Joining a fraternity creates a bond with other frat brothers, and a romantic relationship can be a possible outcome. If you find a frat brother within your fraternity whom you are compatible with, dating can be a worthwhile endeavor. Fraternities are organizations where you make special bonds with other members, so if you are dating a fellow brother, you are likely getting to know him in multiple ways. Navigating a relationship with a fraternity brother comes with challenges, but they can be handled.
Gauge Your Fraternity
Find out if you can be open about your relationship with your fraternity brother. Some fraternities accept gay members, while others create an environment that is not accepting of homosexuality. You may feel pressure to keep your sexual orientation a secret in your fraternity. Talk with someone from your pledge class, or with whom you're comfortable, about your sexual orientation to open the dialog about dating another fraternity member. If your fraternity accepts you as a gay member, it is likely to accept your relationship with a fraternity brother.
It is easy for gay members to feel uncomfortable in a fraternity environment. Many gay fraternity members feel pressure to keep their sexual orientation a secret. This may be due to homophobic or unwelcoming attitudes among your other brothers. In such a situation, take necessary measures to remain safe. In homophobic environments, violence is a possibility. When members are openly homophobic toward others or you, it is a better option to talk about your relationship in safe environments. If the fraternity has homophobic tendencies, consider leaving the environment for one that does not condemn your lifestyle -- for both physical and emotional reasons.
Talk to Executive Members
Because fraternities have a perception of being exclusively heterosexual, there may not be rules that explicitly forbid dating within a fraternity. If you feel comfortable, broach the topic with your fraternity leaders. They will offer guidance as to how to approach being in a relationship with a fraternity brother. Plead your case if necessary, showing that you can still contribute to the fraternity and that your relationship can co-exist with your duties as a member.
Talk to Your Love Interest
Have a discussion with your love interest about how you will express your relationship around your fraternity. If your environment is unwelcoming, you both may opt to express your relationship away from your fraternity brothers or you may consider leaving altogether for an inclusive environment in which you may be open about your relationship. Assess your level of comfort with disclosing your relationship with the rest of your fraternity. Some gay fraternity members only feel it necessary to disclose their sexual orientation with a few members, so you may choose to do the same. Although, consider carefully how hiding part of your life from all of your fraternity will impact your emotional health. If you feel like you are living a lie or that you have to maintain a secret, you will likely struggle on many levels.
S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.
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