I hope it's ok to post this here, it's not about a child but I can't find a more appropriate place for it. I feel a bit out of order asking this as I don't know at all whether he is gay or not, but I am worried about my brother.
He has never had a girlfriend, and never brought a girl back to our mother's house (where he still lives at 26 but is shortly to move out from!).
He has fairly frequent one night stands-always at the other person's house.
He will not talk about his love life, relationship status etc with me, which is fine, it's his business, but is slightly odd as we're very close and talk about everything that could be considered at all controversial-religion, politics, etc.
Our mother is very homophobic.
He is very close to his best friend from school-close enough that there were always rumours about them when they were at school and a little bullying in a 'jokey' way about them being gay, that clearly wasn't a joke.
He is miserable at the moment and I don't know why.
The way he talks about women is very negative-we often argue because he talks about them in such a laddish, stereotypical way, despite the fact that he's actually a pretty sensitive, decent bloke and doesn't actually believe the crap he spouts. So for instance he'll say, 'phwoar, bet she's a goer' and then he'll blush and apologise and say that of course she doesn't deserve to be treated like that. It seems almost put on, like he thinks it's the sort of thing that he's supposed to say, rather than the way he genuinely sees women.
I've thought about it a lot and I can only see two potential reasons for his misery. Either a) he is gay, doesn't want to tell our family (see homophobic mother) and is miserably in the closet (and could be single or not) or b) he is straight but has some fucked up attitudes to women and is miserably single.
I have asked him outright if he's gay, which may have been the wrong thing to do, I don't know, but I wanted him to hear from me that although our mum is homophobic the rest of the family would be totally supportive, love him the same as ever, etc. He says he's not gay. He's the type of person who is so secretive that he will tell you about a date 6 months after it happened, and deny it furiously before then, and even when he does tell you it's literally 'I went on a date' and that's it! So if he is he might well not tell me for months, or years, or, my big worry, ever.
I think he is. And I think he's miserable. I don't know whether I WANT this to be the case because I think it's the 'fixable' one of the two scenarios. If b is correct and he's straight then he might just be really fucked up and miserable forever, which is terrible. If a is correct then it's fixable because he can come out and be happy! (Our mother notwithstanding )
He's so secretive and withdrawn at the moment and I just want him to be happy so if he IS gay, how should I handle it from here on? I don't want to bully him into coming out! And equally I don't want him to feel alone or sad. I don't think he has any gay friends (apart from possibly the one school friend I mentioned, but he's in the army and not around much). He's so 'stiff upper lip' with his friends, they are very public school in their attitudes and not very expressive of their emotions etc.
And then of course, if he's not gay, I don't want to give him a complex about his attitudes to women by banging on about him maybe being gay...!!
Argh. Should I just drop it and shut up? I really, really hate seeing him this sad.
just keep reiterating how much you love him, and that it is unconditional, every chance you get, remind him he is important to you, if he is struggling with stuff, it helps to know someone in the family is a cert.
and when you hear your mother make homophobic remarks, ask her not to, and tell her you find it hurtful,
and the same when he makes derogatory statements about women,
If he knows you will really stand up for things, he will be more confidant to share.
I have, and he just says he's fine. But he's clearly not-and when he gets drunk (which isn't often to be fair) he suddenly starts getting really deep and emotional about 'things' that 'make things difficult' and other such ambiguous stuff!
Maybe I'm just reading too much into it, but he's quiet and down, apart from one night stands barely goes out, is irritable and really beginning to be a bit secluded. But because he doesn't talk about feelings he won't tell me what's wrong-or indeed if there is anything wrong.
Maybe he's just becoming a teenager, 15 years too late!
"I have asked him outright if he's gay, which may have been the wrong thing to do, I don't know, but I wanted him to hear from me that although our mum is homophobic the rest of the family would be totally supportive, love him the same as ever, etc."
Have you told him outright that you would support him whatever his sexuality? (Sorry, I can't tell if you said that, or if you were going to say it but didn't when he denied being gay.) If he is gay, you can't make him come out: he may not be ready, he might still be unsure about his sexuality, he might be waiting until he's more independent of your mother so that it's safer for him to come out. In the meantime, the best you can do is create a really positive environment - challenge any homophobia in your family, use gender neutral language (eg. ask "are you dating anyone" rather than "do you have a girlfriend") for anyone whose sexuality you don't know.
The way he talks about women - I agree with you that it doesn't sound like he's a sexist jerk, because sexist jerks tend not to blush and apologise - I think it could be a way to cover up his sexuality, but it could also just be a way to appear macho if he's uncomfortable about his lack of experience with women.
It's a tricky situation, sorry I can't be more helpful!
My brother went through the phase of trying to convince us and himself that he was reeeeally into women. He'd have disgusting FHM posters up and brag his porno collection. But, as you say about your brother, it wasn't really him- He always seemed a bit embarrassed. I never asked him outright if he was gay, although I absolutely knew (as did the rest of the family, from a ridiculously young age.) I said to him a few times that "I wouldn't care if you were gay, you know. I've always wanted a gay brother." One of those times, he said "Well, I don't know what I am yet, but I might be gay." Then a few years later, he phoned me to say that he'd met someone. A man. He was gay and had always known it, but the time had to be right for him to come out.
FWIW, my homophobic GPs suddenly saw the light when DB came out. They're practically sponsors of the local Mardi Gras now
My brother is a stereotypical Russian as in he doesn't talk openly, you literally have to pry information from him and doesn't talk about his private life.
In 2010 my brother came home from Russia to visit for Xmas with his boyfriend. What a shock that was as we never knew he had one or that he was gay as I only heard him mention a few dates with women. Anyway what was more surprising is that he was smiling and replying more than one word answers - he looked happy. As far as we know he's still with Petrov.
He told me he never looked at a guy before but didn't really give a shit when he suddenly found himself with one. He said he's only interested in Petrov, both women and men do nothing for him.
My point is maybe he hasn't met anyone special yet or maybe he's still figuring himself out and doesn't want to say anything until he's sure.
As for the comments about women, maybe he's trying to act "manly" and stereotypical because he may see acting sensitive as a gay thing and maybe an act he uses with friends. Just my theory. Give him time and just let him know you don't who he likes as long as they make him happy.