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22 Nov 2005

could this mean he is gay?
My fiance and I have been together for 5 years. It was/is the first proper relationship for both of us. He has recently shared with me that is is not sure of who he is, as he looks at other men finds them attractive. He says that this worries him even more because he doesn't find any other women, besides me attractive. When he was 12 years old, he was molested by a friend (another boy) and had never told anyone this but me. Throughout school, and still today, people often mistake him as being gay only because he looks after himself well and is very well groomed and up to date with fashion trends. He wants to be a pilot, and is flying as cabin crew in the meantime, which means he has a few gay friends and gets on well with gay men (but also with straight men and women). He has told me that he does not find other men sexualy desirable and cannot see himself being with another man (or woman) and that the only person he has ever been sexualy attracted to is me. He says that when he met me 5 years ago, all his fears about being gay dissappeared but has recently been surfacing again. He says that he doesn't want to be gay and that he loves me but is scared to lead me on if it does in fact turn out that he is gay and that he would rather make sure than supressing his feelings and it coming out after we are married. Could this all be due to the fact that he has supressed feelings from the molestation when he was small and this is resurfacing because of the industry and his new gay friends? Or is he just too scared to lose me and his family and of what people would say if he was gay, to admit it? We are both very scared of losing each other and are both very emothional and heartsore because of this confusion he is going through. Please, any advice will be appreciated.
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Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert
gay, lesbian and bisexual expert

01 Jan 0001

Hi Confused and thanks for posting here. It sounds as if both you and your fiancé are experiencing a crisis - in his instance, related to his sexual identity and you're both dealing with the possible implications of this for your relationship.

First off, it is clinically unlikely that his sexual experience with another boy at the age of twelve has any impact on his current questioning of his sexual orientation. You mention that the encounter involved another boy who was a friend - it is possible that this was normal, innocent childhood experimentation and the word 'molested' may be somewhat harsh under these circumstances. Many children engage in such sexual play which does not influence the development of their sexual identity. We need to be weary of wanting to 'blame' homosexuality on something or to find a 'cause' for it - we don't feel compelled to do the same with heterosexuality.

Secondly, you have no reason to doubt that your fiancé loves you. However, 'love' sometimes only serves to complicate things - in instances of co-dependence, for example - and has little bearing on the fact that in many instances sexual orientation and sexual identity are dynamic. A married woman who realises over time that she is lesbian does not suddenly stop loving her husband, but the erotic content of the relationship will undoubtedly shift as her inner fantasy world shifts and her awareness develops.

Significantly, every one of us is located somewhere on a continuum between being 100% straight and 100% gay. In that sense it is not surprising that many straight-identifying people often find people of the same sex attractive or include people of the same sex in their inner fantasy world. Usually it doesn't matter what label people apply to us - what really matters is how we feel about ourselves and how we relate to and experience our own sexual identity. Your fiancé is indicating very clearly that he is experiencing a crisis in terms of his own sense of himself and I commend you both for being willing to resolve this matter before you get married or before you have children.

I suggest that your fiancé undergo a process of counselling to resolve his sexual orientation. A counsellor will be able to help him separate two key issues - your relationship (and his feelings for you) and his sexual identity. Once he has made some progress in resolving his sense of confusion it is possible that you may be incorporated into the counselling process as well. I urge you to seek a gay-friendly counsellor to whom your fiancé will feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly - if you're in or near Cape Town contact Triangle Project on (021) 448 3812 for a referral.

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