DEAR HARRIETTE: I've been dating this guy for a while, and I can't shake the feeling that he might be gay. There is something about his mannerisms and demeanor that stick out to me in a different way than the other heterosexual men I’ve dated in the past. He's kind, considerate and very thoughtful, but there is definitely something off about our relationship. He has many feminine qualities. His attitude toward other women has always stuck out to me. Even when he is speaking about women he doesn’t know that well, he has this generally irritated tone. However, when speaking about men, he often speaks very highly of them. I know I can't jump to conclusions about things like this, but the suspicion never fades. Is this something I should ask him about? -- Need To Know
DEAR NEED TO KNOW: First, you need to come to terms with what you want and will accept in a relationship. In our fluid culture, where many people are not easily fitting into “gay” or “straight” labels, it is important for you to be clear on who you are and what you want in a relationship so that you can articulate that clearly to a potential partner. It could be that your guy is bisexual -- he might be committed to you right now, but potentially could be interested in a man if you weren't in the picture. How do you feel about that?
It makes perfect sense for you to talk to him about your thoughts and questions. If you can do so without judgment, chances are, you will get an honest answer. Tell him your suspicions, ask him if he is attracted to men, and ask if he has had relationships with men. Be clear with yourself about what you will do if he says yes. Will you want to continue to be with him? If so, what do you want from him? Many simply want a committed, monogamous partner. If that’s what you want, ask for it. It all boils down to what you want and need and your ability to express that and discover how he fits into your vision of your relationship.