Does Your Straight Boyfriend Know He's in a Queer Relationship?

by an Anonymous RUiN Contributor

As seen in our fifth print issue "Summer Heat", available now!

A few months ago I saw a tweet that read, “does your straight boyfriend know he’s in a queer relationship?” and I haven’t been able to drive it from my mind.

I’m a bisexual, non-binary femme. After ending a rough relationship with a cis, straight guy in early 2020, I swore I was done with men forever. I was also 18 and made a lot of impulsive declarations for the fuck of it, but I really thought I meant that one.

Aside from the general toxicity, we existed in two different worlds. He was a feminine dude who was prominent in local DIY culture and presented himself as an allied advocate, but it was clear anything I thought was a genuine connection between us was scathed by an impenetrable language barrier.

How do you teach someone to find solace in creation when they’ve never not felt whole?

Two years have passed, and the cycle of hypocrisy continues. I met this one through a group of mutual friends, and he’s doing everything right. He listens when I tell him how his friends make me uncomfortable, he doesn’t get defensive when I explain how his words have hurt me even though he spoke them free of malice. He skips the Red Hot Chili Peppers whenever they come on shuffle even though he knows every word to Scar Tissue and Snow was the first song he ever played live because I told him Anthony Kiedus is a predator and he didn’t question me.

But he doesn’t understand the way I hold champagne flutes and the way I get jealous and angry and confused and overwhelmed when I hang out with a group of my guy friends because I’m never going to get to be one of them. He tells me I could cut my hair and he thinks he is helping.

I bring him to a basement show, his first-ever. My friend’s band is playing and they are terrible, we’re drinking shitty, warm beer, there are way too many people packed into this disgusting space, and I love it. And I feel embarrassed of him. I want to hold his hand and kiss him and spin him around, and I do. I tell myself I love this man because I do.

We tip the touring band and leave with a few of my friends to go to an open mic in someone’s living room. The disintegrating Allston apartment walls are hidden under nonsense and the room smells like weed, cigs, and camomile. I haven’t had a night like this since the world ended and I feel euphoric.

"But he doesn’t understand the way I hold champagne flutes and the way I get jealous and angry and confused and overwhelmed when I hang out with a group of my guy friends because I’m never going to get to be one of them."

As we listen I listen to the stories escape the people around us, he tugs on the hem of my shirt. I brush his hand away and he doesn’t try again. And this time, the awkward unease isn’t cast on the shape of the man sitting next to me, but inward.

Because I thought showing him my things would make him anything other than the boy I met.

When I saw him for the first time, almost eight months ago now, he was laughing at a joke made by one of his roommates about a girl’s leaked OF content. A girl who couldn’t have been older than 18, whose agency was stripped away, this made his Jack and Coke resurface through his nose. And why wouldn’t it?

The train ride home was quiet.

“Did you have fun?”

“The music was interesting, I like seeing you dance … To be honest, I don’t think I understood anything anyone said at Raiel’s place, though.”

And I wonder, was that the first time he engaged with material that didn’t exist for him? The first time he heard the unfiltered thoughts of people who the world was made by but not for?

I tell myself I love this boy because I really think I do.

What is it like for him when I’m in his world? Does he worry about how I’ll cringe when his brothers talk about their underage girlfriends? The way I shut down when I see the whiteboard on his friend’s wall and he tells me not to concern myself with the meaning of the tally marks? Or what about when I get into it with his childhood best friend when he told me I wear my optimism like an overzealous child?

I want to tell him he is more stranger to me than a lover sometimes, but I am scared he will tell me the same thing.

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