I read your book and website on finding love and it really helped me a lot so I wanted to write. I have this problem I want to ask you about. Since January of last year in college, I fell in love with a guy you can call Joe. I spent all last year trying to talk to him, or at least get close to him. I am extremely shy. I can't even be in the same room with him because I turn red (He is so HOT!). But this year he entered the debate club at the same time I did. Since then we've gotten close. Now we're best friends. I'm the happiest man in the world, but I know that he is NOT gay. I am gay but not really out yet. Should I tell him that I love him? Or am I wasting my time? I've tried to forget him, but I am so in love with him. And the holidays can get lonely. Thank you.
Signed, The Best Friend
Dear The Best Friend,
Straight guys can be very hot, and it can be natural or easy to fall for one that you spend a lot of time with like a best friend, especially if you're not out in gay circles.
Often we fall for unavailable men exactly because they're unavailable. Of course this is on an unconscious or subconscious level. The charge is in the unrequited love. The attraction, which can be compulsive, is to the fantasy of a relationship more than the reality of one. A relationship in your head can seem emotionally safer than one in real life for a number of reasons. Some people may have had rejecting, neglecting, or abandoning parents, so the emotionally unavailable lover suits a familiar pattern of "closeness," albeit unhealthy. For other men struggling with their sexual identity, loving the unattainable man can provide a comfortable distance to the "gay thing" because a real relationship will never happen, so they don't have to confront issues (like shame and self-acceptance) surrounding their sexuality. And still for others who've been hurt by those closest to them, the emotional distance of the unavailable partner can serve to protect them from the risks and intimacy issues inherent in an actual relationship.
I think it will be in your best interest to tell him you love him so you can find out exactly where he stands. That way there's no more fantasy and you can decide how to move forward from there. The straight guy thing can seem exciting at first, but it's quite painful in the long run to be in love with someone who can't return it. You are worthy of a man who can be there for you fully like you deserve. And you have the power to make that happen for yourself anytime of year.
All My Best, Angelo.