.

In any case, I don’t really want to be friends with either of these people. There’s the friend who spilled his secret to the LW or the LW who is plotting to breach the trust of a good friend in maybe the worst way possible. True or not, you have no right to out your friend. In fact, as a true friend, you might try discouraging people from asking questions about your roommate’s sexuality. Instead, what you seem to do is relish the attention you get when people ask you, and that you finally have good dirt to dish- oh I CAN’T lie to people, I must betray my friend by telling everyone in the world that 5 years ago he told his ex girlfriend that he was interested in men so clearly he is currently the gayest man alive, I just hope it doesn’t ruin my birthday.

avatar convexed April 5, 2011, 10:35 am

Ok, I just want to add that not only is it not the LW’s place to share any information (or misinformation) she has about Matt’s sexuality, it is unethical and blatantly reckless to do so.
In the past year, we’ve followed numerous news stories about young people taking their lives because they were tormented for being gay, or even for being perceived as gay.
The LW needs to open her eyes. It’s more than the friendship or her feelings at stake. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals still face overwhelming discrimination and prejudice in this country, and are vulnerable to both bullying and violence because of their gender or sexual minority status. She may ‘love gays’, but she cannot speak for all of the friends she might tell, or all of the friends they might tell, etc.
Your friend may be gay, he may be straight, he may be bisexual, or unsure. You can’t know this right now. But you better believe that HE, not YOU, is the best and only appropriate judge of when, if ever, the answer to this question is revealed, and to whom. You do not have the right to ‘out’ anybody, ever, because you do not know and cannot predict and cannot control what the consequences will be for that person.
Maybe this sounds a little blunt, but the question is too important to risk LW missing the point—Hopefully Wendy’s excellent advice and all of the thoughtful comments above will convince the LW to let go of this ‘burden’ and rid herself forever of her impulse to spread the word.

avatar randi April 5, 2011, 10:37 am

wendy said what i was thinking the whole time i was reading it. 1. not really your business no matter how close you are. 2. it’s okay to say ‘i don’t know’ even if you (think) you do. 3. if he wanted people to know, they’d know, and it’s not your place to out him!
also i think the (i love gays!) comment was a little stupid, but that’s just me.

avatar Feather April 5, 2011, 10:46 am

Hey LW, why don’t you just continue to be the supportive, loving, accepting friend that you are right now and don’t look more into this than you should. It seems as though you have a great friendship and it is not your place to be hurt, upset, or anything else when it comes to your friends sexuality. It makes you sound selfish. I’m sure he is confused, or even if he isn’t, he isn’t obligated to share every single thing with you.

And as for answering your friends questions, also none of your business. They can talk to him about it if they want to.

avatar joy April 5, 2011, 10:57 am

I have a friend, who in fact was my man of honor at my wedding, who did not tell me for a long time he was gay. In fact, a lot of people would speculate he was but he also had girlfriends. Granted he was not a good boyfriend and many times we all said he makes a good friend but not a good boyfriend. I never put much thought into the fact he might be gay, was gay or whatever. He was my friend first and foremost. When he finally decided to come out to me, it was hard for him to even say it. I think he was still getting comfortable with the fact plus he did not know how I would take it, I guess. I mean I never said anything bad about anybody gay or lesbian. But you never know how people will react when it hits close to home. Instead of worrying about his sexuality and how much you are hurt he hasn’t told you what it is, focus on being his friend. I’m sure he doesn’t dwell on the fact you are straight, bisexual, lesbian, what have you. I mean, after all, does it really matter?

meadowphoenix AB April 5, 2011, 10:58 am

Well I have been in this situation that my best friend told me he was gay, and my big mouth nearly ruined that friendship (I was 13 at the time, had a crush on him, and was really socially unaware of why that was a big deal, or why people would have a problem with it, and that all contributed to the mess).

So, ironically, I will say this:
DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL. Seriously, telling other people or trying to get him to tell you is so so so gossipy and rude. He’ll explain about his sexuality when he’s comfortable. Until, then, just believe what he tells you. I do understand what it’s like to have “friends” constantly ask you about someone’s sexuality, but it’s not a good idea to pander to people who can’t respect someone’s desire for silence, on whatever issue. Your friend certainly won’t thank you and they aren’t being friendly. They’re trying to label him so they can act according to the judgment they put on those labels and this shouldn’t matter to how someone is treated at all. And don’t give me that you might not be able or willing to lie. That’s BS. First off, you still don’t have any truth since your friend didn’t tell you anything and so you’re not lying in any way. Secondly, CALL OUT those people. Ask them why they want to talk about such a random subject. Tell them that when you friends wants to explain, he’ll tell them. But, don’t be like them by trying to nudge him into the spotlight.

TaraMonster TaraMonster April 5, 2011, 11:05 am

It ain’t about you, sweetheart. Maybe THAT’s why you’re so wounded.

I have a revalation for you- everyone has a friend who they think is gay and hasn’t come out. Do you know why? Because sexuality exists on a spectrum and it’s hard to come out. You may “love gays” but there are a lot of people in this world who don’t watch as much Will and Grace as you do. Maybe I’m being overly nasty, but I have a real problem with the way you’re fishing for a reason to out your friend, who may not even be gay. Hell, he could be bi, but you know what? It’s NONE of your business. Seriously. That’s his journey, as they say.

Definitely take Wendy’s advice about thinking long and hard about what makes a good friend.

avatar SpyGlassez April 5, 2011, 1:57 pm

I like your comment about sexuality existing on a spectrum. Matt may be gay, he may be bi, he may be asexual and homoromantic, he may have gone through a phase where he experimented. Maybe he found a certain kind of guy (the anime style, or a specific male actor) aesthetically attractive and wondered if he was interested in men. It doesn’t matter where on the spectrum he falls; it is definitely not the LW’s job to try to pin him down.

TaraMonster TaraMonster April 5, 2011, 4:26 pm

Word. And I like your avatar. :)

avatar emjay April 5, 2011, 11:07 am

I don’t think I can respond nicely to this letter writer. What she is doing (trying to do) is selfish and hurtful to this “friend”. And I put friend in quotes b/c if she was a real friend she wouldn’t push the issue and let him decide whom he wants to share this PRIVLEDGED info with. And the gossip issue, she sounds like a troublemaker and I think she is using it to justify things she might have previously said about him that she is not confessing to. I wouldn’t be suprised if she had a bet going with the other friends about his sexulaity and she wants to win. I think almost everything she said in this letter was a lie and a way to make us feel sorry for her and to justify the fact she is soooo nosy! Well it didn’t work. And if I was the roomate in question and read this I would full out go off the wall on her! It is none of your damn business LW! Butt the f**k out and let him be happy in his life!

avatar Christy April 5, 2011, 11:13 am

Well, since this seems to be “Hitting Close to Home Week” on Dear Wendy, I’ll overshare about my personal experience again. I’m gay, and the process of coming out to yourself and to others can be long and painful. Admitting that I was “bi” to myself wasn’t too hard, but it took me years to tell my close friends from high school. After I was out to that group, I told maybe one or two friends in college, but no one else. (I never dated so it’s not like the issue came up on either end.) Then, to make a long story short, I met a girl I wanted to date (this was at the very end of college) and I realized that you can’t really date in the closet and I would have to come out to my college friends. (Especially, you know, my roommate at the time.) At this point, I was saying I was gay without actually being sure of it. I figured that people would take me more seriously and that I could always go back and say I was bi and that we were graduating so it didn’t matter. So then I had to start the coming out process. (Incidentally, I shortly thereafter accepted the fact that I wasn’t attracted to guys, and merely deciding to “have a crush” on a guy does NOT mean that I was actually attracted. Oh, the joys of Catholic repression.)

Coming out to my best friend was the hardest. The HARDEST. In their mind, you’re hiding a part of yourself, and a pretty important part of yourself. Think about it this way: I’d been actively concealing a major aspect of my persona for the entire time I’ve formed my friendship with this guy. This is a bigger deal that discovering that I secretly like opera, or I’m actually an NRA member. Relationships are a major part of life, and I wasn’t fully buying in. Even though I KNEW he’d be ok with it, I was still afraid to reveal that I’d been effectively lying to him for years.

And telling someone you’re perfectly fine with them being gay doesn’t automatically make it easier for them to come out. Coming out is a pain in the ass, especially if it’s something that was ever hidden. When you meet new people, you can just let it slip in conversation, and people can either take you or leave you. With old people, it essentially has to be a part of a “Coming Out” talk, one that’s very official. It will be remembered as “when Christy came out to me.” This is ESPECIALLY true if the gay person suspects or knows that the person they’re coming out to already knows. For example, I know my friend Emily knows I’m gay, but we’ve never discussed it (mainly because I was afraid her deeply held religious convictions about being gay being a sin (something we’ve discussed) would make her change her friendship with me). It’s gotten to the point now where I can’t just say, “Emily, I know you know I’m gay” and it has to be more of a big deal. (Or at least it feels that way to me.)

I guess the point of the above is to say I understand where the LW is coming from. Having a closeted gay friend is tough from both ends. Coming out sucks, even (especially) to your closest friends or people you know will be supportive.

However, your roommate being gay is SO NOT YOUR PROBLEM. I’m sorry it’s so tough for you to mind your own beeswax, but seriously, if you think your problems with him being in the closet are bad, try being in the closet to yourself and (almost) everyone else in your life. I’m glad you think you’re so important, but your roommate is so busy dealing with his own problems that yours would just add to them.

Also, someone being gay does NOT give you the right to identify him/her as “a gay.” Being gay is ONE aspect of anyone’s personality. The fact that I’m gay is honestly one of the least interesting things about me. Sometimes I enjoy being “a gay,” like out at gay clubs, in the gay grad students group at my university, online dating, or reading my lesbian entertainment blog. Mostly, I enjoy being a grad student, a federal employee, a future librarian, a big nerd, a lover of post-Impressionist art, and a former mathlete. Like I said, being gay is just one aspect of me. You don’t have the right to call me “a gay” or one of “the gays.” That’s a label I can give myself, but no one else.

avatar NolaGirl April 5, 2011, 11:22 am

YES, your last paragraph is exactly what I was thinking but couldn’t articulate! I would thumbs up this 100x if I could!

avatar HmC April 5, 2011, 12:34 pm

Thanks for sharing your story Christy. I haven’t had many close relationship with people that identify is gay, nor am I gay, so your story genuinely helps me better understand what my cousin is going through right now (see below for that story).

avatar Jessica April 5, 2011, 11:23 am

I kind of get the feeling the LW doesn’t WANT to tell their mutual friends, but that they always ask her because they are so close. and so this adds some pressure as to what to say, whether she should lie or not. I’m sure she doesn’t have the intention of outing him.

I can see why she would be hurt by him not sharing this information– they are very close and have been for ten years. that’s a lot of time put into a friendship and i guess she feels slighted for him not thinking of telling her. i can see it, i really can.

LW- support your friend. business as usual, pretend like you don’t know, because you don’t officially know. Enjoy your birthday!

avatar WatersEdge April 5, 2011, 11:27 am

I agree, I do empathize with this LW.

avatar WatersEdge April 5, 2011, 11:26 am

I agree with everyone else. The LW’s friend is probably exploring/struggling with his sexuality, and he is not telling you because he’s not ready to tell you. Respect that, and do NOT feel that you have the right to take charge of the situation and force him to come out to you. As others have said, you have no idea what the situation really is with him and you need to stop making this personal. It’s not about your friendship or how close your friend feels to you, it’s about your friend’s decision that he isn’t ready to talk about his sexuality.

I am the kind of person who simply cannot lie when asked a direct question, and I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you meant that you would have a problem lying to your friends either because you’re A) morally opposed to lying, or B) a terrible liar and it shows on your face when you try to lie. My advice to you, if that is the case, is to cling to what you know to be true. Find the kernel of truth, even if it’s evasive, and say that. Your previous statement that “he tells me that he’s straight” is still the truth, so you can keep saying that with a clear conscience. In fact, that’s all you have the right to say. What is your other option? “He says he’s straight but someone he used to know told me that he confessed to an attraction to men 5 years ago”. I HOPE you wouldn’t gossip about your friend like that.

avatar mf April 5, 2011, 11:44 am

I imagine if I were Matt, I’d really appreciate it if my best friend stood up for me when nosy people asked questions about my sexuality. These people are way out of line, and you should make sure they know that. Next time they ask if he’s gay, please say, “I don’t know if Matt is gay. I can’t answer for him. But I do know that his sexuality is none of your business!”

avatar SpaceySteph April 5, 2011, 11:55 am

A milion thumbs up. What a toxic group of friends for this poor guy- gay, straight, bi, confused… I just wish he had friends who weren’t so nosy. Honestly, LW, in what way could it all all matter what your roommate’s sexuality preferences are? If it doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t, then you don’t need to know. And this goes for you and your other busybody friends.

avatar cmarie April 5, 2011, 11:59 am

I actually feel a lot of sympathy for the LW and want to give her the benefit of a doubt that all this need to know and tell secrets is just her being hurt that her best friend chose to reveal a part of himself to someone else but not to her. It’s hard to accept that your best friend can keep such a huge secret when you’ve always been completely open. And I think that’s part of the problem. I believe that she’s truly a good friend, even if she’s making it difficult to see in this letter, and when you’ve devoted so much to a friendship it’s a slap in the face to see that the other person has held so much back. Although I have to question the validity of the 3rd party. I have friends that I suspect are gay but unless they come out and tell me I’m not going to take the word of someone else, especially and ex significant other and someone who might be angry and hurt that she got dumped and their friendship dissolved. I’m not saying she’s lying, I’m just saying it’s something to consider.
It’s ok to be hurt that he kept the secret from you, but it’s not ok to confront him or spread it around town. I’m going to believe that she’s a person who values honesty, which is why she would find it difficult to outright lie (but she’s not really) but if she also values this friendship like she says she does she’ll understand that when he comes out, if he comes out, is up to him. Just continue to be the loving, supportive friend you have been. And watch what you say, even if it’s in jest. Some people make jokes without realizing the pressure they’re putting on someone.
My coming out story: I played around with my sexuality for quite some time before settling on bi, although I’m closer to lesbian. I never really dated because I was never sure of who I was truly attracted to but in college I met a wonderful girl that I knew I could fall in love with, that I did. LIke the poster said above me, dating in the closet wasn’t an option. Coming out was terrifying, even though I had great friends that I knew would support me and a loving family that I could depend on. My mom used to make little jokes about disowning us if we were gay, or remarks when we’d say gay affection that I knew she didn’t mean, but when you’re struggling to reconcile who you are and who you’ve tried to be, who everyone has thought you were, it’s little remarks like those that make it difficult. Of course everyone accepted me, although my mom thought I was joking at first, but it was still a difficult process. My best friend had always been pro-gay, had always been someone I could count on and it was hard coming out to her because I didn’t want to lose her or have our friendship be negatively impacted. My family had no choice but to love me but if she decided she wasn’t so pro-gay after all I’d be out the friend I grew up with. She was hurt that I never talked to her before, she was hurt that I’d hid a part of who I am even though we’ve been friends since we were kids and shared everything. But she got over it. She understood that it was my choice and was grateful that I told her when I did. That’s what made her a good friend, that she was hurt but understood that it was harder for me to say than it was for her to hear and it was her job as a good friend to get over it and support me.
His sexuality and what to do with it is ultimately up to him. The only thing you can do as a good friend is love and support him. If you see him going down a dark road it will be easier for you to help him if you haven’t pushed him away by insisting that he define his sexuality. Be a good friend and lie if you have to, although it’s not really lying because you truly don’t know. I want to believe that you’re a good person who is just caught up in being hurt and feeling betrayed and once you’ve had some time to think you’ll realize that some of the things you said are just wrong. If you give him love and support on his terms, eventually he’ll come around to talking to you about his sexuality, if he even needs to.

avatar Christy April 5, 2011, 12:29 pm

It’s alright, my mom thought I was dating my best friend from high school. Lesbians can be friends, too! Also, boo your mom making jokes like that and yay your friend for being supportive and understanding!

avatar cmarie April 5, 2011, 3:49 pm

My mom grew up with very strict, anti-gay parents in a small town. Our biggest claim to diversity was the one half Japanese family that lived there for a year in 1970. We aren’t even on the map, literally. My mom didn’t mean what she said, she was just parroting what she grew up with, what I grew up with. The problem with prejudice is that it’s passed down from generation to generation and even if you actively try to be different, even though you CAN be different, there will always be little glitches in upbringing that you might not even realize are happening. But she loved me, unconditionally, and I could always depend on her to accept me just as I was. It just never occurred to her that I would be gay, although she did joke after I came out that she was suspicious of how close I was to my best friend. I’ll never forget the first time she met my girlfriend. I was expecting awkwardness but it was so completely comfortable. If she was having a hard time accepting my sexuality she never showed it. The comments stopped after I came out. I called her one day upset because a friend of mine said something rude about being gay and she told me to just let it go because she didn’t matter. The people that matter are the ones who stand by me, not because they accept me being gay, but because the accept me, period. She told me that the people who matter will love you for who you are, not despite who you are.
I’m sure you didn’t mean it as an insult to my mom of course, I just wanted to put that out there because I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about her. She’s been gone for almost 2 years and I still miss her like crazy and I’m kind of protective of her memory, lol.

Skyblossom Skyblossom April 5, 2011, 4:03 pm

Yay for your mom. She sounds like a wonderful mother!

avatar Christy April 6, 2011, 9:43 am

I certainly didn’t mean to insult your mom; I was just booing inadverant cracks about gay people and environments that foster them. My stepbrothers were brought up like that, where gay jokes are common and aren’t considered offensive. It’s great that your mother was so accepting despite her earlier environment.

avatar Jess April 5, 2011, 12:02 pm

wow really? she is “overwhelmed” by knowing this? Has she never kept a secret before? I know lots of secrets about my friends- and have never told anyone. And I didn’t find keeping them “overwhelming” or difficult at all.

Maybe she has a history of not being able to keep secrets/being a gossip, and THATS why he didn’t tell her.’

This LW *REALLY* needs to grow up and get over the attention that having hot gossip brings. Ugh

avatar Jessica April 5, 2011, 12:02 pm

I’ve had a handful of gay friends in my life, many of whom who have come out to me sometime in our friendship. I remember one, my favorite high school teacher, who was like a close friend to my friends and I, was in his 50′s, a widower, and had two grown kids. It wasn’t until a few years after his wife passed away (apparently she knew) that he felt comfortable telling his children anything about his sexuality and seeing men. I remember when he came out to our entire class, and though we all knew it, we all also knew that his entire life would be changing as well. The way he was treated at our school, the way parents saw him and were concerned about their kids being in his class, the looks different students gave him, etc.

Another friend, came out his senior year in high school after being in a relationship with a girl friend of mine for about a year, and after defending himself by saying he was straight the entire time. When they broke up and he came out of the closet to me (I was one of the first ones he told) and everyone else, his life changed as well. He tried to ease his way out of the closet though by stating he was bi-sexual first for a couple of days, then a week later he said that he just didn’t feel that way about girls at all, much to his ex’s dismay. But after coming out of the closet, he felt more depression than ever before (even considered suicide multiple times), he felt that he had to carry himself a different way, he openly responded to all the gay criticisms that people threw at him, and he kept getting into bad relationship after bad relationship. It wasn’t until two years ago that he was able really come to terms with his sexuality and actually feel at peace with it, and have a very loving, caring partner to share his life with.

My point is this: his life will change. Yours will not. This is not about you in the least, and he will need you more than ever if he comes out of the closet to you (emphasis on the if). But this is 100% his decision to do when he feels that he’s ready to do it, and you need to understand that fact, and respect his waiting. He may not be ready for his life to be completely thrown upside down, maybe his family are against gays, maybe like Wendy said, he may have felt attracted to men then and not now, or maybe you should just mind your own business and be thankful for having a great friend like him to share the ups and downs of the past few years, and try be an equally great friend to him by respecting his privacy.

avatar HmC April 5, 2011, 12:07 pm

I have a younger cousin (she’s in her early 20′s and I just turned 30) who I have always had a very close relationship with. We just have a lot in common, and I know she has always looked up to me. We’ve talked extensively about careers, boys, relationships. Then a few months ago she changed her Facebook relationship status to ‘in a relationship with [insert girl's name here]“. I assumed it was a jokey friend thing, but it’s become apparent that it’s an actual lesbian relationship. She still hasn’t said anything, and I haven’t brought it up.

To be totally honest, it did hurt my feelings a little bit when I first found out like I did without her talking to me about it. That might be selfish of me, but there it is. When you’re very close to someone, and they’ve been hiding what seems like something very big from you, you feel like your relationship doesn’t mean as much as you thought. At least, that was my gut reaction. So I understand LW’s feelings as far as that goes.

However, upon reflection, I made peace with my cousin not telling me, and am waiting patiently for her to tell me, if she ever wants to. And I realized that not everything is about ME ME ME all the time. I can imagine struggling with one’s sexuality and the confusion and mixed emotions that struggle must bring up. There are a million and one reasons why my cousin hasn’t told me- maybe she feels intimidated because I’m this older person she’s always admired, maybe she’s unsure about her sexuality or unsure about this particular relationship she’s started. But the bottom line is that I know how close we are and if I truly care about her, I’ll let her do what she thinks is right for her when it comes to her sexuality.

My boyfriend put it well also- “What difference does it make to you what sex of person your little cousin has sex with? She’s a responsible adult, and really, how does her sex life even affect you?” Indeed.

avatar Christy April 5, 2011, 12:34 pm

As someone who still has to come out to a close friend and lots of family, just remember that coming out is exhausting, and sometimes you just want people to *know* already so you don’t have to keep telling them. It’s not a mark of how close you are but rather of how overly stressed the “coming out” talk is in our society.

avatar HmC April 5, 2011, 2:01 pm

Looks like we were commenting on eachother’s stories at the same time. Thanks for your feedback, it really does help me to further understand the situation with my cousin. And all the best to you with your coming out process.

avatar cmarie April 5, 2011, 3:57 pm

I’d also like to add that perhaps she wasn’t hiding her sexuality from you. Sexuality isn’t black and white and sometimes things can change; you meet a person who turns your life upside down. She might never have imagined herself being gay, she might not even consider herself to be gay, maybe she just so happened to fall in love with this particular woman. She might also assume that since she’s made her relationship open on a public forum she doesn’t need to formally come out, or maybe it’s just not a big enough deal to her to make a big announcement. Since she’s being somewhat open about her relationship it probably wouldn’t be too forward to make some comment along the lines of “how’s your relationship with blah? how did you meet?” You don’t have ask her directly if she’s gay (you probably shouldn’t either) but if she’s put it out there where it reasonable to assume that you’d see it, you don’t have to ignore it either.

avatar Christy April 5, 2011, 9:56 pm

Good advice! I hope everyone in my life reads this comment.

avatar LennyBee April 5, 2011, 12:10 pm

LW, please consider that all of the times in the past when you’ve asked Matt if he might be gay, he’s said no. Perhaps that means that he genuinely is not gay. Ask yourself why, after all these times he’s said “no”, you still think he’s gay, and you still care about getting what you consider the “right” answer.

This happened to me when I was younger – I didn’t date until my late twenties. And everybody I knew wondered if I was lesbian. And several people asked constantly, like they thought that if they just asked enough times, they would wear me down, and I would admit to it. But there was nothing to admit to. I was interested in men, just not interested in dating at the time, and honestly felt that my love life (or lack thereof) should not be a general topic of conversation. Some things should be private. And how many times does someone have to tell you “no, I’m not gay” before you accept that maybe that IS the truth. And even if it’s not, it’s none of your business. And it certainly isn’t your business to gossip about it with other friends.

Here’s a good answer the next time your friends ask if he’s gay “No. No he isn’t. Every time I’ve asked, he’s said no, and that’s good enough for me. Please don’t ask me again. I’m not comfortable gossiping about other people behind their backs.”

avatar SpyGlassez April 5, 2011, 2:05 pm

I can’t like this hard enough.

All of my intense friendships have been with other females, and I am a touch-oriented person. Sometimes the people I was less close to but still friends with would ask if I were gay. For years I identified as heteroromantic asexual (not interested in sex, but with a romantic draw towards men), and it was actually hurtful to have so many people (including my dad) ask repeatedly when I was going to “come out” as gay or bi. Yes, now I am in a relationship and I would say I am definitely heterosexual, but the decade of figuring out where I fit on the spectrum was MINE to spend figuring out, and not everyone else’s to gossip about.

avatar Lindsay April 5, 2011, 12:12 pm

I’m not sure why it was such a burden for the girl to know her friend is gay. I’m not sure what part was so hard for her, but someone’s sexuality is honestly not interesting enough to me for me to want to spread it around. Friends have come out to me before, and it was nice that they could now talk to me about their romantic interests, but otherwise, it really didn’t affect my life, whether other people knew about it or not.

On the same token, I’m not sure why the LW also finds it so hard not to tell people. I can see why she’d be hurt, but that doesn’t give her a right to start telling people. If it’s so tempting for her to spread it, then maybe that’s why he never told? Just consider how you’d feel if you had something private and your friends kept telling people about it.

TaraMonster TaraMonster April 5, 2011, 1:31 pm

I think the LW’s friend is upset bc her relationship with Matt has dissolved. The LW seems to think their relationship has dissolved because Matt confessed his attraction to men to this girl, and has second guessed himself for revealing it. Therefore he’s allowed their friendship to dissolve. That’s what I thought the LW was saying anyway. And to that end- perhaps Matt no longer wants to be friends with that girl for other reasons, which are ALSO none of the LW’s business.

I think it’s her way of doing mental gymnastics to feign sympathy for her friend so she can force Matt to come out of the closet. That’s my take.

avatar cdobbs April 5, 2011, 12:16 pm

just leave him be. if he wants you to know he is gay (if he even is) then he will tell you. but really unless you are sleeping with him or in a relationship with him its really none of your business, roomate or not!

avatar RMM0278 April 5, 2011, 12:51 pm

Here’s my problem with this letter: “Over the years, I’ve asked him if he thought he might be gay, emphasizing that it doesn’t matter to me if he is (I love gays!), but he always said no.”

If it truly doesn’t matter to you, then why do you want to bring it up to him? Why is it an issue with you? What does it matter? Does it impact your friendship? Does it drastically change your living situation? Does it impact your daily life?

I’m not asking these questions to be difficult. I get irritated with the hoards of people who love to say that being gay doesn’t matter, yet they make a humongous and obnoxious deal out of having gay friends (or acquaintances even) — think Will & Grace, Carrie and Charlotte on Sex & The City, the Real Housewives shows, etc. If it isn’t a big deal, then don’t draw attention to it. (It’s like they think knowing gay people makes them that much cooler. I don’t know.)

I worry you’re one of those women that looks at having gay friends as some requisite to being female like wearing pantyhose or carrying a purse or something. You didn’t say that but your Need to Know and your desire to unburden yourself is coming from somewhere.

Just because you (and those characters listed above) claim to be all warm and welcoming to gay people doesn’t make you all that different from the gay bashers if all you’re going to do is draw attention to it over and over again, which is exactly what you did in this letter. I’m not gay myself, but oh my god if I were I think I’d be irritated and frustrated with very intimate and personal questions like the ones you pose.

Do you want to be a good friend to him? Leave him alone. If you’re really okay with this, then treat him like you would ANYONE else. Let me put it another way: if you wouldn’t walk up to your straight friend and ask such a prying question, don’t do it to anyone else.

avatar Green_Blessings_Goddess April 5, 2011, 1:38 pm

Many people are homosexual and bisexual. It is isn’t all one way or the other. You are his roommate, you will figure out what he is when he brings someone to the apartment to have sex! Mind your business and respect his boundaries, maybe he likes men but he is hetero hence bisexual. Whatever, mind your business. and STFU whomever calls me a troll!

If he wants you to know then he’ll tell you, a mutual friend may ask you if he is gay because they are interested in him romantically so you could direct them to him directly. You can have bisexual tendencies and not act on them. There isn’t just one way.

Skyblossom Skyblossom April 5, 2011, 3:46 pm

Matt is the only one who can decide whether he is gay and he is the only one who can decide when or if it is time to tell his friends. His sexual orientation has nothing to do with you or with your birthday so go and celebrate like you would have if the mutual friend hadn’t confided in you.

He may not know whether he is gay or bi or straight. He may be confused. He also may have been raised by a very conservative family that taught him gayness was sinful and an abomination. I have a friend who was raised this way and although she has left the conservative religion aspects of it are still there. She believes that all gay men are child molesters and nothing will convince her otherwise and she believes that gay men are made gay by being molested. She has a brother who is married with children but who looked at gay porn as a teenager. She will not leave her own children alone with her brother, whom she says she loves deeply, because she believes he might molest them just because he might be gay. Not that he has ever in any way mistreated a child. If he was raised in that type of atmosphere and realizes that he is gay he may hate himself for feeling gay. He may not be able to accept himself, which has nothing to do with your acceptance. If he was molested as a child he may feel that admitting he was gay would mean admitting to the molesting and he may not be able to deal with it.

After confiding in your mutual friend he became distant which I think tells you what would happen if you confronted him. He would need distance from you and if you told all your friends he would probably feel so betrayed that he would need to separate himself from all of you. Would you really want to do that to him? Remember, this has nothing to do with you. It’s about him and his needs and his emotions.

Go out and have fun on your birthday and enjoy your time with all of your friends. If anyone ever asks you if Matt is gay you are certainly honest if you say he’s never told you he’s gay.

avatar fallonthecity April 5, 2011, 4:13 pm

This letter really reminded me of my aunt. She LOVES to be the first person to tell anyone anything, good or bad. And she’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t even care whether it’s true, or whether it hurts the person she’s talking about. LW, don’t be like my aunt. Go cold turkey on the gossip for a while. This stuff is absolutely none of your business, you don’t have all the information, and if you keep talking about it to people, you’re going to end up hurting your friend badly.

avatar demoiselle April 5, 2011, 4:52 pm

You don’t know he’s gay.

bittergaymark bitter gay mark April 6, 2011, 1:43 pm

Sadly, society is still hopelessly fucked when it come to the gay issue. Just read the papers lately. (Fuck you, numerous American governors and other petty, worthless politicians everywhere as of late. Fuck you.) But back you and your letter. For the love of God, don’t confront him on this. Obviously, if he is gay–he has big issues with this. Moreover, he doesn’t “owe” you anything. (Frankly this motherfucking fucked up society owes all of gays big time for putting up with all this fucking bullshit, but that’s another point entirely.) Look, i you really want to help Matt out, just be VERY outspoken (naturally, not in a obvious forced way) about being cool with Gay rights and what not. The poor guy is probably dealing with a lot of things right now. The last thing he needs is you to use your birthday dinner to add a lot of fire to the drama. This isn’t all about you and your feelings of betrayal… Sheesh! The poor boy probably can’t even admit it to himself that he’s gay. And if that’s the case, why or earth do you think he would be able to admit it to you?

avatar Awesome Kev July 7, 2012, 8:33 pm

I wish people came to me for advice like this.
My advice to the birthday girl would be to pretend or actually get drunk, drop her pants while in the room with him and come on to him. If he rejects the advances you are either buttugly or unattractive or hes gay. Problem solved.

avatar Kyle Webb September 30, 2012, 11:12 pm

you shouldn’t confront him about it. However, what you should do is call a male prostitute to the house and tell him to dress as a plumber for the fun of role playing. Then before he goes into the shower just be like “ok well im gonna go to the mall for a couple hours” but in reality you hide in his closet. And then, the prostitute (male prostitute) will come over and he’ll be like “I came to unclog your pipes ;)” and so if he’s gay they’ll go back to his room. And in the middle of them having sex, you pop out of the closet and yell “YOU’RE GAY!! YOU’RE GAY!!”. And thats how it works. This sounds crazy but trust me I did it with my old roommate and it worked perfectly and were just laughing about it at the end of the day lol.

Leave a Comment


+ one = 4