One of the girls
Our agony aunt, Erica Paul, answers a rather tricky relationship question.
Question: My friend is getting married to her boyfriend of three years, and we (her girlfriends) adore him. He’s like one of us. That’s the problem: he really is like one of the girls, and our guys don’t get him. My friend isn’t thrilled about their sex life, but says the upsides of the relationship make up for it. What if he’s gay?
Answer: ‘Gay’ can mean a lot of things. If you accept that human sexuality is a spectrum, with 100% butch at one end and 100% girly at the other, many of us hang around the middle without actually crossing over to the other side. In other words, a man can be as camp as an ostrich feather, yet if he defines himself as straight, and seeks his partner in a woman, he is not gay. Your friend only has a problem if her man is in denial, or is bisexual, and sneaks around behind her back for sexual adventures with other men.
Though your friend’s fiancé may be more middle-man than caveman, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s not sexually ambivalent. Many women prefer ‘softer’ men, finding more manly men alienating. And many people have modest sex drives, so a restrained sex life may just reflect a smaller appetite. There may be no problem at all.
However, it could be that he is gay or bisexual by nature, but is choosing a ‘straight’ life with your friend as his wife. It’s hardly unheard of: the world’s most famous gay man, Oscar Wilde, fathered two children with his wife. That ended in tears but many, many men, faced with the choice, choose a ‘straight’ life over a gay one. That may be the case here. It doesn’t necessarily mean your friend’s marriage will be unhappy. Many such marriages work pretty well. And anyway, much as you want to protect her, you can’t assume anything of that nature. I would suggest you enjoy him, stay close to them, and be a good and non-judgmental friend whatever transpires.