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Dearly Beloved, Can I Shake This Straight?

In this week’s Dearly Beloved, the advice column from author Michael Arceneaux, a French reader with a bit of a language barrier tries to communicate an age old problem for many a gay: falling for a man who says he is straight. You don’t need Rosetta Stone to figure this one out, though. Regardless of one’s native tongue, anyone in this situation ends up with the same options.

If you want Michael’s advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start your letter with Dearly Beloved!

It’s a thing.

 

Dearly Beloved,

I’m a simple French gay and I’ve read an article which speaks of your work. First, I have to apologize for my English, I’ll certainly do mistakes.

I’m in a situation [that is] a little bit complicated and I can’t manage it. There’s this guy who I’m in love with and…he says he’s heterosexual.

My feelings for him [have] torn me apart and I don’t know if I [should] take the risk to declare myself to him to [or] make peace with myself or if I pass through this and let our relationship stay intact cause I really appreciate those moments that I [have] spent with him.

I wrote three letters that I never [sent]. I learn songs that I want to sing for him. I think to tell him directly just like that, but… nothing.

Anyway, I imagine my situation is really kind of stupid and not really complicated, but I need another point of view to better comprehend my possibilities.

If I’m not clear, please don’t hesitate to tell me it.

Sorry again for the mistakes, and thanks to read this email.

With gratitude and respect,

Fabien

Dear Fabien,

My last name is French, I watched Emmanuel Macron: Behind The Rise on Netflix with the subtitles, and I remember at least three words of Creole gibberish from my Louisiana grandparents (R.I.P.). I write all of that to say bless you for writing this letter in English because you would have been shit out of luck with me otherwise. And no worries about the structure of your email; you know English better than that dingbat American president so pat yourself on the back, playboy.

Besides, you are very clear. I know this problem all too well. I’m sorry you have to go through it. (By the way, this is not a stupid situation. It’s real life. It happens.)

If a man tells you that he is heterosexual, you can only go so far with him. He may share an attraction to you and he may even share some romantic feelings for you. However, because of how he identifies, it’s highly unlikely that he will ever truly acknowledge those feelings, what they mean for him, and how they impact you. Even if he may say something to you in the moment, that could easily change in the next. After all, he told you “I’m heterosexual.”

Could he change his mind? Possibly. Do you want to be the person waiting on that? Only you can answer that. From the sound of it, you know this shouldn’t go on, but because you love him, you can’t let go. It would be easy for me to tell you to just run away from him, but I know how the heart works. Again, I’ve been there so I get it.

You love him and your love for him will have you wanting to keep him around in whatever capacity you can. Problem is no matter how good it may feel in many instances, there is always going to be a sadness that will wash over you not long after. It will make you miserable and the longer you stay in that situation, the more it will hurt.

I think you should say how you really feel and be ready for whatever reaction you get. I’d love it for you if it spurred some epiphany, but life doesn’t always mirror the bridge of a Celine Dion ballad. Just remember that no matter how good it feels to be around him, if he identifies as straight, you are in this alone.

And you deserve more than that. We all do. How do you say “Run, bitch, run” in French? Courir, chienne, courir? I tried.

Signed,

Beloved!


Michael Arceneaux

Michael Arceneaux writes the “Dearly Beloved” advice column at INTO. He is the author of the forthcoming book I Can't Date Jesus from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Guardian, Mic, and more.

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