A note from the front office (my bedroom): Please do your best to make your advice constructive. I've received a few complaints about commenters being too mean to the letter writers, and while I don't want to censor anyone, I want to make sure that we're actually giving advice and trying to help the letter writers improve their situations. For instance, "You blew it, you cheating dummy" isn't a helpful statement. "You blew it -- so move out of your house" is more like it.
Keep that in mind today. This is a sensitive letter and I don't want people's comments to disappear.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I haven't been myself for the last few weeks because I can't seem to get one thing off my mind: Is my boyfriend really gay? A few weeks ago, I had lunch with some coworkers and they mentioned that when they met my boyfriend a month or so before, they immediately got the "gay vibe." The moment they said that, my stomach tied up in knots because he does, in fact, have some feminine qualities about him. Since this has always been in the back of my mind and was now being brought to my attention, I decided to investigate and see what my closest friends thought. The majority of them said that he wasn't gay, whereas my family (parents and sisters) had their doubts. The strange thing here is that all of my gay friends have no doubt he is not gay.
At this point, I probably sound like a horrible person with all my investigating, but because I also had doubts before, I had to find out the answer. So, I decided to be honest and have a talk with my boyfriend. He was of course offended and thought it was weird that I would even bring this conversation up, but I had to be honest with him. I explained to him what happened at lunch -- that I had investigated and told him my results -- and then I explained to him that although he said he isn't gay, I just worry that maybe he doesn't know yet. He reassured me that this is not the case.
I love him dearly and we have an amazing relationship (our sex life is even great). One of the reasons we have a great relationship is because we are open and honest with each other. I am not going to say he wasn't upset with me, but it also wasn't something he hadn't heard before. The reason I am writing this letter is because toward the end of the conversation, he mentioned that an ex-girlfriend had initiated the same conversation. To me, that screamed "red flag." All of my doubts and worries had cleared when he told me himself that he wasn't gay, but when I found out that this exact situation played out before, I began to worry again.
I guess I am just wondering how to move on from this. I love my gay friends dearly, but I am not sexually attracted to feminine qualities in a man. I want to get all of this gay talk out of my mind because I never noticed it as much before and the relationship I have with him is wonderful in all other aspects.
– Boston Worrier
A: BW, you are very lucky that your boyfriend didn't break up with you the minute you told him about your investigation. That's the kind of disclosure that gets you dumped. Be thankful that he heard you out without walking in the other direction.
The bottom line here is that your sex life is great, which means that your boyfriend is attracted to you. And you're a woman, which means your boyfriend likes girls. That conversation he had with his ex, it isn't a red flag. It just means that he's been asked the same question a few times. No biggie.
I'm sure that he does exhibit some characteristics that are traditionally and stereotypically feminine -- we all do -- so you have to decide whether that's something you can live with. If you don't like that he behaves a certain way, that's about you, not him. No need to punish him or make him feel bad about himself. No need to tell him that he's gay and doesn't know it. Just be honest about your own needs and make decisions accordingly.
Please understand that if you do find the most traditionally masculine man on the planet, he might not treat you as well as your boyfriend does. And he might not be able to make you as happy in the bedroom.
If you're attracted to your boyfriend and you love spending time with him, stop sweating this and tell him that you're dropping the issue. Apologize for implying to him that your friends understand his sexual identity better than he does, and validate how wonderful he is, in general.
Again, this is about you and what you like. You must figure out what you want without making it seem like he's done something wrong.
Readers? How can they bounce back from her investigation? Is she just not attracted to him? Is the conversation he had with his ex really a read flag? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.