Every week, Mallory Ortberg (aka Dear Prudence), chats live with Slate’s readers and attempts to help them with their relationship woes.
This week, an unnamed man asked “Dear Prudence” for guidance on how to handle his “boyfriend” of two years who only introduces him to friends as his “buddy.”
To make matters worse, his “boyfriend” is in a relationship with an asexual girlfriend.
Here’s his question:
A: In no particular order: Your friends are wrong, you are not being petty; “remembering your birthday” and “having good sex” and “capable of listening” are all great things to have in a relationship, but I promise you they are not some spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime qualities you can only find in this particular man; your friends are wrong (I had to say it twice). Maybe “only gay in bed” is a thing, but all the conversations and birthday-celebrating and family-meeting and loving texting that’s going on are hardly bedroom-exclusive activities. Your boyfriend isn’t just “gay in bed,” he’s gay (or bisexual) with, and at, and on, and near you, an awful lot. You’d like to be in a relationship with someone who’s willing to admit you’re dating. That’s neither petty nor unreasonable. If he’s not able to admit you two are going out, even just to you, you need to ask yourself whether you’re willing to go through another two (or four, or six, or 10) years of being his “buddy” in public and his boyfriend in everything but name. It sounds like the status quo is making him pretty happy, and I don’t see any signs that he’s likely to change them. You might not want to break up, but I promise you, there are other men in the world who are capable of remembering your birthday, introducing you to their families, listening to you when you speak, and having great sex, all while calling themselves your boyfriend. Go find one.