A guy I was seeing abruptly decided he was not gay and cut off contact with me. How can I help him through what he's going through and preserve our friendship, or at least make sense of this?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Late spring this year, I started seeing a guy I had known online for a while through an online community. We'd known each other for a few years, but once our lives' paths brought us into the same area of the country, he started coming down to visit a weekend or two a month. We clicked instantly, and I knew I had found, at the very least, a lifelong friend. In between his visits (which were very difficult to coordinate, since he is in the military), we were constantly in touch over IM and texts.
Recently, we hadn't seen each other in a few weeks and things were building up to what would have been a 4-day visit over the holiday. The night before he was set to arrive, we said goodnight to each other and he said he'd call me in the morning when he was en route. I woke up to a text saying he wasn't coming, had lied, and was sorry. It was a complete shock. I sent back a text pleading for an honest explanation, emphasizing that I wasn't upset with him about what just happened but just wanted to know why it did, and that nothing he said would hurt me permanently. A few hours later, he sent me an email saying he wasn't gay, had been pretending the whole time just to be different, he was a coward and had wasted my time, was being forced to see a psychologist for the past few weeks (though it was unclear if it was over his sexuality or some other issue), that his security clearance was being threatened by bad social interaction, and that he would break off any contact with me as to not cause any more harm to me.
A few days later, I sent him an email that boiled down to saying that I'm here to support him, that his coming forward with what he told me was courageous, that I'm still his friend no matter how he thinks he's hurt me or whether or not he's gay, and that I would respect his wish to not reach out to him if that is truly what's best for him and not because he thinks he's hurting me. I ended the letter asking him to, at the very least, let me know he's out there with a simple two-word reply ("I'm ok"), which to my relief he respected, albeit depressingly ("I will be ok").
So, I'm writing here to ask if anyone else has been in a similar situation, as I'm trying to make sense of this all. What I want is to salvage what was an intensely deep and meaningful friendship. I am completely fine with him not being gay. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that's true at all. His actions and words on that subject through every conversation prior to that moment revealed no wavering, and isn't the type to premedidate something like this. I believe he's confused, and it's compounded by being in the military and military culture. I'm worried about the mention of the psychologist and what role that's played in all this. But again, if he's confused, I have absolutely no intention of shoving him into the gay column. I absolutely just want to preserve our friendship and be a good friend to him, especially since he's mentioned being bummed out by military life in general many times before, and I feel he really needs someone to talk to outside the military. I'm also afraid the best thing for him right now really is to stay away to give him time to lose any attachment to me, but that's something that would genuinely hurt me instead (not being able to talk to him as a friend like I used to, not the relationship part). This whole thing has been devastating for me. It was my first real relationship (and likely his), so I know I don't have a lot of perspective, but I know that it's taken years for me to find a guy like him and it'll be nearly impossible to do it again. On top of all of this, there's a looming time limit of late November when he'll be stationed/deployed elsewhere, adding to the current difficulties in having to use discretion contacting him.
Again, I'm wondering if anyone can share any similar experiences or just general advice. I've registered another account "laborday" to post any follow-ups or responses. Thanks!