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Afraid of hurting friendship

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by alTO, May 17, 2012.

  1. alTO

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here. I've had something bothering me for quite some time and have been planning to post to a forum for a while. Here it goes...

    I'm a 25 year-old guy. About four years ago I did a month-long study abroad program in Asia. I met a number of people, a few of whom I still keep in touch with. There was one guy in particular who I especially wanted to get to know and not lose touch with. I suppose you could call it a "crush" of sorts, although I was not open then and continue to not be now.

    For the first year after getting back, we didn't see each other much. After we both attended the birthday party of a mutual friend in the program, our get-togethers got a little more regular. (We live on opposite ends of the city, so it takes some effort.) For the past year-and-a-half we've usually grabbed dinner or something every fews weeks or so.

    Lately we've seen each other more than ever. We actually just recently travelled to LA to visit some friends for a week. I've felt for a long time that there were some mutual feelings for each other, but now I feel it even more so. The thing is we never talk about it and I'm afraid if I were to I could damage or ruin our friendship.

    One thing I've noticed is that lately whenever we're beside each other, we tend to "make contact" for extended periods. (I don't know if this sounds weird.) If we're at the back of a car, on a plane, at a movie, or beside each other on a couch, we'll gradually lean onto each other. (There was one time at my place where I thought something could happen, but I resisted out of fear of the consequences to our friendship.) But after it comes time to get up, we don't talk about it.

    Just yesterday we grabbed dinner. Eventually we got to talking about politics and, with it, the recent same-sex marriage developments. He asked what I thought about it (he always asks me political stuff) and I said I saw no reason for it not to be legal. He seemed to agree but indicated he wasn't affected. He then asked me if I thought "they" were born that way or if it was a choice. I said I couldn't see how it could possibility be a choice. He then added that in ancient Greece it was common and perfectly acceptable for men to have male companions. (He's asked the "born this way" question before during a similar conversation. It could be him trying to gauge my acceptance, but it's impossible to say.)

    I'm so conflicted. I know he's had girlfriends/dated girls (I've dated girls too without much success), but I know that doesn't necessarily indicate much. He's always had some suggestive mannerisms and is soft spoken. (Again, not necessarily indicative of anything.) I am quite sure he's at least bi, but am less sure whether he would admit it or if he's even accepted it himself. I'm afraid to hurt or ruin our friendship. I'm also embarrassed to even say anything about myself, which I'm not even sure of.

    He's one of the nicest people I've met, but I just don't know what to do. I'm afraid that not acting will mean that I'll miss an opportunity (if there is one) to find someone I care about and am attracted to emotionally and otherwise, but then I can't stand the thought of ending our friendship with one stupid move.

    I'd appreciate any advice or thoughts. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Jim1454

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    Hi there and welcome to EC.

    It seems we've had a rash of people here with the same story. And my answer is always the same...

    Whether he's gay or not has nothing to do with whether you're gay or whether you should come out. If you're gay, tell him. Why keep this part of yourself from him. Even if he isn't gay or bi, by keeping this part of yourself hidden you're not really 100% invested in the relationship. And I don't see a reason not to be.

    THEN it's entirely in his court as to whether or not he's going to come out to you or not. It will be his call, and you need to be prepared for him to never come out. Whether you think he's gay or not, he isn't until he admits to you that he is. Until then you need to consider him to be straight, and act accordingly.

    Welcome to EC though. I hope you enjoy the forum.
     
  3. alTO

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    Thanks, Jim1454...and sorry for my slow reply. I think that's good advice. The thing is, I'm just not even sure myself if I even am, so I'm very hesitant to "announce" anything. It's pathetic, really, but I'm just too afraid of the consequences that would have on our friendship.

    Another concern is that I feel there's "no going back" if I were to come out. In the back of my mind I always think there's a possibility I could like a girl. (I have before and have had near-obsessive crushes on some, but I don't know if they were more intellectual/emotional rather than sexual.)

    I think my hope in this situation is that he would make a move first, which will almost definitely not happen. Without this, I just don't know I can do it.

    Sigh...how can I still be dealing with this at 25?
     
  4. ArcherySet

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    These types of situations never really end. We always wind up meeting new people who interest and confuse us.

    I'm working past crush feelings on a friend. We sync up so well, he is gorgeous, we do everything together, and while he has made it clear that he has no sexual interest in me, he is very physical with me. More so than 'other people' feel is acceptable of straight men. However I've noticed he is physical with other friends. I just think he doesn't have any personal space issues. I have to take his words at face value and respect him, while I enjoy our cozy friendship.

    It sounds to me however that this individual is testing the waters to see where your level of comfort is with same sex feelings. I think he is gay, or at least bi.
     
  5. Farouche

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    You can come out as questioning if you're not sure about being gay, and you can come out as questioning, gay, bi or whatever suits you without mentioning that you're attracted to that one particular guy.
     
  6. Censored

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    Hi alTO, I have the same problem as you. I am very attracted to one of my best friends and my room mate of 2 years, and I am not sure if he is gay. I am also not ready to be open with people about how I am feeling. So know you are not alone! Jim is right. You cannot base your own sexuality on your friend's. My dream is that he comes to me one day and says he is gay and I would then say the same back to him and everything would be perfect. But setting up situations like that is bound to lead to disappointment. For all I know, he is thinking the same thing. If he is, then neither of us would ever come out and we would both lead fake lives as a result.

    What I have decided for now is to just try and be a good friend to him. You should do the same. Try to make yourself someone he would feel comfortable coming out to if he turns out to be gay. At the same time, think about your own feelings, and try to be more comfortable accepting yourself. Eventually you will have to be honest with the world about who you are. That is the realization I have been coming to. It is a long process, and it sucks to have so much uncertainty and discomfort, but it helps to at least acknowledge what is going on in your own mind. That is one of the hardest steps to make, and I am still in mid-stride.

    Good luck!
     
  7. alTO

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    Thanks, guys. I'm so glad I found this forum. It feels good to discuss this stuff.

    ArcherySet, your story is quite similar to mine, except my friend has not made anything clear. I think your assessment of him is right, but I suppose unless he says otherwise, I have to assume he's not.

    Farouche, that's a very good point. I'll give that some thought. I'm just not sure how that would fit into one of our conversations without it appearing to indicate my interest in him. I'm also unsure I could build up the courage to do that (sigh...). I'll think about this.
     
  8. It's good advice to come out to him, if you want him to come out to you (that is, if he really is into guys).

    The other thing is, if he comes out to you, you should tell him how you feel. And if he doesn't and you decide to operate on the assumption that he's straight, then you should find a way to let go of your romantic feelings for him. Because even if he doesn't feel the same way about you...people who have those kinds of romantic feelings for someone are not really friends with them. And what I mean by that I guess is that it's not really a good friendship if one party has feelings the other doesn't share. It's just one person being hurt and holding onto hope that the other person changes their mind. So either the feelings get reciprocated and you're home free (!!!) or you'll have to find some way to give up on those feelings (by telling him and being shot down or by distance and time or whatever it takes) if you want to be friends.
     
  9. alTO

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    Censored, that's very well put. Thanks for your story too. I think that's mostly been what I've been doing and I'll continue. I'm still in the very beginning stages of all of this - I've only lately given the possibility of being gay much thought, and have never really talked about it until now (albeit anonymously and through typing).

    thedreamwatch, thanks for the good advice. You're definitely right about that. I need to either move on (while remaining friends) or tell him. I'm just afraid that he isn't prepared to do the same and it'll make our friendship "weird." I can't stop thinking about this and yet can never decide what's best to do. (...or what's best that I feel able to do.)
     
  10. Yeah. That's the hardest part. Good luck, though (*hug*)
     
  11. alTO

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    Thanks so much! :slight_smile:
     
  12. Censored

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    You really seem to be expressing my own thoughts. I haven't thought about being gay much either, and the first time I said anything about possibly being gay was on this website a few days ago. Let me know how things go.
     
  13. thylvin

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    Well if you're not sure, maybe you should tell him you're not sure. I mean he's a very good friend of you. He might even be able to help you, well at least you'll have someone close whom you can talk to.

    chances are that he might not even be sure himself. chances are that if you tell him that he might admit to it as well. Maybe you two can then explore this together. Chances are that he might not admit to you, but i don't think he will end the friendship based on not sure.
     
  14. alTO

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    Censored, I'll definitely keep you posted. I can't guarantee I'll make very fast progress, but I'll post updates when/if I do.

    thylvin, that's a good point. I just can't get past thinking that unless he reciprocates coming out as questioning or whatever (which is by no means guaranteed, of course), then doing it at all is pointless. Of course, I'm sure there could be benefit to doing so, but I just have trouble getting past this.

    Another issue is that I have trouble discussing any personal issue like this with others. I tend to keep a lot to myself. How would I bring this up without it sounding like I have intentions and that expect him to reveal the same thing?