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Gay Life/Friend - Denial?

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Question
I'm in a situation that I do not believe that I can handle on my own any longer.  About 10 months ago, one of my friends and his 2 year old son moved in with me.  We have been friends for about 12 years and I have always had to help him out of some of "life's struggles".  This summer, I began to realize that there was more than friendship here and I brought it up to him this Fall.  He admitted that he saw what I was talking about also; we were like a family, we both had feelings for each other.  Neither him nor I have ever identified ourselves with being gay and we both are attracted to women and have had quite a few traditional relationships.  Now months later, we have gone through a few disagreements but it only seems to be when he decides he doesn't want to acknowledge what is going on.  We have never had intercourse, we have never even kissed.  It has all been cuddling, hand holding, hugging / holding, and some petting.  We have realized through this that we are in love with each other and I have accepted that.  He accepts it to a point, then when we talk about kissing or moving forward, he gets anxiety attacks and we argue.  Last week, things were great.  He finally admitted to me that he did love me and was in love with me and that he wanted me to be his boyfriend. We even starting planning a get-away for valentine's day. However, something happened this past weekend and he doesn't even know what set him off.  He did a complete 180.  Sunday evening, we were both able to calm each other down.  He went from "this is not me; this is not what I am" to "this is me, I do love you, I am in love with you".  Then the kiss attempt again and the anxiety attack started.  He always seems to find an "excuse" as to why he could never be with another man.  "I'm attracted to women, I've had a lot of women, I will miss the affection of a woman".  However, he gives me affection, I give it to him.  I am very attracted to women also, I have felt love before and so has he.  We both know that what we have is love.  Around Christmas, we had a night cuddling and I was rubbing his chest and legs.  He got excited and really enjoyed it and told me he liked it.  After that, he started to "shut-down"; telling himself he couldn't like it and he didn't want to like it; trying to dismiss it ever happened.  We bounced back from that about 1.5 weeks ago.  A few nights ago, he wanted me to rub his stomach / chest area again while we were cuddling.  I could tell he liked it by his body's responses, but he then told me that it was making him uncomfortable and to let his chest and belly-button alone.  I have a feeling that is what lead us to where we are today.  
Last night, he left and went to stay with friends or family.  We had an argument that led to him leaving because he got scared at my anger #even though I know I would never hurt another human#and was already in the midst of an anxiety attack.
After I calmed down, I called him to try to get him to calm down and talk, but he didn't want to be around me; needed space and I understood that.  Before we hung up though, he did tell me "I love you".  I asked him not to try to push the feelings aside and not to try and dismiss what we felt for each other and he said he wouldn't.  But, I believe that is what he is going to do; try and forget the feelings and distance himself from his heart / emotions.  He has always hinged his whole sexuality on the kiss.  I have not done that; I wanted to kiss him to see if it felt right; not to try and determine if I was gay or not.  He keeps having an internal struggle and that is what is wearing him out.  I went through before, when I realized I had feelings for him.  I try and explain things to him the best I can but sometimes, he just doesn't want to take it in.  What you should know about him is that he has always strived to be someone he wasn't; tried to fit in, very concerned with other people's views of him.  He is somewhat of a metrosexual in the way he dresses and "accessorizes".  I am not like that at all.  He was married and has a child.  He now has full custody of the child and has told me in the past that he knew he never loved her and wasn't in love with her but married her because his friends were getting married.  We both know that I am his only friend that knows the true him.  What do I do?  I believe that he is in denial and that is why whenever the truth hits him, he has anxiety attacks.  Then he keeps trying to tell himself that this isn't him and he wants to ignore his feelings and emotions; trying to blind himself to the reality.  This has caused me tremendous depression and anxiety also and I don't know what to do any more.  Any advice or insight as to what is going on here?

Answer
Mick,

The very simplified answer to your question would be that it is clear that your friend is gay and has feelings for you but he is not ready to admit that to himself.

Many gay people that live a straight life find it very hard to come out or admit that they have the feelings they have and when they act on them they get confused and depressed.

Your friend would really benefit form talk therapy with a social worker who could help him come to terms with his inner feelings and what he needs to do to be happy.

As you say he is for sure in denial and it may take time for him to come to realize that. All you can do is be very supportive and ride it out if you love him and want to do that.

I would also suggest you try and get him into therapy. maybe you could offer to go with him and that way he won't feel afraid or alone in his search for himself.

My advice to you is to be supportive of him and try to help him "come out" and to realize it's okay for him to do that. But the best way is still through talk therapy with a counselor that specializes in helping people to come out and dealing with issues of sexuality.

Good luck to you both.
-Gary  

Gay Life

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Gary

Expertise

I can answer questions about coming out as well as dealing with the death of a partner or spouse. I am very compassionate and caring and will often rely on my own life experiences of coming out and loss of a loved one to help others. Losing someone you love is never easy and being in a gay relationship can often add to that feeling of isolation and loneliness.

Experience

I have worked closely with Mass Equality to fight for the right for people of all genders and lifestyles to get married. I have also participated in many LGBT Grief Support Groups.

Organizations
Gay Men's Bereavement Group

Education/Credentials
BA- English-Sociology-Psychology I year - New England School of Law

Awards and Honors
National Honor Award for Bereavement and Grief

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