Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Email from a guy who's in love with an attached man

At the start of June, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

Recently discovered your blog and I'm addicted! You give great advice and I love reading about your relationships. I am in a situation that I hope you can give me some advice on.

I'm in my mid-twenties, and am newly out to some family members and close friends. I met a guy six months ago via a hook-up site. We had fun and established a "friends with benefits" type situation. He has a boyfriend for many years, and they are in an open relationship. I knew this going in and had no problems with it. However, after a couple months in I have developed strong feelings for him.

I shared these feelings for him and he was very kind and understanding about things. He was honest and told me he doesn't feel the same but he liked our arrangement and friendship. I told him that I would be fine and that I wanted to continue to see him and we have since resumed our "friends with benefits" arrangement.

I am confused and am unsure of myself and my emotions. We text almost daily and I really enjoy having him as a friend and do not want to lose him. There are days when I feel I'll be OK, but also days where I hate myself for getting in this situation to begin with. He is in almost every way my ideal guy but he has made it clear he does not feel the same and would never leave his boyfriend.

Am I playing with fire, waiting to get burnt? I'm afraid my feelings will only intensify and I will get hurt badly down the road, but I can't convince myself to end things with him either. What should I do?


After I'd read his email, I couldn't help thinking that it was already too late for him to avoid being "burnt" as he put it. So I sent him a reply in which I included the following paragraph:

My quick thoughts are that your arrangement with this guy won't ever go any further. But I can't help wondering whether this guy has any single friends which he could introduce you to. If you like this guy, then it's possible that you may like some of his friends, so perhaps you could use him to help you find the boyfriend that you deserve? In any case, I think you need to find other guys to date, because the longer that this goes on the more that you'll be hurt :-|.

Within a few hours he'd sent me the following:

Hi GB - awesome getting a reply from you so soon! Thanks so much !

I have broached the topic of him introducing some friends of his who are single to me but he kinda shrugged it off in the past. I don't think I would want to bring it up again.

I feel pathetic because I don't want to give up what we have even though I know the feelings are one sided. I'm rational enough to understand feelings can't be forced, etc. The moments we share I cherish so much. I've never felt this way for a guy before that it scares me.

Take care !

I was glad that the reader had had the idea himself of trying to get his lover to introduce him to potential boyfriends, but I was disappointed and somewhat surprised at the casual way in which his lover seemed to have declined. However, it made me feel more strongly that the "friends with benefits" relationship wasn't good for the reader. So I sent the reader another email to tell him that I'd do this "Dear GB" posting for him, and at the bottom of the email I said:

It'll probably take me a few weeks to get round to doing the posting for you, so meanwhile, just think about this. If this attached guy really cared for you then he'd want you to be happy. By keeping you available as a "friend with benefits", and also by not introducing you to guys who might be able to become your boyfriend, then he's being exceptionally selfish. How can you love such a selfish guy?

Again reader replied quite quickly:

He's told me that I shouldn't not see others on account of him, and that we'll still meet even if I do. Maybe I'm just blinded but I truly don't think he's being selfish at all. A friend of mine who I shared this with did tell me that no truly good person would continue this friends with benefits relationship knowing one party is more invested than he is.

Her advice and where your advice seems headed does make me think. Perhaps my sense of judgement is just impaired.

Thanks for your responses. You're awesome ! Look forward to your posting.

A few years ago, I think I said that straight guys learn all about love and relationships in their teenage years, whereas that doesn't necessarily happen for gay guys. Gay guys and girls may hide their sexuality while they're teenagers, and in that case they don't learn how to handle their emotions until they eventually come out. My guess is that's exactly what's happened to this reader, because he said that he only recently came out, and it sounds very much as though he's got a teenage crush on this guy that he met on the hook-up site. So as he rightly started to wonder in his last email to me, his judgement is indeed impaired.

It seems clear to me that the guy that the reader has the crush on hasn't been very good for the reader. The reader must have told the guy that he only recently came out, and I had been that guy, I like to think that I'd have done much more to help the reader start enjoying a gay lifestyle. Instead, the guy declined to think about whether he had any friends that might become the reader's boyfriend, and has continued the "friends with benefits" arrangement even though he must surely know that the reader is going to end up hurt.

The emails that I exchanged with the reader were trying to push the reader to realise this all himself, and in his last email it did indeed seem like the reader was starting to wake up to the reality of his situation. It's been several weeks since we were last in contact, so I hope in that time he's been able to start looking for other guys, and spending less time with the guy in the open relationship. But if he is still seeing him, then my advice would be to stop seeing him immediately!

Do any other readers have any thoughts about this?