Hi I recently read a question called "Straight Guy doesn't know what to do when gay friend confesses love for him.”
I have a similar situation with my friend as well. I told my friend I loved him and I really thought he was gay. Me and him used to sit in my car and talk for hours about a lot of things. We mostly talked about music, and not fitting in in our small town. He once talked about how he liked college so much because of the diversity of people and how he had a lot of different friends like there was a gay one... Then he trailed off like he didn't list the other types of diverse people. Also he mentioned different gay people from out town. We drove past a gay kids house from our town and he said excitedly "Todd is getting marred." He also mentioned calling the radio station with another gay kid when they were children. Also he was very touchy/feely, there were many different instanced when it felt like there was a ton of sexual tension between us but no one was brave enough to make the first move. He seemed to make a ton of hints to me that he was gay and attracted to me.
So at first I was resistant but then I started to really have feelings for him. He was always there for me and I was always there for him over a two year period. We could talk about anything at all. I never felt like anyone had ever cared so much about me. So I felt that I had to tell him how I felt.
When I first told him I cared about him, he was very supportive and great about it all.
He said he was flattered but he wasn't gay and seemed very supportive. He said nothing would ever change between us. I was very upset but I felt very reassured and I really thought that this would make us even closer. I thought we could talk about anything, because we always talked about feelings and very regularly. We were very close friends.
I believed him when he said that he was straight. A few weeks went by and he started acting completely different he never talked to me and he wouldn't look at me at all when we were together in public or alone. He started using homophobic statements very loudly and it seemed like he wanted me to hear them. Like in a way that seemed to be directed towards me.
I felt like I had already told him that I respected that he was straight, so I didn't know why he thought it was necessary to be overly masculine and say things like that as if to tell me "I'm not GAY! I'm calling things gay and I'm going above and beyond to talk about girls and how hot they are."
All of his behavior changed in general, at least from what I saw when he was around me. The distance between us caused me to feel very isolated and insecure. I couldn't handle it I felt like there was something wrong with me. I felt like all the negative internal hate that I had was now being validated by an outside source.
Then I started to think that he really was gay because of how awkward he was around me and how much he had changed. It was like he was running from me. This line of thinking on my part was bad, because, I started to think that he was just as closeted as I was and I started to believe in that like it was a religion.
I would only see evidence that supported that idea in my head. There is a lot of evidence towards that. Even his other best friends confirmed a lot of the same things I was thinking. I never wanted to try to assume anyone is gay though, because it is a personal thing. I don't want to try to push him out of the closet.
Being in love however, it got to the point where I asked him why we weren't friends and I wanted to talk about the situation and I pushed the issue many times. Every time I want to talk about the situation he gets very angry and very defensive and will not answer my questions. So I would stop asking because it obviously made him uncomfortable.
The problem is obviously me. Now a few times I've come to a point where I will confess my love again and things get uncomfortable, then he says he'll always be my friend no matter what, but doesn't show me this with his actions.
It recently came to a point where I confessed my love for him again because I get so confused because he doesn’t treat me like a friend. He was very clear this time when I talked to him that he is not gay, not attracted to me, and doesn't have feelings for me. I believe him fully now. He won't treat me like a friend though or talk about my feelings at all. It's like he is ok with me being gay if I don't talk about it and pretend I'm not at all. He also doesn't want me to talk about the fact that I had feelings for him at all. I was just being honest. I didn't want or expect him to reciprocate if he isn't gay. I would never try to make a move on him and I have full respect for his sexuality as a straight man. I would love to talk to him about girls he likes or anything. We used to talk so much. I just want him to acknowledge my feelings and treat me with human respect. I miss his friendship.
My problem is that I keep getting into a cycle where I start to believe he is lying and does have feelings for me and I don't ever want to repeat the cycle. I totally believe he is straight and he has a girlfriend now. (She is actually my ex girlfriend). He will not talk about the situation at all and he says he’s my friend but he never talks to me unless I talk to him, and he will not let me talk about the fact that I'm gay. I just want him to accept me, accept that I did have feelings for him, and know that I don't care at all if he doesn't have feelings for me, but that it is ok for him to still be close with me. I don't want him to think that being close will make me think he is gay or attracted to me. It was his running from me, distancing himself, and his ultra overcompensating that made me think that.
How can I make things right with my friend?
Anonymous (age 29)
* * *
I believe that your initial instincts are likely correct and that he is gay and trying to hide it out of fear of judgment from his family and friends. It could also be very scary for him if he wasn’t even fully aware of it himself (you are 29 and I assume your friend is about the same age, so it can be really shocking to someone to realize he is gay at a later age—believe me, I know). What you describe about his loud protests against being gay is the same behavior one finds in the ranting anti-gay politician who is later found getting a naked massage from a masseur who is known to be gay, or the minister who is discovered doing naughty things in the bathroom stall. (FYI, you might find this interesting: http://www.ranker.com/list/top-10-anti-gay-activists-caught-being-gay/joanne).
The problem isn’t really you and how you can “make things right” with him; the problem is with him. It is his behavior that is wrong, not yours. You have been honest and open with him, and even though you don’t fully believe his story about being straight, you are willing to take his word on it for the sake of the friendship.
On the other paw, he has said hurtful things about homosexuals in your presence that can only be interpreted as taking shots at you, while also pulling back from your friendship.
So, what do you do when the person who needs the attitude adjustment is not you but the other guy? You can’t tell other people what to do or how to behave; that often backfires by having them resent or be insulted by your advice. You can, however, try to nudge them in the right direction.
Here’s what I would suggest. Have a chat with him along these lines: “I know that my confession to you has made you uncomfortable, and I’m sorry about that. I understand and accept that you are straight, but you need to understand and accept that I am not and not say things that are hurtful to me. I really miss our friendship. I value that more than anything, and in an effort to preserve that friendship, I think we should take a break from each other. Let’s take one month off, during which time neither one of us talks to the other. At the end of the month, I want you to think hard as to whether or not you missed me. If you did, then call me and we’ll get together for dinner or something. If you didn’t, then I guess this friendship is over. It’s my hope that during this time apart you will realize how great our friendship has been and that you will want to reestablish it, even though I’m gay, and that you can get over your apparent homophobia.”
You don’t have to use those words, but you get the gist of it. It’s my hope that the time apart, and your complete silence during that time, will wake him up as to how much he still likes you.
Should the two of you, hopefully, get back together, don’t push the gay/straight thing, at least not for a long while. Just hang out together and be friends. Let him come to you with it, when he is ready.
I wish you luck!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.