relationships

I Love My Boyfriend but Hate Our DL Relationship

DL Relationship

T,

I now know why my friends told me not to date DL guy. I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost two years, and I love him like crazy, but I’m tired of being in the closet with him. When I want to go to gay spots like a bar or even a gay house party, he won’t go with me and tells me to go with my friends or tries to convince me I should stay in the house with him. If me and him go on dates in public, the restaurant can’t have romantic vibes and we can only sit at tables, not booths. We don’t take any pictures together, and the only person in my life he’s met is my best friend once and that was by accident. You probably think he has a wife or girlfriend, and I’m the side piece or some sh*t. But that’s not true and I know for a fact it’s just me.  He’s just so damn secretive about being gay.

My boyfriend has great qualities too. If I ever need anything, he’s always there. When I got laid off a while back, he covered my rent when I didn’t have it one month. When my dad was sick and I was stressed, he was very supportive. Even made sure I had meals in my apartment so I didn’t have to worry about cooking. Stuff like that is why I love him, and the sex is really good too. Wrapping this up, what should I do here? Do I tell my boyfriend to loosen up or I’m out?

-Secret Boo

Dear Secret Boo,

Thanks for writing to me. Before we get to my advice, I feel the need to make a point of clarification first. So even though you used the term down low to describe your boyfriend, the better term to use is discreet. DL implies that he’s screaming to the world he’s heterosexual and gets into relationships with women; and yet, he sleeps with men on the low. DL men usually won’t ever admit to being gay or even sexually fluid. Also, DL men don’t ever make a habit of claiming another man as a boyfriend.

On the other hand, discreet men, like your boyfriend appears to be, aren’t in denial of the fact that they like other men. They just don’t make a habit of announcing their sexual fluidity to everyone, or perhaps anyone other than their sexual partner. Also, in many cases, discreet men keep their sexual identity on the low not because they are afraid of who they are, but rather are afraid of people’s reactions to who they are. I’m not trying to go too far into a tangent on DL and discreet, so let’s move on to your question.

As always, I’m not going to tell you whether to stay in your relationship or leave. Only you know what your breaking point is and how much you’re willing to handle. What I will say, is that it’s hard to be in a relationship with someone that makes you feel like an embarrassment. Or that makes you feel like a skeleton in his closet (no pun intended). It sounds like you love your boyfriend, and I understand it hurts not being able to celebrate that love as you’d like to under different circumstances.

I know some folks reading this will say that some people keep their relationships super private because they don’t want everyone in their business. And to these folks, I’ll say you’re right. However, there’s a difference between protecting your relationship and hiding it. I get not wanting to post your boyfriend on social media, but to the point your boyfriend doesn’t want to meet your inner circle and is strict about how you present yourselves in restaurants, that’s problematic.

Also, let’s not forget that every great relationship should consist of some comprises from both sides. From the sound of your letter, you do a lot to make sure your boyfriend is comfortable in your relationship. But does he do the same? If you felt really strongly about something as simple as sitting in a booth next to each other on dates, would he absolutely refuse you? Even if it meant a great deal to you? Something to think about.

Now before I close, let me acknowledge what you said about your boyfriend’s great qualities. The fact he was there for you when your dad was sick and helped you out with your rent are clear signs that he loves you. Those acts of love are important for a couple.

Suggestions going forward.

  1. Talk with your boyfriend about your frustrations with your relationship. But when you do this, don’t just share what’s getting on your nerves, but also express gratitude for his good attributes and the great times. I find critique always is easier to digest when paired with compliments. Also, explain why being more open with your relationship is so important to you and how the current discreet limitations make you feel a way. Additionally, ask him who he’s afraid of finding out about you two?

 

  1. Take some time to really think if you could stay in this relationship if he’s unwilling to change? If you wanted to get married, think about what that marriage would look like (assuming he’d even want to get married).

As always nothing but love,

Tavion Scott

(IG: accordingtot, Twitter: _accordingtot_ )

By the way, if you haven’t caught up on the first two seasons of my audio drama Majoring in Me the Podcast, hurry up and go listen. Season 3 is dropping soon!

 

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