QDear LF10: I’m a thirty-something associate at a large firm. I’ve dated off and on over the years but have not yet found the right guy. The longest I have dated someone is 18 months and it ended amicably. Most of my relationships do, though I’m typically not happy that they end.
I’ve currently been dating a guy for about four months. Things are good. He’s funny, attractive, and “gets” me, some of the major things I’m looking for. But when we first met I said “gay.” As in, he’s either straight-up gay or a gay-acting straight man. I couldn’t help it—it was my first initial reaction. A gut feeling. I found it funny at first and thought things wouldn’t last because of my reaction—but they have.
Fast forward four months and I still cannot get it out of my head that he’s gay. It’s not the sex—which is fine—it’s the stupidest little things, like a certain way he laughs or how he picks something off a counter. I then think he’s gay. Then I think he’s not. Despite how much I like being with him and how much I like him, the impression still comes around.
Should I just straight out ask him? Tell him what I think and see what happens between us? Give it more time? Or should I just listen to my instinct, know this one won’t work, and begin whatever process I can think of to end things? Help.
AInk has been spilled in endless amounts re: the advisability of trusting your instincts. Ancient philosophers, psychologists, and pop culture icons totally lacking in relevant credentials are all in unequivocal agreement that you should always heed your instincts. It’s a concept that unifies everyone from Lao Tzu (“The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.”) to Dr. Joyce Brothers (“Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.”) to Oprah (“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”)
That should sufficiently answer your question, no? Although (come to think of it), the fact that you’re even asking the question in the first place implies that you’re stubbornly clinging to this relationship despite pervasive instinctual misgivings. Allow me, then, to spell it out for you as clearly as I possibly can:
- Yes, you should listen to your instincts, which have been trying to tell you that your boyfriend is not right for you nonstop since the moment you met him. End the relationship immediately. Spend your time looking for the right guy, rather than wasting it looking for excuses to stay with the wrong guy. Side note—when you break up with him, do not make reference to your gut feelings about his sexuality (for a number of reasons, including, without limitation: (i) if he is in fact gay you should probably just keep your mouth shut about it, given that he’s been dating a female for the past four months and therefore is obviously not ready/interested in dealing with it; and (ii) he might not actually be gay, but the important part of the equation is that your subconscious thinks he is, and that is enough to both justify and compel your decision to end things without giving voice to your hidden fears).
- No, you should not “give it more time.” In all seriousness, if you weren’t in your thirties and still nursing the wounds of rejection from your recent failed relationships, then you would never in a million years think that wasting more time with the wrong guy will somehow magically cure things. Admit it—the voice that’s telling you to give it more time is your naked ring-finger talking (or your biological clock, or your flagging self-esteem, or some combination of the three). I’d be willing to bet that when you were 24-years-old, you wouldn’t have gone on even a single date with a guy that you suspected was gay. Here’s what will happen if you give it more time: your fears and anxieties will continue but you will squelch and smother them with all your might, and with each relationship milestone that passes (six month anniversary, one year anniversary, engagement, wedding planning, honeymoon, setting up your home, getting pregnant, raising children) you will busy yourself with all the details that go along with them in order to distract yourself from the always present “What if?” But it will still be there, and it will make you miserable. Personally, I would rather be all alone than deal with that. But hey, it’s your funeral.
- Finally, if you decide to foolishly ignore your instincts and remain in this relationship, then you should absolutely not ask and/or tell him that you think he is gay. Unless, of course, you’re thinking along those lines due to a passive aggressive desire to force him to do the dirty work of leaving you. Do yourself a favor and spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the employment law concept of constructive dismissal. If your heinous behavior leaves him with no choice but to leave you, that doesn’t somehow absolve you from responsibility and render you the blameless party.
I think that about covers it. Muster up your strength and let go of this now. It will only get harder to leave him. Everyone deserves to be with a partner that thrills them, and this is clearly not the case with your man.
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