Dating Someone In The Closet

© Barun Patro
Hi Mona,  

I am 25 years old and I've met a 22-year-old boy. I have allowed myself to fall in love with him, but the problem is that he is not out in the open yet. He is my best friend, buddy, soul mate, and everything I could have asked for. But the problem is, he keeps on denying he is gay.  

He has moved in with me and we sleep together every night holding each other and no matter how hard it is for me, I refuse to have sex with him seeing that he has an girlfriend.  He keeps on telling me that I am the one; I just need to hang in there for him. Since I've been around, he and his girl have been on and off and as you can just imagine... she hates me. A big part of me just would like to end it, but a bigger part of me enjoys him next to me in bed. What do you suggest I do?   

Kind regards, 

Dear Romantic Roommate,  

Let me break this down first: You're madly in love with your best bud and now roommate.
You're out, he's not. And... he's still hanging on to his old girlfriend. Do you continue to go for it? Rational Mona says no. But I know the power of love so I understand why you cuddle with him in the first place. It's hard not the make a move like that when your love dreams are coming true. Now, you're in a fold because, well, you're ready to get the relationship going and he's still in the closet.  

Your situation–albeit frustrating–is not completely lost. You can't fast forward your relationship, though, until he's comfortable enough to speed his slow advance. He's laid out the road map for you: He wants you, but he's not ready to come out. And by keeping the girlfriend around, he's telling you that he's also not ready to give 100 percent to your relationship. Coming out is hard enough. He's trying to balance two relationships and come to grips with his sexuality at the same time, which is even more difficult.

He's at a crossroad and probably doesn't know which way to turn. To the right is the hetero life that he already knows. To the left is this new guy (you) and these new feelings that will lead him into an unknown world. And all his girlfriend sees is a gay dude who's becoming increasingly close to her man (no wonder she's upset).

He's asked for time to sort it out. What you need to do is ask yourself how long you're willing to wait. Things may get more complicated before they get better.  

Living with someone takes a considerable amount of effort on its own. Living with him while he's coming out adds an additional amount of stress. If you're willing to stick it out, then manage your expectations. Until he's comfortable with his sexuality, and we don't know how long that will take, he'll continue to cuddle with you at night and refuse your hand during the day. He's in turmoil right now and there may be more to come. First, there will be the drama of ending his previous relationship, then there will be further discovery of his sexuality and the definition of a relationship with you. Also, I'm not quite sure if in his mind you aren't just best buds rooming together, while in yours you are two guys starting a romance.  

If you want to build a relationship with this guy then you'll need to take a small step back and shut off your heart for a brief moment. Be clear about your expectations for this relationship, first to yourself and then to him. Be open and firm about these expectations. Even if you're not in the same place as far as your openness is concerned, you can still get on the same page with the progress of the relationship. You've taken a big step moving in together at this stage (perhaps too soon), but I'm sure you didn't sign up for a threeway partnership. So, communicate how long you're willing to deal with his girl being around. If you want the same PDA that other gay couples flaunt, then let him know that eventually that's what you want from a boyfriend. You'll also need to make sure he has the same vision for your future together. If not, then he'll continue on the same path.  

You don't have to give him an ultimatum or an expiration date for your friendship, but you should let him know that your current situation isn't an indefinite contract. You can support him, while adhering to your own limits. And only you know if he's worth the time and patience it will take to get through this. You two are in this together. He needs to know that. With some communication and a few actions by him (namely breaking it off with his girlfriend), you can begin to move forward—if that is indeed what he's willing to do.  

Yours in love,