The Bottom Whisperer: That’s What Friends Are For
Coming out seems to be a pretty hot issue this week. Let’s get to it!
Dear Bottom Whisperer,
I am a thirty-something year old bisexual man living on the West Coast. I am not open about my bisexuality nor have I ever dated a guy romantically. I am very attracted to men sexually and know there is something there, just not how deep it goes.
I was previously in a relationship with a woman for a number of years and we were engaged to be married. I decided to end things and tried to salvage a friendship. After my fiancé and I ended things she asked if she could live with me for a few months until she got on her feet. It was at this time that I decided to try and gain a better understanding of my attraction for men. I began chatting with guys on various online hookup websites and met a few guys for sex when I was traveling for business. Upon returning from my last business trip my ex confronted me about some things she had discovered while snooping on my computer. Long story short, she found a few email exchanges as well as some photos and has threatened to tell my family about what she found. I am at a loss as to what I should do. I come from a very conservative family and I don’t feel comfortable coming out to them. I was perfectly happy to discover this side of myself privately and the thought of it coming to light with my family is frightening. I feel like my home life has now been totally turned upside down. I don’t know whether I should ask her to leave or bide my time and hope she changes her mind about outing me to my family. Please help!
Openly Upset Towards Ex’s Discovery
Thanks for the great question and being a reader of the column. Good on you for exploring this side of yourself but please don’t let your hang ups about sexuality completely disqualify you from dating a dude if he really makes you feel special. I mean, the down low “straight” thing is so 10 years ago. Long gone are the days of married gay men hooking up in public restrooms and rest stops. It is 2012 for goodness sake, allow yourself to evolve from that old way of thinking.
As for your ex, what is she doing going through your private stuff while you are away on business? This is a total violation of your privacy and you should have asked her to leave right away. If you are worried about her sharing your business with your friends and family there is really only one thing you can do, beat her to it and come clean about your sexuality. Your friends are still going to be your friends and unless you are making your family sit bedside and watch, they really have no damn business giving their two cents about who you are having sex with.
I understand this is a big step and one that you still might be sorting through, but I can assure you that coming clean on your affection for men is going to lift a huge burden off of your shoulders. Being bisexual or gay is not as big of an issue in this day and time, so stop acting like it is some hideous, deep, dark secret. If you act ashamed or like you have something to hide, then people are going to treat you as such. If you come clean about who you are and do it with your dignity, people will be forced to respect that. So quit being Mr. Nice Guy and give your ex the boot and get real with the people that respect and love you. They deserve to know the real you, not the front you put out. Best of luck!
Dear Bottom Whisperer,
Huge fan of the column! If you don’t mind taking a question from a straight girl… my friend recently came out of the closet. I had an idea for a while that he might be interested in guys since he is extremely handsome and never had any interest in women. We have been friends for years and I love him to death so I am a bit concerned at some of the behaviors that have come since he came out a few months back. He has just started acting differently and he only wants to talk about guys or go out to social settings where there will be other gay men. Every weekend we use to go to the park, museum, camping and now he just wants to work out and go to the gay clubs. His focus seems to be less on being a good friend and hanging out and more on cruising guys, talking to guys and trying to get with guys.
We use to be close and confide in each other, now he seems completely not interested any of his friends. When he meets a guy he goes nuts and will disappear. I am trying to be supportive but I also have a limit as to what I will put up with. Do you think I should talk to him about this? I tried to bring it up before and he got upset and felt like I was attacking him for being honest about who he is. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Just Irritated Last Time Each Disappointment
Age, race, gender and sexuality don’t play into my question selection or who I choose to surround myself with personally. Thanks for taking the time to put your question together.
Sounds like your friend is just figuring out his place in this new world of self-acceptance. This doesn’t give him a green light to be a bad friend but a little bit of understanding is to be expected. You see, your friend just spent some very important development years struggling with the fact that there is something different about him. He did his best to hide it but now that he has decided to open up and face the music, he is making up for some lost time. Straight people get to be themselves and are allowed to flirt, date, have crushes as much as they want because it is completely normal and there isn’t anything that makes them think or feel ashamed or like something they are doing is wrong. GLBT people don’t experience this same comfort growing up. We are often scared of being isolated, picked on and often times, physically harmed so we have no choice but to hide this part of who we are. When we finally come to grips with it, it is a very emotional time and we feel very vulnerable. It is like trying to cram those awkward, embarrassing years of puberty into a few short months.
I get it that your friend has totally dropped the ball right now, and yes, you should let him know. But make sure he knows that you understand that he is going through a lot and that you are there for him. He probably feels vulnerable and unsure of himself right now so he is reaching out and trying to find something that makes him feel stable. Eventually he will come around and you can laugh about what a self-centered jerk he was when he first came out. Until then, be clear about your feelings and make sure he knows that you value his friendship and care about him. As we grow up, our relationships have to evolve just like we do. This is an opportunity for you two to grow and appreciate and love each other more. Best of luck!