‘I’m a straight guy – but I’ve fallen in love with my male best friend’
My best friend and I have known each other for three years. We are extremely close and it feels like we have been friends forever. I have never been attracted to other men before, and I’ve always been pretty sure that I’m straight, but I’ve always felt differently about my best friend. We have the strangest conversations and do things together and act as if we were in a relationship. Every time he stays at mine I look at him when he falls asleep and just wish I could cuddle him – and he could be comfortable with that. I have had girlfriends and I know what being in love feels like, and this feels like love. He’s always acted the same way towards me, but in other ways he’s more “straight-acting” – football, video games, etc – than me. I know this does not determine sexuality but it has always been a barrier against my telling him about my feelings to see if he might share them. But I am worried that if I do this it could ruin our friendship. Any advice?
This is difficult for me to comment on because I don’t know at what stage of life you are in. Is this a school friend, are you at university or is this man a work colleague? I suppose the question you must ask yourself is: what do you want to happen? Imagine that you tell your friend that you love him, and he says he loves you too. He is happy to cuddle with you at night. What’s next? Do you want to kiss him? To walk down the road holding his hand? You must somehow try to figure out how much of this is a deep connection to one boy and how much might be the beginnings of a new sort of sexuality. A tiny thing like stroking his hair or holding him as he sleeps, opens up larger questions. In an ideal world the love you feel for your friend could remain pure – but it won’t take long before labels are applied. Tread carefully because grand declarations cannot be taken back and you don’t want your feelings to put a wedge between the two of you. Try talking about emotions and attraction with him. Test the water by asking him if he has ever had feelings towards a boy, or even what he thinks about the whole notion of two men being together. If he is as lovely as you say he can probably guess what you are hinting at and either let you down gently or confirm his feelings towards you. If he doesn’t take the bait then don’t be tempted to force the issue. Even boys who like sport and video games notice when someone’s eyes linger a fraction too long or a hug doesn’t want to end. Enjoy your friendship for what it is and maybe one day when you are both ready it could become something more. Try not to get stressed out and instead relish the secret you hold. Falling in love is always as painful as it is wonderful but avoiding it simply isn’t an option.
Write: Dear Graham, The Daily Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT