You might know openly gay actor Rupert Everett from his work in My Best Friend’s Wedding, Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third. He’s also known in the UK for occasionally giving media interviews where he complains about how being openly gay greatly limited his chances in Hollywood, and urging young closeted gay actors to stay firmly in that closet.
Sadly, there is probably a lot of truth to Mr Everett’s statements, but his career might also have slowed down by the fact that it seems he’s had some work done that makes his once handsome face resemble a piece of melting leather. It can be frustrating for openly gay men to think of this (the closet, not Rupert Everett’s face, which is more horrifying than frustrating).
You are who you are, and being gay really isn’t that interesting, as many of us will know from countless evenings spent at gay hot spots while bored out of our minds. OK, you could almost understand it if there was a career with the potential to earn millions of dollars by staying in the closet. It’s sad, but for many men the dollar is mightier than the penis, and that’s a personal choice. But what about all those other men out there who don’t want to come out of the closet for fear of what their family, friends and co-workers might think?
More importantly, what happens if you end up dating one of them?
Private Displays of Affection
When you’re behind closed (and probably locked) doors, your man might be so sweet that you’ll need dental work in the very near future, but that all disappears the moment you step outside with him. There can be no holding of hands, probably rather few meals out together and definitely no kissing – no matter how drunk you are. Whether gay or straight, not everybody is into public displays of affection, but it would be lovely to have the option. Some guys are so uptight about being seen that they pull away if their partner so much as touches them on the arm. The other option is pretend to be a frat boy style douche which allows you to hug and play fight as needed.
It Gets Inside Your Head
You’ve made the decision to allow yourself to be in this kind of relationship, so even if you previously spent Saturday nights dry humping lithe young strangers on the dance floor of a gay club while Britney played at glass breaking volume, you have also become discreet. Sure, maybe your closest friends and family will know about it, but as far as everyone else is concerned, you’re single. Negative thoughts are to be expected. Would your partner leave you if your relationship became public knowledge? There’s also the guilt at telling lies to disguise your relationship, not to mention the suspicion that the few people who do know are judging you for putting up with the situation – perhaps feeling that you’re not showing yourself the respect you deserve.
Is This Forever?
The whole secret relationship is quite standard for younger gay men – it’s like a transitional period before they can come out of the closet and admit to people that they and their “special friend” (which is you) don’t just share the occasional night out, but in fact share bodily fluids too. Fear of being rejected by the important people in their life is an unfortunate motivating factor for guys to keep a gay relationship secret, and it takes time for some guys to work up the courage to be honest. But hey – if your formerly closeted boyfriend actually starts to tell people about the relationship, it means you must be incredibly special to him.
If it’s been a while or if your partner is old enough to know better, then you need to consider the future of the relationship. You will always be someone hiding in the shadows, that friend the guy seems to spend a lot of time with. You might even have to put up with him telling people he’s single while you’re sitting right freaking there. Is this even a real relationship, or just friends with benefits? Some closeted gay guys are under enormous pressure to be straight, whether it’s from their family, their religion or their career choice. It’s disappointing that people still give a crap about homosexuality, but you need to think about yourself. Maybe you want to be with this guy forever, but can you see yourself spending decades being introduced as his friend?
Are You Happy?
You need to think about if you’re happy being in this kind of relationship, and if you feel you are, you need to think some more. If you want to change things, then sit down with your man and talk honestly and openly about your feelings. Tell him how much he means to you, and that you want to take things to the next level, which is to not hide the relationship. It puts you in a difficult position if he’s not ready, and you could easily start to freak out about if you should break up with him. Not to worry – there’s another option. Just tell him you want an open relationship, and the thought of you dirtying up the sheets with another guy might be enough to break those closet doors right off their damn hinges!
Image via Darwin Bell on Flickr.