Q: I have heard rumours that my brother-in-law is gay although he has a girlfriend of a few months. Someone said they saw him passionately kissing a long-term male friend outside a club. His girlfriend and I go out together regularly and I feel really awkward about facing her now. Should I tell my her or my husband about this?
A: Woah there! Firstly, where has this rumour come from? You need to get your facts straight, bearing in mind its nobody’s business if he is gay or not. If it happened at all, it may have been a one-time, heat-of-the-moment thing. Some people like to start gossip just to stir up trouble, as they don’t like to see other people happy. Although it wouldn’t be a problem if your brother in law is gay, it does pose a problem if he is being deceitful in his relationship with his girlfriend. He may be bisexual. As long as he isn’t cheating on his girlfriend then it is his business. It maybe that your brother in law’s girlfriend already knows and has agreed to such, but otherwise it is unfair to her. However it is not your place to tell her. The saying “Don’t Shoot the Messenger” is widely used for a reason. How would your husband react if he found out that his brother was gay or bisexual? If he is a rational and loving man, he will accept his brother for the man that he is. He may already know, even subconsciously. If not, then telling your husband will lead to unnecessary friction between both you and your husband and between your husband and his brother. I would suggest that you speak directly with your brother-in-law, and make him aware that there are rumours being spread and that these rumours are putting you in a difficult situation. This will give him the opportunity to set the record straight. If your husband is sympathetic he may feel that he wants to broach the subject. If he is living a double life your brother-in-law may be glad that someone is supportive and that he can end the deceit. Please don’t make ultimatums as they are rarely successful and usually destructive. Offer to talk it through with him but be prepared for rejection, as he may not be ready to discuss something so personal or to ‘come out’. If he does not want to discuss the issue further you will have to consider the matter closed. If you would like our Agony Aunt’s advice email firstname.lastname@example.org