Can She Convert Gay Friend?
Q: I have a very close male friend who is gay, although he has mentioned in the past that he doesn't think he's completely gay. I'm 30 now and about to be divorced, and this friend years ago made some comments to my soon-to-be ex that he was interested in getting together with both of us. I have had a total crush on this guy for a number of years, and I still think about him all the time. Now that I'm going through a divorce, I would love to pursue this, but without risking our friendship. I care for him deeply and we really connect with each other. Both of us are more reserved and not initiators, so I don't know if anything ever would happen if I just let it be. We've started taking Tango dance lessons, which he says he likes because of its sensuality. I just don't know how to read him and figure out if he's at all interested in anything further than friendship. Is there anything I can do to pursue my intense attraction to him and find out if it's mutual or should I just TRY to get this out of my head? -- Kathy
Dr. Susan: If you're such good friends, I wonder why you still don't know what his real sexual preference is? Try deepening the friendship part of the relationship just a tad more before letting loose with any overt sexual come-ons. For instance, next time you're tango-ing, how about asking him, "You're such a good dancer. Have you ever danced with a man? What's that like?" Or else come right out and say: "We've known each other for years and I still don't know whether you like women or not. Time to 'fess up!" At least you'd be opening the door to further intimacies, if he's interested in being honest with you. I wouldn't worry all that much that "nothing" will ever happen unless you take direct action -- if he finds you sexually enticing, the way he dances with you should give it away.
My main concern though, is that you're building your entire fantasy life on a mere fragment of hope: that he's not totally gay. Many young gay men wonder if they're not entirely homosexual, but their preference continues to be strongly toward men. Realize, also, that the divorce you're going through is opening the floodgates of your imagination. There's a whole world of men out there, and deep down you know this. I suspect you're playing it safe by focusing your energies on this "known" male. Get to know him better for real, though, before pinning any hopes on him. Don't waste your best years hoping to convert him.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.