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Gay/Lesbian/Bi Teens/My best friend and long story

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First of all I'd really like to say thank you for taking the time to even read this e-mail, let alone answer all of them you must get each week. I think its incredible to be able to dedicate your time to answering these each day and truly believe sights like these have helped thousands of people (and hopefully soon me.) So thank you so much.

 Its hard to know where to begin to be honest. I'm 17, male and I think I'm starting to come to grips with the fact that I may be bisexual or even gay. This also terrifies me as my family are quite homophobic and I know if they were ever to find out, then it would be a very bad thing and I certainly think I would not be part of the family any longer, however this isn't really my problem. When I was 12/13 me and a guy at school became friends, we instantly clicked and over the years have become amazing friends and I usually find myself staying over at his house a few nights at a time and visa versa. However about 3 years ago, I think  began to develop a crush on him and started looking at him at a completely different way. Over the years as I came to terms with who I am this feeling got progressively stronger until now its almost painful that I feel this way and he has no idea. He has recently come out of a serious 2 year relationship. She made him the happiest and saddest I had ever seen him and it hurt so badly to have to sit and watch him be so unhappy during the last few months. I think he's pretty much 100% straight, and believes I am too, no one knows about me being bi. I know he'd be perfectly fine if I told him, though it might put a strain on how we are as friends. But I think it would end our friendship to tell him the whole truth and I really really don't want that to happen. We have been through some amazing good times and he has practically saved me from some pretty shitty times. I want to still be friends but every time we see each other I can't help but want there to be more between us. I'm so confused.
 Another quite serious problem is that I too have a quite serious girlfriend of 5 months. I love her, and I would never want to hurt her. Its a horrible realization as I feel I could be happy with her for many many years to come, but if it were a choice between him or her? I'm so confused and I feel like if I say anything then my whole house of cards will come crashing down. Were all about to shoot of to different uni's and I am terrified. So please, any help at all is greatly appreciated, and I know its a very broad question for all of this but, What should I do? If anything at all.

Answer
Hi Mike, itís nice to hear from you. It sounds like you have quite a dilemma on your hands. The first question I ever got on AllExperts was one that was very similar to yours and Iím happy to say that everything worked out well for them. Iím sure youíll have just as much success as she did when this is all over.

It seems like you have a primary problem (what to do about this guy you like) as well as symptomatic problems that come along with it (should you come out to him, can you trust him to not tell anyone, what to do with your girlfriend and be fair, etc..). My goal is to help with all of that, not just on if he likes you or not. If I forget to touch on something please send me a follow-up after and give me a quick reminder.

First weíll start off with you and your sexual orientation.
Iím pretty confident I know what you are sexual orientation wise. However, I donít want you to attach any label or description of yourself because thatís what someone else thinks you are. Instead, I want you to find out for yourself what you are in all aspects of your life. This is especially true for your sexual orientation. I donít want you to feel pressured from your family, friends, or even myself to define yourself in any way sexually and instead listen to what your body is telling you. In fact, if you do feel pressure and take a description to please someone else and if itís not accurate, you will likely have to re-visit this again in the future. Iím sure youíll agree with me when I say that once is enough for anyone. You should make sure you donít feel rushed or pressured in any way while you figure out what you are, and instead take as much time as necessary.

Next weíll get to you and your girlfriend.
While doing this, the next thing I would suggest you do is break up with your girlfriend. The reason for this is because, it is wrong for her to think sheís with someone who really cares deeply about her when you yourself are unsure where your attraction lies. I donít want anybodyís heart to get broken, but I donít want her to be mislead either and to get deeper feelings for you. If you find out that your straight you can always go back to her (assuming sheís straight and willing as well). If you find out you want to see how it is with a guy, itís best for her if she moves on quickly to someone else so she can find another guy who would care about her on a level that you would be unable to do so. As a rule, I tell everyone not to date anyone unless they are 100% sure what their sexuality is. I think you should use this rule in the future when deciding who to date and when to date them.

Next weíll get to you and this friend of yours.
Before I begin however, weíre going to make 2 assumptions about everything. First, we are going to assume that after you listened to what your body is telling you, are either gay or bi. If you are neither and are straight then none of this would apply because you would be into just women. Second, we are going to assume the guy you like is straight, and we will do this for one major reason. That reason being, unless he tells you himself you should assume he is straight. This is because, you need to go with what he thinks he is, not what you think he is. Even if you two were to be intimate, if he still thought of himself as straight then thatís what you need to go with, unless you hear otherwise straight from him. This may sound weird to you; however I have 2 close friends (both are very educated) that have got close and intimate with guys who calls themselves straight and hoped that they would go further in the future. Even though thinking of their guys as straight doesnít seem accurate, itís what they believe to be true so that is what my two friends needed to deal with. I donít want my friends to go through something like that because they deserve better in who theyíre with, and I donít want you to go through it either so that is why we are going to assume that the guy you like is straight.

Before you say anything to your friend, I think you should begin by coming out to the person who you know would be 100% supportive and who would not tell anyone else because I want you to keep control of the situation. This person may not be your best friend or a family member, but instead may be a stranger who you have never talked to before (such as someone from a LGBT Community Center). The reason I want you to come out to this person first is for a few reasons. First, I donít want you to have any surprises going your way the first time you come out. Iím sure you just saying ďIím bi/gayĒ the first time would be stressful enough so not having any surprises the first few times would be best. The second reason I would like you to tell this type of person first, is so that you would begin to build up a support group for yourself to turn to and be honest with as you tell more challenging people. You will likely be on a roller coaster of emotions as you come out to people so its best if you have a group of people that can keep you grounded. Third, youíll learn what works best for you on how you tell others. You may find out that itís easier for you to tell people after a workout instead of just after school or work. Go with what works best for you. However, I would suggest that you tell people either in person which would be ideal or over the phone. Coming out to others by email or text message is easier but I think your friends might deserve a more personal way then that. After you come out to each person, it would be nice if you could reward yourself in some way. It doesnít have to be something big and expensive; instead it could be something such as taking yourself to the movies or buying a DVD of a TV show that you like. Youíll likely be going through a bit of stress before you come out (and sometimes after too) so itís nice if your able to pat yourself on the back and say ďGood Job Mike!Ē to yourself.

I recommend that you tell the most supportive individuals first and eventually work your way to the least likely supportive individuals in your life. If youíre not sure whether or not someone would be supportive, you could try talking about the LGBT community as a whole (such as by saying you heard a news story about them) and see how they respond. They may not respond the exact same way if you come out to them, but it would be a good indicator what to expect. Eventually, youíll get to your friend that you mentioned in your question. I think you should tell him that you are gay/bi, and then wait a little bit for the news to settle in. After a week or so went by I think you could tell him then that you developed a little crush on him. Make sure you tell him however, that you donít expect him to reciprocate the feelings back to you. If you tell him that you like him and stop there, it could get a little weird because he may not know how to respond back to you. However, if you say you donít expect him to reciprocate then it should go a lot smoother.

As far as your family goes, you could choose to never tell them that you are gay/bi. Itís not the most honest thing to do but if itís the lesser of two evils you may want to consider it. If you do decide to come out to them, I recommend that you do it at a time where you are able to be financially independent of them. That way, if they were to react very negatively and ask you to leave their house or stop paying your tuition youíll be able to keep moving forward in your life in a better position than you would of been in if you werenít financially independent.

Iíd wish you luck with everything, but Iím sure you wonít need it. If I can help any further, please feel free to send me a follow-up message to this response. :)

Take Care,
Josh

Gay/Lesbian/Bi Teens

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Josh Hawkins

Expertise

I am a gay man and a recent graduate of an Adult Psychology program and graduated with honors. As a result, I would like to assist anyone out there with any type of challenge that they may be facing. Before I list the type of questions that I may answer, I would like to encourage as many follow-up questions as possible. I'm not here to help you once and leave. I'm here to help you with your challenge every step of the way, until it's 100% completed. Some of the examples of types of questions that I may answer for you include: coming out, various questions of the gay community as a whole, negative feedback, how to handle stress and the emotional roller coaster you may be on.

Experience

I have studied in the post secondary education program of Adult Psychology taught at International Career School Canada. While studying in this program, I have learned comprehensive knowledge on a wide variety of psychology topics. Some examples of the types of topics covered in the program were: learning about the views of emotion & how it is linked to motivation, how we learn and the long term effects based on it, the process in which we think and how we affect others with it, how to control stress, how we are all individually different, our personality behavior, how to improve and change our behavior, and how others affect our feelings and happiness.

Education/Credentials
I have graduated with honors in the Adult Psychology program at International Career School Canada. I also have a second major in General Business, completed in College. In High School I have earned: The Business Certificate, a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in Science, and a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in Religion.

Awards and Honors
I have graduated in my Adult Psychology program with Highest Honors and a 97% overall average.

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