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“I’d visit, listen to him, we’d cuddle, and usually have sex.Before long, we were hanging out three nights a week, and on weekends we’d go for long walks and nice dinners and be out – ‘out out’ – in public.” On the surface of it, then, a gay relationship – but Luke didn’t see it that way.It also depends why the guy doesn’t want to label himself – there’s a big difference between eschewing norms as a form of self-expression and hiding who you are to manipulate the advantages available to you as a straight person.James identifies as gay, but his first proper relationship was with a man who did not.But if you’re in a down-low relationship with a straight guy, you can find yourself going backwards.
When Luke battled depression no other pals were on the scene, Robin stepped up top help out and ended up catching feelings.
Of course, nobody needs a label, but for gay and bi guys who worked hard to establish their identity, how does it feel when the man they’re sleeping with won’t do the same?
It depends how things play out, whether it’s out in the open or “our little secret”.
Outside, there’d be moments: going to LGBT spaces and not feeling comfortable at contact; him being hit on by a group of girls on the Tube, and not acknowledging me; not even introducing you to their friends.” James was plagued by insecurity.
"[He set] the boundaries enough to let me think, hope, there's a chance, it just needs time; but there was always that nagging feeling, the dread it could end.”Out guys are likely to feel sympathy for the straight guy in these situations – they’ve been there – and it’s common for gay or bi men to believe those who don’t come out are not living a full life, even if the straight guy feels that’s not the case.