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Everyone should feel comfortable with who they are, but many people are scared to show their true selves and therefore hide behind a facade they so desperately try to protect.
As much as someone might pretend to be something they are not, it is not easy, and it is not something that can be maintained forever. One common case is if someone is trying to act straight, but they really are not.
While society is accepting of all different sexualities now more than ever, the fear of judgment is still very present for many men.
A person’s sexual orientation is a very personal thing and something they have to come to terms with on their own.
If you suspect that someone you know might only be pretending to be straight, you would want to support them the best you can without crossing a line. Just because you suspect someone is a closeted gay man doesn’t mean you have any right to question or force them to come out.
If you believe someone is only pretending to be straight, the best thing you can do is be compassionate and supportive without asking them to reveal personal things.
They will let you know when they are ready…
Now, this conversation becomes a little more nuanced if the person you suspect of being gay is your boyfriend… But we will discuss that later in this article…
Signs A Guy Is Pretending To Be Straight
Here are the surefire signs a guy is pretending to be straight.
Our advice is to never jump to conclusions when you notice him displaying one trait but rather look for multiple clues that he might be hiding his true feelings and who he really is.
Unless he is your boyfriend or husband, it really doesn’t affect you.
He Displays Homophobic Tendencies
This can be such a strange one to wrap your head around, but many men who are in the closet present as homophobes, or at least display some homophobic tendencies.
Homophobic men have such intense reactions because they fear their own impulses. It’s a part of themselves they are oppressing.
This is quite complicated and not a straightforward explanation, but it is often due to two main reasons.
The first is that he hates the part of himself that he cannot display. On a deep level, he resents openly gay men who are comfortable displaying their true selves. This resentment is twisted and displayed as homophobia.
Another reason is that they believe that by acting homophobic, they will convince people they are completely straight. Who would believe someone who is against homosexuality is actually gay themselves?
His homophobia is a tool, like beards and fake coverups, he uses it to try and convince others that he himself could never be one of them. How could he?! He loathes them. Can’t even watch a movie with two men kissing. Brokeback mountain?! Forget about it.
If you notice that he goes out of his way to criticize the LGBTQ+ community, or is open about his homophobia, it could be that he has more to hide.
Now, some homophobes are simply that. Homophobes. Individuals filled with hate and resentment.
But if he is homophobic and shares some of the other telltale signs in this list, there’s likely more to it…
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They Act Abusive Towards Women
If the guy is in a relationship with a woman but is hiding the fact that he is gay, he might feel resentment and anger towards his female partner, even though she has done nothing wrong.
They would be working so hard to hide who they are and to fit into a mold they feel is “right” that they put their anger and frustration in the wrong place. Iin this case, towards their partner.
The anger can then move forward to become full-blown abuse, but this will vary greatly depending on the guy and his relationship with his partner. It could be a temper outburst at her, even for the smallest things, or it could turn even more toxic than that.
Oftentimes, the man might even attack his partner’s self-esteem, to make her feel like she isn’t good enough as a partner or as a woman.
In his mind, she isn’t his ideal partner, at no fault of her own. And he himself might even be unaware of why he’s so unhappy and can’t have a satisfying sex life with her.
If he hasn’t come to terms with his sexual preferences, his mental health can decline and cause him to be a toxic, even violent partner.
They Stay Single
Some men who are in the closet do not try to hide their sexuality by dating women. Instead, they consciously (or subconsciously) choose to remain single.
It might be too hard for them to pretend to be straight with a woman, but they will not accept who they are either, and they wouldn’t want to openly date a man.
This leaves them in the position of being on their own for long periods of time. Even though, on the outside, they might seem like the perfect catch or someone who is ready to settle down.
Many people may wonder why they are never in stable relationships. “He seems perfect!” may be how many describe them.
There might even be a few women who are throwing themselves at him, due to good looks or great personality, but he just doesn’t seem interested.
It isn’t uncommon for closeted gay men to have many women lusting over them. But it just doesn’t seem like anyone can make their head turn.
He Isn’t Himself Around Men
You will likely notice that he doesn’t act ‘himself’ when around men. This is because he doesn’t actually want to act like himself because he feels that he might let his sexuality slip through.
He would have his guard up, as he would be worried that he might say something that gives away how he really feels or which might show that he is interested in men.
He might be quiet and reserved, perhaps even pulling away from conversations that might involve speaking about men or women. This could also be avoiding eye contact and just acting strange in general.
He could act more masculine around other men than he does with you. Making himself more ‘macho’ to cover up his secret identity.
Or he could even seem uncomfortable around hot guys, the same way someone might get nervous around their crush. Most straight men don’t get frazzled around other attractive men.
His sexual attraction to these men could cause him to be nervous, anxious, and just not himself.
He Overcompensates With Women
This one is likely one of the biggest signs a guy is pretending to be straight!
When a man is really in denial about their sexuality, or when they really want to hide it away from others, then they will go out of their way to make themselves seem the complete opposite.
He will likely be sexualizing women to an extreme. He may make constant comments about boobs, ass, or the last time he got laid.
He would boast about women, going on so many dates, or even his sexual conquests. This can be extremely inappropriate at times. He will feel like he needs to convince everyone that he is straight and interested in women. Classic overcompensation.
It could be that he is forcing himself to be with women to hide who he is, or he might even be lying about spending nights with women and going out on dates.
Not to say a straight guy can’t just be a douche and be oversexualizing women. We’ve all met those.
But if he goes above and beyond to prove his ‘manliness,’ it could very well be that he doesn’t feel like one on the inside. It’s a defense mechanism to convince others, as well as himself, that he is just as much of a man.
(And no, we are in no way, shape, or form implying gay men aren’t men. I already know someone will misinterpret that statement. We are stating that his internal struggles can be so deep that he doesn’t feel like one. Thus, causing the overcompensation and sexualization of women.)
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He Has Mostly Female Friends
He might not realize it, but he will likely feel more comfortable being friends with women because he sees them as just that, friends. He will not feel any of that awkward attraction to them that he would feel towards men.
It’s the same reason many women have more girl friends than guy friends. You just ‘click’ better.
Being friends with men can be difficult for him. This is in no way saying that he would feel sexually attracted to all of his male friends, but there just may be a gap between them.
He may not be as comfortable or possibly feel like he has to put up a ‘front’ in front of them. He can find it hard to have a lot of straight male friends and, if he does, he can feel isolated and lonely on the inside.
Not being able to show up as your true, authentic self can be isolating and lead to feelings of loneliness, regardless of how many people are around you.
He might also feel more comfortable tapping into his feminine side more with his female friends and finds it easier to be himself. He can be more sensitive and let his guard down while still hiding who he truly is.
Woman may be less judgemental than men, and he can feel better about letting his guard down.
He Acts Manly
While it is an incorrect stereotype, many people think that gay men are effeminate and act more girly and that men who act manly cannot be gay. As untrue as this is, he might use this logic to act more manly so that people do not suspect him of being gay.
The problem is that he might overdo this, and come across as acting too masculine and macho, which can sometimes just be a dead giveaway.
This could be him working out at the gym excessively, and making a big deal out of it, or thinking that being an aggressive or violent person is a way to show masculinity.
This looks different for every guy, and it could even be that he is one way in his personal life and much different in front of others.
His body language can be extremely masculine, tough, and he may have a hard outer shell.
This is one of those points that is in no way a dead giveaway. There are obviously a million extremely masculine men who are NOT in the closet. LOL!
But it’s another data point to take into consideration if you think it just seems forced or comes off unnatural.
He Looks At Other Guys
You might catch him every now and then looking at other guys as they walk past, or their eyes linger a little longer than normal on someone attractive.
This is extremely natural and hard to control. Hiding attraction is one of the hardest things to do.
He will likely not be able to hide his attraction to other men very well. If you’re a good observationist, you’ll likely notice these micro-moments.
Even if it is them walking past or noticing how good a friend looks when they are out together. As much as he might try to stop himself from showing his attraction to men, there are always small signs to look for.
The eyes are typically the first ones to give you away. Notice the next time good looking men are around. Do his eyes linger a millisecond longer than others?
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He Is Secretive
Just because a guy is pretending to be straight does not mean that he hasn’t started exploring his attraction to men yet.
He might be on dating apps, going to far away gay bars or he might be involving himself more in the gay community online, but he would just not be open about it.
He would likely try to hide all of this from the people he knows, but this will display as him being secretive about his private life.
He may not allow anyone to check his phone or even be very aware if someone is peeking over his shoulder.
There is a chance that he feels ashamed of himself, even though there is nothing to be ashamed about! He just hasn’t come to terms with it yet.
He just can’t quite bring himself to move his sexuality from the online safe place to reality.
He Avoids Conversations About Sexuality
His sexuality is his deepest secret, so of course, he would be uncomfortable talking about it.
He would likely do everything possible to avoid the topic of sexuality, so he will do his best to not speak about it, or to change the subject when it comes up.
This is true in a lot of scenarios where the person feels guilty or under the spotlight. They feel like changing the subject will take the light off of them.
He might become anxious and nervous every time sexuality is brought up, and if he can’t change the topic of conversation, then he might be overly masculine and joke about other men being gay or point the finger at others.
He may deflect completely and (like previously mentioned) talk about all his past sexual conquests. Hoping to coast under the radar and not raise any alarms about his secret identity.
He Spends A Lot Of Time With One Friend
You might notice that he spends a lot of time with one specific male friend, someone who is not part of his usual friend group. This can be someone who he keeps away from his other friends as well.
As a man, he might find it easier to be with another man by passing it off as a friend, as many men have best guy friends who they spend quite a bit of time with.
However, this relationship will likely be different, and the two will spend a lot of alone time together.
They may possibly spend the night at each other’s places quite often. This friend might also come across as more open with their sexuality too.
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He Isn’t Affectionate
If you are in a relationship with someone who you suspect might be trying to act straight, there is a good chance that he would not be affectionate with you.
There would be no drive or attraction for him to give you a kiss on the forehead or hug you hello because you are just not his type.
He might be able to be sexually involved with you, but the smaller signs of affection are where he might battle the most, and what you might notice first.
Some guys just are not affectionate at all, so this isn’t a sign you should rely on by itself, but there could very well be a reason as to why he is so resistant to affection.
Closeted gay men are struggling deeply. Pretending to be straight and maintain a committed relationship is a fulltime job.
And although it may have been easier in the beginning of your relationship, pretending to be straight will take a toll on him once you’re in a more serious relationship.
What To Do When You Suspect Someone Is Pretending To Be A Straight Man
It can be hard to ignore when you suspect that a guy is pretending to be straight, especially if it is someone you are romantically involved with or a family member or friend you are close to.
There really is not much you can do to force them to let you know the truth, and you shouldn’t try to do so! But here is what you can do to make them feel more comfortable:
The last thing you should do is try to pressure them into coming out and admitting they are gay.
Firstly, this can be quite traumatic for them, and it takes away the power they have over their own sexuality. The control they would feel in making the decision to come out on their own is their own choice to make.
Secondly, you might have been completely wrong in your assumptions, and your friend is not really gay. Forcing a confession that isn’t their truth is a surefire way to end that friendship and burn the bridge.
This is a complete lose-lose situation.
Don’t try to bring it up in conversation, don’t try to ask their opinion on men and demand an answer, and don’t try to bait them into admitting something that they are not ready to admit yet.
Create A Comfortable Space
The best thing you can do is to create a comfortable space for your friend. If you are in a relationship with them, then it is your decision whether or not to continue on or end it, but make sure you do it the right way.
For a friend, just offer up a non-judgemental space for them. This does not mean bringing it up or asking them about it, but rather not putting down someone else’s sexuality, or openly judging others in front of your friend.
They will come out when they feel ready and when they feel like those around them will support them and their decisions.
Should You End A Romantic Relationship If You Think Your Boyfriend Is Pretending To Be Straight?
I can’t even begin to answer this question. I simply don’t have the qualifications. I can’t tell you what to do. I’m just some girl on the internet with a lot of opinions (who isn’t nowadays?!)
But I can tell you what I think I would do. Note: this is all in my head. I’ve never encountered this situation so what I think I’ll do vs. what I’d actually do can be very different.
If I suspect my partner is pretending to be straight and is actually in the closet, I would likely end it. Even if I am completely wrong, there is something in my intuition telling me things aren’t right. And I have learned to always trust my gut feelings.
Even if there aren’t any clear signs, I may be feeling sexually unsatisfied or questioning his intentions. “Does he love me or am I his beard?!” That unsteady feeling in the pit of my stomach isn’t one I want in my partnerships.
So I would have to end things. As hard as it is. One of the most important things in my romantic relationships is PEACE.
And this internal turmoil in my mind would have me up all night.
Now, that’s just what I would do. You may wish to take more time, think it thoroughly, and maybe even ask a professional therapist. Especially if there are kids involved.
Gosh, what a difficult situation if there are kids involved! Sending you love and strength. I know it may be hard, but you’ll both get through this.