Mountain out of a molehill: is this great crush-guy gay?
November 1, 2012 3:41 PM Subscribe
This Question Makes Me Feel Silly: I like him, think he likes me. . .but I honestly can't tell whether or not he's gay. Need advice on how best to handle clearing this up.
posted by anonymous to human relations (39 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As I said, this question makes me feel silly. I'm adult enough to know that the only real answer is honest communication, but am looking for some advice and feedback about methods.
Me: Mid-twenties lady, gainfully employed, in a "single and figuring myself out" period, history of troublesome relationships (romantic and friendships) and anxiety/depression but doing very well right now.
Him: Mid-twenties but slightly older, gainfully employed, great and hilarious in all ways.
We: Met through my work, although we don't work together. See each other at least once a week. Interact a lot through social media and texting. When we see each other, much laughing and feeling-of-best-selves-around-each-other ensues.
The problem: I can tell very well that he is interested in getting to know me, likes to be around me, etc. That's not in question. What is in question is the tenor of interest, more precisely whether he is even interested in women.
When I first met him I assumed he was gay (mostly, I'm ashamed to say, because of his very stylish clothing), then came away from our first conversation thinking "wow, it really felt like that gay guy was hitting on me". It's not just the clothing, though: he also obviously has a history of LGBT activism and is involved in the gay community in some ongoing way. (That much gleaned from Facebook.)
Stupid methods like asking my friends if he sets off their gaydar and snooping through his Facebook have been unrewarding (karmically enough for being so stupid) -- absolutely NO evidence of ANY sexual orientation is to be found on his web presence, and friends end up splitting 50-50. I have also done the thing where I drop hints/talk about my OWN relationship history, and it does seem that he feels awkward when I mention having exes or crushes on dudes or whatever.
I've been continuing on under the assumption that this will work itself out in time, but as my attraction to him grows more intense and we grow closer, this begins to feel more urgent. Obviously the only way out is through and I've got to have some kind of come-to-Jesus conversation here.
I'm aware that a) whatever his orientation is, there are WAY more than two possibilities here. He could be gay, straight and interested, straight but not interested romantically, bisexual, asexual, or any number of things! and b) that whatever his orientation is, he is a person who is clearly a bit more on the reserved side when it comes to personal information.
I usually trust my perception of people, but sometimes I come away from talking to him thinking "HOO BOY he is so into me" and sometimes "I love my new friend who is obviously gay!".
I'm also aware that the question is not "what his sexual orientation" but rather "does he want to date me or not", but I worry that if I make a move I will be hideously embarrassed because he will have thought it was obvious that he was gay and it will make our friendship (/our work connections) awkward.
Like I said, this question makes me feel silly. I want to somehow get some clarity and honesty in this regard, in a way that is appropriate to the somewhat-sensitive nature of the question and also to the genuine respect and affection I have for him as a new friend.
So far what I've come up with is "get drunk and shout ARE YOU GAY OR WHAT BECAUSE I REALLY LIKE YOU." :-)
(Yep, astute MeFites will have noticed the "history of anxiety/depression" and "troubled relationships", leading to the conclusion that I like many anxious people am attracted to unavailability because it's "safe". You'd be right! But I am working very hard to get past that and, in fact, this feels more real and he feels more available than anything/one has in a long time. It feels really good. But it's part of why I feel I need to tread really lightly on this, for his sake but also for my own.)
Throwaway e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, wise MeFites!