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Why Are Closeted Gay Men So Hard To Date?

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Posted by Joseph on January 28, 2015
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Typically men who are not out are open with those they date about being in the closet to family and friends. They can often lead a life that from the outside appears in double: One with their gay friends and lovers and another with family, friends and coworkers. 

How can a man be out with some people, especially their romantic partners, but not with others they care for? Despite the confusion the paradox is necessary to explore their same sex feelings and attractions. To understand, we need to first debunk the myth that coming out happens all at once, as if it’s a one time event. In most cases, men curious about sex and relationships with other men do not disclose their feelings all at once. It happens in stages, based most often on the circumstances of the guy’s life.
Another myth is that once he comes out, he’s out for good. In some instances, just the opposite happens, especially if he’s outed or is feeling an immense amount of pressure to be open. Unfortunately, these circumstances make it frustratingly difficult, or nearly impossible, to date them. Literally, one minute they’re in and the next their out.

Closeted men are in constant conflict with themselves and their surroundings. They understand that they are attracted to other men, but cannot reconcile these feelings with how to live life. For this reason, it’s not unusual for a guy who is not out to play out the immense conflict they experience in their relationships with lovers and others. They are being pulled in two different directions that can often be in conflict: a life lived based on their true desires or one that fits with tradition or the most dominant view in society. 
Ultimately, what a closeted gay man lacks is complete confidence. Full, unwavering, confidence comes in the belief that they will not be truly happy until they begin to live their authentic lives despite the difficulties they might encounter for being who they really are. Many closeted men rest in the fear that their support systems, such as family or friends or coworkers, will reject or treat them differently if they disclose that they are gay or bisexual. While these fear may not be unfounded, they are neither a guarantee nor a way to live. Denying our true attractions to mitigate uncomfortable situations elsewhere will not make us happy. In fact, it will only intensify the turmoil and tensions experienced on a daily basis.

To live as you really are is true freedom. To deny this is to live for others and not ourselves. Of course this easier said than done, which is why the path to coming out and being absolutely free takes absolute courage. How can this courage be achieved? And how can their partners support them?
The first step to living with courage as a gay man is embracing your sexuality in whatever way it expresses itself and trusting that no matter what difficulties arise, we possess the ability to overcome them by maintaining an absolute belief that a happy and open life is worth fighting for through the hardship.
For the lovers and partners of closeted men, support comes in awareness. You cannot control the turmoil of another’s emotions anymore than a tornado can be controlled by a wish. This awareness dictates that you as his partner or lover must remain centered in your own courage and convictions to live your life authentically as well. This does not mean that you are obliged to put up with the storm or that you must take the tensions he may play out without complaint. You must be as clear about your limits and boundaries as he is about his.

And if the wind hits the windows and he pushes you away to maintain his previous life, you must be a brick and know when to hold strong and when to walk away. The wisdom to act doesn’t ease the pain this situation may cause, but part of an awareness (and risk) of dating someone in the closet is understanding that this potential pain is part of the journey that both you and he agreed to. At any time this can change, which makes it clear that every moment with him must be lived fully and that if those moments should end, it’s most likely for the best.




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