Something’s off, and you know it.
You’ve had a hard time putting your finger on it until recently.
Now you wonder if your guy hasn’t been truthful with you: he’s acting straight when it’s increasingly clear he isn’t.
When it comes to sexual orientation, society has imposed certain norms and expectations that can make things tricky.
It’s not uncommon for people to struggle with their sexual identity, especially when being gay, bisexual, or queer can still be met with discrimination and rejection.
These attitudes can lead some to hide their sexual orientation, often going to great lengths to present as straight.
How do you know if someone is genuinely heterosexual or pretending to be?
Let’s explore some telling signs indicating that your boyfriend is hiding something about their true sexual identity.
Why Would a Guy Pretend to Be Straight?
For many people, coming out as gay or bisexual can be a complicated and intimidating process. The fear of being judged or ostracized prevents them from fully embracing their true identity.
As a result, some men pretend to be straight to avoid facing these challenges or to fit in with societal expectations. Or maybe they’re still unclear themselves.
While it’s understandable that someone might need to hide their sexuality, it’s important to remember that living in denial can affect their mental and emotional well-being.
There are many reasons why a guy might pretend to be straight. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Fear of discrimination: Sadly, discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance against LGBTQ individuals remain prevalent. It even comes from those closest to them, which can significantly deter someone from trying to come out.
- Social pressure: In many cultures, heterosexuality is considered the norm. Anything outside of that is often stigmatized or frowned upon. It can create immense pressure for men attracted to other men to hide their true feelings, live in secrecy, or conform to societal expectations.
- Internalized homophobia: Some men may struggle with shame or discomfort around their sexuality. This internalized homophobia can lead them to deny their true identity and pretend to be straight to cope.
19 Signs a Guy is Pretending To Be Straight
If you’ve wondered how to tell if he’s gay, there are a few key signs you can look out for. Some are more obvious than others, but they can paint a clearer picture when observed together.
1. He Avoids Conversations about Sexuality
If you’ve noticed that your boyfriend seems uncomfortable or evasive when the topic of sexual orientation comes up, this could be a red flag.
He may change the subject quickly or seem disinterested in talking about anything related to LGBTQ issues. He may also become agitated or defensive if the conversation continues.
This could be a sign that he’s hiding something about his sexual identity and is trying to avoid any potential questions or comments.
2. He Is Overly Close to One Male Friend
While having close male friends is entirely normal, it can be cause for concern if your boyfriend seems overly attached to one person in particular.
If he’s always texting or calling this individual and insists on spending time with him, even when other friends are present, this could be a sign that something deeper is going on.
It could indicate that your partner is attracted to this individual or has a secret relationship with him.
3. He Doesn’t Show Interest in Women
Naturally, many heterosexual men will show interest in women – even women who aren’t their partners or spouses.
Many women can attest to catching their partners taking second glances at other women or even flirting with them.
If your partner seems indifferent to the presence of women or shows no interest in them, he may not be romantically attracted to them. Instead, he is interested in men.
4. He Is Secretive About His Personal Life
Does your man keep many aspects of his life a secret? He may be hiding his true identity.
He may be vague about how he spends his time or who he’s been hanging out with. He may also be reluctant to share details about past relationships or how he identifies with his sexuality.
All these things can be clues that your partner is not completely honest with you.
5. You Catch Him Staring at Other Men
While it’s normal for people to appreciate physical beauty, if your boyfriend seems to be fixated on other men’s bodies or appearance, it’s worth considering whether he might be struggling with his sexuality.
Of course, he may be simply admiring another guy’s style or physical fitness, but if he seems to be going out of his way to look at men or can’t take his eyes off them, it’s worth exploring further.
Remember that this isn’t necessarily a definitive sign that he’s pretending to be straight, but it could be one piece of a larger puzzle.
6. He’s Openly Prejudiced Against LGBTQ People
According to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who identify as heterosexual yet show a strong attraction to the same sex in psychological tests may be threatened by those who identify as gay or lesbian.
This reaction is likely because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves, making them confront an inner conflict they are uncomfortable with.
If your boyfriend is openly prejudiced against LGBTQ people, it could be a sign that he’s trying to overcompensate for his feelings.
7. He’s Overly Interested in Your LGBTQ Friends
While there’s nothing wrong with being curious about other people’s lives, if he seems overly fascinated by their sexuality, it could indicate that he’s struggling with his feelings.
He may be using his interest in your LGBTQ friends to explore his attraction to men without fully admitting it to himself or you.
Additionally, suppose he constantly asks questions about your LGBTQ friends’ relationships or sexual experiences. In that case, it could be a sign that he’s trying to gather information about what it’s like to be in a same-sex relationship.
8. He Focuses on His Masculinity
It’s natural for people to want to be accepted by their peers, and having a strong sense of masculinity is often seen as a way of fitting in, especially in male-dominant spaces.
However, if your boyfriend constantly talks about how masculine he is or how much he likes “guy stuff,” it could reveal that he’s trying to overcompensate for his true sexual orientation.
He might also need to prove his masculinity to reassure himself of his heterosexuality.
9. He Frequently Jokes About Being Gay
Many men who are in the closet use humor as a way to deflect attention from their true feelings.
By making light of the situation or joking about being gay, they may attempt to distance themselves from their true sexuality and avoid suspicion.
Additionally, making these types of jokes can be a way for them to test the waters and gauge your reaction.
Responding negatively can confirm their fears and reinforce their decision to stay in the closet. On the other hand, if you respond positively, it could encourage them to open up and be more honest about their true identity.
10. He Has Phone Apps Related to Gay Men
If your boyfriend has apps on his phone associated with the LGBT community, such as Grindr or Scruff, it’s another indication that he’s struggling to understand how he identifies.
Even if he claims these apps are just for “research” or “networking” purposes, it’s worth looking at how he uses them and how often.
11. Your Intuition Tells You Something Isn’t Right
Sometimes the best indicator of how someone identifies can come from your own gut feeling.
If you’re in a relationship with a guy who seems to be hiding something, it’s worth exploring how he’s feeling on a deeper level and why he may not be open about how he identifies.
Even though this is a difficult conversation, it could help you both clarify how he truly feels.
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12. He Never Seems Interested in Intimacy With You
It’s not uncommon for men who are in the closet to avoid physical intimacy with their partners, as they may be too afraid of how it could make them feel.
If he seems uninterested in sex with you or only engages when you insist upon it, he’s likely struggling with his sexuality.
13. He Never Uses Gender-Specific Pronouns When Talking About Past Relationships
When a guy pretends to be straight, he may avoid using gender-specific pronouns when discussing past relationships.
Instead of saying, “I dated a girl in college,” he may say something like, “I dated someone in college,” or “I was in a relationship a few years ago.”
It could be because he is uncomfortable acknowledging his same-sex experiences or because he wants to maintain the illusion that he is exclusively attracted to women.
14. He Has a Lot of Male Friends Who Are Openly Gay or Bisexual
He may feel more comfortable around them because they are not judging him for his sexuality. Additionally, he may use these friendships to distance himself from any suspicion that he is gay.
However, it’s important to note that having close LGBTQIA+ friends does not necessarily mean someone is pretending to be straight, as people of different sexual orientations can have close friendships.
Therefore, looking at the other signs and behaviors is essential.
15. He Is Overly Concerned with His Appearance and How Other Men Perceive Him
He may try to fit into the traditional masculine stereotype to avoid suspicion about his sexuality.
He may spend a lot of time grooming, working out, or dressing in a certain way to appear more masculine. He may also be preoccupied with his behavior around other men, avoiding any actions or words that may be seen as gay.
Overall, his concern with his appearance and behavior around men may be a way to cover up his true sexual orientation.
16. He Shows an Unusual Interest in Male Celebrities or Athletes
It’s not unusual for most people to have a celebrity or athlete they admire.
However, suppose your guy is extremely interested in certain male celebrities or athletes and always talks about how attractive he finds them. In that case, this could be another sign that he is hiding his sexuality.
He may also spend a lot of time watching videos or photos of these men, which could allow him to explore how he feels within a “safe environment.”
17. Others Have Mentioned It
If other people have mentioned that your boyfriend might be in the closet, it’s worth considering this as well.
While these comments may not always be accurate, they could also come from a place of observation or first-hand knowledge. Remember, when you are in love or infatuated with someone, you may miss many obvious clues to others.
18. He Seems to Be More Interested in Watching or Talking about Gay Porn
This one might be slightly more obvious than the other signs, but it is still worth mentioning. If your man seems to be more interested in watching gay porn than heterosexual porn, this could indicate how he feels about his sexuality.
Additionally, suppose he talks about same-sex fantasies or experiences with you that involve activities not typically associated with heterosexual relationships. In that case, this could also be a sign as well.
19. He Is Flirty with Men
Given he is in the closet, he may be subtly expressing his same-sex attraction by flirting with other men.
This may present as complimenting and touching them in a way that goes beyond how one would typically interact with heterosexual acquaintances. It may be a sign that he feels sexually attracted to these men.
What to Do If You See These Closeted Man Signs
Once you have identified the signs that your partner might be in the closet, you should approach the situation with sensitivity and respect. Here are six things to do if you think your partner is in the closet:
1. Talk Openly and Respectfully
Even though you may feel deceived and angry, being respectful when talking with your partner is important. Avoid making accusations. Ask questions and try to understand their perspective and feelings.
Remember that your initial assumptions may not be accurate, so be prepared to listen and learn more.
2. Let Them Take the Lead
Your partner may feel more comfortable if they control how much information they share with you at any given time.
Don’t pressure them into revealing too much or giving an answer right away. Instead, give them space to process their thoughts and feelings.
3. Respect Their Privacy
Your partner’s sexuality is theirs alone, and you must respect their privacy. Avoid gossiping about them or telling anyone else, even if you feel frustrated.
Remember, how you handle this information can impact how comfortable they feel sharing it with others.
4. Educate Yourself and Offer Resources
If you’re not familiar with the LGBTQ+ community, take the time to educate yourself. Learn about the different identities and experiences that exist and how you can be a supportive ally
Let him know that resources are available to him if he’s ready to come out, such as support groups or online communities for LGBTQ+ individuals. You can also offer your own emotional and practical support if needed.
5. Get Professional Help
If the situation is causing distress or discomfort to either of you, seeking professional help may be helpful.
A therapist or counselor can provide unbiased support and guidance for both of you as you work through how to handle this situation.
6. Decide the Way Forward
Once you have had the conversation, it’s time to decide how to move forward.
Do you want to remain in a relationship with them, or do you think it’s best if you both go your separate ways? Talk openly and honestly to figure out what works best for both of you.
Now that you know how to tell if your boyfriend is in the closet, it’s important to remember that how you handle this situation is key.
Even if you decide to leave the relationship, do your best to be respectful throughout the process. Ultimately, how you treat them can impact how comfortable they feel with their sexuality and identity.