“I Need Advice” writes…
I’m a 24-year old straight-acting gay guy who came out only some 3 years ago and was confused for some time before that. I thought long and hard about my orientation and discovered that I was gay. Ever since then I’ve been comfortable with being gay. I’ve told the people I care about it (except my parents) and they’ve been completely ok with it, but that’s not my problem. I live with housemates, all straight guys and I was rather close to one of them (he’s known I’m gay for as long as I’ve known)… close as in we tell each other pretty much everything, joke around constantly, and a little touchy but in a man-to-man, friendly, non-romantic way. (don’t get the wrong idea cause he has a very sweet girlfriend who I adore and they are one of the sweetest couples I’ve ever met).
I care for him as if he were my own flesh and blood, but a few weeks ago he started being so distant. He stopped joking around, stopped the touchy business which he usually initiates and whatever closeness that was there was lost. I thought I did something that I didn’t notice because he was fine with my other housemates so I asked him if everything was ok and he told me there’s nothing wrong. So I went on treating him as always even though he was still very distant and I hoped he was just having a very bad few weeks. After a few weeks I couldn’t stand it and asked him again if I did anything wrong and that if I did I was very sorry. He assured me that I didn’t do anything and he denies being distant. My friend says that he might have thought that I was coming on to him but I have never had such feelings for him. So what is it? It sucks to lose a friend for no good reason. And I’ve been avoiding him for the past few days hoping it’ll do some good. Should I just forget it and pretend we were never close in the first place and get on with my life as far away from him as possible? Or should I just carry on trying to patch whatever needs patching up for whatever reason?
Dear “I Need Advice,”
There are a few things in this situation that bother me, and the first one is not related to your question. You say you’ve told the people you care about that you’re gay, but not your parents. Is it you who’s not totally comfortable about it or them? How can you live an authentic life when you’re hiding who you really are? Of course it’s not easy telling your parents, but I hope you will consider freeing yourself fully and coming out to them, too. Now as for your friend, I hope somebody corrects me if I’m wrong, but straight guys simply do not do touchy feely stuff with other guys. They just don’t; it makes them uncomfortable. I’ll say it again: There is no such thing as man-to-man touchy feely between straight men. This leads me to think the problem is that he may be conflicted and that’s why he’s pulling away. He may have a girlfriend, but I know a lot of gay people who date, even marry, the opposite sex. But even if he’s totally straight, the closeness seems to have made him uncomfortable. So here is my common sense take on this situation: He may be conflicted about his sexuality and not ready to deal with it. He needs time. He’s being honest when he says you didn’t do anything wrong. So accept that. What would be wrong is if you mention it to him again. You’ve asked him twice already so give him some space. I’m not done yet.
I think you do care for him… that way. To say you should “get on with my life as far away from him as possible” serms a bit dramatic for just a close friend. To answer your question, yes I think you should get on with your life and let this angst go. Let him be as much of a friend as he wants to be. If he doesn’t feel your obsessiveness, he will come around and will feel free to be himself, whichever way that goes.