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Old 10th May 2014, 11:56 AM   #1
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Opinions on this friendship?

Hi all,

I have had an ongoing post about this friend in the Later in Life forum. I felt it might be helpful (maybe more for me) to summarize that long thread and see what people thought (thumbs up/thumbs down) about this friendship.

I am a 31-year-old guy, recently out of a heterosexual relationship and am just now beginning to accept that I am gay. I met my friend (Jake) about a year ago. We were both fairly new to town (he was only to be living in our city for 10 months) and didn't have many friends. Jake is 4 years younger than me. We met through work, clicked very quickly, and began hanging out a lot. It was like we had been best friends our whole lives. We could talk about anything and we could talk for hours. Our friendship became quite trusting and intimate early on. We were frequently teased about our friendship by coworkers; the term bromance has been used uncountable times. At the time, I had a long-distance girlfriend and he was living with his girlfriend.

With time, I developed feelings for Jake and realized that I was falling in love with him. This was the catalyst for the end of my relationship with my girlfriend and, ultimately, my decision to start coming out... accepting that I have never really been happy with women. I never got homosexual vibes from jake. However, since I have known him he has been very lukewarm about his girlfriend. He doesn't cheat on her, but he is quite detached and disinterested. He talks about finding other girls attractive frequently, but his detachment compounded with the intensity of our friendship made me curious as to whether he could harbor or develop romantic feelings for me.

Jake moved away in December and started an extremely busy job in January. I don't want to get into our professions, but he works 100+ hours a week. Despite this we have stayed in very close touch and talk (at least by text) nearly every day. While we didn't talk by phone initially, more recently we talk on the phone 2-3 times a week, for about an hour at a time. Since we have similar jobs (I just don't work nearly as much) we talk a lot about our jobs but also some pretty personal stuff. Jake's new city is 5 hours away; I have been to visit him twice. Last time was a few weeks ago; his girlfriend was visiting but he invited me anyway. We all went out and got drunk; Jake and I were teased by his girlfriend and another one or our friends for just being two peas in a pod and how much we loved each other (if she only knew!).

Anyway, with the end of my relationship about a month ago, my curiosity about Jake has been mounting. I am out to <5 people at this point, but I came out to Jake a few days ago. I said nothing about my feelings for him, only that I had realized I was gay and that I hope it didn't change the way he felt about me as a friend. I had sent all this by letter because I was just too terrified to talk about it on the phone. He was supportive from the get-go but didn't talk on the phone until three days later. When we talked then, the first thing he said is that he doesn't think things will work out with his girlfriend (before we talked about my newly disclosed homosexuality). He has been up and down with her a lot, but this seemed like the most serious he has been. He said he just doesn't like things about her and it's hard to break up because there's not one good reason, just that he isn't into it and that he thinks about dating other girls. They have been together for nearly two years and their relationship is long-distance with him recent move.

This isn't the first time we have had this conversation. I told him that he deserves to be with someone who makes him unbelievably happy and he shouldn't have any doubts (let alone being riddled with doubt). Ultimately, I asked him if he is in love with her. His reply was "...yeah... I mean, I think so... that isn't too convincing, is it?". He went on to say that, with the exception of maybe his first girlfriend (who cheated on him several times), he has never really been in love with any of his girlfriends. They just seemed to fit some sort of circumstance. Regarding things we have talked about, he once told me that in finding a partner "we can't aim for perfect, just tolerable".

We also talked about my coming out on the phone. He was really wonderful and his reaction was so much better than I had expected. He was just very kind and supportive like any friend should be. He told me he wanted to make sure I knew that, because I asked him to tell nobody, he would not tell his girlfriend (who is a current coworker of mine). I figured it was implicit and he figured it was too but he wanted to make sure I knew that there was no doubt that he would keep quiet. He said that he valued our friendship so much. He called me last night when he was done working and we talked nearly an hour until after midnight when we were both falling asleep while we were talking.

Of the things we talk about and that I've observed, he is close to his family and he has a lot of friends (both male and female), but on a romantic level he seems to have trouble connecting and I know he worries about ending up alone. I think at times he feels like a loner even though he's a very well-liked person. In many ways, I have the same problems. Yet the two of us connected so deeply and so rapidly.

You can see where I am going with this. There are not many clues that he is gay/bi based on our physical interactions, but then again we barely get to see each other anymore. I just think the intensity of our friendship is a little unusual given our age and given the length of time we have known each other. I think we are both at least a little lonely in our current cities. He is certainly the antidote to my loneliness; and as much as he calls me, I feel like I must lessen his as well. In my mind, we are perfect for each other.

I am happy that he knows I am gay. Is it possible that he could have feelings for me? I know I can't ask outright, but I really love this guy. Some days I think he just has to be gay; other days I think I am crazy. As busy as he is with work, I'm worried that he doesn't even have the downtime to process these feelings in the way that I am.

Ultimately I'd like to find a life partner (hopefully sooner than later), but I'd like to explore that with him first and I don't want the weirdness of sexuality and our own awareness of it to cause us to miss each other. Alternatively if I could be certain that he was incapable of reciprocating my feelings because of his sexuality, it might help me avoid wasting time trying to address a futile situation.

That was really long. If you got this far, thank you for reading. I'd love to hear any thoughts.

Last edited by jnr183; 10th May 2014 at 11:58 AM..
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Old 11th May 2014, 12:12 PM   #2
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Re: Opinions on this friendship?

I had a similar, less intense, situation happen to me a few years ago. I was just coming out to my friends, and had a very close friend who I knew was bi. I started to really fall for her while we became closer friends. I drove to visit her one day and spent the night. We fooled around a little bit, then she told me she only has sex with women and is only interested in having relationships with men. It devastated me. I never told her how I felt about her, and we are not as close of friends as we used to be. Mostly, I am glad I never told her because she would have turned me down anyway, but I sometimes feel disappointed in myself for not telling her, because I don't think she knows why I mostly stopped our friendship. I think you really have to consider your relationship with Jake and decide what is more important to you...keeping your friendship as is, or telling him the truth about how you feel about him. But would you really be able to hide your true feelings from him (potentially) forever? I know I regret the way things turned out in my situation.
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Old 11th May 2014, 09:36 PM   #3
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Re: Opinions on this friendship?

Going by what you wrote. I strongly believe your friend has romantic feelings for you. You described how two people interact with each other when they have romantic feelings for each other. The biggest problem I see is that you two live so far away from each other and he works a lot of hours. Maybe you could just come right out and ask him if he has ever thought about same sex relationships. You have nothing to lose. It isnt like you would be spilling your guts.
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Old 12th May 2014, 06:26 AM   #4
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Re: Opinions on this friendship?

Thanks for your replies!

@HeavyHeart: I guess if nothing else I want to make sure I don't lose him as a friend. We live far apart and, unfortunately, are unlikely to live in the same place in the future since we grew up in different parts of the US... unless, of course, we were to become romantically involved. I think telling him the truth would ruin the friendship. I don't think it would be fair to put such a kind friend in an uncomfortable situation. I can hide the feelings. I'd just like to be able to move on if it's a lost cause. I'm not so worried about coming out but really I'm worried about coming out and still not being able to find the love of my life.

@turtlemom: I'm glad you think so! I'm not as convinced but if I wasn't speculating I wouldn't be here. I think you are right that those are the two biggest problems. I really do wonder what would happen if we could spend a lot of time together again, now that he knows I am gay. I think if he were to come to some sort of conclusion that he was romantically attracted to me, I don't think he would have the down time to process something like this.
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Old 12th May 2014, 06:51 AM   #5
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Re: Opinions on this friendship?

Hi Jnr183, I was just reading your post and what you are feeling really resonated with what I have been going through recently. Like you, I've come out *relatively* late (I'm 32 right now and have been out for about a year). I have struggled with falling for straight friends probably my whole life, but I have been very aware of it in the last year. I was also in love with one of my best friends and this has been very traumatic for me, and your situation seems far from easy. She was one of the first people I came out to, as she had really been there for me through a period of depression I was going through and I trusted her very much. I had these endless debates with myself whether or not she was truly straight and I had fantasies about how great we'd be together. I still do find her very attractive. The simple truth is that she sees herself as straight (perhaps bicurious) and so it really doesn't matter if she is in denial or whatever, because the way she sees herself doesn't include being attracted to women. I did tell her how I felt about her and our relationship has had some ups and downs, as I guess that I was really struggling with the intensity of my feelings about her. We are still friends right now, which I am glad for, but we are not as close as we once were and I now see this as being for the best (this is a pretty big deal for me). I also had feelings for another friend who did not react well to my revelation of how I felt about her who is now not in my life any more. I guess that what I'm trying to say is that you know your friend, what is keeping you from telling him how you feel? Can your friendship survive you keeping your feelings secret from him?

I wish you all the luck in the world.

Helen
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Old 12th May 2014, 07:25 AM   #6
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Re: Opinions on this friendship?

Hi Helen. I can't tell you how much I like hearing from people "our age". There is something to be said about somebody being in the same stage of life as you, so I am happy you posted. It seems like we have a lot in common.

I guess I'm not sure I should tell him how I feel. For any perspective, like you I have struggled with falling for straight friends probably my whole life. I have always gravitated to straight people and I think this is why I have been stuck in the closet for so long. There were many transient crushes that I got over fairly unscathed. Two friends stick out in my mind that I was really in love with. My first love was my best friend from college. We were inseparable and I hung on his every word for 3 years. It was kind of an awful situation because I was so miserable and I think some of my other platonic relationships suffered from it. The big difference with him was that I knew he was unavailable. He was madly in love with his on-and-off girlfriend from high school (incidentally now his wife). We graduated, moved apart, and with time my feelings faded (mostly because I found another straight friend! ugh....). I never told him of my feelings. I still haven't come out to him, but I wonder if he ever suspected I had feelings for him. I remember one night not too long before we had graduated. We were really drunk and it was really late. I had been kind of an emotional mess during that period because I was so afraid of leaving him. I started telling him that he's my best friend and I'm going to miss him so much, etc., etc. I just remember him saying that he thinks it is weird for me to say something like that- that he considered his girlfriend (now wife) to be his best friend. We left it at that. It is kind of a painful memory that I just realized I had covered up for so long. If he did suspect something, he was kind enough to keep it quiet and be my friend.

Today, that friendship is still intact and has withstood the test of time. We see each other every few months. I have no romantic feelings for him but love him like a family member. I was in his wedding party- hell, I drove him to his wedding. I spent yesterday afternoon drinking beers with him and his wife because they were briefly in town. I guess what I'm saying is that that friendship did survive. The same goes for the other guy that I was friends with. These two guys are two of my best friends and I love them like brothers. If I think about that too much it feels a little messed up, I'll be honest.

So anyways, I think with time, yes my friendship with Jake could survive. The biggest difference with Jake is that Jake doesn't have a woman that he's lost or is madly in love with. He is staying in a relationship that he is unhappy in. Jake seems like he is worried he will never find someone. While the other two guys set boundaries when I maybe pushed a little too hard, Jake hasn't really done that, but then again I'm older and wiser and more cautious so maybe I'm not pushing. We just seem very similar to each other, but maybe that's too much wishful thinking.

I hadn't really considered telling him for those reasons, especially because he is currently in a relationship. Most advice I have received has been to keep my feelings quiet. It's only been a week since I've come out to him, so it might be a lot to process at once. My hope is that (should he have any homo/bi tendencies) he will think about me and put some pieces together and consider opening up to me- but maybe that is a hopeless idea. I will hopefully visit him some time in June and I guess that will help me assess whether our chemistry is different now that he knows I am gay. He seems like he wants to break up with his girlfriend but I would be surprised if that happens before June (he has a big family event that she has already bought plane tickets for).

Thanks for reaching out. I also wish you all the luck in the world. Did you have more luck meeting women once you were out?
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Old 12th May 2014, 11:00 AM   #7
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Re: Opinions on this friendship?

Hey Jnr183, yes, I agree, it really makes me feel less alone knowing that there are other people out there at the same stage of life as me and going through something that is similar. When I look at all my friends I seem to be the only one who's not getting married, settling down and having lots of babies.

To answer your question about have I had any more luck at dating, well the simple answer is not really. I kind of had a thing for a girl in the coffee shop I like to go in, and on one evening plucked up the courage to ask her out... well, I asked her if she went out with girls, she said no, she has a BF and that has been slightly awkward since and I have been in there for coffee less since. I guess it will get less awkward as time goes by. I've finally had to make the decision that I'm going to have to try and connect with some out gay women in my area, because I just keep getting hurt so much by straight or 'straight' girls leading me on and then binning me off when it starts getting too serious. Dating seems like its difficult enough when the other person has thought carefully and seriously about the people that they are attracted to and it seems like even more uncertainty when that person is in the closet or even actively questioning their sexuality. I never realised about how much of a process coming out is, and being gay is still emotionally challenging despite it being much more accepted by society. It is a difficult decision about whether to tell him about your feelings or not, and I think your right about maybe waiting a bit because you only just told him you're gay. Perhaps it will just come up naturally in conversation at some point soon.

Helen
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