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Closeted and Attracted to Possibly Closeted Co-Worker
Asked May 13, 2007, 10:54 PM
I'm a 23 year old closeted guy and pretty straight-acting. I'm not at all what people would refer to as "flaming." I enjoy watching and playing sports, but am not hardcore like your typical testosterone-driven male. I work out and have a good build. I'm a bit more quiet at the workplace but among familiar friends, I like to joke around and talk about anything and everything. I have several good male friends but most of my friends are female. I think that's more primarily due to my Business program having more girls than guys. Still, I feel like I get along better with girls than guys.
I guess I have two issues to ask for advice.
1. My parents are conservative Chinese folk who, although supportive of having gay and lesbian friends, could and would never imagine their own son to be gay. What's worse is that my mom always say things like "Tell me you're not gay, because if you were, I'd throw myself out a window to my death" or "You can't be gay ... If you were, how would I be able to face the ancestors [of your dad's family]? How could I face them having given birth to a gay child?" Just this evening at dinner, she made a comment, "Why don't have you a girlfriend yet? You're not gay are you?" Comments such as these have been made to me ever since I was in elementary school, primarily by my mother. In all honesty, her words have kept me deep in the closet. Everyday, I hang onto it for dear life because I could not imagine what hell would break loose if my parents find out.
My last relationship was 3 years ago and lasted 2 months. I've dated girls in the past and still meet up with girls, hoping it will become a relationship. I know this is absolutely the wrong thing to do, but I want to show my family that I am straight. I am living the typical dual life. That is how uncomfortable I am with my identity. I feel like coming out of the closet would ruin my family. I'm afraid my mom really will throw herself out a window. I'm afraid my dad would disown me. I want my family to stay intact and have therefore remained quiet about the situation for 8 years. The only person who I know would still accept me for who I am would be my brother. He told me a co-worker's brother came out to his co-worker, at the age of 25. His co-worker was shocked, but is learning to accept his brother's sexual orientation. My brother has told me that if I was gay, he would accept me because he understands that it was the way a person is born. However, I have always played the straight guy when talking to him about girls and sexuality.
Am I screwed for life on this or is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Does anyone here have any advice on what steps I can take to come out to my family? I feel like this secretive life has taken its toll on me in the past 2 months. I am happy on the outside but confused and angry at myself on the inside. Any help would be appreciated.
2. As I am closeted at home, I am also closeted amongst friends and at work. However, there is one co-worker that I have become attracted to. He is a really cool guy and very attractive. He's a Market Analyst (a level above me), but I work for another Analyst, so we're technically not on the same team. As a result, I rarely get the chance to talk to him. I'm quiet at work, like I said, but I'm still social. However, I am afraid and unable to even approach him to strike up a conversation. Most of the time, I will walk by his desk and say "Good morning. How's it going?" or "G'nite. See you tomorrow." I don't know what I'd talk to him about, and now that I've been with the company for 9 months, it's odd to all of a sudden start talking to people you've just said Hi and Bye to all along. It's even more odd 'cause it's a guy. I always try to get a glimpse of him at his desk, and when he gets up to walk somewhere, I try to look at him. Thing is, I've been finding that he's looking back at me. I've walked by his desk in a rush but have found him looking at me out of the corner of his eye. I've made the occasional chatter with him and joked around. His smile just lit up my day. Sometimes when I pack up to go home and he's still at his desk, I'll walk by to say Good Night but look him in the eye. Now, I know it's hard to read someone's eyes, but I feel like he's not just looking at me, but "looking" at me. I maintain eye contact for a good 5-10 seconds before I leave. Man, and I don't have the nerve to do anything about this.
On Friday, I heard from a co-worker that he had a "hot date" that night, and sure enough, I heard him on the phone with someone, discussing dinner plans that night. I'm presuming the other person was a young lady. Meanwhile, at my desk, I was feeling unhappy that he was going on a date with a woman. I know this is rather pathetic, but ... Could he even possibly be a closeted gay or bi? What would you suggest I do to find out? I don't want anything from this ... I just want to know.
Sorry for the long rant, I know you folk have better things to do than to reply to long-winded messages like this. Thanks in advance for your help!
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May 14, 2007, 04:59 PM
Shy, that was some long post there. Whew.
First, let me say, that your mother WILL NOT be throwing herself out a window. LOL. I can guarantee you that it won't happen. Sometimes I think first generation kids have it the hardest. It is very difficult when the "old ways" are what our parents are used to. It is a totally different mindset. They make a lot of empty threats and drive you nuts in the process. I could write a book about my folks. It is just their way. The dramatic stuff is all an act. They do it to make you feel guilty. Don't ask me why. It is part of the heritage.
Second, I think both your Mother and your brother already suspect that you are gay. The constantly bringing it up is their way of telling you that they believe you are, and they want to know. Or, in your Mother's case, maybe she wants to hear you deny it. Of course, telling them is completely up to you. I know it is scary. The fear of your family not understanding and cutting you out of their lives is not something to be dismissed so easily. Coming out is not an easy decision and I wish had an easy answer for you. It really is a process
. It does sounds like your brother would be fine with it. If you have a good relationship and you know the guy will keep his mouth shut if you ask him to, you may want to start with him. But, since I don't know you or him, it is hard for me to give you the proper advice on how to approach it. As someone who has two gay brothers, I can tell you that it was a lot harder for them to "come out" than for me to hear. It felt like it took them forever to spit it out. It was never a big deal to me. I will never understand why they thought I would cut them out of my life. But, I guess the fact is, we are brought up in a very conservative world in which heterosexuality is considered the norm. That is a huge hurdle to overcome and you really can't do this alone without the proper help. My suggestion in handling this is at the end of this post.
Third, you need to forget about the guy at work. Whether he is straight or not, he is obviously dating someone. The other thing is, since I have to keep my language clean here, you don't "poop" where you eat! Big no-no. Have you ever heard of that expression? My point here is, you don't start a personal relationship in the work place
. You cannot do anything that might undermine your professional career. Straight or gay, my advice would be the same. It is a no win situation. It you date someone and break up with them, you have to deal with them in one way or another on a regular basis. Who needs that kind of drama in their business life? No one. Do your job and find someone outside of the office.
In any event, I think if your insurance covers it, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek out a therapist who is experienced in gay issues. Since you are having trouble dealing with this and you really want to come out of the closet, a professional can help you work through all of your issues. You need someone who is trained in this to be able to give you constructive day to day help on how you can do what is best for you to allow you to live a happy and fulfilled life. Please click on the following link. Type in your zip code and click on the gay/lesbian issues in the "I'm looking for help..." section. Psychology Today: Find A Therapist
I wish I could be of more help to you. You sound like a really nice guy. I am sending you hugs through cyber space. I wish you the best of luck and much happiness.
Please consider going for the counseling. You will be so grateful to yourself for finding the courage to take that first step.
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May 15, 2007, 08:37 AM
Straight, gay or bi. I NEVER recommend anyone pursue any sort of relationship besides normal friendship with anyone you work with. It causes nothing but problems. That's from 28 years of observation at several employers.
About relationships...give it time and remember you are better off going years until you find the right person than you are staying with one that isn't just because they are there.
If this is causing you serious stress, then maybe you need to seek counseling about it so you can learn to deal with it better.
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May 15, 2007, 10:25 AM
I will go with smoothy here, I don't care if you are gay or staight, you don't date at work, it will ruin the working relastionship, and in his case, could become a hostile work atmosphere,
The main issue is that you are not honest in your life style, and you can never have a real relationship till you are.
You mom will forgive and get over it, I doubt if the ansestors will care in the long run of life. Since you are what you are, no matter and they would know when she gets there.
Perhaps some professoinal counseling in learning how to deal with family and friends, and how to be yourself.
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Jun 21, 2007, 09:37 PM
First off, I know I made this post more than a month ago and it was very rude of me to just walk away from the forum and not say thanks for all of your advice, so ... I sincerely thank each and every one of you who took the time to give your two cents on my situation. I really appreciate everything you have left in your posts. I have taken it all to heart. It's good to know that even though we don't know each other, there are cyber folk on the Net like you who still shows concern for people whom they haven't ever met.
RubyPitbull - Yeah that was a long post, but thanks for your equally long and in-depth response! You're right, I think my mother may have a feeling that I am gay but would rather hear me deny it then know the truth. I'm not sure if my brother brought up that whole "co-worker's brother being gay" bit just to test me to see if I would come out to him. He's likely leaving the country to work overseas for the long-term. I know if he decides to leave Canada, I'll definitely come out to him before he goes. I'd want him to know before anyone else in my family, and before he leaves!
Yes I'll try not to poop where I eat. I've worked hard at moving on from this guy, who I still believe is closeted. Things are getting better, although I think he's still a doll. Thanks for your logical explanation about not dating co-workers. We actually have a new co-worker who sits two desks away from me and is 99.9% gay. I think he's actually tried to hit on me a couple of times with what he says ... But that's another story.
Although I still have no intention of telling my family about this, I have come out to one of my best friends, who has since been very accepting of me. We call each other "Will" and "Grace", but now I'm really a "Will." She apparently wasn't shocked because I gave off a vibe to her. But back to my family - I feel I'll eventually need to seek some counseling help to give me the courage to tell them. I'll keep that in the back of my head, but thank you for your suggestion.
Thanks again for your insight! <hugs back> You're awesome.
smoothy and Fr_Chuck - You're right. I guess I'm just feeling a bit rushed because I haven't been in a relationship for a while now, even though it was with a female. I'm also not honest with who I am, and because of this, I will not be completely happy. Living in a society and coming from a cultural background that typically is not exactly homosexual friendly, it's so hard to make that first step to be honest with yourself. That's what so many gay/bi/lesbian people struggle with doing. I still need some time but will definitely consider the counseling. There's a Chinese proverb that goes: "Paper can never cover up fire (for the fire will burn up the paper)" You can't disguise something that's eventually going to make itself appear. Thanks for your help too!
OK I'm pooped, but I just want you all to know that you've given a different perspective on this whole situation. I will keep you posted if anything happens. Have a good night!
Shy Gym Rat
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