Advice About a Gay Friend

Updated on January 15, 2015
A.A. asks from Greeley, CO
28 answers

This question really isn't about parenting, but I didn't know where else to ask without the people involved knowing. I have a friend. I'll call him Greg. Greg came out to me a few years ago. He told me that because of his very religious family that he would probably never come out and I respect that. It's a very personal thing, and each person has to make that decision alone and in their own time. I am firmly against outing someone who isn't ready.

About a year ago Greg started dating a girl who I'll call Lisa. At first I thought it would blow over and no harm would come of it. I talked to Greg and he told me his family, who are heavily involved in the church, had been pressuring him to settle down and he couldn't take the suspicion or the pressure.

I tried to talk him out of it saying that he was just going to hurt himself or Lisa, but he would just get defensive saying I don't understand the pressure he's under and would stop talking to me.
Today I was on Facebook and saw a notification for Greg and Lisa ' s wedding. They are getting married in May. Now I don't want to flat out tell Lisa that he is gay because I refuse to out him and she herself is very religious and knows his family, but I don't know what I could do to help them.

If I say nothing, Lisa is going to get hurt and badly. If I do say something I destroy the trust of a friend and go against my own moral code.


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So What Happened?

Thanks for the advice! I do love my friend and would NEVER out him. EVER. The situation breaks my heart because Lisa loves Greg so incredibly much, but he has confessed to me not loving her. He has also talked about seeing men behind her back and I know that this would destroy her if she knew and I have grown to care for her a lot. He regularly goes out to clubs to meet men one night a week while covering it up with his work. I feel bad for both of them. I know there is nothing I can do, but I just wish I could spare them the heartbreak I see coming. I trust your advice and will stay out of it. I just hope that if I was in her shoes someone would tell me.

UPDATE: After reading all of your replies and the few inbox messages, I have decided to talk to Lisa, not about Gregs sexuality, but about the cheating. I called Greg last night and told him he had a week to tell his fiance he has been going around her back before I would. Hopefully this will break everything off and if it doesn't I'll at least be able to deal with myself.

Updated update! Lol- I don't know the details but today both parties changed their Facebook status to single. I don't know why and when talking to her she told me she didn't want to talk about it. I'm just going to be thankful it worked out like it did. Thanks all!

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answers from Chicago on

Coming out and not honoring one's vows are 2 separate things.

If Lisa is made aware of the circumstances and CHOOSES to participate that is her choice.

Otherwise he is knowingly using her as a stage prop and putting her life (needs and dreams) at risk.

He does not have to 'come out' in order to be honest with her. No one is forcing him to marry her, except himself.

In making a lifetime commitment, I think you have a right to know about that person's life.

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answers from Columbia on

I could not remain friends with someone who would lie to and endanger their spouse. THAT goes against my moral code.

I would go to Greg and flat out tell him that he needs to tell Lisa the truth, or you will. Not doing so in infringing upon her free will, because she is living in his lie. Her whole world and marriage will be built on a lie. If she chooses at that point to live with him in the closet, and be a part of an open relationship with him, that's up to her. But she should have a say in what happens in her life too. To go on in this lie is reprehensible and he should absolutely be ashamed to even consider dragging an entire family of unsuspecting people along in it just because he's scared of coming out.

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answers from Washington DC on

He is just using her because he is a coward and a selfish jerk. Going out regularly to cheat on her!? What to keep up the lie? Where is his moral compass? I would keep on him until he lets her out of this fake marriage. He does not have to come out, just let her know he does not love her.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have been the "Lisa". When my husband (now ex) finally came out it was utterly devastating. I lived in his lie- in his closet- for many years without knowing it. I had children with him. I trusted him. I wish someone would have told me before I married him. I love my children and wouldn't wish them away, but the impact of being married to someone who was pretending to be straight was vast- in time living in his deceit turned him into a miserable, controlling person and my sense of being a woman was slowly whittled away. We were both hurt deeply by his selfish decision to lie about being gay. Lisa deserves the information and can then make her own decision. She is the innocent. She may even have a sense that something is "off" but can't put her finger on it and giving her the information will help her to make sense of it. If she chooses to marry him anyway, that is her choice. Right now, she doesn't have the ability to make an informed decision about marrying him because there is a huge missing piece of information. Ultimately, Greg is also hurting himself by his deception. I don't envy your position at all. I'm sure it is very difficult. This whole issue is complex. But I just wanted to share my perspective as someone who lived through this.

Mommaof4 I can relate to your experience.

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answers from Salinas on

It's not that he's too scared to admit to his family that he's gay, lots of people struggle with that. He is using another human being in a cruel way to perpetuate the image of himself that he wants his family to believe.

If he was cheating on his fiancé with other women would you tell? The principal that you would never out anther person is admirable in most cases but like everything in life circumstances in each case are different.

To me this is less about him being gay and more about his morals. He doesn't have to drag anyone else into his lies but he is choosing to do so to benefit himself. That is not someone I'd want to be friends with or trust in my life.

What about when Lisa wants children? Would that be enough to break your principled stance? I think when another person's health is in danger, they are being set up in destructive and dangerous way s, ideals go out the door and you do what you think is right given the circumstances.

I have a lot less sympathy for Greg than you do. He needs to own his life and stop using people. Being gay doesn't give him the right to act like a lying creep.

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answers from Seattle on

This is a hard one.
If I was in Lisa's shoes I would absolutely want to know. Greg is being really shitty.
I know that you and he are friends and that's what makes this so hard! Here's what I would say to him.
"Greg, I love you. I felt so honored that you shared with me your sexual orientation a few years ago. I have never judged that and have taken your "secret" with me without telling a soul. Until now. What you are doing to Lisa is beyond awful. You don't love her, you are sleeping with other people, and you are being so very very dishonest with her. I am going to give you the opportunity to come clean to her and let her know that you are not going to continue dating her. You don't have to say you are gay if you are not willing to come out to her yet, but you have to break up with her. You got two weeks buddy. Then *I* am telling her. Because it is NOT FAIR to her to commit to you and waste years of her life with someone that is not being honest, sleeping with people, and doesn't love her. I am sorry that you probably will feel like I am outing you. I am not. I wont tell her you're gay. But I WILL tell her that you are sleeping with people outside of your relationship."
He will likely be mad at you. oh well. It is NOT FAIR to Lisa that she will be married to someone that can NEVER love her the way she deserves to be. Not because Lisa is a horrible person, but she is not male, and that's what Greg loves.
I actually feel awful for Greg as well. How horribly hard to try to be what you are not, but what he is doing is wrong and I would stand up to that.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would listen to those women below saying they themselves were in Lisa's shoes and wish someone had told them.

Spending years, maybe decades, in what you think is a real marriage and then finding out you were lied to every single day -- that would be far more devastating than finding out before the wedding and not committing those years of your life to a lie. When Lisa finds out someday, and she will, she will never again trust herself or anyone else. It will fundamentally undermine all her self-confidence.

We had friends who were married and seemed rock-solid. Then dad decided he couldn't keep living a lie and came out as gay. His wife can't totally regret her 20-plus years with him because their marriage produced two kids whom they both love -- but yes, she says she would have wanted to know if anyone had known. In that case, absolutely no one did, not even dad himself since he didn't fully realize he was gay until he was a bit older. He did tell his wife and divorced her and was very regretful that he had not come to terms with his real self sooner, for HER sake and not just for his own sake. But in his case, he truly believed he was straight for many years.

Greg does not have that excuse!

I would tell Greg that he is using Lisa in the worst possible way: He is making her his "beard," which is slang for a relationship with a woman used to cover up the fact the man is gay. If he has any affection for her at all, he must step up and tell her and not marry her. He and she can choose to end the engagement and tell everyone "It just didn't work out" and he won't be outed unless she chooses to out him herself -- which she likely may not do.

I have close gay friends and coworkers and they're all out, and would deplore his using her like this.

You lament that there is "nothing I can do" so you value your friendship with him over telling her anything. But your friend is behaving reprehensibly. His behavior isn't about gay versus straight. It's just horrible behavior for any human towards any other human.

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answers from Austin on

Can you believe it is now 2015 and people cannot acept gay people as they are, especially family?

A very long time ago.. in the mid '80's we had co workers that were dating. Lots of us knew the guy was gay. This couple then decided to get married. We were shocked, we thought he was going to break up with her.

He just could not come out. She loved him, their families were very religious..

But knowing that this was a doomed arrangement, someone finally asked him, "does she know you are gay?" He said "no, but he was going to try to make her happy."

Broke my heart because I knew this was never going to be able to happen.

They set the date.. everything was moving along. It was not good. They bickered, she was very confused.. he just was not able to keep up this facade.

Finally someone put a slight bug in her ear. She began to question him. It took a while but she got him to admit, he was gay. She was devastated, but in the end they were both relived.

I remember his family was furious, he moved away. She eventually did marry and had children.

She deserved to know. I think it was one of this guys, guy friends that started giving her hints. It was so obvious to the rest of us.

Your friend needs to man up and take this seriously. Marriage is for a lifetime. If either person is not 100% committed to each other, how can they take these vows in font of everyone? It is not fair to this woman to think she is marrying one man when in reality she is marrying a completely different person.

He is an adult man and should be able to stand up to his family. If he cannot do that, he is not mature enough to marry anyone.

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answers from Los Angeles on

If Greg wasn't gay but was still planning on marrying a woman he didn't love while going out weekly and sleeping around, would you tell Lisa then?

You don't have to tell Lisa that Greg is gay, but please say something to this poor woman before she marries a lying cheater.

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answers from Austin on

I don't think this is about gay, straight, religious, not religious, or any of those issues.

It's about deceit. Dishonesty. Truth. Lying. Covering up. Pretending.

Would it be much different if Greg simply didn't love Lisa and was marrying her so he would appear to have a stable home life and could join the country club? Or if he had been married years ago and had never gotten an official divorce and was therefore still legally married to someone else? Or if he was using an assumed name to avoid an old tax debt and Lisa had no idea what his real name was? I don't think so.

I would remove the whole issue of his homosexuality from any discussions with him, and instead just focus on the issue of truth, of entering into marriage with any false pretenses, of deceiving an innocent person (and her family and friends, and his family).

I think I'd talk to him and encourage him to be brave enough to call off the wedding, even if he's not brave enough to say why. Tell him to take off and join the Peace Corps or study overseas or move far away or whatever he needs to do. You don't need to say anything publicly. Just tell Greg to be bold enough to live an honest life, even if it's only in this one episode.

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answers from Minneapolis on

If he was straight and was going out once a week to meet other women, would you tell Lisa?? I think you would. There's your answer.

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answers from Chicago on

Not the same exact issue but: My friend's heart was broken when she walked in on her husband putting on some strange underwear. He wanted to become a woman. After two marriages, children (who deny him now) and her thinking she was in a relationship that was wonderful, it broke her heart and she divorced him. She says she would have wished someone would have told her. However, would she have listened at the time? At any rate, life turned out quite unusual...the fact is even though married as a man and woman didn't work, they were truly loving best friends. So they live together as female roomates. He has come out to the world, and is very open with it, dresses like a woman and is very active in gay rights. They are growing old together in a different way, still do a lot of things together and share eachother's lives. Now not everyone can handle this kind of situation. He has two grown children from a previous marriage and they will have nothing to do with him. My friend's family is divided and there are some who will not permit him at family gatherings. So the issue of telling Lisa- in this situation will not have a predictable outcome. If someone tells her she may not believe it. I guess you could do it anonymously somehow, but she may not believe that either. But either way, whether Greg was gay or straight, he sounds like he really isn't a very nice guy -if he is going out to clubs and things and is lying he is no better than the cheating straight man.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Greg can choose to keep is sexual orientation private, but what he is doing to Lisa is rotten. I would tell him that. I wouldn't want to remain friends with someone who would ruin another person's life that way. I not sure what if anything you should say to Lisa, but hopefully she will notice you backing away from the friendship and start to ask some questions. Or maybe Greg will realize what he is about to do is wrong. I would definitely not attend the wedding. I'm sorry, this must be so hard to watch unfold. What a tough situation!

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answers from San Francisco on

For me it would depend on how well I knew Lisa. If Lisa were my friend, I would tell her, knowing that I would then lose Greg's friendship. But if she were just an acquaintance, I don't think I would tell her, but I'm not entirely sure of that.

I would really have some serious discussions with Greg, at any rate, because he is going to out to clubs weekly and I assume putting Lisa at risk. If that's the case, I would probably let him know that I think he's a selfish, spineless a-hole.

I guess marriages end under all kinds of circumstances. But that's a tough one.

ETA - Actually, the more I think of this, the more I think I wouldn't want to be friends with someone like Greg. I think he's a self-centered jerk of a coward who doesn't give a s**t about anyone else. Going out to clubs weekly, and marrying this poor girl? I think I'd tell on him and let the chips fall where they may.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

So he is currently cheating on Lisa and putting her health/life at risk without her knowledge. Greg (whatever societal pressure he is under) is a crappy human being. I would tell him you are going to tell her, but are going to give him a chance to make things right first. Yes, it will cost you his friendship, but how are you going to feel when you find out Lisa has AIDS. She will not take appropriate steps to protect herself when she believes she has a straight, monogamous husband.

If you said Greg was bisexual and loved Lisa, it would be none of your business whether he shared his previous history with her. But that is not what he says - he says he doesn't love her and is currently cheating.

And whether or not he believes it, Greg should tell his family. They might surprise him - many families do. Or they might not and he can move on with his life in an open and honest way.

ETA: You say there is nothing you can do - but that is NOT true. You can save Lisa years of wasted life and ultimately her faith in her own judgement.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I don't think I could look myself in the mirror if I neglected to tell Lisa that Greg was a lying, cheat. The fact that he is gay is almost irrelevant although I would think Lisa would probably appreciate being told the man she was going to marry is gay!

I also don't think I would be too upset to lose a "friend" that lied and cheated to his fiancé who is is suppose to love but doesn't. Your friend Greg's action toward Lisa are dispicable.

Ideally, Greg should do the right the thing and come clean with Lisa. If he doesn't I think you should at least plant a bug in Lisa ear. I don't believe it is possible that she wouldn't have at least an inkling that something is off about her relationship. At the very least though, there is no possible way I could attend the wedding if I knew the things you know about your "friend."

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm gay and came out of a very religious family. I dated a boy for two years in college to lessen suspicion so my parents wouldn't stop paying my tuition after they got suspicious. I was with my now wife for the last 6 months of the relationship.

I am not proud of what I did or how I hurt the boy but I did what was best for me. Please don't out this man. The pieces will fall eventually and there will be a lot of hurt no matter what. You don't want to be involved.

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answers from Norfolk on

Sometimes - you can see the train wreck that's going to happen - and you just can't do anything about it.
He might be able to successfully pretend to be heterosexual and stay true to his wedding vows.
But if he's talking about seeing men behind his wife's back - it's not a 'gay' issue so much as it's an inability to keep his marriage vow to 'forsake all others'.
Even if he were marrying a guy - if he's going to cheat behind his back - he's just not ready for marriage with ANYONE - regardless of their gender.

I'm afraid Lisa is going to get badly hurt - but if you try to say anything now like "I have my doubts about Greg's ability to settle down" (never, ever out him - that's for him to do on his own someday) - she's not going to believe you - she will defend her man.
So stay out of it.
And if I were you I'd have big problems with remaining friends with Greg.
Not because he's gay but because he's basically dishonest and self centered and doesn't care who he hurts.

The other responses have made me change my mind.
If you're not caring about keeping him as a friend (his behavior is so selfish I'd totally lose respect for him) - then tell Lisa he's dating other people and has no intention of letting a marriage stop his dating ways.
Or maybe you might take her out one night to the place Greg goes with his dates and let her see for herself.
It's better she hurts a bit now over a canceled wedding than hurts from a divorce with kids and possibly some incurable STDs 5, 10, 20 years from now.

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answers from Dallas on

ADD: he can break off with her without coming out. He does not love her as a wife, he cares for her, but that's not enough. He feels pressure to marry. That's why he got engaged. It's the truth. He can give her the truth without coming out. But he needs to be am adult and deal with not being a "good boy" to his family.

It's also possible that he is underestimating his parents.

ORIGINAL: What B said. You can't approach her. You can stay out of it with her. She is going to get hurt badly regardless - right now you can only hope she gets hurt before she gets married rather than after.

But you CAN flat out tell him that you cannot continue to be friends with him because of what a selfish jerk he's being for 1) not GROWING UP, 2) acting like an adult with his parents - he could just say NO, he doesn't have to say he's gay, 3) cheating on her and exposing her to diseases, 4) ruining someones life - including his own - because he's to cowardly to deal with things.

Has he thought about how he's going to ruin the lives of any children he brings into the marriage?

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answers from Williamsport on

I read you SWH.

Would you tell her if he was cheating with women? Cheating is cheating. He's already doing it and she doesn't know.

It sucks to have friends who are doing terrible things. I had a friend once who was having an affair with a married man. I told her I didn't approve. We rarely spoke while she was doing it. Thankfully she quit seeing him and hasn't done it again since. I felt SO crappy knowing something the innocent wife didn't. But I didn't know the wife or the guy, they were all out of state...I just didn't get involved. It was awful not doing something about it though. I felt so awful to do and say nothing. I was mad to be in the position of knowing.

However, if I was good friends with BOTH PARTIES, I'd have to say something. Who are you helping by letting them get "blissfully married" only to have tragedy strike later when she's traumatized that her husband is gay (how does she have no clue?) AND THAT HE'S BEEN CHEATING ON HER WITH MEN SINCE WAY BEFORE THEY WERE MARRIED??! And you knew and said nothing....I mean it's such a huge train wreck in the making I think you'd have less of a sh-- storm now than letting it all happen while keeping quiet.

You don't have to condone your gay friend's behavior any more than you would if he was straight. You should tell them both where you stand. You'll lose his friendship by not approving, so you might as well tell her too if you really care about her. She'll be sad and cry a lot but then she'll move on and marry someone else one day.

Marrying someone who you KNOW you will always cheat on is NOT OK. For gay people or straight people.

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answers from Washington DC on

oh, how awful.
i'd tell greg that you won't volunteer the information, but you also won't help him cover it up if you're asked. doesn't sound as if you will be.
it sucks being put in the position of lying by omission. but i think that's the route i'd go, since no one is actually asking your opinion. but no way would i take the next step and 'help' by lying outright.
i hope greg rethinks this.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

He can get diseases that he can pass on to her. I know that gay men do take precautions but still, he's going to be cheating and could bring something home to her.

I truly don't know what I'd do in this instance. At this point it would be his word against yours and she's going to believe him. She wants her life that she's planning with him.

I know many people who don't want their kids to be gay but the fact is that some people are born this way or that way and nothing can be done to help or fix that regardless of what some religious leader has said.

I think we each came here with our own trials that we're supposed to get through the best we can. How do we know his isn't be attracted to the same gender and having to live through "righteous" Christians who would condemn him instead of loving him regardless and accepting for who he is.

I've had several gay guy friends as roommates and I still love them and love their partners. I don't think of them as abnormal or sinners or going to hell. They are sons and daughters of our heavenly father and they came here with a mission to get through. To live their life and make decisions based on their hearts and minds and then one day to stand in front of Him and answer how they lived their lives. Loving someone isn't going to be what they go to heaven or hell for.

It's sad to me that in these days your friend feels he has to revert to marrying someone he has no attraction to and doesn't love with his whole heart. They will live together, plan their lives, have children, and be living a lie.

I know a couple of people who were gay and married in the old days when they were labeled mentally ill if they were gay and they didn't want to be out and abused. They have since come clean and divorced, all but one, and they live life fully. The one guy came out to his wife. They have a lot of property and have a good life, a blessed life. He said he thought of her as his best friend and didn't hate her, she loved him too. So they decided to stay married. They don't have a sexual relationship anymore but live together in the home and respect each other. I know this because I am friends with her first and she tells me stuff. She hasn't really gone out looking for a lover, she's nearly 50 and content to have a good life with a good companion.

To the world they look like the perfect couple. He has occasional liaisons with a special guy but they go away to have their time. He and his friend have even done stuff with his family as his "best friend". Since the wife isn't outing him they can be this way.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I think I would stay out of this.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm so glad you gave him a time frame. He can break of the off wedding without outing himself. He can tell his super relgious family that he doesn't "feel called to marriage" at this point and that ought to shut them up.

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answers from Grand Forks on

Don't say a word, none of your business....sorry.

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answers from New York on

So NOT your business!!! Keep out of it. You don't know her or her motives.



answers from Los Angeles on

Stay out of it. As difficult as this may be to watch, it's not your business. You are not responsible for the choices and consequences of his life. Let me repeat, STAY OUT OF IT.

My best friend is gay and at one point he was Mormon. He got married in the Mormon church and had the "typical" marriage. Until he couldn't handle it anymore. NO ONE could've made him decide differently before he got married. He did what he felt was right.

We all have to go through our own "process." Love him, care for him, but stay out of it. He will get through it.



answers from Boise on

Be glad they called off the wedding, but keep talking to your friend about the need to live a truthful life. Living a lie of any kind is painful.

Hopefully he's realized he can't live a lie anymore, but it's also possible he's trying to figure out how to "stop himself" from having sex with other men, so he can "honestly" move forward with the charade next time.

I know three gay men who got married, thinking they could stop themselves from "feeling" or "acting" gay. In one scenario, the split was relatively friendly (no children), another was ugly, but still no children (they fought over money) but the third divorce left the wife scarred for years. It's been 30 years and she still wonders what she did to make him leave. As if!

All I'm saying is that this isn't resolved just because they aren't getting married. He needs to find a way to move forward as his own true self, or be certain he doesn't get into another false relationship. It would be better to be celibate in support of his religious convictions vs. living a life of lies. Not that I think he should be celibate, mind you...

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