I fell in love with my best friend, who is a guy. I’m a young bisexual guy. Apparently, he is not. Did the “wrong thing” and told him about how I felt, and was rejected, but things seemed okay afterward. However, I’m still hurting, I’m feeling delusional about it, and sometimes I think that he inadvertently isn’t helping… how do I live with my best friend now? Help me, Metafilter!
posted by anonymous to human relations (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I think one of the major issues in me getting past what happened was how many positive signs of success I thought I was seeing prior to the big moment. Worse, these signals have continued so strongly after the fact that individuals ignorant as to the overall situation have begun to take notice. Let’s call my friend James. Before I started being romantically attracted to him, my “gaydar” (apologies for invoking this concept) had gone off on him, as had those of all other LGB friends who know him. In addition, I had known him to have three romantic interactions (at the very least heavy kissing, petting, etc., if not oral sex) with a male friend of ours that hadn’t even occurred while drunk. Off the bat, I was primed to think of him as a queer man, someone who definitely wasn’t a “0” on the Kinsey scale.
We’ve known each other for almost three years now, and especially since about a seven months ago, James and I have had one of the strongest interpersonal relationships of my life… we clicked really famously on the friendship front. For about two years, I hadn’t been romantically attracted to him, but then a switch flicked on and the strong feelings of friendship toward him began to give rise to desires for more intimate bonds between us. Realizing how bad the situation could get, I kept these feelings (and my sexuality) under wraps for several months, until he began one long, intense phone conversation with me out of the blue. He opened up to me in a thousand new ways and began to praise me heavily, giving me an events timeline (???) of when exactly he was feeling more and more personally intimate with me, explaining why I was one of the most important people in the world to him, and telling me that any day I talked to him brightened it immeasurably. This began to make me think that there was some actual hope for a relationship, as not only were these weird things for me to be hearing from a young straight guy (sorry, stereotyping in action, I know), but they seemed to proclaim some sort of intimate exclusivity to our relationship.
Happily following the advice of a gay friend, I did something that I should have done long ago for the wrong reasons, and came out to my close straight male friends (I included James in this category) in hopes of maybe dragging out more information. I thought I had succeeded in this, as James messaged said gay friend less than 24 hours later to tell him that he had “cried” from being so proud and was “so happy” and that he wanted to “ask [me] who [my] love is, because that kind of love should not be withheld.” (Considering I “came out” in what was essentially a custom-locked blog entry that was fairly plain, the extreme emotional rise I got out of him confused me, and it was also weird at the time that the first thing he wanted to talk to me about was who my possibly gay crush was because the love I have to give is apparently just so awesome.) He also heavily began to ramp up contact with me (80+ short e-mails exchanged in two weeks), and every message seemed to be insanely positive and cheerful, which was in opposition to his typical demeanor. Finally, he invited me to make a five-hour trek to the college he was attending to spend the night for no particular reason, and remarked very particularly about the visit (such as suggesting we could sleep in the same bed???). Of course, at this point, I’m thinking: how could this be anything but his method of trying to romantically whisk me away, right?
Wrong. Despite some interesting encounters when I did visit (including being taken to a “special place” to gaze at the stars), when I finally couldn’t hold it in anymore and told him that I was developing, I was shot down by him saying that he wasn’t queer. (Actually, it was more so that I answered the question for him in a self-defeating manner... "I think I like you" ==> "But you can't be gay or bi, right?" I regret not letting him answer the real question.) This crushed me heavily, as I had believed strongly and illogically that there was some serious hope for a positive outcome. I asked him while crying why he had had romantic intercourse with our mutual gay friend, and he replied that he was simply “comfortable with his [straight] sexuality,” which frustrated me to no end. (I would later find out that there was a gay guy at James’s college seriously asking around the gay community if anyone would like to have a no-strings-attached m-m-m threesome including James, which would help foster my later delusions.) We departed on uncertain terms but over the next few days he assured me heavily that this wouldn’t come between us and that we were still as close as ever, if not more so. It hurt, but I steeled myself and worked as hard as I could to try to reorient my affections so that I would be okay with him and so I could try to heal.
When I went home, some uncomfortable things started to happen in the midst of the “business-as-usual” that I was hoping for, things that made it increasingly more difficult for me to start moving on. I started getting a whole deal more physical contact from James than I was used to, which felt strange considering what had happened a few weeks before. This contact included rough-housing, him stripping a shirt off of me, shoulder-to-shoulder-almost-face-to-face closeness at any sitdown event we attended, and lots (LOTS) of leg rubbing. For a two-week period J and I were together for at least 66.6% of the time (including him sleeping over at my house almost every night), which was nice at the same time that it was extremely difficult to deal with emotionally. (This, in part, led to three [!] female friends and one usually dense straight male friend who all knew that I had come out but who were ignorant as to what happened between James and I to ask seriously more or less whether James or I were in a relationship, which stung heavily. How could they be so off-mark while being so, so, close?) A girl he had an infrequent friends-with-benefits relationship with started to do recon in social circles that eventually got back to me as to whether or not James and I had ever been involved, because apparently she had grown suspicious of some “odd remarks” he had made. He also began to make a lot of non-ironic positive remarks about my appearance and how he’d “like to see [my] muscles after [I] bulked up [from weight training]” that also made me very uncomfortable after what had happened. To be perfectly fair, I was largely passive in all of this as I usually am, and was (and barely am now) not in a state where I was able to assert myself well, which is a larger problem I have to deal with.
In the mean-time, I’ve become hypersensitive to the contours of our relationship, and flip out internally over little not-really rejections because I still worry that I’ve destroyed our friendship with my admission, despite evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, this entire time I’ve had to keep an active vigilance over the fantasies that tell me that at the very least he’s heavily closeted and at the extreme end of wishful thinking could have feelings for me someday. I know these are absolutely terrible thoughts to be thinking, which is why I’ve been trying so hard to regulate them. It doesn’t help, though, that aspects of his character (usually embarrassed or ignorant as to his own feelings, self-destructive in romantic entanglements in terms of seeking people who are the opposite of what he professes to desire, history of sexual abuse in his childhood) make it easy for subprocesses in my head to make up a story positing hidden sexual issues. I know this is bad and need to find a way to get it down.
This whole situation is obviously very awkward, but James is going on a vacation out of the country for about a month, which might give me some time to regroup and recuperate. What are some suggestions to help move onto the next stages of getting over my friend? How do I stop driving myself batshit over our relationship? What sorts of things can I tell the delusional little voice in my head to get it to shut up and stop making up crazy stories that are probably supposed to make me feel better, but ultimately just lead to roadblocks to letting go? If, when I get home again, some of the behaviors that discomfort me continue (abnormal physical contact in particular, actually), am I in the right to have a conversation with him about them in the context of me wanting to move past that in our relationship (I worry that this is a no-no, considering I want things to be "normal" and it was my fault for making the situation awkward in the first place)? If so, any suggestions on how to approach this subject? Any other advice to offer in this situation? Thanks!
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