You can easily tell whether heterosexual partners have broken up. They begin going to social events alone, and no longer spend the night together. Usually they never see each other again, period.
In gay communities, the boundaries are more fluid.
Romantic partners who have broken up continue to run into each other all the time (there aren't many gay places to hang out, after all). They may still go to social events as a pair. They may still spend the night together.
So the question "Are you still a couple?" comes up often:
1. Should I ask about the other guy?
2. Should I invite them to things together?
3. Should I try to fix him up with someone else?
4. Is he free for me to date?
It's gauche to ask, or tell. You're expected to just know.
My soon-to-be partner Lane met Danny at a gay Passover seder in April 1987. He was an intensely hot Tropy Boy, 19 years old, newly out, with a handsome male-model face, short blond hair, flawless pale skin, a smooth chest, and muscular legs. Jewish, not observant.
After only three weeks, Danny moved from his parents' house in the San Fernando Valley into Lane's apartment.
Danny was so hot that Lane became the envy of West Hollywood. Suddenly everybody at the Gold Coast, the gym, and the gay synagogue was his bosom buddy, and wanted to "share."
The problem was: Danny was so used to being a Trophy Boy that he didn't do anything, except drink milk right out of the carton and leave dirty dishes piled on the coffee table.
He was ostensibly studying education at Cal State L.A., but he didn't go to class, and got straight D's (how do you get a D in an education class?). Mostly he watched Duck Tales, went to lunch with his Cute Young Thing friends, and spent Lane's money on grooming products and clothes.
Lots of clothes. 55 shirts, 21 pairs of shoes, and 32 belts (he had something of a belt fetish).
The clencher came in May 1989, when Danny failed all of his classes and then cleared out the joint checking account on a Beverly Hills shopping spree. Lane had to dip into his savings account to pay the rent.
He was furious! There was crying. There was yelling.
Danny's wardrobe was thrown, fancy belt by fancy belt, off the balcony.
The uncensored post, with nude photos and explicit sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.