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!