It might seem hard to believe in the second decade of the 21st century, but there are plenty of men who have sex with other men, and for whatever reasons, they are not “out.” It could be that they’re “straight,” bisexual, or aren’t sure enough in their sexual orientation that they’re ready for people to know. There are legitimate dangers to being identified as gay in some areas of the country, ranging from violence to loss of livelihood.
With one night stands, it doesn’t really matter what their backstory and current situation is, but if you find yourself in a regular situation with a guy on the down low, and are thinking of it as a relationship, it can be trying.
You should establish early on why he’s closeted. It might be for a good reason. It’s entirely normal for instance when you’re just starting out, and before you’re really sure about just what it is you are, for you to have a semi-surreptitious relationship with a “special friend” – twisting up the sheets behind closed doors, while doing your best to avoid any public displays of affection. An adult can have all sorts of complicated reasons for remaining in the closet, from being presently involved in a heterosexual marriage, employed by a company that will fire them, or living in a community where it’s dangerous to be identified as gay.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume you’re out and your boyfriend is closeted, but if the positions are reversed, the same observations apply. Speaking from my own experience, I had been messing around with guys and girls, though increasingly with more guys. Then I fell in love – hard. I had never had anything close to what I experienced in that relationship, and it finally proved to me that I was indeed gay. He felt the same way but couldn’t accept the concept of gay, regardless of his feelings, which for all intents and purposes was just as earth-shaking as it was for me.
If you’re not looking to be that friend of his that he seems to spend an awful lot of time with, and you don’t want to sit in a room while he chuckles and says, “Yeah, I’m still single, just haven’t met the right girl yet,” then trust me, you’ll be asking yourself: “What the hell am I doing?!?” It took two years to end that relationship. He had to break up with me because he was so in love with me, and that was gay, which he wasn’t. a month or so later, he would show up at my door, crying at three in the morning, telling me he loved me, then the cycle would restart.
My experience isn’t necessarily universal. I once knew a gay couple who had been together for nearly twenty years, both Italian, from extremely conservative Catholic families. They owned two homes together, one of which was in a notoriously gay community on Fire Island. They maintained an empty bedroom in their homes that was portrayed as one of their’s when they had family over. Both seemed at peace with their undercover relationship, though one wonders how militantly oblivious their families had to be to not put 1 plus 1 together, particularly after braving their way through throngs of speedo-clad gay party boys between the ferry and their beach house. I suspect they were practicing a don’t-ask don’t-tell policy where everyone knew the deal, but chose to ignore it. I only mention this to show that there’s no “correct” answer to how you choose to live your life. They were (and presumably still are) quite happy in their closeted life together.
The important thing is that you both are on the same page. From a politically correct standpoint I believe everyone should be living out, loud and proud, but life is a complicated thing. If you’re looking for a closeted relationship there are some good dating sites like DiscreetGayDating.com which specialize in hooking up men who are looking for something on the down low.