A Gentleman's Guide

OCTOBER | 2018

LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS | OCTOBER | 2018

TWO FEET OUT, FOUR FEET IN

MICHAEL B. WILLIAMS

AdobeStock_214042181.jpeg

The world around you is infused with duality; light and dark, ups and downs, left and right. It’s a show of balance, which is something that we all seek in our lives. When we think of this dichotomy in terms of SGL relationships, certain ideas come to mind. One might think of the dominant/ submissive, daddy/ boy, bull/ twink, professional/ trade, or OL (Out Load) and DL (Down Low) relationship. Most of these relationships are variations of feminine and masculine identities associated with gay couplings as these types of “energies” tend to gravitate towards one another. There is a balance in these relationships, whereas each person has consciously (or unconsciously) agreed to participate.

But what happens when the duality you believe you've achieved with your partner involves a level of duplicity (1)? We're talking about the duplicity that comes when your Beaux is keeping your relationship a secret from everyone else in his life but you, and you feel as if you’re forced to go along with it to keep him. In this month’s Love & Relationships, we’re focusing on what its like to be with a Beaux who's in the closet and on how you might deal with being in this type of relationship.

A majority of society still (yes, still) thinks that SGL couples don't have or deserve the right to love each other. Why? Because our love, in their outdated opinion, is unnatural. Many would would have us believe that gay love is something to be ashamed of and sadly there are many Beauxs out there that believe this to be true.

There are Beaux's who grew up on the streets, who were adored in high school and those who either are or were college athletes with prosperous lives centering around parties, frats and girls, girls, girls. There are the faithfully religious Beaux's attending church every Sunday with their doting parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, all waiting on the day their precious son, grandson and nephew takes wife and adds to the familial fold. Many of these Beauxs have seen and heard how these same beloved family members, despise gay men. They’ve been shown how quickly the people they hold most dear would disown and cast them out of their lives if they ever came out. It should come as no surprise that these, among other reasons, contribute to the fears some Beauxs have with coming out and following their hearts. But what does this mean for you as their Beaux?

RBX+BANNER+2 (1).png

When dealing with a closeted Beaux, you’re forced to contend with not being able to show him affection in public. You’ll deal with things such as being introduced as his “friend" and relying on the hand of God to hold your tongue when women openly flirt with him after learning that he’s “single”. You’ll be compelled to explain how "complicated" your relationship is to your friends when he doesn't come around- and that’s if they know about him at! You’ll try to convince yourself it doesn't bother you despite you knowing that you’re one fight away from sharing that picture of him asleep naked in your bed on Instagram! Even though all you really want to do is make it “Facebook official” and tell everybody how much you love him, you know that doing so would only push him away because he would most certainly choose leaving you over letting you tell anyone anything about your relationship! So what do you do?

Let's weigh the Pro's and the Con's. The pro’s include, but aren’t limited to having a man, which is more than most can say, right? And despite him wanting to keep you and your relationship with him neatly tucked in his closet behind his FUBU, he loves you and wants to be with you (albeit privately ) and through all of this you genuinely love being together. The cons? Well, if having a relationship with someone that’s a bigger secret than Jesus’ silent years isn’t enough to deter you then we don’t know what to tell you. However, if you’re still trying to come to grips with dealing with a Beaux who is still in the closet the following is going to be the best that we can offer you.

It's not about you!
Let’s repeat this. It is not about you!. Him not coming out is not something that he's doing to you, but you staying in the relationship is something that you’re doing to yourself. He's with you because he loves you, he probably even admires that you are out, but that doesn't mean it’s the right thing for him to do and until or unless he makes that determination you have to understand it’s not about you.

You can't make someone choose between you and their family/friends!
Just think, what if he did that to you? Even with something as simple as how you dress. How would it go down...? Right! You'd both lose! Because it’s up to you how you choose how you represent yourself and taking that choice away from you would take away your personal power.

AdobeStock_214041951.jpeg

There is more than one way to be out.
Maybe he just doesn't want his family and friends to know but he’d be ok with yours knowing, or maybe you decide on a mutual third group of people who you have in common that he feels comfortable sharing that information with and wouldn't feel judged. Even if that’s not possible, consider that for him, just being with you, might be his way of being out!

Your relationship is valid.
Ok, so you can't post his pic everywhere, your friends don’t know him (and that's probably a good thing!) and you may not know his family, but who knows, he might be sparing you! In any case, it doesn't mean that you aren't a real couple. If you're with him and he's with you, you’re together — and that's called a couple!

You are not alone.
Men keep their relationships to themselves for various reasons. Sometimes it's because, they know that it would ruin their relationship with their family or because it’s not safe for them. Sometimes they are just scared. You are not the first person to have someone in your life who you love that is not as open, as loud or as proud as you are, and just because they aren’t doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up on them.

AdobeStock_214042176.jpeg

You should always do what you feel is right for you. If that means being with someone that's out, you need to consider whether or not you're willing to give up what you have with your not-out Beaux to have that. You both have decisions to make. The decision for you is whether or not you want to continue being involved in a relationship that relegates you to being someone’s secret while for him the decision is about whether or not, and if so how, to come out of the closet in a way that doesn’t involve you forcing him out, or him keeping you in.

Coming out is a process and its not always easy. We encourage Beauxs finding themselves in situations where their partners are not out to give pause in considering all the things that they may gain as a result of their partners coming out and spend a little time thinking about the things that their partners may lose after doing so. Trying to force someone to come out for you will more than likely drive that person away, destroying the very relationship you’re trying to hold on to. A Beaux's relationship, much like his life, is about his choices. We don’t have the power to change someone and its important to remember that because they have to want to change. If you were fortunate enough to come out of the closet of your own will and volition, you have to allow your Beaux the opportunity to do the same. At no point should we ever assume that its our responsibility to force your Beaux to come out of the closet, that's for him.

Jeremy Carter