Savage Love Letter of the Day: A Closet Full of Lesbians


isn't it possible that the closeted lesbian and her boyfriend have a successful platonic relationship that she wishes to preserve?
If she stops having sex with him and then sits around and waits for him to leave her for a girl who puts out isn't that kind of the same thing as dumping him?
LW is taking this as personally hurtful, which is absurd. Other people's life choices are theirs; quit mining them for judgment on yours.
It is personally hurtful to letter writer. She doesn't want to be a co-party to the lies. When you ask other people to lie for you you're asking a lot.

But key point:

LW's friend doesn't have to come out to her boyfriend. She can just break up with him. "This isn't working for me" is a perfectly acceptable reason for breaking up and no further information is required.

She may WANT to come out to her boyfriend, which he may take better than being dumped without other explanation, but only she knows that. Of course, if they REALLY haven't had sex for a year, it seems unlikely this guy will be surprised. He may even also want out but has a similar lack of motivation to actually break it off.
Australia doesn't have marriage equality yet?
Yes furbar, it's true, Australia is not there yet.... Homophobic members of our conservative govt keep being homophobic. The country, after a zillion news polls, says it's fine with it.some of course will mumble. Priscilla queen of the desert, she's from here. Politics. Religion. Patriarchal catholic men.
Lovely song Tim. Just wish the C word wasn't in it.
Escape @1: If she's hiding her true self from him, the relationship is not "successful."

If Friend wants to keep this guy as a friend, she should come out to him, end the relationship and ask that they stay friends. It will be up to him whether to accept the offer of a "platonic" relationship. But at least in the meantime, he can be seeking out other non-gay women to have romantic relationships with. Sexual relationships with. Keeping this guy in the dark -- and in the sexual deep freeze -- isn't fair. It's not what friends do to each other.

Ken @2: No, it's the same thing as cowardice and game playing. She needs to be, pardon the pun, straight with him, not passive-aggressively wait for him to notice the relationship as he once knew it is over.

Biggie @4: Good point; if there is a good reason (his family, perhaps) why she isn't comfortable coming out, she doesn't have to; she's only obligated to break up with the guy and let him find someone who is sexually interested in him. But as far as kindness goes, "I haven't had sex with you in a year because it turns out I'm a lesbian" is possibly the least hurtful breakup line ever. She should do his self-esteem the favour of explaining why she's pulled the sex.
BDF Just how much interest does the bf have in sex if they haven't had sex for more than a year? Personally, I would have asked why after 3 months without sex.
Is there some set time frame for coming out and to whom you feel comfortable coming out to? Aren't people typically circumspect about those things? How long did it take the LW to come out and how many people she came out to? How old was the LW when she knew she was a lesbian?
"I'm sorry, the reason I haven't had sex with you for a year is because it turns out I am a lesbian" is a lot better than "I'm sorry, the reason I haven't had sex with you for two years (3, 4, 5) is because it turns out I am a lesbian". Also, as the ex wife of someone who did everything he could to make me miserable until I finally divorced him so he didn't have to be the "bad" guy, I feel that the LW is being a supreme cowardly asshole to her boyfriend.
If the couple in question really hasn't had sex for a year, it's because that's OK with the boyfriend. Whatever accommodation they have reached is their business so you should tell her, "Your private life is yours to do what you want with but you have dragged me into it by asking me to lie. That stops today. I won't go out of my way to out your secret, but I also won't lie if anyone asks me. If you can't live with a friend who tells the truth, we may have to reexamine our friendship." And, perhaps you should reflect on why it is that (other than being asked to be part of a cover-up) you are so concerned by how other people live their lives. That seems a little hypocritical.
Skeptic @8: I wouldn't assume the boyfriend isn't having sex. (See:…)

I also wouldn't assume, whether or not he's having sex with other people, he's okay with not having sex with Friend. Why hasn't he dumped her yet? A sense of duty? They've been together since they were teenagers; their families would be upset? He himself is gay or asexual? Who knows? If there's one thing I've learned from Savage Love, it's that a hell of a lot of people unhappily stay in sexless relationships, for whatever reasons.

We don't know how much, or whether, this couple have discussed their sex life. ALLY hasn't told us; perhaps Friend hasn't told her. All we can assume is that Boyfriend's view on their situation would change radically if Friend were to person up and tell him.
Donny @11: In what way is ALLY being hypocritical?
Other than being asked to be part of a cover-up, ALLY may be reacting badly to her friend's behaviour because the behaviour implies there's something shameful about being a lesbian, which another lesbian might understandably find a bit insulting.
So, is she taking Friend's actions a bit too personally? Possibly. Does that make her a hypocrite? I don't see how.
I'm hard of hearing and can't make out the lyrics to the song Dan posted. Are there lyrics somewhere? (I googled "Tim Minchin lyrics," but couldn't find the ones for this song.)
I think the bigger question here is. When is someone meddling in someone elses affairs and projecting their standards on others? There could be many reasons why this girl is still with her boyfriend and it is not up to the coming out police to force anyone to go through any coming out procedure just to please a meddling individual that is already out. What business is it of anyones if a BF is not having sex or how long. If someone had pressured me to go through the coming out process based upon the coming out manual they carry around mentaly i would have felt defensice, scared and confused. Leave the girl alone get on with your own life and let her sort it out herself. It ain't your bussiness no matter how much you position yourself to make it your bussiness. Back off and be empathetic, you are not the boss or coming out police. Life is far more complicated and sometimes complicated takes time to unravel.
@4: "if they REALLY haven't had sex for a year, it seems unlikely this guy will be surprised. He may even also want out but has a similar lack of motivation to actually break it off."

Calling it "lack of motivation" on his part seems unnecessarily cruel. It is at least as likely that he, rather than being "unmotivated" to leave, is caught up in the cycle of excuse-making and duplicity that comes with a dead bedroom. She has not admitted to him that he's really not the right person for her, and as a result he probably still thinks that there is some magic combination of adjustments to behavior or attitude on his part that will make everything all better and make her desire him again.

This is a dynamic that happens over and over again in relationships where one partner has lost desire for the other and can't bring themselves to tell the truth. That much does not require someone being closeted, either.
#1. No. The closeted friend of Sappho, is #1 heavily in the closet, #2 doesn't want to be looked as the a monster to her soon to be ex boyfriend. It has nothing to do being a platonic friend. Ms. Closet Case is not being honest with her current boyfriend. I see her wanting a soft landing with her boyfriend, but drawing it out longer, make the anger grow from the boyfriend, when he realizes she has hiding her sexuality for some time.. It is about trust issues.. The Closet Case just needs to cross the Rubicon, end the relationship. Unless, the LW is spinning something that isn't close to the reality of the situation..
@11: "If the couple in question really hasn't had sex for a year, it's because that's OK with the boyfriend."

You're new here, aren't you?

Ok, kidding, of course you aren't new here, which makes me wonder how you could say something so laughably wrong. Dan's column is filled with tales of people with spouses/SOs whose libido seems inexplicably to have dried up and blown away, sometimes for literally _decades_, and not one of them is "okay with it." A year is entirely within the range of normal for someone to be still trying to figure out what is going wrong and whether there is a chance of fixing it. Then there are the ones with even longer timeframes who have their reasons why leaving isn't an option (kids, sick spouse, split the 401K would mean dying in poverty, whatever), but that hardly means they are "okay with it." They're miserable and desperate and trying to find a solution.

I think LW should tell the friend, "Look, you are my friend. But so is your husband. You are asking me to be complicit in keeping my friend (your husband) in a situation that is making him miserable. For the sake of not meddling in your marriage, I will not take it on my own initiative to out you. But if my friend (your husband) brings the subject up with me, I will not continue to participate in your lies. He has just as much of a right to make an informed decision about how to live his life as you do. I'm not going to keep depriving him of it, the way you are doing."
I'm amazed at how much focus is on the boyfriend's lack of a sex life.

Look he's not writing in folks. The real problem is, as Dan said, the friend dragging ALLY into the closet along with her. [Good turn of phrase Mrs. Savage]. How much the boyfriend isn't getting laid isn't the problem as much as the being asked to take part in a web of lies is.

And for that I agree with the advice. Tell the friend that when she puts on her Big Girl Panties and breaks up with her boyfriend and outs herself they can talk, but not until then. The LW has better things to do then play the 'I'm heterosexual' game with her friend.
You can avoid the closet issues altogether and just make it about the fact that she's cheating on her boyfriend. Just be like "I can't approve of your actions, and I'm very uncomfortable that you've roped me into your lies. You want to stay in the closest, fine, but making me a party to your constantly cheating on your boyfriend is not something I'm okay with." Then, every time she wants to talk about her gayness or her girlfriends, shut it down with "you know I don't want to be a part of your deception in this." Repeat ad nauseum.
.What if lesbianism weren't involved? Would the LW feel personally implicated in needing her friend to break up? Sounds to me like yes, she can't manage as an onlooker to what she sees as a relationship that's broken and a waste of people's time.

But it's pointless to say anything like "I can't be close to you while you're like this." If you need to take some space from your friend, then you do. Without attaching an "unless you...", or an "until you..." because nobody likes an ultimatum.

Do you ever have conversations where you would hear how she feels in her relationship, rather than her "making excuses"? (Why are *you* in a position to receive excuses, what are you her life coach?) That might do something. But pushing her is just going to get you a broken friendship.

(Is this where you are okay motivating her to break up the friendship with you, but you wouldn't want to be the bad person by doing it yourself? Stereotypically do lesbians do this one for friendship like straights do it for relationships?)
Dan has a fine life anecdote but not sure how relevant. His was about practical social management issues. This one is about feeling attacked. Like "your straight relationship is shitty, so if you choose that over coming out, you must be saying that being out is super-shitty, and I'm out, so you're saying my life is super-shitty?"
@21 Mtn. Beaver: "it's pointless to say anything like "I can't be close to you while you're like this."

Disagree. For lots of people, there will be times when a friend does something bad enough that there has to be a line in the sand about it. "I can't be your friend while you have a year long affair on your S.O./continue drinking and driving/continue your gambling addiction/stay part of a white supremacist group/work as a drug dealer/continue to be obsessed with Game of Thrones/etc. - or at least I don't want to in any way hear about it or see it" is a reasonable boundary.
"Be a Judy"
@14 - lyrics, courtesy of Junkee:
I’m always travelling but wherever I stay, people love Aussies and they generally say…

They think we’re kind, fun and funny; tall, tanned and toned; and a little bit racist and a little bit homophobic.

It’s bad enough these pollie assholes pass discriminatory laws, now we’re forced to dance the plebiscite jig.

But on the upside, this plebiscite might enlighten us — at least we’ll know exactly how many Aussies are bigoted cunts. Yay stats!

Some day we’ll be together once more, once they do their bloody jobs and change the fucking law.

Then Carrie can marry Sally, Ben can bum Tone in the marriage bed in their Aussie home.

You can shove your cherry-picked bible passage up your puckered bottom

Your attempt to keep Australia in the past will be a failure, because most of Australia ain’t homophobic.…
B @15: ALLY isn't "meddling." Her friend confided in her. Her friend said that they hadn't had sex in a year. Her friend said she would break up with the boyfriend, but hasn't yet. Her friend has made ALLY an accomplice to the deception. What are people supposed to do when friends confide in them, put their fingers in their ears? Friend sought ALLY's advice; ALLY gave it. That's what friends do.

Avast @18: He's a boyfriend, not a husband, and ALLY never said he was her friend (though it's likely). Assuming that ALLY does also consider Boyfriend her friend, I agree with your post 100%.
It's rude to ask someone to keep a secret in this scenario. But I do think it's "absurd" that LW should feel personally hurt. I think she should feel upset, annoyed, angry, disappointed - but hurt? That implies that it's something about her that's causing her friend not to come out, as if that decision is about her at all.

Why the friend is not fully out I don't know, but I can guarantee it's on LW's accord.
@23 you're right, I spoke too generally. I don't think it would work in this case.

It makes sense to communicate a need if it's relatively doable like "don't talk to me about it." Here though, nobody I've ever seen breaks up because their friend says to. The only effect of making that demand is trouble.
Sportlandia @26: Het privilege klaxon. Read my post @13 for a reasonable theory on why staying closeted may feel personally hurtful to ALLY.
Why are there two @23's? It was confusing what Beaver @27 was replying to.
@28 the closet is a societal construct. The friend didn't invent the closet. Again, to be hurt implies that the scenario is specifically about them as an individual. The friend isn't exploring new boundaries in gay shame. You might as well argue that anyone in the closet anywhere is personally hurtful to every queer person in the world. I'm not queer, but you are - do you really have time for that? Does someone in the closet in San Diego or Memphis or Seattle say *anything* about you, or involve you in any way?
Sportlandia @29: "I'm not queer, but you are" -- Exactly.

The question is not, should ALLY feel hurt. The question is, why does ALLY feel hurt. I've explained why she may feel hurt. You're entitled to your opinion on whether someone "should" feel A about B, but a third party's opinion on what that person "should" feel -- or, frequently, one's own rational opinion on what one "should" feel -- has little to no influence on what one actually does feel. You want to go logicking people out of their feelings, you have a biiiiiiig project ahead of you, with approximately zero chance of any results.
@30 except we both do this all the time. White men feel under threat, unvalued, blah blah blah. We dismiss those feelings without a second thought. That cop feared for his life - I probably don't need to go too far back in the archives to find examples of you and many people on SLOG "logicking" those people out of those feelings. But they're out-groupers, they don't matter as much, so fuck em, right?

Simply put, I don't find LW's hurt reasonable. Not all feelings are reasonable. Fin. It's also abundantly clear that LW's hurt (just like a policeman's fear) is a learned behavior, and exists within a community that explains, affirms, and nutures those feelings. So inasmuch as that's a learned behavior, it can be unlearned.
Sportlandia @31: "we both do this all the time" -- Fair point, yes, we all do.

Feelings are never reasonable. That's why they're called feelings and not reason. The question is, are they understandable? Are they relatable? Can we empathise with them? Obviously, the more similar someone's situation is to our own, the easier it is to relate to why they feel the way they do. (Which is a far less dickish way to say "they're out-groupers... so fuck em, right?" Unless you're talking about your own attitude to ALLY here? I'd like to think you weren't.)

As someone who will never be in a similar situation to ALLY, where your already marginalised sexual orientation is being insulted by a third party's decision to not be open about it, you have revealed that you can't empathise with ALLY's "unreasonable" hurt reaction, whereas I can. And perhaps I can't empathise with a white man feeling threatened. But what we can do is listen and try to understand.

And that's important, because in the end, it's not feelings that are the most important thing; it's actions. If a cop, despite his training, feels scared, whether that seems "reasonable" to me or to you doesn't matter. What matters is whether that scared cop reacts in a way that is fatal to an innocent person. Whether ALLY feels hurt has no effect on me or you, but the actions she takes as a result could affect her friendship, her friend's relationship, her standing in the social group, or her own self-respect, if she lets her feelings drive her towards a bad decision such as telling the boyfriend about the affair. That's why she wrote in: "I feel this way; what should I do about it?" Feelings aren't based on conscious decisions, but actions are.
I'm not clear on how much the LW knows about her closeted friend's relationship. Does her friend's boyfriend know she's gay? Are they in a companionate relationship--maybe one of convenience? Or--for sure--is she, the friend, cheating on her lover and keeping him in the dark? My feeling would be that the LW might do well by sitting down and asking her friend what, if anything, has changed since she came out to her. How far does the friend want to be out? How happy is she partnered, in society’s eyes, by a man?

The LW's feeling hurt is understandable. Her friend has asked for support and solidarity, then not--apparently--followed through on what one would assume to be the suite of her coming out--stopping cheating, telling her boyfriend and beginning to come out to others. There's both a personal and political dimension to the LW's upset, and both could be entirely justifiable.